Marvel’s Black Knight is coming to the MCU and Kit Harington will be playing him in the comic book feature The Eternals. Amid the relentless onslaught of news coming out of the D23 Expo – from Disney+ information to the studio’s theatrical release slate to the new attractions headed to Disney theme parks – was the revelation that Kit Harington is joining the MCU. The actor recently wrapped up his decade-ish-long run as Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, the most popular TV show in the world and he will now be a part of the most popular cinematic franchise in the world.
Kit Harington is set take on his first major comic book role in Marvel Studios’ 2020 release, joining a ridiculous cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Gemma Chan, and in a Game of Thrones reunion, Richard Madden. But Kit Harington will not be playing one of the titular Eternals; he will be playing Dane Whitman, a character who becomes the hero known as the Black Knight.
The Black Knight was rumored to show up in Avengers: Endgame, and while that didn’t happen, he is seemingly now on the way for real. Fans had a long time to familiarize themselves with Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, and with Dane Whitman coming soon to the MCU, it seems like a worthwhile endeavor to set an early start on getting to know Kit Harington's Black Knight.
If you don’t want to be told ‘you know nothing,’ read on to find out what you need to know about Kit Harington’s Eternals character.
Dane Whitman Is Not The First Black Knight
Just as Jon Snow was burdened with the weight of family legacy, so too is the character he will play in The Eternals, Dane Whitman. Black Knight is not just the name of a lone character, though. It’s a title that dates back centuries. Introduced by Stan Lee in Joe Maneely in 1955’s The Black Knight #1, the first Black Knight was Sir Percy of Scandia, who in the 6th century was a member of the court of King Arthur. Yes, Arthurian legend is canon in the Marvel universe.
This Knight of the Round Table fought for Camelot against foes like Mordred and Morgan Le Fay. Merlin himself gave Sir Percy the Ebony Blade which, along with the title of the Black Knight, was passed down through the centuries to Sir Raston, Sir Henry, Sir William, Eobar Garrington and more until making its way to Nathan Garrett. Despite being descended from Sir Percy, Nathan Garrett was a brilliant scientist, but no hero. He betrayed his country and eventually joined Baron Zemo’s subtly named Masters of Evil.
After kidnapping Happy Hogan, Nathan Garrett was mortally wounded in a battle with Iron Man. As his life was coming to an end, Nathan Garrett began to regret his choices. He called his nephew Dane Whitman to his side and expressed this regret, asking Dane to use his research for good. Dane Whitman then inherited both the Black Knight mantle and Garrett Castle and received the approval of the spirit of Sir Percy. Now Dane Whitman must restore the family legacy and make the Black Knight a hero once more.
Black Knight's Powers And The Ebony Blade
Dane Whitman was raised in Masschusetts and earned a Master’s degree in physics, so he brings his scientific and technological expertise to bear once he becomes the Black Knight. He is also a shrewd tactician and a highly capable martial artist, as evidenced by his contests with Wolverine and Captain America. He possesses no super strength or speed though; he is physically just a normal, athletic man. His real power comes from the Ebony Blade.
As an expert swordsman, Dane Whitman wields the Ebony Blade and like Jon Snow’s Longclaw, this is no ordinary sword. Forged by Merlin for Sir Percy in the Pool of Blood (a river containing the blood of humanity), the Ebony Blade is made out of the Starstone meteorite. Yes, there are some serious parallels here to Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning’s Dawn. (Apparently George R.R. Martin reads Marvel Comics.) This enchanted sword is indestructible, can deflect energy beams and magical attacks, and can cut through anything, save other enchanted weapons and metals like Adamantium.
The Ebony Blade can even transport its wielder to it, across space and time. Its wielder can be injured, but never killed, except by another Starstone weapon. This power comes at a cost, though, because the Ebony Blade is cursed. When it's used to shed blood and kill others, the blade begins to crave blood and starts corrupting its user into taking lives. Being the master of the Ebony Blade takes a physical and mental toll on all but the most worthy of wielders.
In the comics, Dane Whitman eventually set aside the Ebony Blade and all its drawbacks and crafted himself a Photon sword, which is basically a laser sword akin to a lightsaber. Whitman also wields the Sword of Light and Shield of Night, weapons bestowed upon him by the Lady of the Lake herself.
The Black Knight’s (Love) Connection To The Eternals
Dane Whitman is not an Eternal, but he has had some, shall we say, intimate interactions with one of them in the comics. After taking up the Black Knight mantle from his uncle, Dane Whitman infiltrated the Masters of Evil and helped the Avengers to defeat them. He later helped free the Avengers from the thrall of Kang and the Grandmaster and actually became a full-fledged member of the team.
Black Knight was part of the comic Avengers with none other than the Eternal Sersi, who will be played by Gemma Chan in the Phase 4 Eternals film. After a love triangle situation with the Inhuman Crystal, who was also an Avenger at the time, Sersi and Dane Whitman became romantically involved. Yes, I’m telling you that there is potential for Jon Snow and Sersi to become an item in Eternals. It's a bit close to Cersei, but hey, at least he’s not dating his aunt anymore! Sersi and Dane form a special psychic bond called Gann Josin that conferred enhanced physical powers on him.
This bond is akin to matrimony for Eternals, and it is forbidden for an Eternal to enter in to Gann Josin with a mere human. However, the two were given permission by Ikaris, who hoped the bond could help with Sersi’s unstable mental state. It turned out he she was basically under attack by a mysterious man named Proctor, who turned out to be Dane from an alternate universe. Comics!
Miscellaneous And Eternals Predictions
In addition to being an Avenger, Dane Whitman has also been a member of the Defenders, a Hero for Hire teammate alongside Luke Cage, and part of Excalibur. He’s been involved in some major events like the Avengers-Defenders War, Secret Invasion and Operation: Galactic Storm during the Kree Shi’ar War. And due to his lineage, he has also been possessed by his ancestor Sir Percy and had his own spirit travel back in time to possess the bodies of former Black Knights.
Oh yeah, Dane Whitman also flies a genetically engineered horse (with wings) named Aragorn that was passed to Valkyrie. Maybe Kit Harington’s character will ask Tessa Thompson’s for his horse back. In any case, he’s been to space, Camelot, the alternate universe Ultraverse and Weirdworld, to name a few. This character has a rich history to tap into, but what does that mean for him in Eternals?
Speaking about Kit Harington’s casting as Dane Whitman, Kevin Feige said the following:
It is a part that could, perhaps, grow into something else in the future.
The Eternals showcases an entirely new superhero group for audiences, and it has a lot of characters to service. With a cast this crowded, it’s tough to say how big a role Dane Whitman will have in the movie. As such, it might seem like a strange choice to introduce Dane Whitman in The Eternals, unless Marvel is going to do something specific with the Dane-Sersi romance.
If I had to guess, that romance will play a factor in Sersi’s story, and if this movie features the Eternals throughout the ages of Earth, it’s also possible Dane could show up at a different point in time. Feige has said Dane won’t be an Eternal, but it is still possible he is an immortal thanks to magic, and not science, and that Sersi could meets him in the past. He may not even become the Black Knight before movie’s end, but I would expect a hint or two in that direction.
Following Game of Thrones, Kit Harington was an obvious candidate to join the MCU or Star Wars at some point, but the ‘when’ and the ‘who’ are a bit of a surprise. Although he's a cool character with some fun elements and a unique history, Black Knight is not an A-, B- or even C-List character, recognition-wise. So as it goes with the Eternals themselves, we don’t quite know what he’ll be like in the MCU, but it is exciting that he’s joining it and being played by an actor who seems well-suited to this kind of role.