Dane Whitman’s transformation into Black Knight has officially begun. The character, played by Kit Harington, made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut this year in Eternals — much to the excitement of comic book obsessives everywhere.
While Eternals doesn’t do a lot with Dane, the film ends by sending the character down a path toward becoming his comic book alter ego, Black Knight. However, Eternals also clarifies that Dane won’t be going on that journey alone — thanks to a surprise appearance from one notable Marvel Comics hero.
According to a Marvel Studios producer, the link between Dane and Eternals’ biggest surprise cameo character goes a bit deeper than some fans might think too.
Major Eternals spoilers ahead.
Enter: Blade — As most Marvel fans likely know by now, Eternals ends with the surprise off-screen introduction of Mahershala Ali’s Blade. The character, who is set to lead his own MCU standalone film sometime in the next few years, is introduced in Eternals’ post-credits scene.
The scene in question sees Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman preparing to hold the Ebony Blade for the first time, only to be interrupted by the voice of Ali’s Blade, who asks, “Sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?”
In a recent interview with Phase Zero, Marvel producer Nate Moore opened up a bit about why Blade shows up in the film’s post-credits scene.
Teasing a possible connection between the beloved vampire hunter and Whitman’s Black Knight, Moore said, “The characteristics of the Ebony Blade are not dissimilar to some degree to vampirism, and we think that’s an interesting kind of thing to play with. So we kind of knew that was on the table.”
The Cursed Blade — Moore’s comments may seem a bit surprising at first, but it doesn’t take a lot of effort to see the parallel he’s drawing between Blade and the Ebony Blade.
In the comics, the Ebony Blade is a powerful but cursed weapon. Forged by Merlin, the blade protects its wielder from various forms of magic (and death) and can cut through practically anything. However, it also threatens to corrupt its wielder — increasing their desire to spill blood the longer they use it. In that sense, one could argue that the blade is essentially a vampiric weapon, given its ability to turn its user into a bloodthirsty maniac.
How Marvel plans on using the parallels between the Ebony Blade’s vampiric attributes and an actual half-vampire like Blade remains to be seen. Based on his line in the Eternals post-credits scene, Ali’s character seems, at the very least, aware of what the Ebony Blade is and what it can do. That means he’ll likely play a major role in educating Harington’s Dane Whitman and helping him take his first steps toward becoming Black Knight.
What Moore’s comments mean beyond that, however, is a bit of a mystery right now.
The Inverse Verdict — One of the growing rumors amongst MCU fans is that Marvel Studios is planning a Midnight Sons crossover movie that’ll bring mystic heroes like Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Moon Knight (Oscar Isaac), Ghost Rider, Blade, and Black Knight together on-screen.
That said, Moore’s comments suggest that Blade’s connection to Dane Whitman and the Ebony Blade may extend beyond just a potential team-up in a future film. In fact, it seems like Marvel could be planning on changing the origin of the Ebony Blade in a way that makes it not a magical sword carved from a meteorite but some kind of ancient, vampiric weapon.
In other words, the studio may be planning on making the Ebony Blade’s unspoken, vampire-like influence literal. To Marvel’s credit, that’d be a legitimately exciting and surprising way for it to bring the weapon to life on-screen. Although, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time the studio has altered an item’s comic book backstory for the MCU.
Eternals is now playing in theaters.