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Black Knight's Ebony Blade Explained

Chloe Zhao's "Eternals" has finally arrived in theaters, and fans have finally been introduced to a whole team of new heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But one of the new characters comes with a wealth of backstory which could be fascinating to see on the big screen. In a film crammed with ancient superheroes, giant Celestials, and disturbing Deviants, one character that has many people intrigued is Kit Harington's Dane Whitman. In the comics, Dane is known as the Black Knight who infamously weilds the Ebony Blade. Although he doesn't get to suit up in "Eternals," the film does set the stage for his superheroic alter-ego by the end of the adventure.

Like most Marvel weapons, the Ebony Blade has a lengthy history in the comics, as it's been passed down through the Whitman family for several generations. The weapon's backstory ties into British mythology, which is also briefly referenced in "Eternals." And although the blade doesn't get much screen time in "Eternals", director Chloé Zhao makes sure to spotlight its importance — and it'll clearly have a bigger part to play in the MCU if the second post-credits scene is anything to go by.

But what exactly is the Ebony Blade? Where does it come from? What can it do? Here's Black Knight's Ebony Blade, explained.

The Ebony Blade's magical ties to the Starstone and Excalibur

Way back in "Marvel Super-Heroes" #17, Marvel Comics introduced the Ebony Blade as a way of exploring Dane Whitman's backstory. The spirit of Sir Percy, the first Black Knight, explains to his descendent Dane Whitman that he's worthy of wielding the Ebony Blade. The blade was crafted from the Starstone, a meteor discovered by the ancient wizard, Merlin, who works with Sir Percy to fashion the black ore from the meteor into a number of weapons.  

Aside from the blade, they also created an Ebony Dagger, Ebony Chalice, and an Ebony Shield. The Starstone material has mystical properties, which means the user is directly connected to the indestructible weapon, in a similar way to Thor and his hammer Mjölnir. However, the person teleports to the blade, rather than the blade flying towards the owner like Mjölnir. After all, a sword flying through the air sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Merlin intended the blade to be used as a dark counterpart to another legendary weapon: Excalibur. Sir Percy even wielded the Ebony Blade and Excalibur together during Medieval times. Comic readers will know that Excalibur is closely tied with a fellow British hero, Captain Britain. Although, sorry U.K. fans, Brian Braddock doesn't show up in "Eternals," and hasn't been announced as a character in an upcoming MCU project.

The Curse of the Ebony Blade

Like most magic in the Marvel universe, there's a downside to the Ebony Blade. It can only be used by someone of "inpure of heart" (via Fandom) although it's clear that's not always the case since heroes like Captain Britain, Black Panther, and Valkyrie have all used the blade at one point or another. There's also a curse on the Ebony Blade, which isn't exactly ideal. It was cursed by Merlin when the blade was first created as a way of covering up his own secrets. Whoever wields it slowly becomes corrupted by the weapon, as it brings out their inner demons and pushes them to indulge in violence. After a while, the person wielding the blade transforms into a being called Bloodwraith.

The Merlin revelation is a recent addition to the sword's lore, thanks to the "King in Black" event in the comics. The story sees the Symbiote God, Knull, come to Earth in his attempt to wipe out all life in the universe. Dane Whitman has often struggled with an internal darkness, believing it to just be a side-effect of the sword, and Knull reveals that Dane has an impure heart. The villain also explains that it's a symbiotic weapon, which explains why it draws out the user's inner turmoil. Thankfully, the hero decides to channel his darkness to fight Knull instead of succumbing to it, and the weapon wraps him in a layer of misty armor.

Following the "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" post-credits scene that teased the alien symbiote's entry to the MCU, it's not impossible that Knull could also make his way into the MCU at some point. Maybe one day the Symbiote God will do battle against Kit Harington's Black Knight and the Ebony Blade.