Warning! Spoilers for Marvel’s Eternals.
Kit Harington makes his MCU debut as Dane Whitman Marvel’s Eternals, with the movie teasing his future in the franchise as Black Knight. In the comics, Black Knight has hardly been an A-list superhero; although he’s served as a member of the Avengers, he’s never had the same kind of prominence as the likes of Iron Man and Captain America. For all that’s the case, though, Black Knight will likely be key to the MCU’s future after his role in Eternals.
The first Black Knight was created by Stan Lee and Joe Maneely back in 1955, and was published by Atlas Comics, the company that eventually became Marvel. These early adventures were set in the days of King Arthur. Decades later, Marvel Comics recognized the concept’s potential. They incorporated a modern version of the Black Knight into the present day – and that character, Dane Whitman, is the one who’s been absorbed into the MCU.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has embraced magic and the supernatural since 2016’s Doctor Strange, but the Black Knight brings an Arthurian element that’s not been seen before. As is often the case for many supporting characters in the MCU, Dane’s role in Eternals isn’t as pivotal to the main story of the film as the immortal warriors themselves are, but the movie still sets up his future as Black Knight in a concise way. Moreover, Dane’s appearance also brings with it a tease for another Marvel character with his own debut in the MCU in the works, and this suggests the two character’s origins in the franchise might be connected in some way. Here’s the comic book history of Black Knight, his role in Eternals, and what his future in the MCU could be.
Black Knight’s Comic Origin
A scientist swept into a world of romantic adventure and mysticism, Dane Whitman is heir to a legacy that stretches back to the days of King Arthur. The first Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia, was a champion who had been chosen by Merlin himself. Merlin gave Sir Percy a gift, an enchanted blade forged from a meteorite, and Sir Percy used it in Camelot’s defense. Unfortunately, the so-called Ebony Blade acquired a terrible curse because of all the blood Sir Percy shed with it. After Sir Percy’s untimely death at the hands of Mordred, the Ebony Blade passed down his line through the generations.
Dane Whitman first learned of the Ebony Blade when he was summoned to his ancestral home, Garrett Castle, by his uncle Nathan Garrett. To Dane’s surprise, his uncle confessed that he was secretly the supervillain who called himself the Black Knight, and that he’d pursued a life of crime to spite his ancestor. The dying Garrett charged Dane to adopt the mantle in his honor, and to attempt to redeem the name of the Black Knight. Taking up the Ebony Blade, Dane Whitman did just that, soon proving himself to be a capable ally – and ultimately member – of the Avengers.
Black Knight’s Comic Powers
Dane Whitman is an ordinary human being, albeit a brilliant physicist. His weapon of choice is the Ebony Blade, an apparently indestructible enchanted sword that can cut through any substance and disrupt energy fields due to its mystical properties. Unfortunately, long-term use of the Ebony Blade has a negative effect of the mental stability of the wearer, a result of the blood curse. The Ebony Blade’s malevolent influence is strengthened by the shedding of blood, for which it has an insatiable appetite; at one time it actually turned even the noble Dane Whitman into a serial killer.
Whitman’s Black Knight is known for wielding certain other mystic weapons as well, notably the Sword of Light and the Shield of Night. These were gifts from the Lady of the Lake, and are enchanted to act in concert; the shield can absorb energy directed at it and the sword can be used to project said energy as destructive beams. In the ’90s the Black Knight briefly chose to ditch magic and use a laser sword that Whitman had developed himself instead.
As the heir to Sir Percy’s legacy, Dane Whitman sometimes has help from an unexpected source; the ghost of Sir Percy of Scandia, who acts as an adviser to all those who carry the mantle of Black Knight. There have also been times when the Black Knight has rode a magical winged horse, akin to those used by the Valkyries.
Black Knight’s Connection To The Eternals
Dane Whitman actually became leader of one incarnation of the Avengers, and it was while there that he wound up in a slightly confused romantic relationship with the Eternal named Sersi. The Eternals suffer from a mental condition referred to as the Mahd Wy’ry; a result of their immortality, their still-human minds break down under the strain of their almost limitless knowledge. Sersi began to suffer from the Mahd Wy’ry, and in order to save her, the Eternals bonded her psyche with the Black Knight’s. Dane was unwilling to become bonded to Sersi this way and resented it, but he was far too chivalrous to openly object.
Unfortunately, the result was a very strange, confused romance that ran over the course of the next few years. Making matters worse, Sersi developed the ability to traverse dimensions, and soon Black Knight and Sersi were exploring the Multiverse together. The bond was eventually broken, but many of the Black Knight’s most important stories feature Sersi as a love interest.
This article was updated on November 5 by Brad Curran: To reflect the content of Eternals after release and revelations about the character of Black Knight/Dane Whitman, and Kit Harington’s portrayal, this article was updated with new information after the movie’s release.
Kit Harington Plays Black Knight In The MCU
Kit Harington portrays Dane Whitman in Eternals, and the actor is certainly no stranger to the sword-and-sorcery genre; he’s best known for his performance as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, a role for which he’s received significant acclaim and even two Emmy nominations. There’s a sense in which Marvel cast Harrington to type, but Black Knight offers a lot of variance from the put-upon Bastard of Winterfell. Considering that Dane is not an Eternal himself, Harrington’s appearance in Eternals is more of a secondary role, similar to in nature to the supporting role of James Rhodes in Iron Man, establishing his future as War Machine (Rhodey was played by Terrence Howard in the first Iron Man, with Don Cheadle portraying Rhodey from Iron Man 2 on). Though Dane’s role in Eternals is smaller than Rhodey’s intro, it follows a similar set up to his heroic future.
Black Knight In Marvel’s Eternals Movie (& Beyond)
In Eternals, Dane works in London’s Museum of Natural History and is in a romantic relationship with Sersi (Gemma Chan). After an encounter with a Deviant in which Sersi and Sprite (Lia McHugh) use their superhuman abilities to defeat the creature, Sersi comes clean with Dane about her history as an Eternal, how she and the others came to Earth, and what their role has been in guiding the development of mankind throughout human history. Though Dane is clearly surprised and astonished by what Sersi reveals, he’s also hiding his own secret.
After the Eternals prevent the cataclysmic event that is the Emergence, Dane prepares to reveal what he’s kept from Sersi. However, before he can, the Celestial Arishem appears in the sky, pulling Sersi, Phastos (Brain Tyree Henry), and Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) into space for their role in preventing Earth’s destruction through the Emergence. Arishem says he will spare them, provided their memories show their worthiness of life. Meanwhile on Earth during Eternals‘ end-credits scene, the shocked Dane returns home and opens a chest containing the secret he had kept from Sersi – the Ebony Blade of Black Knight, setting up his future as the hero in the MCU. An unseen voice also askes Dane if he’s ready for the sword, the voice confirmed by director Chloe Zhao to be Mahershala Ali’s Blade ahead of his MCU debut.
Though Harington’s Dane Whitman has been introduced through Eternals, the Ebony Blade reveal doesn’t offer a full indication of where he’ll be seen next in the MCU, but there are plenty of possibilities. Major end-credits reveals like this always portend the next major event in the MCU, and the inclusion of Blade’s voice ahead of the MCU Blade reboot suggests that he and Black Knight could meet soon, Dane perhaps even making a cameo in the Blade film. Additionally, the mid-credits scene sets up the other Eternals Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), and Druig (Barry Keoghan), and the sword-wielding Thena (Angelina Jolie) on a quest to find the others, with Eros aka Starfox (Harry Styles) arriving to offer help. With Dane retrieving the Ebony Blade right after Sersi’s abduction by Arishem, this could also suggest he’ll be a part of the mission to rescue the three captured Eternals.
In a more general sense, with his comic book history, Dane could also be the first in a new generation of heroes being set up for Avengers 5. Black Knight’s post-Eternals future is full of mystery, but he’s been set up to be a major player in the MCU’s future. As a new MCU hero, it also now seems particularly likely that Black Knight will be a possible associate of the arrival of the Daywalker in the MCU, too.
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- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
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