Amidst the mixed reviews that Marvel’s latest title, The Eternals, has been receiving over the past few weeks since its release, a lot of important clues might have easily gone unnoticed. And one major beacon is the fact that Marvel may have just – very quietly – introduced two characters that could become important figures in future phases.
Dane Whitman in Eternals
While one was introduced along with the cast for Eternals, the other had to wait till the movie’s post-credits scene to be introduced. When Marvel Studios announced a star-studded cast that included Games of Thrones actor, Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, fans half expected to see the Black Knight make an appearance at some point. (Spoilers, oops)
However, expectations were cut short as Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman was only limited to a couple of scenes, as he played boyfriend to the Eternal, Sersi. Harington’s character, Dane Whitman doubled as Sersi’s boyfriend and an employee at the museum. But he is in fact, much more than that.
The Lineage of The Black Knight
Descended from an Arthurian lineage, Whitman is meant to be the alter-ego of a very important Marvel character from the comics, The Black Knight. First appearing in Marvel comics during the 50’s era, The Black Knight fought alongside the Avengers on many occasions and was often regarded as an Avenger himself.
Watch: Eternals Trailer – Kit Harington Black Knight Marvel Explained
But its very unlikely that his character will have the same journey in the MCU canon, considering how Marvel likes to switch up storylines.
Being one of the few humans in the Eternals movie, Harington’s character served as a channel for the MCU to field all the questions the audience was obviously asking – Like why didn’t the Eternals join the fight when Thanos invaded – since protecting Earth is supposed to be high on their agenda?
Introducing New Mythos
And although The Eternals made it clear that they considered The Deviants much more dangerous compared to the Mad Titan, it didn’t seem like a good explanation for all the chaos that took place in Avengers: Infinity War & Endgame.
However, there’s an argument in fact, that the Eternals may have just been a side attraction; the perfect century-old conflict, serving as the perfect training ground for a much more important Dane Whitman. While the Eternals represent a significant part of Marvel’s history, the subtle introduction of a major character for future phases may have Marvel’s subtle victory.
In the Eternals, Harington’s character journey just begins as we see Whitman come across as calm and collected. However, with so much to deal with in his past and a huge future as the Black Knight, Dane’s character journey might just be at the very beginning.
In the movie, Dane attempts to reveal a part of his complicated past to his girlfriend, the millennia-old Sersi, before she is captured by a Deviant. An agitated Dane is later seen in the post-credit scene as he fiddles with a wooden chest. He eventually opens the chest to reveal a long, black sword with the inscription “Mors mihi lucrum” meaning “Death is my reward”.
As he is slowly caught under the spell of the writhing blade, blurting out “I’m sorry, I have to try”, Whitman hears a voice from the shadows saying “Sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?”
Harington has already confirmed to Fandom that the voice heard in the post-credit scene is in fact, that of Marvel’s new Daywalker, Mahershali Ali. “It’s really cool. [Chloé] texted me about [the Blade voice cameo] a couple of weeks ago and it sort of blew my mind.” Harington said.
Ali, who’s already working on Marvel’s Blade project, is leading Marvel’s foray into darker, vampire-ridden titles – and it looks like a team up with the Black Knight is in the pipeline.
Harington further revealed; “I didn’t know that that would be the case, so it’s pretty exciting for me. I came into this knowing that there would be, hopefully, some cool possibilities for the future and also looking at the character and responding to the character as I saw it on every level, in every platform. So yeah, this is a great intro into the Marvel world and I’m just very happy that this movie is the one that I got to do it in.”
With so much lined up already for phase 4, there’s still some time before we’ll know if that team-up will happen. However, Blade is currently slated to begin filming mid next year, after Marvel brought in Watchmen writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour to pen the script.