Directed by Chloe Zhao in her Marvel debut, written by Zhao with Kaz Firpo and Ryan Firpo, and based on the characters created by Jack Kirby, Eternals is about an alien race with godlike powers who have been shaping the destiny of humanity for aeons, and inspiring legends of gods and godesses. They have avoided being directly involved with Humankind all this time, but now all that’s going to change.
Trailers usually appear eight months before the release of a big budget film, sometimes even up to a year and a half. It’s less than six months until Eternals arrives in theaters, though, so we’re surprised it took this long to get a teaser out for the new film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Eternals are a race of immortals, granted their powers by the Celestials (Peter Quill of Guardians of the Galaxy is half-Celestial). The Celestials visited Earth a million years ago, and from genetic stock of early humans, created two races – the Eternals, and the genetically unstable and monstrously grotesque Deviants. These experiments also led to the capacity for super-powered mutations in humans – this was the genesis of all metahuman potential on our planet1.
Eternals stars Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, and Kit Harrington as Dane Whitman, also known as the Black Knight.
As is often the case when well-intentioned super-powered beings hang out on Earth without interfering, one might wonder why. Marvel head Kevin Feige hints at an explanation: he’s said that one character is married and has a family, and that Gemma Chan’s Sersi is “posing as a museum curator on Earth.”
In 2006, a mini-series written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by John Romita, Jr detailed the fact that all of the Eternals (but one) have no knowledge of their powers, their history, or who they are. They simply live their lives like the rest of humanity. That series explored the reconnection to their identities and originas. Could it be that the new film delves into this storyline? It would explain why the Eternals weren’t involved in the dramatic events of the past ten years.
The Eternals trailer also has an Easter Egg in it, in the tradition of Marvel Studios films. There’s a scene at the end which presumably takes place just after the funeral for Tony Stark, in which Ty Simpkins, who played Harley Keener in Iron Man 3, asks an important question: who will lead the Avengers now that both Captain America and Iron Man are gone?
Our response to this is more questions: why are the Avengers in a trailer about The Eternals, and what’s the connection? It must be important, or Marvel wouldn’t have done this.
Eternals will be in theaters November 5, 2021.
1In the DC Universe, this potential comes from the Source, hidden behind the Source Wall, and the Godwave that came from it.
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