Not every great story has yet been turned into a TV series or movie. Adapt This Now is a series where we highlight some of our favorite tales that Hollywood has yet to adapt — books, comics, videogames, etc. — and suggest that they get on that pronto.
The should-be source material: Moon Knight, the white-hooded Marvel comics hero created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin in 1975 who has been featured in six different ongoing series over the past four decades.
The story in a nutshell: Marc Spector is an ex-Marine and mercenary-for-hire who “dies” in the Middle East but then is miraculously revived by the Egyptian god Khonshu. Upon his resurrection, he discovers he’s faster and stronger … even more so at night when the moon is full in the sky. To honor the badass god who has given him these powers, Spector returns to the states, dons a white cloak and costume, names himself Moon Knight and starts pounding on every criminal in sight. He’s got two close allies: his girlfriend Marlene and a French mercenary buddy nicknamed — you guessed it — Frenchie. Oh, and Spector also chats regularly with the god that saved him. Or maybe he’s gone insane and is just talking to himself. Tough to say, really.
Why Hollywood needs to adapt this ASAP: Look, I’m going to be blunt. Moon Knight is the kind of comic-book character you think is awesome when you’re 13 years old, and then you grow up to realize he’s kind of dumb. Except I have some kind of short-circuit in my brain that has prevented this realization from ever occurring. Which, honestly, I’m thankful for, since I don’t want to live in a world where Moon Knight isn’t the coolest goddamn superhero I’ve ever seen. Some folks will tell you Moon Knight is Marvel’s ripoff of Batman, as Spector is an unhinged rich guy who buys and builds all kinds of fancy crime-fighting equipment to battle low-life criminals at night. These people are … not wrong, but they also fail to accept that Moon Knight’s universe is so delightfully wacky that the character has moved far beyond his Bat-clone origins.
To wit: At any given time, Spector is juggling up to THREE separate identities when he’s not in the costume — his true self; the Bruce Wayne-esque millionaire playboy Steven Grant; and the ears-to-the-ground taxi driver Jake Lockley. Over the years, the aliases have turned into fully-formed personalities, and, in some instances, Spector is written as having borderline dissociative identity disorder, just one of several mental-health issues (including schizophrenia and PTSD) he could likely be diagnosed with. When he’s not fighting his own personal demons, Moon Knight is often brutally taking out his aggression on the bad guys. He once used a crescent-moon dart to cut off the face of his arch nemesis Bushman. Moon Knight’s exploits are often not for the faint of heart.
What’s really great about Moon Knight is that he flutters effortlessly between a number of different sub-genres within the Marvel Universe. He was first introduced in Werewolf by Night and has interacted over the years with Ghost Rider, Demogoblin and a number of other “horror”-type characters, so he’s right at home in Marvel’s darker, more gothic titles. Meanwhile, he has also been positioned as a New York-area, street-level hero who fights alongside Daredevil, the Punisher and the rest of Marvel’s gritty urban characters. Yet, just as easily, you can stick him on the Avengers — he’s been a West Coast Avengers member in the comics — and he doesn’t seem out of place there either. Moon Knight fits in everywhere and anywhere and can work in basically any setting a writer decides to place him. (Warren Ellis currently has him wearing a white business suit and fighting ghosts in one issue and kidnappers in the next.)
So with all this cool stuff woven into the character’s history, now seems the perfect time for Marvel to give Moon Knight his own movie. I mean, come on … if the Guardians of the Galaxy can get their own film, so can Moon Knight. If Disney thinks he’s a little too weird to put on the big screen, then, fine … I’ll accept him being among the second wave of Marvel Netflix shows, following Daredevil, Luke Cage and the others that are on the way. The mental-health angle could be tricky — you certainly don’t want to appear as if you’re making light of serious issues — but, handled properly, it could give the character a dark complexity that you don’t normally find in on-screen superheroes. (Three movies in, and Tony Stark still hasn’t gone full alcoholic.)
Most importantly, there’s just no way we should be denied seeing that sweet, sweet costume brought to life. It’s the costume that first sells you on Moon Knight, and the 13-year-old in me just needs to see that white cape billowing in the moon light.
Marc Spector/Moon Knight — Jack Huston
Bushman — Chiwetel Ejiofor
Marlene Alraune — Yvonne Strahovski
Jean-Paul “Frenchie” DuChamp — Gaspard Ulliel