Sometimes depicting a culture can feel like a landmark moment. Other times, it can feel like a slap in the face. Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab, an Egyptian-born filmmaker, looks to represent Egypt with the new Disney+ series but recalls a recent superhero project that didn’t get it quite right.
If you remember Wonder Woman 1984, you know the scene where the villain Maxwell Lord travels to Egypt to meet an oil baron, only for Wonder Woman to swoop in for a car chase and rescue scene. It was met with flak almost instantly upon release, and it hasn’t aged well, along with the rest of the Patty Jenkins-directed film.
When speaking with SFX Magazine, Diab held nothing back about the importance of proper representation for different cultures, particularly Egyptian. Diab points to the controversial Wonder Woman 1984 scene as a bad example.
“In my pitch, there was a big part about Egypt and how inauthentically it has been portrayed throughout Hollywood’s history. It’s always exotic – we call it orientalism. It dehumanizes us. We are always naked; we are always sexy, we are always bad; we are always over the top, says Diab to SFX Magazine (via Games Radar).
He adds, “You never see Cairo. You always see Jordan shot for Cairo, Morocco shot for Cairo, sometimes Spain shot for Cairo. This really angers us. I remember seeing Wonder Woman 1984, and there was a big sequence in Egypt, and it was a disgrace for us. You had a sheik – that doesn’t make any sense to us. Egypt looked like a country from the Middle Ages. It looked like the desert.”
Let’s hope filmmakers like Mohamed Diab can usher in a new wave of more honest and progressive views of different cultures in film. Moon Knight will look to give Egypt a significant superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and give a whole new essence to the long-running franchise.
Moon Knight follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.
Featuring in the cast of Moon Knight are Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Moon Knight, Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow, Gaspard Ulliel as Midnight Man, Lucy Thackeray as Donna, and May Calamawy as Layla.
Moon Knight is set to premiere on Disney+ on March 30th 2022.