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Moon Knight Directors Reveal Which Of The Character's Comic Books They Looked At For Inspiration - Exclusive

Like his fellow characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the subject of the new miniseries "Moon Knight" has a rich comic book history. Having made his first appearance in Marvel Comics' "Werewolf by Night" #32 and #33 in 1975, "Moon Knight" has decades of stories to draw from. While a wealth of material is a good thing to have at the ready, directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead – who helmed two of the six episodes in the Marvel Studios miniseries — found out that being selective about which comics could aid them proved quite challenging.

New on Disney+, "Moon Knight" follows the unusual plight of former mercenary Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac), who, as a person with dissociative identity disorder, also lives part of his existence as the well-intentioned museum gift shop employee Steven Grant. However, when Steven becomes threatened by a dangerous cult leader, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), Marc's personality starts to break through to his alter-ego's consciousness. Marc needs Steven to surrender control of their body so he can summon the suit and power of the vengeful superhero Moon Knight, the avatar of the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu (voice of F. Murray Abraham).

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Benson and Moorhead said they sensed the presence of Moon Knight in the comics so strongly that in an odd sort of way, they felt it incumbent to win the character's approval.

"Moon Knight is such a special character in the MCU in terms of him being defined as being an outsider and something that is ... He's had to be bold as a character to break through in a universe full of so many interesting personalities," Benson said. "We, oftentimes, felt like if we didn't get that right, that we'd open up one of these comic books we were drawing inspiration from and he would turn towards us, staring through the fourth wall ... and shake his head. If we got it right, he might high-five us."

Benson and Moorhead say they were influenced by the Lemire run of the 'Moon Knight' comics

Naturally, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead knew that fans of the "Moon Knight" comic books would be looking for homages to his Marvel Comics stories in the series. And while the directors didn't point out any specific shots that fans should look for, they did note how a specific run of the comics from 2016-17 helped influence the series.

"No doubt, any of that imagery, the superhero imagery, holds a ton of mental real estate for people. There is so much spectacular action in this show," Benson told Looper. "The stuff that we personally would go and look at, for example, mind-bending imagery would be like the [writer-artist Jeff] Lemire run [of comics] — not that there is a panel that's been replicated precisely or anything, but looking at the spirit of it."

Moorhead delved into further examples of why Lemire's comics, which he mainly collaborated on with artist Greg Smallwood, were so inspirational.

"That particular run also affected our composition a lot because that involves a lot of, I believe, slipping in blended realities," Moorhead observed. "They would have things like, for example, a match cut, where you cut from one scene to another, but the elements of it feel the same so it makes your brain skip a beat. They did that on the page in the Lemire run. For us, that was one of the favorite ones that we kept on returning to. We printed out a lot of different boards from it and pasted it on the wall while we were trying to find inspiration."

"Moon Knight" is streaming exclusively on Disney+, with new episodes premiering every Wednesday through May 4.