Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab thinks Wonder Woman 1984’s Egypt scene was disgraceful. Diab is an Egyptian screenwriter who made his directorial debut in 2010 with the political thriller Cairo 678 and recently acted as head director on Moon Knight, helming a total of four episodes. Premiering March 30 on Disney+, Marvel’s latest series will continue to diversify its ever-expanding universe. The show centers on Marc Spector (Oscar Issac), mercenary suffering from dissociative identity disorder who becomes a conduit for the Egyptian god Khonshu.
The other comic book property in question, Wonder Woman 1984, was released in December 2020 as the eagerly-anticipated sequel to Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins’ critically and commercially successful Wonder Woman movie from 2017. Trading in its World War I-era setting for the glitz and glam of the 1980s, many critics and fans felt the sequel paled in comparison to its predecessor. One of the many gripes viewers had with the film was its questionable depiction of Egypt. During one scene midway through the movie, villain Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) travels to the Middle Eastern country to meet an oil baron, which is followed by a high-speed vehicle chase that ends with Wonder Woman swooping in to save two Egyptian children.
During an interview with SFX Magazine (via Gamesradar), Moon Knight director Mohamed Diab was in the midst of discussing how the Marvel show uses Ancient Egyptian mythology when he took the time to criticize DC’s Wonder Woman 1984 for its poor portrayal of Egypt, which he called a “disgrace.” In fact, the inauthentic portrayal of Egypt by Hollywood was a huge part of Diab’s pitch to Marvel for the Moon Knight series. He further said, 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.
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. Even prior to joining the Marvel series, Diab has been outspoken about pressing issues involving Egyptian society both in his work and during interviews. This made him the perfect choice for head director on Moon Knight, which has not only made a concerted effort to properly portray mental health but to respect and honor Ancient Egyptian tradition and lore. Hopefully, Moon Knight provides a more appropriate portrayal than Wonder Woman 1984, one that Diab and other Egyptians can be proud of.