Who is Dane Whitman, Marvel’s Black Knight
Marvel’s Black Knight made a brief but important appearance in ‘The Eternals’, and we’re sure to see him again soon. But who is Dane Whitman?
The MCU’s Phase 4 has really made a point of exploring some of their more obscure characters. Marvel’s Black Knight may not be a household name, but he’s one of the publishing company’s oldest properties. And now that Dane Whitman made his first appearance in The Eternals, it’s all but guaranteed we’ll see him don the comic book character’s suit of armor.
Created by: Stan Lee & Joe Maneely
The Black Knights’ first appearances: The Black Knight #1 (Sir Percy of Scandia, 1956), The Avengers #47 (Dane Whitman, 1967)
Powers & Abilities
Marvel’s first Black Knight, Sir Percy, is a swordsmaster who’s skilled in hand-to-hand combat. After his death, the mantle passed to his descendants.
If worthy, Percy’s heir can wield the cursed sword known as the Ebony Blade. It was forged by Merlin (yes, that Merlin) from a fallen meteorite. When Percy used it in war, the bloodshed imbued the sword with a curse of violence. As such, the blade can be corrupting force against its user.
As for Dane Whitman, in addition to the Black Knight’s whole package, his power is science. Because being a scientist in the Marvel universe means you’re destined to join the Avengers (or to fight them.)
The Origin of Marvel’s Black Knight
To find out how Dane Whitman became Marvel’s Black Knight, we have to go back to a time long ago. In the story’s case, we venture back to the time of Arthurian legend. In publishing time, it’s the mid-1950s.
Dane’s lineage traces back to his 6th-century ancestor, Sir Percy of Scandia. At the behest of Merlin, he moved to Camelot and became a knight in King Arthur’s court. As Sir Percy, his identity as the Black Knight remained hidden from the citizens and nobility of the realm.
His duty was to protect King Arthur from the excessive assassination attempts on the King’s life. These stories are Marvel’s version of the classic legend. Early comic book issues see the knight squaring off against Arthur’s son Mordred and his aunt, Morgan le Fay.
Upon his death, he cast aside his sword to avoid being resurrected so his spirit could right the wrongs of his life. After that, his spirit helped his descendants to take up the mantle of Marvel’s Black Knight, should they need the power.
But just because you’re the Black Knight doesn’t mean you get the Ebony Blade. At least not in Nathan Garrett’s case.
Dane Whitman the Black Knight
Garrett used the helm of the Black Knight to do a lot of no-nos. Like selling U.S. military secrets to Communist China (the Cold War, amirite?!). He palled around with the Masters of Evil a bit but got caught trying to steal some high-techy weapons.
After fighting with Iron Man, Nathan was mortally wounded– and on his deathbed, he summoned his nephew, Dane Whitman. There, he confessed his evil deeds. He then begged Dane to become a new Black Knight and restore honor to the name.
For a while, Dane did his Knightly thing without the Ebony Blade. But he eventually traveled back to the UK where he was able to pull the Ebony Blade from its scabbard.
Marvel’s Black Knight teamed up several heroes, fighting with the Avengers and working with Doctor Strange for a time. But over time, the Ebony Blade’s curse began to take its toll.
Do you remember that curse we mentioned? How we said it corrupts its user? Well, it fills them with the spirit of war: violence and hate.
The Curse of the Ebony Blade
You see, our boy Dane found himself becoming drastically angrier. And upon investigation, Doctor Strange discovered how Percy had cursed the sword with bloodshed.
Strange summoned Percy’s spirit into the blade, where he would fight off the curse so it wouldn’t come for Dane. Isn’t that nice? Families coming back from the grave to take care of each other.
And not unlike his character in The Eternals, comic book Dane found himself in a love triangle. Only this time, he was at the center. Sersi was still one of his lovers, though.
As a comic book character, Dane has had one hell of a ride. He’s been possessed by Percy, kicked back to the time of the Crusades, and turned to stone. In an effort to fight without the Ebony Blade, Dane even invented a high-tech laser sword that’s absolutely not a lightsaber.
Marvel’s Black Knight has been on his share of teams, too. He was an Avenger for a short time. He joined the Heroes for Hire and the fictional British intelligence agency MI-13. Will he join a new MCU team after The Eternals?
What’s next for Marvel’s Black Knight?
In The Eternals, Dane Whitman is Sersi’s boyfriend in modern-day London. He’s not in very much of the movie, but he’s still very important.
Past this point, there are spoilers for ‘The Eternals’.
Dane may not get a lot of screen time, but a video chat and a post-credits scene lay the foundation for The Black Knight to make a future MCU appearance.
The first clue comes when Thena is checking out all the historical swag Makari has collected aboard the Domo. She grabs a sword, and the Ebony Blade is mentioned, but they determine that the sword is ‘just’ Excalibur.
During a battle with the Deviants, Sersi, fearing the end of the world, encourages Dane to seek out his estranged uncle. We can assume this is Nathan Garrett, yeah? He also mentions that he’s discovered a big family secret.
And at the end of the film, Sersi is yoinked off of the planet by the Celestial Artishem. The post-credits scene for the Eternals shows Dane receiving the Ebony Blade from a chest with the words Mors Mihi Lucrum, Latin for “Death is my reward.”
He lifts it from the box and says “I’m sorry, I have to try.” And a voice asks “Sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?”
The post-credits scene asks as many questions as it answers. Who’s talking to Dane? Will he be recruited for a team by the mysterious speaker? Will Dane help the remaining Eternals defend the earth from the Celestials’ judgment?
Let us know your predictions for the Black Knight’s next quest in the comments below!