Moon Knight: Who is Arthur Harrow?

Spoiler Warning: Moon Knight S1, Ep. 1 & 2Note: Information based on Moon Knight season 1, episodes 1-2

There was some debate about who Ethan Hawke would be playing coming into the Disney + series Moon Knight. But once the trailer revealed his character’s name was Arthur Harrow, comic book nerds went into overdrive trying to determine anything they could about the villain. Why? Because “Arthur Harrow” certainly wasn’t a big villain in the Moon Knight rogues’ gallery. And he definitely wasn’t a character that led to any greater drama in the narrative. When you look up Moon Knight on Wikipedia, Marvel, and even Marvel’s fan database, they all say nothing about Arthur Harrow. In fact, he barely showed up at all.


In the comics, Arthur Harrow is a single issue, write-off villain that Moon Knight fought to no great consequence when looking at his greater story arc. He was a scientist who had half his face frozen in an accident, which damaged his nerves and put him in constant pain. His scientific research revolves around “curing” pain forever. While he was mostly above board, he eventually retreated to the Yucatan so that he could begin experimenting on human subjects. Moon Knight followed him there and beat up a lot of mindless pain-immune zombies to destroy his lab, but Harrow escaped. He retreated to work with scientists who would be doing something with the X-gene (the mutation in humans that created the X-Men and other mutants), but he never appeared in another comic after that. He literally disappeared. So is Disney + just off to make an obscure reference, or is it something more sinister?

Villainous Verisimilitude

Marvel Comics' Werewolf by Night and Moon Knight
Marvel Comics

Ethan Hawke’s character already resembles a few of Moon Knight‘s comic book villains. In Episode 2, “Summon the Suit,” he gave us several hints about who he really is, and none of them quite line up with who Arthur Harrow is in the books. We get the first of these when Harrow walks Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) through his cult-y paradise in downtown London. While Harrow is being gregarious and acting like a normal resident of this community almost for the sake of appearing the way cult leaders do when they want to make a point of showing everyone they’re normal, he says hello to a man sitting atop some scaffolding . He says the man is named Jose and says he is from the Yucatan. While it seems doubtful that such a small thread could lead back to the comic book Arthur Harrow, the pain-curing scientist did have a legion of pain-immune test subjects that obeyed his every command, similar to how this cult seems to operate.

Related: Is Moon Knight the MCU’s New Batman?

But a more interesting and obvious clue came when Harrow said he used to be Khonshu’s avatar. Now, this is a very big “if,” but if Arthur Harrow is actually lying about this statement, then it’s very likely he is really the deadly Shadow Knight. And, to make things more complicated, Shadow Knight is actually Randall Spector, Marc Spector’s brother. As the story goes in the comics, Randall was obsessed with being like his older brother, so he became a mercenary. After being killed on a mission, he was revived by an Egyptian deity named Nephthys, also aligned with the moon. Nephthys gave Randall superhuman powers (like Luke Cage’s unbreakable skin), but he was no longer the same person when he came back to life. Randall had gone insane and convinced himself that he was the Fist of Khonshu. He eventually hunted down his brother and killed Marc Spector’s girlfriend at the time.

Taking Creative Liberties

Marvel Studios

Another interesting nugget mentioned in this episode was a reference to the dead architect that started Marc Spector down this path of mental breaks and questionable heroics. While Steven Grant assumes he was the one to kill that architect, Marc Spector says, “It’s complicated.” But there seems to be a connection between that event and his current enemy Arthur Harrow. Although this architect was slain by a man named Bushman, Moon Knight’s first enemy in the books, the series has now journeyed to Egypt, putting Steven Grant one step closer to his own origin story. However, it seems unlikely that the writers would eliminate this man and change him out for Ethan Hawke, but as he said, it’s complicated.

Related: Moon Knight Scores Second Highest MCU Show Debut Behind Loki

Though there remain many avenues for this villain’s glass-covered feet to walk down, it’s hard to say how it will all play out. With very few details similar to the show in the books, it seems as if the writers are taking some time to be creative with this one, leaving only hints at the comic book history of Moon Knight. To be fair, this is one hero that does not have the same following as, say, Iron Man or Captain America, so creative liberties might be for the better. The tale can become more surprising and might take us places the comic book writers never thought of going.

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