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Moon Knight: The Ennead, Explained

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  • Posted on 08th Apr, 2022 17:45 PM

Moon Knight name drops the Ennead in Episode 1, but what is it?

p>With the premiere of Disney Plus’ Moon Knight comes a very different Marvel series than fans have seen in the past. An unreliable narrator, action scenes with chunks of time missing, and more are giving the audience a new look at the titular comic book character. Along the way, however, are also a lot of new names that Marvel Cinematic Universe fans might not be familiar with, like the Ennead.

While Steven Grant is working at the museum, where he has a particular interest in Egyptian history and mythology, he references the Ennead to his boss, who looks completely confused by the term. While the term is used in Egyptian mythology, it’s also used in Marvel comics when the Egyptian gods become part of the storyline. As the become more present in the Moon Knight story, the Ennead, and the different components of it, might be explained more thoroughly.

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The Ennead In History

It’s no secret that different comic book publishers have borrowed quite a bit from real life mythology. DC and Marvel both take inspiration from the pantheon of Greek and Roman gods for different storylines. In DC, it’s Wonder Woman’s stories, while in Marvel, it’s those of the Eternals. Just as the Greek gods are often referred to as Olympians for those who reside on Mount Olympus, a specific group of the Egyptian gods are often known as the Ennead.

Throughout the myths the entirety of Egyptian gods are referenced as the Ogdoad. A special council of the gods, however, are called the Ennead.The Ennead includes the sun god Atum and his family. His children Shu and Tefnut, as well as their children Geb and Nut, and even their children Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys are included. They make up the nine gods worshiped at Heliopolis.

At Heliopolis, the nine gods are considered the most revered and most powerful in history, but things get complicated when other regions come into play as different regions favor different gods. Marvel comics doesn’t include all of the same gods in their Ennead, and its considered a more universally hailed group instead of regional in the Marvel version of Egyptian history.

The Ennead In Marvel Comics

As a nod to Heliopolis, the Ennead is referenced as composed of “Heliopolitans,” or the Egyptian gods. In the comics, the group begins with the same gods and goddesses of Egyptian mythology, but as regimes rise and fall, membership changes. Some of the gods even “retire” from their membership and allow others to take their place. It’s very similar to how the Eternals function in the comics as well.

All of the members of the Ennead are considered as powerful as the Asgardians - the beings inspired by Norse mythology - in the comics. They have the strength to lift about 25 tons, and all have the capacity to perform magical acts, though some are more powerful than others. The members of the Ennead also have the capacity to speak all languages, making them capable of speaking with anyone, anywhere.

Where they differ largely from real-world mythology, however, is in their residence. Rather than being worshiped as abstract beings in the sky or the underworld, in the comics, they reside in a pocket dimension known as Celestial Heliopolis, only coming to Earth when they’re worshiped, or to have meetings with other ancient beings considered gods. At one point, some of the Ennead have to meet with other gods from other cultures when they’re warned of the Celestials visiting Earth and their plan to pass judgment on the planet in another 1,000 years, something the Eternals movie actually touches on without including any mythical gods in the storyline.

It just so happens that the nexus allowing the members of the Ennead access to Earth exists in Egypt, which is why the bulk of their followers reside there.

Members Of The Ennead In The Marvel Cinematic Universe

So far, allusions have been made to at least three members of the Marvel version of the Ennead in the MCU. Khonshu, the moon god with the head of a bird skull, is the god that grants Moon Knight his abilities in the comics, and a figure only briefly glimpsed by Steven Grant in the first episode of the Disney Plus series. In the comics, he actually periodically chooses a champion to do battles for him on Earth, which is how Moon Knight is born.

Other members of the Ennead do sometimes choose their own champions on Earth as well, which can put the different gods at odds, which might be what the show is setting up with Steven Grant (or more accurately, the Marc Spector personality that is only hinted at in the first episode) and Arthur Harrow.

Ammit is the deity that Arthur Harrow worships, and the theme of crocodiles surrounding the character’s scenes is a nod to Ammit’s inspiration, Ammut, having a crocodile head. The god is known as the “devourer of the dead,” a god that helps to decide the fate of humans in death. Harrow’s scale tattoo, said to weigh the hearts of those who interact with him, is a nod to that.

Bast is the third member of the Ennead who is already in the MCU. Also known as Bastet, the goddess is the daughter of Ra and Isis and the deity worshiped by Wakandans in Black Panther. Interestingly, Bast, over time in real-world history, came to be seen as one half of a dual being. Sekhmet, also a daughter of Ra, became known as the warrior aspect of the cat while Bast was the gentler side as cats became domesticated. It will be interesting to see if either Bast or Sekhmet is considered part of the MCU’s Ennead, potentially providing a link between the mythology of the Black Panther movies and the Moon Knight series.

Moon Knight is currently streaming on Disney Plus.

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