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

Warning! The following contains SPOILERS for Moon Knight.Marvel’s Moon Knight TV show not only introduced Marc Spector into the MCU, but also the villain Arthur Harrow – but who is Harrow and does he have a future in MCU Phase 5? In addition to movies, MCU Phase 4 includes TV shows that directly link to the movies and the rest of Marvel’s connected universe, including Moon Knight which is led by movie star Oscar Isaac as the title character. Opposite Isaac is Ethan Hawke’s mysterious Arthur Harrow.

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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 streaming 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, like the rest of the MCU Phase 4 slate, introduced a major villain for its protagonist to face. Indeed, the cunning and devious Arthur Harrow proved to be a challenging antagonist, though he was eventually defeated during the Moon Knight finale – but is there a chance that Harrow could still be alive? Here’s everything audiences need to know about Moon Knight‘s Arthur Harrow.

Arthur Harrow’s Origin In Marvel Comics Explained

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?

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 part 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 – albeit through questionable methods.


How Arthur Harrow Connects To 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.

The MCU’s Arthur Harrow Was Inspired By A Real Cult Leader

Hawke has 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. Throughout Moon Knight, Harrow sought to bring Ammit back to Earth to enact judgment on humanity and create a perfect world in her image of justice. The fact that Arthur Harrow was actually Ammit’s avatar reflects how cult leaders like Koresh profess themselves to be direct representatives of some higher power.

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

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 judgment on others – based not on their past but on their future actions. Arthur Harrow’s scales tattoo on his arm dictates whether the person being judged survives, 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. Arthur Harrow is effectively Ammit’s avatar on Earth despite the fact that she is imprisoned.

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, a nerve condition that permanently paralyzes the side of his face into a trademark snarl. Marc Spector’s alters face off against the villain, who acts as more of an evil scientist figure in the comics 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.


Related: Why Moon Knight & Khonshu Are Weaker Than Arthur & Ammit

The Moon Knight Writers Have Confirmed Harrow’s Death

While the Moon Knight finale’s post-credits scene showed Jake Lockley assassinating Arthur Harrow inside Khonshu’s limousine with a silenced pistol, Harrow’s actual death happens offscreen. Considering Moon Knight’s gratuitous violence, this led some viewers to deduce that Harrow could still be alive. However, Moon Knight‘s writers have confirmed that both Arthur Harrow and Ammit are dead. The decision not to show Harrow’s corpse is likely a nod to the mafia movies that inspired Jake Lockley, Khonshu, and Harrow’s post-credits scene. The scene shows Khonshu is evil or at the very least manipulative, and he is not beyond abusing Marc’s mental illness to retain his avatar in the form of Jake Lockley, knowing that anyone who crosses Khonshu can expect to get the same treatment as Arthur Harrow. That said, as Ammit’s former avatar, the Moon Knight writers’ confirmation that Harrow really is dead could just mean that he’s trapped in the Egyptian afterlife somewhere. In any case, whether Harrow somehow returns to the MCU, Marc and Steven will already have their hands full dealing with whatever Khonshu and Jake Lockley have planned next.


Moon Knight season 1 is streaming now on Disney+.

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