What is up with that second credits scene in ‘Eternals’? And whose voice was that?
Spoiler alert: This article is all about the second credits scene in “Eternals,” so by its nature is a spoiler. While it does not divulge plot details of “Eternals,” if you haven’t seen the movie yet, let us recommend checking out this review or this story on director Chloé Zhao instead.
The Black Knight always triumphs!
The surprise in the second credits scene isn’t that it teases the arrival of the Black Knight. It has been known for some time that the character “Game of Thrones” star Kit Harington plays in “Eternals” is Dane Whitman, alter ego of that hero. It’s the enigmatic ending of the scene that will have Marvel fans abuzz ... and confused.
It should be noted that Whitman is the good Black Knight, who first appeared in “The Avengers” No. 47 (1967), not the bad Black Knight (his uncle), who first popped up in “Tales to Astonish” No. 52 (1964), fighting Giant-Man and the Wasp. (It should also be noted this is not the Black Knight from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975), so don’t expect sudden dismemberings of our hero.)
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By the way, “Avengers” 47 has skyrocketed in value with the news the character was coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; a near-mint copy reportedly sold this year for more than $5,000.
The second bonus scene, which comes after the credits, finds Dane driven by the disappearance of his girlfriend, Sersi (the Eternal played by Gemma Chan) into confronting his birthright, the Ebony Blade. As far as excuses to not move in together go, being kidnapped by, essentially, God before her boyfriend’s eyes is a pretty good one. Thus the opening of the box he seems so reluctant to peek inside. To be fair, who wouldn’t be hesitant when there’s an inscription under the lid that translates to “Death is my reward”?
And what’s in the box? The blade hewn by Merlin — yes, that Merlin — from a meteor (as are all good things in the MCU). In the comics, it went on to have quite a checkered history involving the Avengers, the Inhumans and Dracula, among others.
By legend, the weapon was around in the time of King Arthur; by publication, it predates the Silver Age of Marvel (the 1960s generation of heroes such as Iron Man and Spider-Man who form the backbone of the MCU). It first appeared in “Black Knight Comics” No. 1 in 1955, in the hands of the O.G. Black Knight, Arthur’s bud. One of the Celestials of Marvel the company, Stan Lee, even wrote the story.
The magic sword has a number of abilities in the comics, chief among them indestructibility and the ability to cut through just about anything (including mystical barriers). It also grants its wielder protection from energy blasts and magic attacks. It’s a big deal. However, it is also cursed and has a habit of amping up its user’s bloodlust. What did you expect, with that motto.
Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao has joined a growing club of renowned indie filmmakers tapped by Marvel to helm massive-budget projects. In her case, it’s ‘Eternals.’
While Dane is just one in a long line of Black Knights dating to King Arthur’s Round Table, he’s the first to join the Avengers (and Defenders, and others). Marvel fans knew all this coming into “Eternals,” of course, though the uninitiated may have enjoyed seeing Harington in the apparently flipped “helpless girlfriend” trope, here immortal heroine Sersi’s helpless mortal boyfriend.
As far as Avengers go, Black Knight is one of the least physically powerful. But he’s a great fighter, especially with a sword, who’s in excellent shape for a human. Oh, and he can ride a horse really well.
The real mystery of the post-credits scene comes at the very end when an unidentified voice asks, “Sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?”
What voice? Who? Where? Or maybe ... when?
The scene ends immediately after Dane hears those words; the voice goes by too quickly for positive identification. However ...
While theories have ranged from Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury to Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror, Fandom.com reports that “Eternals” director Chloé Zhao confirmed to the site that the voice is none other than Mahershala Ali. The two-time Oscar-winning actor was announced in 2019 as the star of the MCU’s upcoming version of Blade the Vampire Slayer (he of the 1998-2004 Wesley Snipes films). According to Fandom’s Eric Goldman, Zhao told him, “That was the voice of one of my favorite superheroes, Mr. Blade himself. Blade, Blade, Blade, yeah!”
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The site also reports that Harington told it, “It’s really cool. [Chloé] texted me about that a couple of weeks ago and it sort of blew my mind. I didn’t know that that would be the case, so it’s pretty exciting for me.”
The Times has reached out to Disney for comment.
Blade is a half-human, half-vampire “day walker” who first appeared in “The Tomb of Dracula” No. 10 (1973). Despite his half-bloodsucker lineage, per his nickname, he’s no friend to the vampire; hence the appropriateness of a possible alliance between him and the wielder of the Ebony Blade.
How the Black Knight fits into Blade’s MCU adventures, we can’t know yet (“A Boy and His Blades”?). But if that cuts deep, knowing you’ll have to wait for the reveal in a future Marvel movie, take heart: It’s only a flesh wound.
An ensemble cast including Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden and Kumail Nanjiani leads the sci-fi Marvel Universe entry ‘Eternals,’ from Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao.
1:38 p.m. Nov. 5, 2021: This story has been updated to include the Fandom.com report that the mystery voice is supplied by Mahershala Ali as the Marvel character Blade.
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