The actor’s character Dane Whitman may be obscure, but he has a lot of potential in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
At Saturday’s D23 celebration, Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige, announced Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington has joined the cast of Chloe Zhao’s The Eternals as Dane Whitman, better known as the Black Knight. Yes, in a bit of clever synchronicity, Harington will once again don the black, wield a sword and come to terms with an incredible lineage that could either destroy the world or save it. Despite the many similarities between Game of Thrones’ Jon Snow and Marvel’s Black Knight, I expect Harington to bring a new presence to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Whitman. While some were confounded over the decision to cast such a recognizable actor as a character unfamiliar to general audiences, not helped by speculation a day earlier suggesting he’d be playing Wolverine, Black Knight shouldn’t be underestimated. As a member and onetime leader of the Avengers, and one of the best combat fighters alongside Steve Rogers and Logan, Black Knight has deep ties to almost every corner of the Marvel Universe. He, along with the Eternals, may be something of an enigma right now, but there’s a strong chance that he will emerge as one of the breakout characters in the MCU going forward.
The history of the Black Knight in the Marvel Universe is a complicated one, but equally rewarding because of that factor. Dane Whitman isn’t Marvel’s first Black Knight. He’s not even the second. He’s part of a long line of men tasked with possessing the Ebony Blade. The first Black Knight, Sir Percy, predated Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Joe Maneely in 1955 for Atlas Comics, the five-issue Black Knight comic was a medieval adventure series centered on a knight of King Arthur’s court in the 6th century. Sir Percy wielded the Ebony Blade, forged by Merlin from a meteorite, against Mordred the evil, until his death at the Fall of Camelot. The second Black Knight, Professor Nathan Garrett, created by Lee and Dick Ayers, first appeared in Tales to Astonish No. 52 in 1964. A descendant of Sir Percy, Garrett sought out the Ebony Blade but the sword found him unworthy. He then chose to create his own weapons, a technologically advanced medieval arsenal that he used to battle Giant-Man and the Wasp, Iron Man and eventually the Avengers as one of Zemo’s Masters of Evil. Before succumbing to his wounds after a battle with Iron Man, Garrett entrusted his nephew to restore honor to the family and prove himself worthy of the Ebony Blade. [Source]