Marvel’s Eternals sees Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman teasing his secret family history. Who is Dane Whitman and why is his family so important?
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Eternals
Who is Dane Whitman in Marvel’s Eternals and what is his secret family history? Played by Kit Harington, Dane Whitman is featured as the mortal human love interest for the Eternal Sersi (Gemma Chan), though he’s also the hero known as the Black Knight. While it seems as though Dane has yet to come into his own as the Black Knight in Eternals, there are a handful of teases and hints throughout the film that set up his future debut as the wielder of the Ebony Blade, including Dane’s allusion to his family secret history near the film’s end.
In Eternals, Dane Whitman is featured as a fellow co-worker to Sersi working as a curator of ancient artifacts in the present-day London Museum of Natural History. He’s also her current boyfriend, seeing as how her Eternal husband Ikaris (Richard Madden) inexplicably left her centuries earlier. However, Dane is unfortunately left largely on the sidelines when the threat of the Celestial Emergence arrives, forcing Sersi to gather her fellow Eternals to determine how they’re going to respond.
It’s also notable that the moments where Dane is featured are mainly focused on his family. Not only does Sersi gift him with a ring of his family crest for his birthday, but she also encourages Dane to make amends with his uncle when things start to look bleak (with the end of the world being a strong possibility). Furthermore, once Sersi and the rest of the Eternals manage to save the world and prevent the destruction of the Emergence and the Celestial Tiamut, Dane alludes to the secrets of his family lineage once they’re reunited. What’s so special about Dane’s family history, and what does it mean for Eternals‘ post-credits scene and The Black Knight’s future?
Who Is Dane Whitman? Marvel Comics’ Black Knight Explained
In Marvel Comics, Dane Whitman is the Black Knight and the wielder of the Ebony Blade. A cursed sword crafted by the Arthurian wizard Merlin, the Ebony Blade is essentially the dark opposite of Thor’s hammer Mjolnir as it “lightens only in shadow“, meaning that it responds to the darkness within its wielder’s own heart. As such, its dark power motivates a powerful bloodlust and berserker rage Whitman hasn’t always been able to control in the pages of Marvel Comics. That being said, he has been a member of the Avengers and even had a brief stint leading the team before they parted ways.
Just like in the MCU, Dane Whitman also had a romantic relationship with Sersi. He even became her “Gann Josin” in the comics where they were physically linked as means to help her stay anchored during the stresses of the Mahd Wy’ry, an Eternal mental illness that can occur due to their long lifespans. However, Dane and Sersi eventually drifted apart. Currently, Dane’s Black Knight recently fought in the Phoenix Tournament in the pages of Marvel Comics, and he also helped fight the King in Black during his invasion of Earth. However, he’s also just discovered new truths about his family lineage and the secret history of the Black Knight, the same secret history Kit Harrington’s Dane seemingly alludes to at the end of Eternals.
Dane Whitman’s Family Lineage and Secret History Explained
At the end of Marvel’s Eternals, Dane attempts to confess the secrets of his family that he’s yet to share with Sersi. However, before he can Sersi’s taken by the Prime Celestial Arishem in order to determine how Earth shall be judged seeing as how the Eternals defied their Celestial directives. However, Dane was likely about to reveal the hidden past of his family descended from King Arthur himself, as well as their role as the Black Knight and the dark, bloody history that comes with.
Previously, it was believed that Dane Whitman was the third Black Knight. While the first was Sir Percy of Scandia who served King Arthur himself (doing his dirty work so Arthur and Camelot could remain pure), the second was Dane’s uncle Nathan Garrett who chose to give in to the corruption of the Ebony Blade and used its power for evil. However, new truths have emerged in 2021’s Curse of the Ebony Blade miniseries from writer Si Spurrier and Sergio Davila, revealing that the Ebony Blade has exchanged hands with multiple descendants of Sir Percy’s bloodline, all of whom had darkness within their hearts which the Ebony Blade took advantage of despite their best intentions. Dane has also learned that so long as he’s holding the Blade when he’s killed, he’ll be resurrected (as would any wielder belonging to the powerful bloodline).
Dane Whitman Will Become The The MCU’s Next Black Knight
Now, it looks as though the MCU’s Dane Whitman is ready to wield the Ebony Blade himself as the next Black Knight. In the final post-credits scene for Eternals, Dane is seen struggling with the decision to open a long box with his family’s crest printed on the outside. When he finally does, it’s revealed that he’s come into possession of the Ebony Blade whose corruptive power already seems drawn to Dane himself. However, an off-screen voice in Eternals‘ credits scene (Mahershala Ali’s Blade) stops him from fully handling the sword, questioning if he’s truly ready.
Being the next in Sir Percy and Arthur’s bloodline, Dane Whitman is the next successor to inherit the power of the Ebony Blade, though the cost is quite heavy. The more the Ebony Blade is used, the more its curse will take effect which will make Dane darker with a rage-filled bloodlust just as it did to his ancestors throughout time (hence the inscription on the box that reads “death is his reward.” Will Dane’s Black Knight be the one to break the loop of his family’s dark secret history? While Kit Harington’s next appearance in the MCU as Dane Whitman is as of yet unknown, Black Knight will likely be featured sooner rather than later after all of this setup featured in Marvel’s Eternals, seemingly to be a new hero (as best he can).
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