The fifth episode of Moon Knight goes where no Marvel Cinematic Universe title has before — literally.
The episode picks up right where Moon Knight’s fourth installment left off, and follows Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) and Steven Grant (also Isaac) as they journey through the Egyptian underworld, the Duat, with Taweret (Antonia Salib), the goddess of childbirth and fertility. Along the way, both Steven and Marc are forced to face some painful truths about themselves and their shared life.
But early on in Moon Knight Episode 5, Taweret also briefly explains the Duat’s place within the MCU. In doing so the Egyptian goddess makes one of Moon Knight’s most explicit Marvel references to date, confirms an interesting detail about the structure of the MCU as a whole, and opens the door for a major Thor: Love and Thunder theory to come to fruition.
The Realm of the Duat — In the opening minutes of Moon Knight Episode 5, Taweret explains to the show’s dumbfounded leads that they are not in a “psych hospital,” but are actually in the Duat. The Egyptian goddess goes on to explain that she’s transporting them across the plane to the Field of Reeds, but will have to determine before they arrive if Marc and Steven’s souls are balanced enough to grant them access to the Egyptian version of paradise.
When Marc asks incredulously if he’s found himself in “the afterlife,” Taweret responds, “An afterlife. Not the afterlife. You’d be surprised how many intersectional planes of untethered consciousness exist. Like the Ancestral Plane. Oh! Just gorgeous.”
The brief exchange not only confirms how — and where — the Duat exists in the MCU, but also references the Ancestral Plane, which has already been featured in past live-action Marvel titles.
Intersectional Planes — The Ancestral Plane is, as most MCU fans are likely already aware, the psychedelic afterlife visited by both T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) in 2018’s Black Panther. According to the MCU Fandom page, the Ancestral Plane is the same place as the Astral Plane featured heavily in Doctor Strange, which essentially means it’s a location where a person’s soul exists separate from their physical body.
In other words, Taweret’s mention of the Ancestral Plane is the most explicit MCU reference that’s been featured in Moon Knight so far. That fact alone makes it a notable moment. Taweret’s exchange with Marc also confirms that there are multiple afterlifes in the MCU, and that a person’s soul may simply travel to the one that holds the most significance to them.
For T’Challa in Black Panther that’s the Ancestral Plane, but for Marc Spector in Moon Knight it’s the Egyptian underworld.
The Inverse Analysis — Moon Knight’s confirmation that multiple versions of the afterlife (or intersectional planes of untethered consciousness, if you want to get technical) all exist within the MCU is pretty significant. It’s a detail that not only redefines how we see the structure of the MCU, but that also opens the door for more afterlifes to be visited in future Marvel films and TV shows.
Moon Knight is streaming now on Disney+.