Dane Whitman’s Secret Family History Explained

Dane Whitman's Secret Family History Explained

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, 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 of Marvel comics origin 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.

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In Eternals, Dane Whitman is featured as a co-worker of Sersi’s 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 (Gemma Chan) to gather the Eternals and determine how they’re going to respond.

Related: Jon Snow Game Of Thrones Show Is Bad News For Black Knight’s MCU Future

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 wreaked by 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

The black knight dane whitman eternals

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 moral 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 in the comics. He even became her “Gann Josin” 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

Black Knight on the cover of Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #1 (variant).

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 the MCU Celestials’ directives. However, Dane was likely about to reveal the hidden past of his family, which is descended from King Arthur himself, as well as their role as the Black Knight and the dark, bloody history that comes with it.

Related: Everything We Know About Eternals 2

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

Kit Harrington The eternals Black knight gets his sword

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 movie, seemingly to be a new hero (as best he can).

Which MCU Projects Could Dane Whitman’s Black Knight Appear In Next?

Eternals original ending circe dane whitman

As for where Dane Whitman/Black Knight could appear next in the MCU, the possibilities are virtually endless given Marvel’s penchant for often loosely-related post-credit scenes. There was speculation about Whitman featuring in Doctor Strange 2 or Thor: Love and Thunder’s credits, since Black Knight, Doctor Strange, Valkyrie, and Hulk are all Defenders teammates in the Marvel comics. Moon Knight was another potential tie-in given the thematic parallels between Whitman and Specter and the fact that they could have easily interacted in London’s museums. None of these projects actually ended up featuring Kit Harington’s MCU return as Black Knight, but there are still plenty of opportunities, most probably in the upcoming Blade movie starring Mahershala Ali.

Related: How Black Knight Is Connected To Blade – And Possibly Moon Knight

After all, it’s Blade’s voice that can be heard over the post-credits scene that introduced the Ebony Blade, and considering his position as a master swordsman, he’ll likely be very interested in what both the Ebony Blade and Whitman’s Black Knight have to offer. The Disney+ series Secret Invasion is another strong possibility since Black Knight joined MI-13 during that storyline in the comics to help fight off the Skrulls. Regardless of where he turns up next, Eternals introduced a fascinating character in Dane Whitman that the MCU will surely want to use to their fullest capacity.

More: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie Ranked Worst To Best (Including Thor 4)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023

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Kevin Erdmann
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Kevin Erdmann is one of Screen Rant’s staff writers. With a major in Cinema Studies and a minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies from the UofO, Kevin is pretty sure he’s writing for the right site. While Kevin is a huge Marvel fan, he also loves Batman because he’s Batman and is a firm believer that Han shot first. Disney also shares a big part of his fan patronage. Kevin lives in Oregon with his wonderful wife and sinister cat who is no doubt currently plotting his demise.

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