Ethan Hawke is a Gen X icon who has, like several of his Gen X peers, entered the “interesting character actor” phase of his career (see also: Brad Pitt, Winona Ryder). Even when I don’t love the end result of a particular film, Hawke’s recent performances are unfailingly varied and interesting, and as his young romantic hero looks have settled into comfortable middle-age, Hawke has been able to project greater levels of menace in his performances. It adds an interesting edge to his work of late, so it makes sense that someone is finally knocking on his door to play a villain. Hawke is in talks to star opposite Oscar Isaac in Marvel’s Moon Knight, one of their upcoming Disney+ shows.
There’s no word on who, specifically, Hawke will play, but one of Moon Knight’s arch-nemeses is Raul Bushman, a fellow mercenary who turns against Moon Knight while they’re searching for Egyptian gold. (I REALLY hope Moon Knight gets into the politics of American soldiers looting Middle Eastern treasures. It’s probably too much to ask of a superhero project, but it would be nice to acknowledge that one, this happens, and two, it’s terrible. The Mummy already blew it off with a “sometimes American soldiers steal stuff, oh well!” attitude, do better Marvel.) In fact, Bushman is tied up in Moon Knight’s origin story, as he leaves Marc Spector for dead in the desert, at which point an Egyptian god saves Marc’s life and turns him into Moon Knight. It’s a logical leap that Hawke will play Bushman and Moon Knight will walk us through one of the odder origin stories in the Marvel library.
Regardless of who Hawke is playing, Moon Knight remains one of the most interesting projects Marvel has in development. This is a bonkers character with a lot of wild potential, and WandaVision has given us a taste of how weird Marvel is willing to get on Disney+. (More on WandaVision coming up later today.) Based on the first episodes of WandaVision, it seems the potential is there for Marvel to embrace the kind of idiosyncratic storytelling that fits a character like Moon Knight, and to take chances they might not otherwise risk in a $200 million film (which is a little weird because those Marvel shows do NOT come cheap, so they’re still spending tons of money on riskier material). Throwing a ton of money at people is always an option to snag big names for your superhero thingie (coughChristianBalecough), but Hawke and Isaac have always been a little picky beyond the paycheck, to get them both on board, I assume Moon Knight is offering something more interesting than just a big paycheck.