Though Marvel’s Eternals already introduced an entirely new species of superheroes to the MCU, the film went even further than that in setting up the future of the franchise. Dane Whitman, Sersi’s boyfriend with a mysterious past, has little more than a cameo appearance in this movie, but longtime readers of Marvel Comics know he’s got a lot more comic book history to explore - centuries worth, in fact!
As the Black Knight, Whitman may seem a little outdated in comparison to his fellow superheroes, but he’s actually got a lot going for him. His cursed Ebony Blade, inherited through an ancestral line stretching back to Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table, grants him some remarkable abilities, but it is Dane’s honor and determination that really make him stand out. He’s been involved with the Eternals, the Avengers, the Defenders, and pretty much everyone in between, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon, either.
Whitman’s Ancestral Roots Go All The Way Back To The Round Table Of Camelot And The Original Black Knight
Dane Whitman’s story began more than a thousand years ago, in the legendary land of Camelot in the sixth century. Whitman’s ancestor, Sir Percival of Scandia, played a cowardly character to the public, but he also secretly served King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as the Black Knight.
At one point, the wizard Merlin offered Sir Percy a choice between several items forged from the fallen Starstone meteor, and he chose the Ebony Blade. Percy would later learn that there had been eight Black Knights before him, and that each of them had been driven mad by the curse imbued in the Ebony Blade. Sir Percy would eventually succumb to the curse himself, but not before turning the Ebony Blade into a family heirloom and passing it on to a descendant.
Somewhere Along The Way, Dane Also Became A Descendant Of King Arthur Himself As The Ebony Blade Corrupted Generations Of Dane’s Forebears
The Ebony Blade passed down from Sir Percival the Black Knight to his nephew, Sir Raston, who became the next Black Knight and wielded the sword until he was plucked from the timestream by Kang and forced to join a time-traveling army. He would not return.
The Ebony Blade continued to be passed down through inheritance from there, with several of Percy’s descendants joining the Knights Templar and using the weapon in the name of their cause. Most, if not all, were corrupted by its influence. Somewhere along the way, bloodlines were crossed, and Dane Whitman ended up with King Arthur as one of his ancestors, too.
Technically, this means that Whitman could stand to inherit both the Ebony Blade and Excalibur. But it was the Ebony Blade that found its way to him first, sealing his destiny as the Black Knight.
His Uncle Pestered The Avengers As A Supervillainous Black Knight
Nathan Garrett was Dane Whitman’s uncle, and it was he who inherited Garrett Castle - and the Ebony Blade it housed - immediately before Dane. A brilliant research scientist with some communist leanings, Garrett became a spy for China, and then decided to step right into a career of supervillainy.
Despite being deemed unworthy and thus unable to draw the Ebony Blade from its scabbard, Garrett started calling himself the Black Knight anyway. He created a high-tech suit of armor and an energy-blasting power lance, and then he used his background in genetic engineering to create a winged horse named Elendil. On the back of Elendil, Garrett rode into battle against the Avengers on numerous occasions - sometimes alongside the Masters of Evil - but never managed to earn much notoriety for himself aside from a lengthy jail sentence.
Whitman Inherited The Ebony Blade Along With The Spooky Castle That Housed It
With his estranged uncle imprisoned, Dane Whitman inherited Garrett Castle and flew to England to inspect it. Within, he found both the Ebony Blade and the tomb of Sir Percy. After a quick test from the ghost of Percy, Dane was deemed worthy and allowed to draw the Ebony Blade from its scabbard.
Whitman decided that, like his uncle, he’d become the Black Knight, but he had no interest in supervillainy. Instead, Dane wanted to redeem his family legacy, and that started with winning over the Avengers, who had just finished imprisoning the previous Black Knight.
In making this altruistic choice, Whitman was able to avoid the blood curse of the Ebony Blade for a time - but not forever.