Three episodes in, and we’ve finally seen the god behind Moon Knight’s powers: Khonshu. He was previously a voice in Marc Spector’s head, but he’s now a fully-fledged character in Spector’s narrative, looking to influence the tide with his godly light. We expect Khonshu, voiced by F. Murray Abraham, to play a critical role in coming episodes.
Spector owes Khonshu his life: the deity resurrected Marc after his mercenary friends turned on him. Khonshu sees Spector as his vessel on earth, granting him the powers that make him Moon Knight.
Khonshu’s appearance in the series has raised questions about his origins and intentions for Spector and the world.
Khonshu is an ancient Egyptian god and is the son of Amon and Mut
Khonshu is the ancient Egyptian god of the moon. The son of god Amon and goddess Mut, Khonshu is often depicted as a young man with a side-lock of hair and a lunar disk on his head.
He has many names: Chonsu, Khensu, Khons, Chons, or Khonsu. They translate to traveler, which might relate to the moon’s journey across the night sky.
Khonshu is also thought to be a defender of night travelers. He was invoked by people needing protection and had differing abilities depending on the phase of the moon. For instance, during the crescent moon, women and cattle conceived, and every living creature breathed the freshest air.
Khonshu’s body is often depicted in a sarcophagus, with only his head and hands showing. At times, he bears a falcon or eagle’s head like Horus.
He appears in several Egyptian texts, and in the New Kingdom, he’s described as the ‘Greatest God of the Great Gods.’ In 1100 BCE, a major temple was built for Khonshu in the Karnak complex at Thebes.
The temple contains a wall claiming that Khonshu was the great snake who fertilized the Cosmic Egg during the world’s creation. Khonshu healed King Ptolemy IV of illness, prompting the ruler to call himself a ‘Beloved of Khonsu.’
The deity’s reputation as a healer also spread beyond the sands of Egypt. For instance, Khonshu helped heal a princess of Bekhten from an affliction caused by an evil spirit.
Khonshu possesses human bodies as he’s unable to carry out his will on earth
Khonshu is a member of the Egyptian gods of Celestial Heliopolis. The Heliopolitans, as they are described in the Marvel comics, can’t enter the mortal realm. Therefore, they possess avatars who carry out their will on earth.
Before he became the god of the moon, Khonshu took control of a human pharaoh. Seth overthrew the sitting pharaoh, forcing a power shift in the heavens and on earth. Khonshu overthrew Thot, the previous moon good, who eventually became the god of wisdom and magic.
In the current era, archeologists Peter Alraune Sr. and his daughter Marlene discover Khonshu’s statue in one ancient pharaoh’s tomb. In cahoots with Marlene, Raoul Bushman and his team raid the grave and kill Marlene’s father.
Marc Spector, a mercenary with a conscience, turns on Bushman, but the team overpowers him, leaving him for dead next to Khonshu’s statue. Khonshu resurrects Marc, turning him into Moon Knight and his avatar on earth.
Khonshu’s powers include raising people from the dead and offering them superhuman abilities. He can also appear to Marc in illusion and assume other people’s forms.
Khonshu’s major weakness is that he needs a loyal avatar to execute his will on earth, mostly involving feuds with avatars controlled by other gods. Marc Spector is the perfect avatar, given his background as a CIA operative and mercenary.
However, Marc’s desire to possess free will threatens Khonshu’s ambitions.
Khonshu’s intentions are unclear as he’s turned evil in the past
In ancient Egpyt, Khonshu was associated with good tidings and protection. His offerings changed with the moon’s phases, but his good intentions never shifted. However, Khonshu in the Marvel comics has sided with evil on several occasions.
Khonshu’s move to the dark side started after being denied a role in a heroic group known as the 1,000,000 BC Avengers.
He moved to conquer the earth by unleashing his minions, including Moon Knight. The Avengers moved to stop Khonshu, but he proved too powerful for them. He temporarily stole the powers of some of the Avengers, allowing him to conquer New York City.
The deity renamed his New York ‘New Thebes City’ after his ancient Egyptian worship center. The only way to defeat Khonshu was to turn his primary enforcer: Moon Knight/ Marc Spector.
Phoenix Force possessed Spector, opening his eyes to the destruction caused by Khonshu. Moon Knight turned on Khonshu, driving him out of New York City and into the dungeons of Asgard.
Moon Knight refused to join the Avengers, preferring to return to New York and continue being a vigilante. Spector denounced Khonshu and continued what he thought was the god’s true mission: to protect the innocent.
Khonshu and Marc have a complicated relationship in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, it seems unlikely that Khonshu will turn villainous, sparking a conflict with his loyal avatar.
Khonshu seems more interested in his rivalry with other gods than secretly plotting to take over the earth. It will be interesting to see how Khonshu fights other deities, who have made it apparent that they don’t trust the moon god.
However, we are not ruling anything out: Khonshu might harbor world-conquering plans.