MCU

Who is Moon Knight's hippo goddess? Taweret’s surprise MCU appearance, explained

TV newcomer Antonia Salib voices the powerful Egyptian hippo deity.

Nothing is as it seems on Moon Knight. Episode 4 reveals that Marc Spector/Steven Grant (the two known sides of Moon Knight thus far on the Disney+ series) is in a psychiatric ward, and all of his wacky misadventures in England, Eastern Europe, and Egypt have all been figments of his imagination.

Or... are they? Episode 4 ends on a cliffhanger and provides viewers with the shocking twists they’ve been yearning for from the start. The six-episode series is finally revving up, with one of the biggest bombshells dropping at the very end of the episode: Taweret, the ancient Egyptian childbirth and fertility goddess, appears in front of Marc and Steven.

Confused? You’re not alone. We try to make sense of Taweret’s brief appearance and what it could mean for Moon Knight.

Who is Taweret?

There’s a Taweret Easter egg in Moon Knight Episode 1 when we find out that Steven Grant works as a gift shop employee at a museum. Disney Plus

Taweret — also known as “Mistress of the Horizon,” “She Who Removes Water,” and “Lady of the Birth House,” among other epithets — is a fearsome, protective Egyptian deity and the apotropaic patroness of child-rearing and reproduction. Archaeologists discovered protective amulets bearing the goddess dating back to c. 3000–2686 BCE.

In Moon Knight, Taweret is, at least from the glimpse we get at the end of Episode 4, depicted in her usual female hippopotamus form. She stands and presumably walks on two feet and sports golden jewelry and armor. Curiously, one of those pieces seems to be a Hathoric sun disk, which would show veneration toward the solar deities and the Egyptian sun god, Ra.

On top of her mostly hippo-form, Taweret is often represented in Ancient Egyptian art and artifacts as having feline limbs and paws and the scaly back and tail of a Nile crocodile.

In mythology, Taweret has the power of rejuvenation — she can provide life by inundating the Nile or blessing the living with physical births, but she can also bring back the deceased or cleanse and purify them so that they can make their way to the afterlife. Her regenerative abilities made her a goddess that was often prayed to for conception and healing.

Does Taweret appear in Marvel Comics?

The Ennead is canon to the comics and has had encounters with the Celestials, the Asgardians (including Thor), the Fantastic Four, and Moon Knight. Marvel Comics

Other than the Taweret plushies we see in Episode 1, our first glance at Taweret “in the flesh” in the entire Marvel Universe is in Episode 4. Taweret has not before appeared in Marvel Comics.

The Egyptian gods portrayed in the comics are also referred to collectively as the Ennead in Moon Knight. They include Osiris, Seth, Thoth, Geb, Nut, Shu, Tefnut, Ammon-Ra, Anubis, Bast, Bes, Horus, Khonshu, Ptah, Neith, Ma’at, Sekhmet, and Sobek. Ammit, the deity that Arthur Harrow worships, was never part of the Ennead. These Egyptian gods hail from the realm of Heliopolis and are eternal — they cease aging at adulthood and are impervious to diseases and injury. They have superhuman strength, endurance, and reflexes that prevent them from dying conventionally.

A special edition of Moon Knight Vol. 1 released in 2014 commissioned artist Katie Cook for the cover, in which she chose to draw the titular white caped crusader as... crimefighting a hippo! Marvel Comics

In the comics, the Ennead submit to the Celestials’ judgment of humanity’s worthiness and promise not to interfere with their plans in order to keep them from severing the connection between Heliopolis and Earth (a gateway similar to the one the Asgardians and the Olympians have). The Ennead have many encounters with the Asgardians, including Odin and Thor, as well as the Fantastic Four’s Thing and Thunderstrike. The Ennead has also fought against the Skrull gods.

Needless to say, while the Ennead has been featured in loads of Marvel adventures, Taweret has not.

Her powers of regeneration and rejuvenation, as well as protection, may prove valuable to Marc Spector/Steven Grant. In Episode 4, we see his body getting shot before he wakes up in an asylum. If the events we saw prior to the psychiatric ward sequence in the series weren’t all vivid hallucinations, and Marc/Steven are both mostly reliable narrators, then Taweret may be their answer to survival. Or Taweret may be symbolic of Marc/Steven’s Dissociative Identity Disorder, a fertile mind capable of “birthing” multiple personas.

Who voices Taweret in Moon Knight?

Antonia Salib, a fresh face on TV and in the MCU, voices Taweret in Moon Knight. Per her IMDB Pro page, Taweret will be featured in Episodes 5 and 6 of the miniseries. Leon Bennett/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Unlike Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham), who talks mostly in threats and sarcasm, and the other self-important deities of the Ennead we “met” (or at least heard in Ep. 3), Taweret introduces herself in a friendly tone to a terrified Marc and Steven.

Taweret is voiced by Antonia Salib, who is not only a fresh face in the MCU but also a newbie to television acting. Salib studied at the Oxford School of Drama and graduated in 2018. Her training and theatre credits include “Black Ice,” “Know You Well,” and “The President’s Men.” She has worked primarily on-stage as an actor, an understudy, and a workshop facilitator.

During a red carpet interview with Variety reporter Angelique Jackson, Salib noted that she felt like she was given creative license on her portrayal of Taweret. “Everyone was on board to work together,” she said.

Unfortunately, we have to wait a whole week to figure out why Moon Knight introduced Taweret. Her appearance could just be a cheeky nod to the stuffed animals Steven used to sell at the museum, or she may be part of a grander plan for the Egyptian gods in the MCU.

Moon Knight Episodes 1-4 are now streaming on Disney+.

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