With Marvel’s next big budget movie arriving in theatres this week and introducing ten new characters to the MCU, a lot of mystery has surrounded the eleventh major character of Eternals, Dane Whitman.
Played by Game of Thrones and 7 Days in Hell actor Kit Harington, the Eternals version of Whitman is portrayed as a pretty regular human in a romantic relationship with Gemma Chan’s thoughtful Eternal, Sersi. But there’s still some doubt over whether Whitman will ever become the Black Knight in the MCU, as he does in the pages of Marvel Comics.
In the comics, the Black Knight possesses the Ebony Blade, a sword blessed by Merlin that can protect whoever wields it but can also drive them mad. Whitman is just one of a few iterations of the Black Knight, but is a descendant of the (good) original one, and the nephew of another (bad) one, who eventually joins the Avengers.
Whitman (and Harington)’s role in future MCU entries is still uncertain, however.
“[Harington’s] not going to be Black Knight necessarily,” Eternals producer Nate Moore told the Toronto Sun during a set visit, “but that is something that we get to play with down the road.”
As Eternals was constructed to be more of a standalone affair than some other Marvel films, and less concerned with in-universe crossovers, it’s hard to predict if we’ll see Whitman again in a follow-up film – not only because of its “contained universe” nature, but because the movie itself has received muted buzz and a lot of mixed reviews from critics ahead of its release.
A second film focusing on the characters does seem fairly unlikely at this stage, which it appears Marvel has already accepted as a natural part of its creation.
“It’s not something that is a must-have,” Moore said of a potential sequel. “Obviously, we have ideas of where we could go, but there isn’t a hard and fast rule where we have to have three of these things and this is the first.”
As for Harington, he’s tentatively optimistic that Eternals is just the “tip of the iceberg” for Whitman.
“I’ve got no idea whether my character goes on or not,” Harington admitted to Total Film. “I had read up on who he could be, or might be. So there’s the possibility for a longer trajectory. And hopefully, I think this is the tip of the iceberg for my character. I hope. But I just don’t know, you know? I’m as in the dark as anyone else. And I try not to live too far ahead in the future with anything. Even when I was in Game of Thrones, even on the sixth season, I presumed the seventh season wasn’t going to happen!”
Of course it’s possible that any number of characters from Eternals could show up in other MCU installments later on, even if no direct sequel is forthcoming, so perhaps we shouldn’t write off the possibility that Whitman will eventually become the Black Knight, even if that story evolves as part of a longer arc than perhaps some fans hoped for.
Eternals was directed by Chloé Zhao, who wrote the screenplay alongside Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo. It stars Chan, Harington, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie, and opens this Friday.
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