moon knightStefania Cella’s production designer reveals how she created the world of Marvel’s newest hero. In aesthetic terms, moon knight is unlike anything seen in the MCU to date. It feels distinct and separate from the larger MCU, with only occasional Easter Eggs. Even so, the Disney+ TV show has major implications for the future of Marvel’s shared universe.
This is due to the fact moon knight explores a whole corner of the MCU, centered around the ancient Egyptian pantheon. Back in Phase 1, when Marvel introduced viewers to Thor and the Asgardians, the studio wasn’t sure if viewers would be ready to accept divine beings into their science universe. But strange doctor has proven that audiences are indeed receptive to the supernatural, and in Phase 4, the MCU is embracing the magic of Egyptian gods.
Screen Rant spoke to production designer Stefania Cella about her work on moon knight and how she brought this new corner of the MCU to life. She talked about the tomb of Alexander the Great, the comics that inspired the series’ aesthetic, and the abrupt transition to a mental hospital in moon knight episode 4.
Screen Rant: Would you be okay with giving us a brief overview of your role and the work you’ve done on moon knight?
Stefania Cella: Yes, I’m a decorator. I am in charge of choosing the locations and designing the sets for the production.
Screen Rant: Love it moon knightThe use of Egyptian mythology, which gives it a very different feel to anything else in the MCU. How much research did you invest in this when creating the environments and designing the sets?
Stefania Cella: Months and months of research. I went to Egypt. When I met [director] mohammed [Diab] in 2020 we spent time together in Egypt around Cairo and Giza to learn. Then I went back to Budapest and started designing; we had a consultant Egyptologist who helped us keep the story historically correct. Well, the gods are one of them.
Screen Rant: One of the most fascinating sets was the tomb of Alexander the Great in Episode 4. The master bedroom was amazingly designed. How did you find this design and create this environment?
Stefania Cella: For Alexander, the tomb… The tomb has never been discovered, but there is a lot of speculation that his body was in transit from Macedonia to Egypt. He was Macedonian, but he also wanted to be considered a pharaoh. I started from a Macedonian tradition of a funerary tomb, which is the square with the altar in the center. Then, the hieroglyphs and the sarcophagus come from Egyptian traditions.
I tried to combine what he embodied in his life, and all of these hieroglyphs were actually part of his life and his war campaign. Some other hieroglyphs were in Macedonian. We tried to combine them; there is a picture of his military armies next to him, and the shield was based on what people think is his shield.
Screen rate: moon knight explores so many different places, and each one feels very distinctive. Could you tell us a bit about how you managed such a diversity of locations?
Stefania Cella: Well, when you have such a fantastic story… Story first, right? The comics themselves are extremely aesthetically pleasing, traveling the world. There’s an image that stuck with me in the comics, where there’s a pyramid sitting on Fifth Avenue. I just thought that said it all, and tried to catch the duplicity.
It’s part of what we do when we design stories like this and have complicated journeys. Doing Egypt, in a way, is easy because it’s so spectacular. It’s much more difficult to do something less exciting, Egypt is a dream.
Screen Rant: Throughout, it reminded me of the run of Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire, who had that image. You definitely managed to hit that visual note for me.
Stefania Cella: For me, the key was the sand of Fifth Avenue. It was so spectacular, that’s why I had a lot of sand in the Chamber of the Gods; always sand. In his apartment, he uses sand. We wanted to have sand where sand has nothing to do.
Screen Rant: Episode 4’s shocking twist was the move to the mental hospital, again from the comics. There’s such a sharp change in tone and style there. How did you manage to make this hospital feel so separate from anything we’ve seen before?
Stefania Cella: I wanted to use an iconic and universal language that it was about a hospital. There are hospitals that have shades of green and blue, but white is usually what you associate with doctors or hospitals. White is also very associated with dreams: is it real or not?
I didn’t want to go light blue, it would be a bit too real. The tiles are emblematic for the hospital, the doors, the corridors… I felt it was necessary to understand immediately where we were, and the abruptness of the color was absolutely intentional. White is not easy to photograph, it is very bright. Very brave, collaborators.
Screen Rant: What was your favorite scene we’ve seen work on so far?
Stefania Cella: My art is everywhere. I love the apartment. I love the hallway in front of her apartment and the elevator, if you can believe it. It was dark, and we chose this very dark blue. It was perfect. But all.
After moon knight Interviews
Moon Knight follows mild-mannered gift shop clerk Steven Grant, who is plagued by power outages and memories of another life. Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector.
More: Moon Knight’s Black Panther Tease Sets Up A Future Avengers Villain
moon knight releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.
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