After a long wait, we finally got our first look at the Eternals in the latest trailer by Marvel Studios. It felt like an eternity since the film got announced, and the one-year delay didn’t help matters much. Now, we got our first taste of what is to come with some footage featuring the main cast of Chloé Zhao‘s upcoming film. There was, however, one noticeable absentee. Kit Harrington‘s Dane Whitman was missing, and even leaked merchandise doesn’t feature him. Yet, the question remains what role he may have in the series and moving forward. In a way, I believe the comics might offer a hint at how he and his iconic Ebony Blade might set up the story. In a way, it may even connect Eternals might help Gorr become the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder.
In the comics, Dane Whitman is the wielder of the Ebony Blade. The cursed blade gives him immortality at the price of his sanity. It makes anyone wielding it become bloodthirsty and absorbs their negative emotions. At one point, we learn that it connects to Knull. Another one of his weapons ends up in the hands of Gorr the God Butcher. His All-Black the Necrosword is, in reality, the first symbiote ever created and formed into a weapon that was able to slay a Celestial, which eventually would become Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Knowhere.
We still don’t know what role Whitman will have outside of being part of a love triangle between him, Gemma Chan‘s Sersi, and Richard Madden‘s Ikaris. As he wants to protect his love, he may pull the blade from its slumber against the warnings of his ancestors. Now donning his Black Knight armor, Whitman joins the Eternals in their battle against the Deviants. He wants to prove that humanity is not as helpless as they think. The man fights tooth and nail to hold his own. As he falls to his knees due to exhaustion, the sword takes control and shows the brutality of man. The love triangle has left its scars deep within his heart that the Ebony Sword abused.
Sersi, in a last-ditch effort, manages to separate him from the sword as he fights the inner demon trying to take control. To prove that these words were meaningless, he stabs himself with the sword to loosen his grip before it is cast out into space as it cracks. It isn’t until eons later that the destruction of Asgard during the battle between Hela and Surtur that the blade would regain its original form. All-Black has finally been released from his prison and seeks the missing part. The creature combines with the Ebony Blade as he lands on a deserted planet to become his original form. Looking for a host, he finds Gorr and their fusion leads to the events of Thor: Love and Thunder.
Whitman survives his wounds with the help of Ajak. He is also given a parting gift by Angelina Jolie‘s Thena in the form of a cosmic-based blade, which we got a glimpse of in the trailer. It could be how they introduce the Photon Blade. The Knull connection offers a lot of curious ways to play on the franchise’s newly introduced mythology. Venom‘s film rights in Sony’s possession, he might not join the Marvel Cinematic Universe anytime soon. Still, they could retcon this connection at a later date to build upon it.