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Moon Knight's Khonsu explained – Who is he and who plays him?

This creepy god is also an Oscar winner.

Moon Knight episode 1 spoilers follow, but they're pretty minor.

There are a lot of voices competing for our attention in the MCU, and that's more true of Moon Knight than perhaps any other Marvel show or film. But we're not just talking about Oscar Isaac's Mary Poppins accent and all the other voices in his head. There's also another voice that speaks to Moon Knight from the ether, and he's an absolute pain in Steven's ass.

We are of course talking about that freaky beaked monstrosity wrapped in bandages, aka Khonsu, the Egyptian god of the moon. But who is Khonsu exactly, and who's the one behind that snarky, unforgettable voice of his?

Who is the voice of Khonsu in Moon Knight?

f murray abraham
Gary GershoffGetty Images

While Disney's Khonsu and his big old beak are represented using CGI, you might be wondering why this character's voice sounds so familiar. That's because Moon Knight's chief deity is voiced by none other than F Murray Abraham, a screen legend who's been working since the '70s.

Abraham was announced a little while after most of Moon Knight's cast were already known to fans. By that point, Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke had already been attached to the project quite openly. But that makes sense, because Abraham is only involved as a voice actor, so it's easier to bring him on board a bit later down the line.

Prior to Moon Knight, F Murray Abraham made his screen debut in 1971's They Might Be Giants before landing a small role in Al Pacino's iconic Serpico just two years later.

It wasn't until Abraham played Omar Suárez in 1983's Scarface that he became more prominent. This was followed shortly by the star's defining role in Amadeus, where Abraham won a Best Actor Oscar for his turn as Antonio Salieri (not to mention plenty of other awards too).

After that, Abraham's subsequent low-profile career led some critics to label him as an example of the "Oscar jinx," where winning the award can then lead to a career slump. Of course, that's not true.

Aside from his new role in Moon Knight, Abraham has lent his vocal talents to plenty of big projects since, including Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Then there's also his role as black ops specialist Dar Adal in Homeland. And did we mention his hilarious turn in Mythic Quest, Apple TV's other great comedy show?

Who or what is Moon Knight's Khonsu?

konshu in moon knight
Disney+

Marvel loves to steal from mythology even more than Rocket loves to nab a cheeky prosthetic. And while much is made of Norse mythology in particular, thank you Thor, there are plenty more myths and legends to draw from in the MCU.

Moon Knight represents Marvel's first foray into how Egyptian mythology figures in all this. The crux of it is that while working as a mercenary, Marc Spector was mortally wounded and basically died in front of a Khonsu statue.

At that moment, the god of the moon was able to revive Spector and transform him into Khonsu's Fist of Vengeance, a weapon for him to use as he sees fit.

While Moon Knight's power set shifts somewhat, much like the phases of the moon, Spector's strength is inextricably tied to Khonsu. That never changes. And that's not the only thing that connects them. In both the comics and Disney's new show, Moon Knight can also hear and often see his guardian deity as if he were in the room with him.

With a gigantic bird skull and that mighty crescent staff, Khonsu can cut an imposing figure, and that's true in the show as well. Steven Grant, one of Moon Knight's many personalities, first encounters him as a horrifying, zombie-like figure, which does draw at least in part from real-life mythology.

Khonsu didn't just represent the moon's power in Ancient Egypt. He was also seen as a god of healing, linked to fertility in particular. But there's a darker side to him within this lore. Some early texts refer to Khonsu as blood-thirsty and even violent towards the other gods, which we will certainly see unfold more in Marvel's take on the character in Moon Knight.

marvel's moon knight
Marvel

Just recently in the comics, Khonsu convinced Moon Knight to take down the Avengers because he knew that another dark entity, Mephisto, secretly had his claws in them. Jason Aaron "Age of Khonsu" run in 2020 saw Marc Spector systematically defeat everyone with surprising ease, which serves as an important reminder of Khonsu's, and therefore Moon Knight's, strength.

Don't hold out for an Avengers fight onscreen just yet, though. Moon Knight has to figure out what's going on with himself first, to find some order within the chaos of his mind. Let's just hope Khonsu can help him with that, instead of making things even worse.

Moon Knight premieres on March 30, streaming on Disney+, with new episodes every Wednesday.

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