'Moon Knight' writer: 'Split' was an influence, but not the way you think

moon knight is different everything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s not the first superhero story to attempt something a little more cerebral. In 2017, M. Night unleashed Shyamalan Splitsabout an overpowered character with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), just like Marc Spector.

In conversation with Vice versa, moon knight Lead writer Jeremy Slater says the production team on the Marvel series, now streaming on Disney+, has studied Shyamalan’s popular thriller closely. But what they wanted to learn was how to do it Not mimic the film’s depiction of mental illness, a real-life condition affecting approximately two percent of the population.

“I love many [Shyamalan’s] Movies,” says Jeremy Slater Vice versa. “Splits was one that we actually talked about because it’s a movie that’s controversial within the DID community. It’s a film that plays squarely with the ‘evil alternative’ trope, and it’s a film that a lot of people in the DID community find hurtful.”

Splits opened in 2017 and garnered acclaim as both an effective psychological horror and a surprising sequel to Shyamalan’s original superhero thriller Unbreakable, published 17 years ago. But the film also drew a lot of criticism, both from mental health experts and those diagnosed with DID, who say the film further stigmatized the disease.


Splits tells the story of a serial killer and kidnapper, Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy), who developed two dozen personalities to help cope with his childhood trauma. The most terrifying is an animal-like cannibal known as “The Beast”. By the end of the film, Crumb’s story is making headlines, with the press dubbing him “The Horde.”

Even though Splits Praised as a film, it has been criticized for its nightmarish portrayal of DID and for perpetuating stereotypes that people with DID are violent. Studies show that people with DID are more likely to harm themselves than others.

in one CNN Story published in January 2017 that chronicled the overwhelmingly negative response from the DID community Splitsreceived Dr. Garrett Marie Deckel, a specialist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, received a disturbing email from a patient.

“There’s a new movie about a person with DID,” they wrote, “do I ever scare you?”


A Marvel superhero with DID, Moon Knight had his own show teased by Marvel’s Kevin Feige in 2019. Feige described the show as an action-adventure series where mercenary Marc Spector “may or may not have powers…or he might just be insane.”

“Crazy” is not a word to be used lightly in mental health conversations, which is why moon knight seemed to change his mind about Marc Spector’s illness. Given how Splits drew anger when it let go, moon knight tried a different approach.

“We kind of needed it [Split] more as a cautionary tale than anything else,” says Slater.

Compared to Splits, moon knight caused less controversy. Reactions were more diverse, ranging from a generally positive reception to criticism of the poor portrayal of life with DID.

No work will ever be perfect, especially as a representation for mental illness. But a willingness to learn from the past points to the possibility of a more thoughtful future.

“We’ve talked a lot about it,” Slater says, “let’s look at what they’ve been doing and make sure anything we say or put out in the universe is creatively non-harmful.” mostly because we knew what platform we had and how many eyes would be on it.”

moon knight is now streaming on Disney+.

https://www.inverse.com/entertainment/moon-knight-split-influence 'Moon Knight' writer: 'Split' was an influence, but not the way you think

Emma James

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