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Kit Harington's Eternals character loves Sersi, so don't worry about Jon and Cersei
The Game of Thrones actor on playing Dane Whitman, a normal dude, in the new Marvel movie.
The Eternals are a group of immortal beings created by powerful cosmic entities known as Celestials and tasked with safeguarding and nurturing humanity over millennia. And then there's Kit Harington, who plays a normal human dude.
**This article contains mild spoilers for Marvel's Eternals.**
In contrast to the Eternals, Harington's Dane Whitman is just a mere mortal (though comics-readers might recognize the potential in his name.) When the movie begins, Dane is dating Sersi (Gemma Chan), an Eternal who is masquerading as a human in present-day London. This opening act — which constitutes the bulk of Harington's presence in the movie — is the most grounded part of Chole Zhao's dense, cosmic film, and Dane is a nice bit of normalcy that helps make the stakes matter. The Eternals need to save humanity, so why not kick things off with an especially charming and likable human?
SYFY WIRE spoke with Harington the day after the film's world premiere to talk about Dane's easy-going nature, working with Zhao, and why we shouldn't think it's weird that he and a fellow Game of Thrones co-star are both in love with a character whose name sounds like "Cersei." (The North remembers, but Harington says audiences should forget about all that.)
You're one of the only characters in this movie who is a normal human — though the post-credits scene changes that a bit. Even so, what was it like being a grounding, normalizing character in this one amidst all the cosmic Eternals stuff?
I enjoyed it. It was nice to start the movie off in a grounded way. You're right, along with Phastos' husband, I'm the only real human there is that you interact with. There's a responsibility to that, because if they're going to want to save humanity, you've got to like the guy who represents humanity. That was sort of my job in this movie. It took some pressure off, not being the center of the action.
And then when we're introduced to Dane, he's pretty chill about Sersei being an immortal "wizard." Can you talk about why Dane is so easy-going? It kind of makes sense for a character who has lived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be pretty unfazed by stuff like that by now.
I think it's exactly that. He lives in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's experienced everything that's happened that we've seen over the course of the however last many years. He's aware of superheroes, the Avengers, he knows that whole world. So when he has suspicions about Sersi, they are grounded in some sort of reality. That was something I asked Chloe. I was like "Wait a minute, how is he not more suspicious of this?" It's because he lives in a different world from us.
What was it like working with Chloe Zhao?
Great. I loved it. This movie was before she won the Oscar for Nomadland. She'd just finished working on Nomadland and was telling us about it on set, but already you could tell there was something really special. It doesn't take an award to realize that someone's a really special director. I knew she was a really special director from the first time I met her. She had a really special kind of passion for this that was really contagious.
Your character essentially sticks to London over the course of the movie. After years working on Game of Thrones, were you a little sad to not be traveling to those far-off location shoots, or was it a relief?
I shot maybe a 20-minute drive from my house. That, for me, was glorious. I was very happy. I was like "Wait, you're telling me that in a Marvel movie, we shoot 20 minutes from my house, on location?" And they're like "Yes." That was a big part of me wanting to take part in this.
Speaking of Game of Thrones, was it weird to be reunited with Richard Madden and have two Starks keep talking about how much they loved someone named Sersi of all names?
It's weird, that, isn't it? There's that strange odd crossover. I think that when coming to see this, you have to detach your brain from the idea of Jon and Robb. We're not those people. That's deep in the past now. And, actually, there isn't a huge amount we did together in Thrones. We're very close friends off-set, but we weren't on-set much together. So I think come to this with fresh eyes, I would say.
Eternals opens in theaters on Nov 5.