When this year’s MCU Comic-Con panel came and went without any news about a potential second season of Moon Knight, my favorite Phase 4 installation to date, I was more than a little bit disappointed. Nowhere to be seen in that sprawling lineup of new projects spanning the next several years was any hint as to what might be next for Marc Spector and Steven Grant (and, of course, my girl Taweret, the greatest Marvel character to ever exist). Ms. Marvel has come and gone; we’re now into She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and the MCU/Disney+ train continues full steam ahead. But if we couldn’t hear about Moon Knight at the single biggest pop culture and fan event of the entire year, it looked like we maybe got the next best thing: a kinda sorta vague reference to a potential second season in a random TikTok! That’s the next best thing, right?
TikToker hayaattiaaa posted a video a month ago that instantly went viral on social media in which she asks “the question on everyone’s mind: is there a Season 2?” The camera pans to director Mohamed Diab, who looks playfully confused and asks, “…of Moon Knight?” Then Oscar Isaac appears, incredulously adding, “Why else would we be in Cairo?” Why indeed? Since that TikTok, there’s been radio silence! No official word whatsoever from Marvel! It would honestly be in keeping with the fun craziness that made me love this show if that’s the only hint we have that Moon Knight is coming back.
But we need confirmation because I need more of this show. Moon Knight, for me, is one of Marvel’s most substantial introductions of a new character in a while, and the show goes all in on laying out that, in addition to Arthur Harrow’s villainous ways, one of the biggest things Marc needs to grapple with is himself. It’s been my favorite Marvel foray into mental illness — taking it seriously without being too serious — and we can’t lose that.
Many other MCU stories have touched on mental illness but haven’t always had room to explore more thoroughly. With Tony Stark’s panic attacks after the Battle of New York, T’Challa seeking grief-fueled revenge against Bucky Barnes for the death of his father, Nebula and Gamora’s trauma from Thanos’ horrific abuse, and Thor’s depression and crushing guilt after failing to “go for the head” being just a few, added to a universe jam-packed with more daddy issues than you can shake a stick at, the issue of mental health has never been too far away. Needing to overcome difficulties and trauma is a quintessential stop on every hero’s journey. A movie, however, simply doesn’t have as much screen time as a series to flesh out certain themes as much as it may want to.
While I really love how much WandaVision revolved around Wanda’s mental anguish and pain over the loss of Vision and the wildly unhealthy way that manifested itself through her actions in Westview, I was not at all happy with what Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness did to her character. Instead of continuing her arc as someone who needed to find her way back to herself after some very flawed behavior, she was turned into a full-on crazy woman archetype. It was an unwelcome pivot for a story universe still lacking in female characters who are as fleshed out as they should be. Wanda is a strong enough character to walk a complicated line, and she should have been allowed to do so.
That said, I felt much better about the shaky but affectionate way Marc and Steven came to coexist with each other in the last episode of Moon Knight. As previously analyzed on Marvelous Geeks, the vulnerability they show one another is presented as not only something to be embraced but as the source of the superpower of this MCU hero. The better-late-than-never-last-possible-minute appearance by Jake Lockley is poised to complicate that dynamic thoroughly. I certainly don’t see Jake having a sweet moment with Layla any time soon, but he does seem to be able to charm everyone that he doesn’t violently slaughter, so you never know. Never count out such a Renaissance man! But he illustrates that while progress is possible, work on our mental health is never something that’s truly finished. (Bruce Banner gave a lovely mention of the importance of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in the first episode of She-Hulk, and that kind of open and straightforward talk about therapy was encouraging to see.)
Both Arthur Harrow and the god Khonshu refer to Marc as being “broken,” and it’s Steven, the result of that perceived brokenness, who says that he’s not broken — he just needs a bit of help. The fact that Steven exists at all is proof that help is something Marc Spector severely lacked and therefore had to create for himself. After the accidental death of his little brother Randall, Marc received no help from his mother, who was struggling with the unimaginable horror of losing a child, but wrongly turned abusive towards her son, and none from his passive father, who did nothing to step in and end that abuse. Later, he doesn’t receive proper help from Khonshu, who only saved Marc’s life when he was on the brink of death in return for servitude. And so he has to help himself in the only way he knows how — as a child, by creating Steven, and as a man, by continuing to find comfort in his presence. That alone deserves more exploration in another season, doesn’t it?
We also don’t get as much backstory on Marc and Layla’s relationship as I would have liked, but the fact that they were married and that he very obviously loves her deeply showed that Marc was at least capable of some kind of intimacy. Layla knew about his role as Moon Knight, which is a big thing to trust someone with. Still, when Steven started to bleed into Marc’s life too much, and he thought Khonshu was insinuating that Layla should be the god’s next avatar, instead of trusting her with that too, Marc pulled away and served her with divorce papers. Based on everything we know about his childhood, it makes sense that he would think that’s his only recourse, but it’s sad to watch that self-destruction, especially when it’s clear that Layla is hurt, confused, and eager to help her husband.
Marc and Layla’s love, along with the love that Marc and Steven came to have for each other, gives Moon Knight a hopeful take on mental illness without romanticizing it. At the beginning of the series, Marc and Steven’s dynamic isn’t healthy, but by the close of Episode 6, they value one another and realize that they’ve always been in it together and are best when they work as a team. Layla is able to form a loving relationship with Steven remarkably quickly, which is a beautiful thing to watch throughout the episodes. She might not know exactly what’s going on with her husband, but she still wants to be his partner.
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Finally, one of the biggest questions left unanswered at the end of the season is how exactly that whole relationship is going to play itself out. There is no doubt with at least a little bit of awkwardness because both Marc and Steven are in love with Layla, but I’m rooting for all of them. (Something that Multiverse of Madness left me unable to do with Wanda. If I’m rooting for anything, it’s that Marvel plans on remedying the missteps they made, tearing such a great character to shreds.) I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Marvel will tell us when we may get an official confirmation of another season of Moon Knight at the D23 Expo later this week. Marvel can’t just introduce Oscar Isaac into the MCU and then not tell us when we’re getting more of him. It would be more cruel than anything a Marvel villain has ever done.