Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Moon Knight finale.
Moon Knight reached its season finale on May 4, and it both wrapped up the story and opened up a whole ‘nother can of worms in the process. We still don’t know whether a second season is happening or not just yet, but the major new developments that took place in episode six, titled “Gods and Monsters,” definitely have us hoping that we haven’t seen the last of the show.
For one, Moon Knight‘s finale just introduced a brand-new superhero. Marc Spector’s wife, Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy) got her own superpowered identity in this episode. Though not named on screen, Marvel.com has confirmed that she has taken on the mantle of the Scarlet Scarab. How did this come about, and what are the comic book origins of Layla’s alter ego? Read on for all you need to know.
How did Layla become the Scarlet Scarab?
Following Marc Spector’s apparent death in episode five, the finale began with Arthur Harrow releasing Ammit, the crocodile-headed goddess who set about sucking up the souls of the people of Cairo. Forced to fight alone, Layla infiltrated Harrow’s cult, intending to kill him. But Tawaret (the sassy hippo goddess) contacted her — through dead people — to tell her to free Khonshu from his ushabti instead.
When Layla did so, the God of Vengeance decreed that she had to take her husband’s place as his avatar. Layla refused, leaving Khonshu to battle Ammit himself. Cornered by Harrow’s disciples, Layla quickly came up with another plan — agreeing to become Tawaret’s avatar instead. Much like Marc, this power upgrade came with some sweet new threads. Enter the Scarlet Scarab.
Being Tawaret’s avatar grants Layla not just superhuman strength — she is shown breaking through a wall of solid rock — but also comes with the handy-dandy addition of armored metallic wings that allow her to fly, much like Marc’s Moon Knight cloak. Her matching bracelets are also useful for deflecting Harrow’s soul-sucking energy blasts.
Who is Scarlet Scarab in the comics?
Although we believed that Layla was an original creation for the MCU, her superhero persona reveals that she’s actually a gender-flipped and very loose adaptation of Mehemet Faoul, the second Scarlet Scarab in the comics. As Layla’s father is Abdullah El-Faouly, Mehemet’s dad is the similarly named Abdul Faoul.
While Abdullah was a mere archaeologist, though, Abdul Faoul was the sworn protector of Egypt, using a mystical talisman called the Ruby Scarab to transform into his crimson crime-fighting alter ego. Operating during World War II, Abdul led the Sons of Scarabs super-team and even once allied with Captain America against the invading Nazis.
Following Abdul’s death, Mehemet inherits the Ruby Scarab and becomes the Scarlet Scarab of the present-day. If you’ve never heard of either of the Faouls, don’t feel bad — they’ve only shown up in seven comic issues between them. Abdul was created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins in 1977, with Mehemet following in 1983, as conceived by Moon Knight creator Doug Moench and Alan Kupperberg.
As you can see from the above image, the comic Scarlet Scarab’s costume is totally different from Layla’s look, which seems more inspired by DC heroines Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman (particularly her Golden Eagle armor). They share her knack for flying, however, as well as being able to fire bursts of mystical energy.
We’ll have to see if Layla gains that extra ability in any future appearances she may make in the MCU. Nothing’s been confirmed as of yet, although Calamawy has her fingers crossed for a Scarlet Scarab spinoff.
For the moment, you can stream all six episodes of Moon Knight now on Disney Plus.