‘Moon Knight’ villain Arthur Harrow was originally a lot older until Ethan Hawke was cast
Moon Knight villain Arthur Harrow’s scheme has been gradually revealed over the first three episodes of the show. We’ve learned that he was the previous avatar of Khonshu (the Egyptian god of Moon that gives Marc Spector/Steven Grant his powers), but that he grew frustrated with only being able to deliver justice after an immoral act was committed. Thus, he devoted himself to the god Ammit, who judges humanity even for crimes they might be guilty of in the future. Yep, Harrow is definitely one complicated villain.
Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab has gone into detail on his thinking behind Harrow in a new interview with Marvel.com, including the revelation that his original plan was for the villain to be a very elderly man facing his death. But that idea was quickly scrapped when star Oscar Isaac said Ethan Hawke was interested in playing the role.
“I pitched and wrote a draft where he was much [older]. In that version, it was very much someone looking at their own mortality, reaching the end of the road, being terrified of that, and desperate to do anything to capture it. The second Oscar came to everyone and said, ‘Look, I think I can get Ethan Hawke in this.’ We quickly abandoned the idea of an older Harrow because when you get a chance to get Ethan Hawke, you take it. He had a lot of ideas of things he hadn’t necessarily done yet in his career, and things that he could really bring to the character.”
Diab’s original notion may be a hint that Harrow was once much closer to his comic book counterpart. In Marvel Comics, Dr. Arthur Harrow was a Nobel Prize candidate for his research into the science of pain. However, his reputation in the scientific community was ruined when it was revealed he was using data from Nazi experiments on prisoners during the Holocaust. After his disgrace he went underground, continuing his pain research on unwilling captives.
Most of that seems to have been jettisoned for the Disney Plus show, though Harrow pouring broken glass into his shoes and walking around on the shards is likely a reference to the comic-book character’s preoccupation with pain.
It remains to be seen what the consequences of Harrow’s plan will be, though I’m hoping for a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style supernatural catastrophe when Ammit is summoned and Harrow realizes he may have made a big mistake.
Moon Knight airs on Disney Plus every Wednesday.