On Friday afternoon, Deadline ran a hilariously skimpy report that Kit Harington would be joining the MCU, offering no details or even vague options of what he could be doing. During D23 his involvement was confirmed when it was announced he would be joining The Eternals as Dane Whitman, aka the Black Knight. Barry Keoghan and Gemma Chan are also suiting up—Chan we knew was coming from a previous report—making this Marvel’s biggest ensemble that wasn’t involved in the time heist. Chan is interesting, as she is the first person to play two major roles in the MCU. Alfre Woodard double-dipped, but she went from a cameo in Captain America: Civil War to playing the villain on Luke Cage (and it is debatable if the folks at Marvel Studios ever really considered the Netflix shows part of the MCU). Chan’s role in Captain Marvel wasn’t big, but it wasn’t a cameo, either. I like this flexibility from Marvel, especially since they do tend to stuff even the smallest roles with name actors. Eventually, they will start cannibalizing their roster like this.
Chan will be playing Sersi, an Eternal with affection for humanity. I thought this would be Angelina’s role originally, as Sersi is one of the most prominent Eternals in the comics. She hops in and out of various superhero groups, so Chan could potentially land in future Avengers films. Harington, too, could land in Avenger movies because Black Knight is another character who hangs out with different crews. After Deadline’s hasty reporting, the internet talked itself into Harington playing Wolverine, never mind that he would be a terrible Wolverine, and felt let down by the announcement that he is playing Black Knight instead. (Also, it will be years before Marvel revives the X-Men, so slow your roll, internet.) But this is a great character for Harington. Dane Whitman is a good guy who inherits a hero mantle sullied by his uncle’s villainous reputation, so he struggles to fit in with the Avengers, who assume the worst of him. He also has a flying horse and a cursed sword, he’s a little bit hapless, and he’s a dimension-hopper, so while he’s playing support in The Eternals, Harington could end up involved in Marvel’s multiverse expansion pack.
The career strategy is also interesting. For a decade now, Harington has had job stability with Game of Thrones, and with that over, he’s turned around and found another entertainment behemoth to provide him with that stability. I’ve heard that these days, Marvel isn’t letting anyone in without a six-picture deal, so Harington could be busy for another decade, easy. We often talk about television as a source of security film doesn’t provide, but Marvel has essentially built that kind of job security into their film franchise. And on the acting side, this is a chance for Harington to play against type. Dane Whitman might be referred to as a knight, but he’s so beleaguered and pretty much every time he tries to do something it goes wrong (Lainey: oh, so like Jon Snow? Jon and Robb reunion!), he’s hardly your typical vision of a legendary knight. Harington should be doing more comedy anyway, and this could be an opportunity to play a fantastical hero type and actually have fun with it. This is a far better prospect for Harington than Wolverine, the internet was nuts to even entertain that thought.