At this weekend’s D23 Expo, Disney unveiled its latest bit of buzzworthy casting news: Kit Harington is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Yes, Jon Snow is trading in his Valyrian steel sword for...well, actually, another sword. Harington has been cast as physicist Dane Whitman, aka the Black Knight. He’ll be making his MCU debut in next year’s intergalactic superhero team-up epic The Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao and featuring an all-star cast, including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, and fellow Game of Thrones alum and Stark brother Richard Madden.
Just as the titular Eternals hearken back to the era of Greek mythology, the Black Knight traces his own lineage waaaay back to King Arthur’s court. In the comics, Dane’s ancestor is the original Black Knight: Sir Percy of Scandia, a Knight of the Round Table and Camelot’s greatest warrior.
However, Sir Percy’s descendants didn’t all turn out to be outstanding citizens. Dane’s uncle, Nathan Garrett, became the infamous supervillain Black Knight before he was mortally wounded in a battle with Iron Man, leading to an existential change of heart. His dying wish was for Dane to take up the mantle and restore the Black Knight’s legacy.
The Black Knight’s original weapon of choice is the Ebony Blade, an enchanted sword passed down from Sir Percy through generations. The blade is a super-strong, virtually indestructible sword that can cut through magical force fields — think Doctor Strange, who eventually becomes Dane’s close ally. It also absorbs and redirects all kinds of energy — possibly even a blast from Captain Marvel, though it would be fun to test that theory out. Along with the sword, the Black Knight has his own winged horse he rides into battle, Valkyrie-style.
Marvel did not reveal what, exactly, Dane would be up to in The Eternals — is he already the Black Knight? Does he join forces with the Eternals? Or is this more of a short cameo from Dane Whitman, the scientist-not-yet-turned-superhero, teasing a future on-screen origin story?
We do, however, fully anticipate that Harington will appear in future Marvel properties. After all, the Black Knight regularly teams up (and once led) the Avengers, and the character does have some history with the Eternals. In fact, the Black Knight has a pretty significant romance with the Eternal Sersi (yes, pronounced just like that), who Marvel confirmed will appear in The Eternals played by Gemma Chan — more exciting casting news, though we’re not sure how Chan’s previous appearance as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel will fit into the MCU’s continuity.
While Marvel is notoriously tight-lipped about production details, we can look forward to some answers when The Eternals hits theaters next year. The film is scheduled for release on November 6, 2020.