Where there is good, there is bad. Where there is light, there is dark. So when the Eternals come out of the shadows after hiding away from or amongst humanity, the Deviants rise up.
The battle of good vs evil makes for a good story, whether it’s superheroes vs. villains or you vs. a tightly sealed jam jar. But how does “bad” come into existence? Were they born bad? Or were they made bad? Every individual has an origin story, here’s the Deviants’.
The Deviants, just like the Eternals, were created by the Celestials – all-powerful beings who enjoy going from planet to planet and experimenting with life and creation. The Celestials finally arrived on Earth and began exploring and experimenting with primates and from these experiments, they created three new races: humans, Eternals, and Deviants.
Now humans are considered genetically balanced beings, whilst Eternals are genetically powered beings that are stereotypically attractive and powerful.
Deviants, on the other hand, are deemed abnormal and mutated. No two Deviants are alike, and some have pink or green skin, while others have pointy ears, but the point is that they will at least have one physical cosmetic mutation. And whether they are extremely mutated or abnormal, Deviants are referred to as ‘mutates’, and can possess superhuman abilities, though their powers aren’t as powerful as the Eternals’.
Deemed lesser beings due to their changing DNA and mutations, Deviants often became a delicacy for the Celestials to feast upon during their Earthly visits, driving most of the Deviants underground. The treatment of Deviants later caused them to resent the Eternals and the Celestials.
The Deviants were first introduced in Marvel Comics’ The Eternals #1 by Jack Kirby in July 1976 but despite his fame, The Eternals comic series line didn’t last very long. However, by the time the series reached its end, the Deviants had made several appearances in other comics, including The Avengers and Thor, which sealed their popularity. The Deviants never had their own standalone comic series, and often played villains and enemies against the Eternals, Avengers and other heroes.
In the comics, prominent members of the Deviants include Lemuria warlord Kro, a Deviant who is also the ex-lover of the Eternals’ Thena, Deviant Head Priest Ghaur, and former Deviant Monarch Brother Tode, who was killed by the Eternals. There are also other hybrid Deviants, such as Deviant-Inhuman Maelstrom, who are major threats to the Eternals and other Marvel heroes due to the cross-species abilities they possess.
And since no two Deviants look alike, each Deviant has its own individual combination of abilities thanks to the species’ rapid mutation rate. For example, Kro is functionally immortal which means he can be killed but does not age or become afflicted by disease. He can also shapeshift with limits. On the other hand, Brother Tode heals quickly and is extremely strong.
Apart from giving them special abilities, the Deviants’ mutating genes also created offshoot races or species that later separate themselves from the Deviants, and formed a society or community of their own.
An example are the Skrulls. Yes, those shapeshifting Skrulls. Born from a Deviant branch gene, the Skrulls became a separate species on their own, where they not only developed their own Skrull language, but also dialects including Tligi and Frti too. The Skrulls also have a religion known as D’ardvan, or the ‘True Faith’ and they even have their own belief in a version of Hell.
Why is this important? Although the Deviants have not made their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut, the appearance of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel serves as a launch platform, and gives a good idea of how Deviants are like.
That’s not to say that the MCU follows Marvel Comics completely, as in the comics, Thanos is an Eternal/Deviant hybrid. His purple skin and scarred face are indicators of his Deviant lineage, and the fact that the Titan is unstoppable and possesses numerous superpowers and is powerful enough to wield the Infinity Stones points to his Eternal bloodline too.
The MCU never delved into Thanos’ heritage or labelled him as an Eternal or a Deviant, and neither did it acknowledge Thanos’ comic book history, but the single line in the trailer, of Eternals being prohibited to act against anyone not a Deviant, implies that Thanos is neither an Eternal nor a Deviant.
But it also tells us that Thanos, being the purple sword-wielding person he is, is a force to be reckoned with. With the Deviants being significantly stronger and bigger than Thanos, the Eternals movie is bound to have an epic fight scene between the new band of superheroes and the villains.
Based on the Eternals trailer, the Deviants will be the primary antagonists in the movie and that Kro will likely play the largest role. With the Avengers disbanded following the events of Endgame, it would make sense that the Deviants would emerge once again to attempt to take over the Earth, or plan for some sort of revenge against the Celestials.
Their emergence would force the Eternals out of hiding because someone has to protect the Earth and us puny humans, right? With a rich and complicated history and reasoning for their creation, it’ll be interesting to see how Eternals will explore who the Deviants are, why they were created and most importantly, if they are anything like their comic book counterparts.
Marvel’s Eternals premieres on 5 November 2021.