The following post contains spoilers for the post-credits scene of Eternals.

The very last moment of Eternals is a mysterious off-screen voice speaking to Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman, warning him to make sure he’s ready before he picks up his cursed sword. Chloe Zhao has confirmed that unseen speaker is Mahershala Ali’s Blade, who’s yet to make his official Marvel Cinematic Universe debut. But according to Eternals screenwriters Ryan and Kaz Firpo, it wasn’t always a certainty that Ali and Blade would be the one to deliver that line.

Speaking to TheWrap, they said that there was “some discussion” about what Marvel character should be the one to warn Dane about the sword. They wouldn’t confirm or deny a rumor that Doctor Strange was one possibility, but Kaz Firpo did say “I think that once upon a time it may even been Sam [Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie], our new Cap” who would have been the one speaking to Dane.

As nice as it would be to see Sam Wilson taking a more central role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’m not sure he would have been the best candidate for the role, given his technology-based powers and his lack of experience with mystical armaments. Doctor Strange would have worked because a magic sword with a horrible curse is right in his wheelhouse. But Blade was good too, in part because it’s, y’know, a blade. Who better than him to talk about a sword? Plus he’s a character fans haven’t even met yet, which is the sort of very early teasing that Marvel fans love. They love to feel like there’s some massive plan unfolding before their eyes.

Frankly, whoever it was, it was nice just to get someone different than Nick Fury. At this point, him showing up after the credits to recruit someone or warn about a new threat has happened so many times it’s practically a cliche. Eternals is in theaters now.

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