Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab is not exactly a fan of Patty Jenkins' depiction of Egypt in her sequel Wonder Woman 1984. The Egyptian screenwriter, who made his directorial debut in 2010's political thriller Cairo 678, spoke with SFX Magazine about how disappointed he is with Western cinema's standard representation of Egypt. The upcoming Disney+ series will offer Diab's take on not just ancient Egyptian mythology but also on Egypt overall.
Moon Knight Director Mohamed Diab's Issue with Hollywood Depiction of Egypt
"In my pitch, there was a big part about Egypt, and how inauthentically it has been portrayed throughout Hollywood's history," Diab said. "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." Citing the 2020 Warner Bros DC film, he broke down the sequence where Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) head to Egypt providing the film's second major action sequence. "You never see Cairo. You always see Jordan shot for Cairo, Morocco shot for Cairo, sometimes Spain shot for Cairo. This really angers us," Diab said. "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."
While WW '84 was criticized for its depiction of Middle Eastern stereotypes, Diab intends for Moon Knight to keep its use of Ancient Egyptian in proper context while maintaining the spirit of the Marvel series. "[It's] part of the show because it's part of the comic book. It's part of how he gets his powers. It's ingrained in it." he explained. "There was definitely room to play [in Moon Knight] but keep it as authentic as possible, in the realm of being fantastical. Even in the original comic books, they did a great job of researching and trying to make Egypt authentic." Moon Knight follows Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), 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. Moon Knight premieres on March 30 on Disney+.