‘Moon Knight’ comic book writer responds to Oscar Isaac casting controversy

moon knight
Image via Disney Plus/Marvel Studios

Oscar Isaac’s casting as the titular character of upcoming Disney Plus series Moon Knight has received a rather mixed reaction from fans. While many MCU fans are truly pumped about Isaac bringing the Marvel character to life, some have been bothered by the fact that a non-Jewish actor has been chosen to play a Jewish superhero. 

But for comic book writer, Alan Zelenetz, who is credited for making Moon Knight a.k.a. Marc Spector’s Jewish background an important aspect of his character, it’s not a matter of concern. In a chat with The Forward, Zelenetz talked at length about how he worked to connect Spector to his religion in the comics. When the topic veered towards the controversy surrounding Oscar Isaac’s casting, he stressed that no matter how he depicted Moon Knight and other characters, “they’re certainly not bound by any origins.” 

“All of a sudden the Jews need to be represented. Moon Knight has to be Jewish — ‘Oh, we’re watching Marvel! The boycott is around the corner.’ I can smell blood in the water already! ‘How could they not make him Jewish? Oscar Isaac is not Jewish, even though he has the name “Isaac.” And they’ve got an Egyptian director — what’s going on here?’”

Zelenetz further clarified that it doesn’t matter if Isaac is not Jewish or whether Marc Spector’s live-action adaptation will touch upon his connection to Judaism. 

“So he’s not Jewish and he won’t be Jewish. And Arthur Harrow won’t be the character I created. So what? If he’s not Jewish because there’s a good artistic reason he’s not Jewish, that’s perfectly OK. I don’t care.”

Ethan Hawke as Moon Knight villain

In fact, he believes that the upcoming series has the potential to explore many other important aspects of the Moon Knight storyline. According to Zelenetz, it would be a “great place” to tell the tale of “an ancient Egyptian God and a Jew.”

“Maybe the ancient Egyptian God wants to make up for all those ancient Egyptians who couldn’t keep up with Moses! That would be a good storyline.”

As the official trailer of the series barely offers a peek at its highly guarded storyline, only its debut next month will provide the needed answers. Thus, it remains to be seen whether Marvel Studios has kept Moon Knight’s Jewish heritage as a part of its storyline or dropped it in favor of mapping out the complicated story of its tortured superhero

Moon Knight, consisting of six episodes, is currently scheduled to premiere on Disney Plus on March 30, 2022.