Who Is Arthur Harrow? Ethan Hawke’s Moon Knight Villain Explained

Who Is Arthur Harrow? Ethan Hawke's Moon Knight Villain Explained

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Moon Knight.

Marvel’s Moon Knight TV show has been released, and it gave viewers a taste of the tone of the show, the many struggles of Marc Spector, and a proper look at the show’s villain, Arthur Harrow – but who is he? The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues its expansion now that the Infinity Saga has come to an end, and for its highly-anticipated Phase 4, it’s doing things differently. In addition to movies, the MCU is now also covering TV shows that directly link to the movies and the rest of this connected universe, and it has a long list of TV shows set to stream exclusively on Disney+.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

The next MCU TV show on the list is Moon Knight, starring the movie actor Oscar Isaac as the title character. Moon Knight tells the origin story of Marc Spector, a mercenary who lives with Dissociative Identity Disorder and who becomes the conduit for the Egyptian moon god Khonshu after a near-death experience. Marc is then drawn into a deadly mystery involving Egyptian gods with his multiple identities, such as Steven Grant, and he constantly struggles with not knowing when something is real or just a product of his wild imagination. Moon Knight is available on Disney+ now, and following the pattern of previous MCU TV shows, it consists of six episodes.

Related: Moon Knight’s Marvel Debut Makes Deadpool In The MCU More Likely

Moon Knight is one of those MCU shows that has already revealed its villain (or, at least, one of them, as they all tend to have a villain twist up their sleeve), and it’s a very mysterious one: Arthur Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke. Harrow made his first proper appearance in the first full Moon Knight trailer, but the question remains: what exactly is Arthur Harrow’s plan in Moon Knight, how powerful is he, and what will he mean for Steven Grant’s future?

Arthur Harrow’s Origin In Marvel Comics Explained

Arthur Harrow Marvel comics history

Ethan Hawke’s Moon Knight character Arthur Harrow is a character from Marvel Comics, and he’s a doctor with a dark past. Arthur Harrow was a selected candidate for the Nobel Prize in medicine thanks to his work in the field of pain theory, but a fellow doctor, Victoria Grail, became suspicious of his work. Harrow’s papers showed he had carried out limited research on animals, which Grail found suspicious as his work advanced a lot. Grail traced documents that related secret experiments by scientists in Auschwitz-Birkenau back to Moon Knight villain Arthur Harrow and raised an objection to his nomination. These documents were ordered to be destroyed by the Nuremberg Tribunal but mysteriously disappeared, and the think tank organization known as O.M.N.I.U.M. was behind it. Grail was convinced that Harrow was continuing those experiments in México, where Harrow was supposedly researching the jaguar and armadillo, and she followed him there, where she ended up becoming one of his subjects.

Does Arthur Harrow Have Any Powers Or Abilities In Marvel Comics?

Moon Knight attacks in Marvel Comics.

Arthur Harrow doesn’t have any powers in the comics, with his prime ability being his genius intelligence, as he’s a very talented surgeon and scientist – there’s a reason why he was nominated for a Nobel prize, after all. What Arthur Harrow does have, however, is a weakness: trigeminal neuralgia, a long-term pain disorder that affects the trigeminal nerve, which is the nerve responsible for sensation in the face and motor functions like biting and chewing. This condition left the Moon Knight character paralyzed on the left side of his face, with the left side of his mouth pulled to the side into a permanent snarl and causing him constant pain. It’s not surprising, then, that he used his intelligence and skills to research pain theory, but his methods weren’t the right ones.

How Arthur Harrow Connects To Moon Knight

Arthur Harrow comics Moon Knight

One day, Marc Spector smashed his car after the Priests of Khonshu appeared to him and sent him mental visions of Dr. Arthur Harrow, his subject Dr. Grail, and the pyramid, prompting him to go after them. O.M.N.I.U.M. was alerted of Grail’s presence in Yucatán, where the experiments were taking place, and sent agents to kidnap her, but Marc Spector saw them as they pushed her into a van at knifepoint. Marc transformed into Moon Knight and rescued Grail, and asked her about a scarred man, after which Grail told him everything about Harrow. With his lab now compromised, O.M.N.I.U.M. collected Harrow, but Moon Knight and Grail found the lab and were caught by Harrow, who set a jaguar on them.

Related: Moon Knight: Marvel’s Egyptian Gods Explained

Moon Knight and Grail found the hidden path to Harrow’s lab and found themselves surrounded by Harrow’s patients, with the doctor ordering them to kill Moon Knight and Grail. The latter told the former not to hurt the subjects, but Moon Knight soon realized that he couldn’t defeat any of them without causing substantial damage and instead decided to flee with Grail. Harrow escaped in a helicopter, even though Marvel’s Batman-type character Moon Knight tried to stop him, and he was later contacted by the O.M.N.I.U.M. chief who told him his experiments would continue somewhere else.

Ethan Hawke Plays Arthur Harrow In Moon Knight

Moon Knight Villain Arthur Harrow Ethan Hawke

 

In January 2021, Ethan Hawke was announced as part of the cast of Moon Knight, but his role wasn’t revealed right away. Of course, theories on who he could be playing started to emerge right away, with the strongest bets being Khonshu, the Sun King, Werewolf by Night, and even Mephisto, this one mostly as a result of Mephisto in the MCU becoming a joke among fans who continue to hope he will suddenly appear. It was later revealed that Werewolf by Night will be played by Gael García Bernal in a Disney+ Halloween special, so the options for Ethan Hawke’s character were reduced. It’s now finally confirmed with the release Moon Knight episode 1 that Ethan Hawke is playing a new version of Arthur Harrow.

Arthur Harrow’s Role In Moon Knight

Moon Knight Arthur Harrow

Although Moon Knight episode 1 reveals some details of Steven Grant’s story, it still left a lot of things a mystery, including the extent of Arthur Harrow’s plan. Hawke had previously shared that his character is inspired by David Koresh, the infamous cult leader of the Branch Davidians who died during the Waco siege along with many of his followers. On the back of that, the Disney+ streaming release of Moon Knight, showed Arthur Harrow as a cult leader to Ammit’s apparent followers – a change to real-world mythology. He is clearly seeking a way to bring Ammit back to Earth to enact a final judgment on humanity and to create a perfect world in her image of justice. He is – like Thanos – a fanatic, but one not only driven by his own zealousy.

How Moon Knight Changes Arthur Harrow’s Powers & Origin In The MCU

Ethan Hawke in Moon Knight

Moon Knight’s Arthur Harrow deviates from his comic book counterpart in a number of different ways. In terms of the villain’s powers, he uses magic imbued upon him by the goddess Ammit to pass his judgment on those who present to him for it. Arthur Harrow’s scales tattoo on his arm dictates who is good and who is bad, using Ammit’s staff as his means to channel Ammit’s powers. Those who Ammit rules as “bad”, are subsequently killed by the villain, as he appears to drain them of their life force. The criteria behind his choice is simple but deeply flawed: if someone does something evil in the past or the future, then his tattoo will turn red. Arthur Harrow is effectively Ammit’s avatar on Earth, despite the fact that she is imprisoned.

Related: Who Speaks In Moon Knight’s Head (& Who Voices Him)?

In the Moon Knight comics, Arthur doesn’t use magic at all. In fact, the surgeon’s only ability is his genius intelligence. The scientist made strides to the point that he was nominated for a Nobel prize. The character’s only weakness is Trigeminal Neuralgia. As a result of the illness, the side of his face is permanently paralyzed into a trademark snarl. The multiple personalities of Marc Spector face off against the villain, who acts as more of an evil scientist figure in the comics rather than a magic-using killer. Arthur Harrow’s comic book counterpart also has Nazi ties and much of his work circles back to secret experiments performed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Clearly, the MCU changed a lot about the comic book villain Arthur Harrow in order to properly match him up against Marc Spector in the Moon Knight television series.

Thus far Moon Knight’s Arthur Harrow is very different from his comic book counterpart other than in name alone, and it’s not wholly true that MCU’s cult leader version of him experiments on his followers. In addition, his purposes are completely different. What’s for sure is that Arthur Harrow has the potential to be one of the scariest and darkest villains in the MCU, and his actions as cult leader could have big repercussions in other areas of this connected universe.

Next: Moon Knight vs. The Batman Is The First Real Marvel vs. DC Battle Of 2022

New episodes of Moon Knight release every Wednesday on Disney+.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023

Stranger-Things-Season-4-2-Eleven

Stranger Things Season 4 Risks Repeating Season 2’s Biggest Mistake

About The Author

Adrienne Tyler
(3235 Articles Published)

Adrienne Tyler is a features writer for Screen Rant. She is an Audiovisual Communication graduate who wanted to be a filmmaker, but life had other plans (and it turned out great). Prior to Screen Rant, she wrote for Pop Wrapped, 4 Your Excitement (4YE), and D20Crit, where she was also a regular guest at Netfreaks podcast. She was also a contributor for FanSided’s BamSmackPow and 1428 Elm. Adrienne is very into films and she enjoys a bit of everything: from superhero films to heartbreaking dramas, to low-budget horror films. Every time she manages to commit to a TV show without getting bored, an angel gets its wings.

When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to learn a new language, watching hockey (go Avs!), or wondering what life would have been like had Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and Limitless not been cancelled. Breakfast food is life and coffee is what makes the world go round.

Guillermo del Toro said “hi” to her once. It was great.

More From Adrienne Tyler