It’s not Samuel L. Jackson
Photo: Marvel Studios
As we have come to expect from movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are two credits sequences attached to “Eternals.” The first features a character reveal that was spoiled moments after the big premiere in Hollywood, and the second (the true post-credits scene) has been mostly shrouded in mystery — until now.
We’re breaking down everything that happens in this post-credits scene, including how it could possibly impact future MCU movies and the next “Eternals” adventure.
Major spoilers for “Eternals” follow.
Kit Harington, Supporting Actor
Throughout most of “Eternals’” not-insignificant runtime, Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman has simply been a very supportive boyfriend. He works at the Natural History Museum alongside Gemma Chan’s Sersi, who we know is the strong-willed new leader of the group of immortal superheroes known as Eternals. (Dane has his suspicions). When an ancient evil, known as a Deviant, rises in modern day London and attacks Dane, Sersi springs into action alongside her sidekick Sprite (Lia McHugh) and her brooding ex-boyfriend Ikaris (Richard Madden). This leaves Dane to offer some expository dialogue, asking Sersi why she and the rest of the Eternals didn’t jump into action when, say, Ultron or Thanos attacked, or when any of the other countless catastrophic threats to humanity happened. And, he also stews about Ikaris being back on the scene. This is a lot for poor Dane Whitman!
When Sersi, Sprite and Ikaris begin a globe-trotting quest to reunite the team and stop the emerging threat, Dane is left back in London to do who knows what. (We imagine he probably did a fair amount of soul-searching.) Only after the threat is vanquished do we see sweet Dane again. And, as it turns out, he’s got a secret too.
Wait, What Does He Say?
Towards the end of “Eternals,” when calm has returned to the planet, Dane notes there’s something about his own lineage he has to tell Sersi. Before he can explain, though, Sersi is zapped into outer space where she’s given an extremely stern lecture from an otherworldly being called a Celestial. (Thus is the life of an Eternal!) A tantalizing way to leave the audience hanging, for sure, and one that connects the character to his comic book incarnation.
Dane Whitman, it turns out, is no mere boyfriend, but the descendant of an iconic villain known as the Black Knight. First introduced in a 1967 issue of “The Avengers,” the character (created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema) — Whitman — was the third Marvel Comics character to claim the name Black Knight. The first was an actual knight, the second was a super-villain who used the sword and name but was very bad (also: Dane’s uncle), and the third is Dane.
In the comics Whitman takes the name of the Black Knight and uses his cursed sword, this time to fight injustice and evil, not to spread it. In the years since his introduction, he frequently appears alongside the Avengers and as a member of other Marvel superhero teams like Heroes for Hire and the Defenders, and as a member of MI:13, which is sort of like the British version of S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, it’s the very average guy who has the incredibly mystical backstory!
The “Eternals” version of Dane Whitman is clearly someone who is still wrestling with his past, with his family legacy, and with whether or not he should continue in his evil uncle’s footsteps or take a different path. We know that he is still deciding because of how the events of the post-credits sequence unfold …
The post-credits sequence cuts to Dane Whitman, everyman, in what appears to be his stately family manor. He pulls a large box off the shelf and opens it, revealing a very cool-looking Excalibur-y sword. This is the Ebony Blade (more about that below).
Upon closer inspection, the jet-black sword appears, for lack of a better word, alive. It’s sort of vibrating with weird particles and is emitting a hissing sound. Dane has to psych himself up just to open the case and that’s before the sword starts whispering. Clearly this is a man unsure of himself and his destiny.
Before he can pick up the sword, a voice can be heard saying, “Are you sure you want to do that?” (Or something to that effect.) We never see this character, and only eagle-eared (and incredibly informed) audience members will even pick up on who it is. But we know.
So, Who Is the Voice?
The voice isn’t named in the credits, but Zhao recently confirmed that our first guess is correct: It’s none other than two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, who will be portraying Marvel’s vampire-hunting vampire Blade in the very near future.
In the comics, Blade and The Black Knight haven’t been linked together as a duo on the lines of heroes Power Man (Luke Cage) and Iron Fist. But they have some connections, most notably as members of MI-13, a British intelligence agency that recruits superheroes from the UK to fight paranormal threats. Blade, by the way is from England in the comics, but you no doubt noticed Mahershala used his normal American accent in the cut scene.
There’s also the Ebony Blade. In Marvel Comics, it’s a sword forged by Merlin from meteorite metal that bestows fantastic abilities on whoever wields it… but also curses them to become increasingly violent and bloodthirsty. It’s had many owners over the centuries since King Arthur, and no, Blade isn’t one of them. But it’s worth mentioning that in a 2010 “Captain Britain” storyline, it was found stashed inside a nest of vampires in Iraq.
But, it will be interesting to see if Dane Whitman and Blade — feared vampire hunter– will be more closely linked in the MCU version of the characters. At the very least it’s heartening to know that we won’t have to wait too much longer to see Ali as Blade on the big screen …
Ali was announced as Blade as a surprise close to the 2019 Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con. (Ali merely walked on stage and put on a hat emblazoned with the title.) It was Ali who had approached Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige about the potential of reviving the character (made famous by Wesley Snipes in a trilogy of films for New Line Cinema), after playing the villainous Cottonmouth in the Netflix series “Luke Cage.” (The Netflix/Marvel projects having all but been wiped from existence.) Since then, “Watchmen” writer Stacy Osei-Kuffour has been hired to pen the script and Bassam Tariq attached to direct, with production slated to begin next year in Georgia.
Will Dane Whitman be along for Blade’s inaugural adventure? We’ll know soon enough.
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