Believe it or not, we’re already moving into Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though at this stage with new Disney+ shows popping up every few months, Cinematic doesn’t do the name justice. Phase 4 is already picking up momentum, with the streaming success of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, soon to be followed by the long-delayed Black Widow, premiering on 9 July, subsequently, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on 3 September.
But there’s actually another major movie on its way come as the ensemble film Eternals lands 5 November. While we’ve seen brief teases of this film in the recent Phase 4 sizzle reel, and Marvel President Kevin Feige has nothing but praise for newly minted Academy Award winning director Chloe Zhao for her “spectacular vision” to the heavens above, little is known about the upcoming movie, other than it stars the likes of Angelina Jolie, Selma Hayek and Gemma Chan, in her second MCU role. Oh, and the new trailer just dropped.
Let’s take a dive into all you need to know about Marvel’s Eternals before it hits the cinemas.
This might come as a shock but, The Eternals were loosely brought over from DC. Here’s how and why.
The Eternals were created by the legendary Jack Kirby, who fun fact, also co-created Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Black Panther and helped lay the foundations of the entire Marvel Comics Universe, and to an extent the Marvel Cinematic Universe where we comic book nerds get to see the happenings in the comics brought to life.
Kirby later left Marvel Comics to join rival DC Comics as he felt that he wasn’t adequately credited for his contributions. There, he wove his own science-fiction mythology centred on the New Gods and introduced characters like Darkseid, Mister Miracle and Justice League villain Steppenwolf, to the DC Universe.
When Kirby eventually returned to Marvel, he brought back the same concept and idea and created another league of superpowered mythical beings inspired by DC’s New Gods who are at war with their dark reflection. Those beings? The Eternals.
The Eternals are a fictional race of humanoids made by the Celestials, powerful extraterrestrial cosmic beings who visited Earth one million years ago to perform genetic experiments. In the process of making the long-lived Eternals, the Celestials also made genetically unstable and monstrously grotesque Deviants. The Celestials also experimented on other planets and created the Kree and Skrull, but that’s another story.
The Eternals were left on Earth as they were intended to be the defenders of Earth and to continue on with the mutation with normal human beings. However, they rarely had contact with their human cousins due to their ability to live a long life, only descending down from their high mountains to do what they were made to do – defend humans.
The Eternals generally protected the human race from dangers and evils, especially from the Deviants who primarily sought to conquer other races.
In The Comics
The Eternals had their own comic book series back in 1985, and a one-shot comic called New Eternals: Apocalypse amongst multiple appearances across Thor and other series across the 2000s.
Due to their more… enlightened origins, The Eternals aren’t as mainstream as other Marvel Comcs characters, and the comic’s main contribution to the wider Marvel universe is probably the Celestials who later become a bigger part of the Avengers storyline. The extent of that storyline didn’t go for long as it seemingly killed off the last remaining Eternals.
The Eternals’ saga mainly centered on prominent members of the Deviants like Kro, Head Priest Ghaur, and former Deviant Monarch Brother Tode and their eventual defeat. Instead of establishing the group of supers, The Eternals seemed to set up the Deviants as a formidable group of villains against themselves, the Avengers, and the wider universe. The most recognisable character in the current MCU that is of Eternal-heritage and mutation is supervillain Thanos, who terrorised the Earth and its heroes in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Like the X-Men or Inhumans, there are alot of Eternals as seen by the upcoming movie’s cast list. In the comics, the three main characters to pay attention to are Ikaris, Makkari and Sersi.
Ikaris was the first Eternal introduced and is the superhero archetype of straight-arrow team leader. Think Captain America or Superman, especially the latter as Ikari flies around in a blue, red, and yellow costume and battles villains with his eye beams.
Makkari is a traditional Flash-style speedstar. If you got somewhere to be – and quick – then he’s your guy. Last, and certainly not least, is Sersi.
Sersi is a party animal and an empath who loves being around humans and can manipulate matter. She often goes on adventures that encompass time travel and multiple alt-universe boyfriends. She even shared eagerness to jump Captain America’s bones and is the only Eternals member to have served as an Avenger. In an interview, Feige shared that Sersi is the main character of the Marvel movie, so we can expect big things from this scarlet.
The Eternals basically won the lottery when it comes to human genetics. They all have shared powers like being able to live for a very long time, incredible strength and the ability to fly (or levitate in others) amongst others. Each Eternal also has their own unique powers that can vary from projecting blasts of energy from their eyes and hands, generate illusions, control minds, generate force fields as well as transport.
Here’s a condensed list of what each of these beings can do:
- Thena can form a weapon out of cosmic energy.
- Ikaris has eye beams and superhuman strength.
- Kingo can project cosmic energy from his hands.
- Makkari has superspeed. She is also the first deaf superhero in an MCU film.
- Phastos is an intelligent cosmic-powered inventor. He is also the first superhero to be depicted as gay in an MCU film.
- Ajak is a healer and can communicate with Celestials.
- Sprite can project lifelike illusions.
- Gilgamesh is the strongest Eternal and can project an exoskeleton of cosmic energy
- Sersi can manipulate matter.
- Druig can control minds.
Whilst not an Eternal, Dane Whitman aka The Black Knight is expected to appear in the movie as a human warrior who wields a mystical sword. He will be played by Game of Thrones alum, Kit Harington.
The Eternals may not be popular Marvel characters that you grow up reading in comic books, but the upcoming Eternals movie serves star power unlike any other. Featuring some of the best of Hollywood, Eternals has big names attached to the project and has an incredibly diverse cast, with some playing identities that haven’t been featured in the MCU.
Angelina Jolie as Thena
Thena is a second-generation Eternal played by Angelina Jolie. She is the eldest daughter of Zuras, leader of the Eternals of Earth, and Cybele. Although she has lived for over 4,000 years, Thena is still considered a young woman by Eternal standards. At her birth, she was named Azura in honor of her father, Zuras.
Richard Madden as Ikaris
Ikaris possesses the conventional abilities of the Eternals of Earth and is played by Richard Madden. He is virtually immune to injury, and can regenerate his entire body if need be. He is also immune to disease, aging, and extreme temperatures.
Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo
Not much is known about Kingo’s early life beyond his origin from a settlement of Eternals from Hokkaido. Kingo presumably has all the typical powers of Eternals: near-immortality, super-strength, flight, energy projection, and molecular manipulation. However, he eschews the use of these powers in battle, preferring to fight in the traditional manner of the Samurai. The Samurai Eternal is played by Kumail Nanjiani.
Lauren Ridloff as Makkari
Makkari is the fastest Eternal known to exist. Over the years, Makkari has altered his physical features over the years, including alterations to his pigmentation, hair, eye colour and musculature. In the movie, Lauren Ridloof will be playing Makkari.
Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
Played by Brian Tyree Henry, little has been revealed about the Eternal named Phastos. He had served as a master technologist for the Eternals of Earth and had created numerous weapons and inventions for them. It was Phastos who forged the sword of the Eternal Kingo.
Salma Hayek as Ajak
Ajak is an Eternal who is a brilliant archaeologist and skilled wrestler. Ajak possesses the conventional powers of the Eternals, including superhuman strength, complete control over the atoms of his body allowing him to regenerate after any injury. He has the ability to project cosmic energy from his eyes or hands in the form of heat, light or concussive force, teleportation, flight at the speed of sound and the ability to rearrange the molecular structure of objects. Ajak is played by Salma Hayek.
Lia McHugh as Sprite
Sprite he can change his physical appearance and apparent age, but will always be mentally a child, and be treated as such by other Eternals. Sprite is thought to have been born around 1000 years ago, though he has claimed to be millions of years old. Lia McHugh will be bringing Sprite to life.
Don Lee as Gilgamesh
Played by Don Lee, Gilgamesh is the Eternal most often known as “the Forgotten One”. Having held many names over the centuries, but his true name remains a mystery. He quested for eternal life unaware that he was actually a member of the race of Eternals.
Kit Harington as Dane Whitman
Dane Whitman, also known as the Black Knight is played by Kit Harington. Dane was summoned by his uncle when he was mortally wounded following a battle with Iron Man. On the way to England, Dane was contacted by the spirit of his ancestor Sir Percy of Scandia, the original Black Knight, in a similar way that his uncle had. Whitman proved worthy of pulling the Ebony Blade out of its scabbard. With it, he defeated the demonic guardian of the sword and, afterward, Le Sabre, a modern-day agent of Sir Percy’s enemy, Mordred.
Gemma Chan as Sersi
Sersi is a party animal and an empath who loves being around humans and can manipulate matter. Sersi became a famous entertainer in New York, hosting parties at her loft for film stars, super heroes and other influential people. She often entertained with her powers, which her normal human guests believed to be stage magic. The main character of the Eternals movie, Sersi is played by Gemma Chan.
Barry Keoghan as Druig
Played by Barry Keoghan, Druig is one of the virtually immortal Eternals. Druig has sought personal power at the expense of others for millennia. Druig helped his fellow Eternals battle the Deviants, who had conquered much of Earth before turning on the Eternals. Though his fellow Eternals disliked Druig, they recognise his lethal skills, as he is seemingly the only one of them who enjoyed slaughtering Deviants.
Other cast members include Haaz Sleiman as Phastos’ husband, Ozer Ercan as a smuggler and Jashaun St. john, Zain Al Rafeea and Harish Patel cast in undisclosed roles.
The Eternals movie is directed by Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao and is expected to premiere on 5 November 2021.
Whilst not much else is known about the film’s plot and synopsis, Eternals will finally bring The Eternals to the spotlight and have them reunite once again to battle the evil Deviants.