Black Knight

Eternals post-credits twist: Dane Whitman's dark transformation, explained

“As long as the Black Blade blazes darkly in my hand, I must fight on.”

Eternals brings a cadre of new characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman.

Introduced as the present-day boyfriend of Gemma Chan’s Sersi, Dane only has a handful of scenes in Eternals, appearing in its first and final sections. However, the film makes it explicitly clear that Harington’s presence in the MCU will continue to grow from here — alluding heavily to his character’s backstory and origins while stopping just short of having him assume his comic book alter ego.

Marvel even puts Dane at the center of the film’s most mysterious and enigmatic scene — one that opens the door for him to have a crucial role in the MCU moving forward.

Major Eternals spoilers ahead.

What happens in Eternals’ final post-credits scene?

Kit Harington as Dane Whitman and Gemma Chan as Sersi in Eternals.Marvel Comics

At the end of Eternals, before the credits, Harington’s Dane Whitman briefly mentions to Chan’s Sersi that he’s recently discovered his family history is more “complicated” than he’d previously thought. Arishem’s surprise arrival and abduction of Sersi stops him from explaining what exactly he means by “complicated,” but the film’s post-credits scene picks back up with Dane some time after Sersi’s disappearance.

The scene sees Dane standing in his office, preparing to open an ominous wooden box sitting atop his desk. Pulling open the box’s lid, Dane discovers an inscription written into the wood of the box, which reads, “Death is my reward.” He unwraps the box’s sole item: a black sword that seems to reach out for him when holds his hand near it.

However, just as he is about to touch the sword’s surface, an unseen voice asks, “Are you sure you want to do that, Dane?” Unfortunately, before we can see who the voice belongs to, the scene comes to an end.

Confused? Don’t worry; we’d be surprised if you weren’t. Here’s everything you need to know about Eternals’ post-credits scene.

Eternals: Dane Whitman and the Ebony Blade, explained

Dane Whitman a.k.a. Black Knight wields the Ebony Blade in Empyre: Avengers Vol. 1 #3. Published in 2020.Marvel Comics

In the comics, Dane Whitman is the nephew of Nathan Garrett, who used to be a villainous figure named “Black Knight.” Inheriting his uncle’s castle, Dane discovers a weapon known as the Ebony Blade. This is the sword that Harington’s Dane comes very close to touching in the Eternals post-credits scene, and it’s even referenced very briefly by Sprite (Lia McHugh) earlier in the film.

Created by Merlin, the sword is one of the most powerful weapons on Earth; it has the power to cut through any object, deflect any form of magic, and protect its wielder from death. However, the blade also holds a curse that slowly but surely corrupts his wielder — driving them mad with bloodlust by exploiting their inner darkness. Ever since its creation, the sword has been passed down through the Whitman family line, with one of Dane’s ancestors, a knight named Sir Percival of Scandia, as its first wielder.

Aware of his uncle’s villainous reputation, Dane begins wielding the Ebony Blade in the comics and assumes the Black Knight mantle — intent on using the weapon for good. As part of his heroic efforts, he infiltrates the Masters of Evil and helps the Avengers defeat Kang the Conqueror. In the years since then, he’s been a member of the Avengers, Heroes for Hire, Euroforce, Knights of Wundagore, and Ultraforce.

However, Dane frequently struggles in the comics with the weight and curse of the Ebony Blade. He’s repeatedly tried to give up the weapon, only to later war with others to continue wielding it. In other words, the Ebony Blade is simultaneously what gives Dane his powers and what causes him the most strife. That probably explains why “death is my reward” is scrawled into the top of its box in the Eternals post-credits scene.

It’s a powerful weapon, but not one that should be held carelessly.

How Eternals’ post-credits scene sets up Kit Harington’s MCU future

Dane Whitman holds the Ebony Blade in Black Knight Vol. 3 #2. Published in 2015.Marvel Comics

While it’s always impossible to know what Marvel Studios plans to do with any of its characters, the Eternals post-credits scene all but confirms that Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman will become Black Knight in the MCU. It’s hard to guess when that will happen, or which upcoming MCU title will show him wielding the Ebony Blade, but the film makes it clear that fans will get to see that at some point in the relatively near future.

Based on how the film presents the Ebony Blade, it seems safe to say that the weapon will turn out to be just as cursed an object in the MCU as it is in the comics. Fortunately, that means Harington’s Dane Whitman has the chance to be a unique new hero for the MCU — one whose mantle is as much a curse as it is a gift.

Eternals is now playing in theaters.