Will Poulter’s casting as Adam Warlock dominated the afternoon news cycle yesterday, but earlier in the day, multiple sites published Eternals set visit reports and disseminated quite a few interesting tidbits. Key among them and certainly the one that produced the strongest reaction on our social media was the revelation by Executive Producer Nate Moore that Kit Harrington’s Dane Whitman was going to be “just a dude” in Eternals rather than the Black Knight. To sum it up, people were angry. Angry that this news seemed to slight both Harrington and the character, who has a rich legacy in the comics; however, it’s possible that everyone is jumping the gun a little bit and possible that while Kit won’t be swinging the Ebony Blade in Eternals, Marvel Studios might have even bigger plans in store for him. In short, you know nothing, angry fan.
Marvel Studios has plans for the Black Knight. They have for the better part of a decade. Barry Gibbs, longtime Marvel Studios prop master and not Bee Gees falsetto, once told the tale of how the Ebony Blade, the cursed weapon of the Black Knight, was originally set to appear in 2016’s Doctor Strange (presumably in the room in the Sanctum Sanctorum where other artifacts are seen) but was taken out of the script for unknown reasons. They didn’t take it out for no reason. There’s been buzz about the Black Knight in insider circles for several years, so while WHERE they chose to introduce him might have been a little surprising, it wasn’t surprising that they did. And when it’s all said and done, introducing Whitman through his relationship with Sersi-which is comic accurate, by the way-will leave all kinds of stories to be told down the road, something Marvel Studios is very keen to do with new characters on Disney Plus.
You won’t see the Ebony Blade in this movie. He’s not going to be Black Knight necessarily, but that is something that we get to play with down the road.Nate Moore
Moore’s quote above says as much but it seems that, in anger, fans may have overlooked the last part. Marvel Studios didn’t cast Harrington, a face that is both instantly recognizable and associated with swinging a famous, fictional sword, to have him be Sersi’s man candy. We will see Whitman pick up the Ebony Blade (a long-circulating rumor claims that will be a part of one of the film’s two post-credit scenes) and explore the legacy of the Black Knight. In the comics, it’s a long and dark legacy. A recent merch leak indicates that we’ll see part of that legacy teased (maybe explored a bit) through a ring worn by Whitman bearing the Raven crest worn by all iterations of the character over the years. They pulled the Ebony Blade from Doctor Strange for a reason; they cast Harrington for a reason; they are using the ring to tease the legacy for a reason. I would be absolutely shocked if shortly after Eternals premiers there wasn’t some sort of announcement about a Black Knight series being in development for Disney Plus (perhaps this is the project that goes with the recently formed Speyside Productions LLC: Harrington’s wife was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, the starting point for most Speyside Whisky tours).
A Black Knight series has the potential to change the narrative fabric of the MCU in much the same way as Loki has done. If Eternals is the portal through which Whitman enters the MCU, his series could serve as the portal through which the King Arthur, Merlin, Mordred and Morgan Le Fay join him through their connections to the original Black Knight and Dane’s ancestor, Sir Percy of Scandia. An introduction to those characters could set the stage for Pete Wisdom, MI13, Captain Britain, Excalibur and more…all because Harrington likes Sersi in Eternals. The series could also introduce Whitman’s uncle, Nathan Garrett, and explore the dark side of the nature of the Black Knight, something that will surely be explored as Whitman’s character grows over the years-and make no mistake, the 34-year old Harrington didn’t sign on Marvel without a vision of what he might do over the next decade. At his age, a steady job with Marvel Studios sets him up for life.
So don’t despair, fans of Whitman. While he might take a back seat in Eternals, he’s going to get his time to shine.