With recent rumors indicating that Oscar Isaac is in talks to don the mantle of the Fist of Khonshu’s as Moon Knight in the upcoming Disney+ series, fans have taken to social media to voice their opposition to the character’s potential race bending.
Marvel’s interest in Isaac was first reported by Deadline, who announced that they had heard Isacc “is in negotiations to star as the title character in Moon Knight, the Marvel and Disney+ series based on the comic book hero.”
The series’ development will be helmed by Jeremy Slater, who previously adapted Gerard Way’s The Umbrella Academy for Netflix and wrote the screenplays for Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four and Netflix’s Death Note.
First introduced in Werewolf by Night in 1975, Moon Knight is the vigilante alter-ego of Marc Spector, a former mercenary who was betrayed by his team during an expedition but revived by the ancient Egyptian god of the Moon, Khonshu, in exchange for his service to the deity.
Though he possesses no inherent superpowers of his own, Moon Knight possess a peak human physique and is an expert in a variety of skills, including martial arts, weapons combat, and detective abilities (which, alongside his all-white suit, has led regular comparisons being drawn between him and DC’s Batman).
One particularly prominent and important aspect of Moon Knight’s character, aside from the multiple personalities presented by his dissociative identity disorder, is his Jewish heritage.
In Moon Knight #37 (1984), Spector recalls that his parents “came to America just after Hitler’s goosesteppers turned Czechoslovakia into a German puppet” during World War II, and that his father was an “ordained rabbi” who “went on to become a brilliant scholar in the Kabalah, Jewish mysticism”.
“In America, he was lucky just to be alive,” Spector observes in the issue.
His heritage has since been referenced numerous times, most recently in Max Bemis’ 2018 run on the character, which further explored the character’s relationship with Jewish culture.
However, following this announcement by Deadline, fans took to social media to speak out against the the casting of the former Star Wars and X-Men: Apocalypse star out of fear that the character’s blatant race-swapping would erase Moon Knight’s Jewish heritage.
“moon knight cannot be explored without attention to his Judaism, and his father’s Judaism, and his father’s story as a refugee from antisemitism,” said Twitter user @tzvitzvitzvi. “a first generation Jewish immigrant shouldn’t be played by a goyishe [a Yiddish term for non-Jewish people] person.”
@Dabitoleratesu, referencing how Magneto and his children “aren’t played by Jewish actors” in various films, stated that they were “pretty upset with the lack of representation.”
“f— you marvel,” they concluded.
User @fangirlsmash was particularly livid, stating “Absolutely f—ing NOT” and declaring “it is it is NOT a good look for you to not cast a Jewish actor for Moon Knight for the ONLY explicitly Jewish character that you have in the MCU. F— no.”
“Best-case scenario the MCU continues its “gentiles play Jewish characters, Jews play gentiles” pattern,” speculated @spooloflies. “But more likely they’ll erase the fact that Moon Knight’s dad is a rabbi. Because it’s unimportant, just like Wanda and Pietro’s Judaism was unimportant, right Marvel?”
@Spidervrese announced that they were “taking back my tweet celebrating oscar isaac’s casting as moon knight because i just found out moon knight is Jewish” and demanded that Marvel “do better”.
According to various profiles and interviews, Isaac was born in Guatemala to a Cuban father and a Guatemalan mother and was raised as an evangelical Protestant.
His last name, ‘Isaac’, is actually his middle name, which the actor stated he chose to use in place of his real last name, Hernández Estrada, in order to broaden the range of roles offered to him by casting directors.
In his profile for the 2014 Golden Globe Awards, Isaac revealed that his middle name “Jewish from my father [sic] side,” though he has not publicly detailed the extent to which his family is related to ethnic Jews.
Despite this massive wave of backlash against the casting, Isaac’s rumored involvement was not without its defenders.
“Spider-Man and Magneto are Jewish, but nobody complained about Tom Holland or Michael Fassbender not being Jewish,” noted @RunTheFools4. “Oscar Isaac is in talks to play Moon Knight and all the sudden people have a problem.”
“Latinos can’t have a God damn thing,” he asserted.
@RandyS0725 welcomed the announcement while also voicing his hope “that cast & crew for Moon Knight are mindful of & respectful toward an authentic portrayal of Marc Spector’s Jewish heritage.”
One user, @TheNinjaShyGuy, shared their opinion as a Jewish individual and said “I don’t care about them casting a Jew to play Moon Knight as much as I do them representing the culture and religion in a good way.”
What do you make of Isaac’s casting as Moon Knight? Do you think it will have an effect on the character when he makes his leap to Disney+?