TV & Movies

Everything To Know About Marvel’s Epic New Film Eternals

It takes place after the disastrous events that closed out 2019’s Avengers movie.

by Bustle Editors
Originally Published: 
Cast of 'Eternals.' Photo via Marvel Studios / YouTube
Marvel Studios / YouTube

Are you ready for Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? After three years in development and multiple release delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marvel Studios released the first official teaser for the highly-anticipated Eternals on May 24, and it looks epic — to say the least. Stacked with an A-list cast and crew of Marvel alumni and Oscar winners, the movie marks the 26th installment in the MCU and the third film in its planned Phase 4, following Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which premiere in July and September, respectively. Here’s everything we know about Marvel’s Eternals.

Marvel’s Eternals Plot & Trailer

The forthcoming Eternals film is based on a comic book series of the same name by the late famed artist Jack Kirby that follows a diverse crew of immortal aliens created by the Celestials that have been secretly residing on Earth for thousands of years. It follows the disastrous events that closed out 2019’s Avengers: Endgame and will see the extraterrestrial Eternals team up to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. (For the uninitiated, Thanos’s parents were Eternals, and he had the Deviant gene, which explains his unsavory appearance.)

Marvel Studios released the film’s first teaser trailer on May 24, and it sees the film’s high-profile cast arriving in an otherworldly spacecraft to Earth, where humans appear to be greatly distressed. “We have watched and guided. We have helped them progress and seen them accomplish wonders,” narrates actor Salma Hayek (as her character Ajak) in the clip. “Throughout the years, we have never interfered, until now.”

Perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the trailer is the Endgame Easter egg Sprite (Lia McHugh) drops when she asks who will lead the Avengers now that Captain Rogers and Iron Man are gone. Of course, this sets the stage for Anthony Mackie’s Captain America to inherit the responsibility after the Blip, which Twitter was delighted to see.

On Aug. 19, Marvel dropped the final Eternals trailer, and it addresses a lot of key questions, like the burning one for many MCU fans: Why couldn’t these powerful beings help the universe fend off Thanos? And what could they be fighting now that’s even more important?

As Ajak explains, the return of half of all life to the universe post-Blip “provided the necessary energy for the Emergence to begin,” seemingly referring to the unleashing of dangerous Deviants on the world. Later, Sersi (Gemma Chan) explains that the Eternals “were instructed” — apparently by the Celestials, who make their debut in the trailer — “not to interfere in any human conflicts unless Deviants were involved.”

Marvel’s Eternals Characters, Cast, & Crew

Fresh off her Best Director and Best Picture wins at the 2021 Oscars for Nomadland, filmmaker Chloé Zhao directed Eternals and wrote its screenplay alongside Patrick Burleigh. Produced by Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige as well as Nate Moore, the film features a slew of well-known actors, including Chan, who leads as Sersi after previously appearing in the MCU as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel. As Feige told Entertainment Weekly for an Aug. 18 cover story, Marvel “would have been shooting ourselves in the foot” to not cast Chan despite her past role in the franchise, citing Chris Evans’ separate turns as Fantastic Four’s Human Torch and the MCU’s Captain America as a similar case.

An empathetic Eternal, Chan’s character has been posing as a museum curator on Earth to hide her identity and ability to manipulate matter. She’s also been in love for centuries with Ikaris, played by Richard Madden. The Eternals’ clever leader, Ikaris is a triple threat: he has super strength, can fly, and projects cosmic energy beams from his eyes.

Also starring is Kumail Nanjiani, who notably transformed his physique in preparation for his role. The actor will play Kingo, an Eternal whose hands can project cosmic energy projectiles. He becomes a famous Bollywood actor in order to blend in on Earth, and Nanjiami recently told Men’s Health that he studied Die Hard character John McClane as well as real-life Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan for the part. “He loves it,” Nanjiani told Entertainment Weekly of his character’s charmed, high-profile lifestyle. “He loves fighting. He loves being a movie star. He can shoot beams out of his hands. There are no downsides to Kingo's life."

Appearing as Phastos, the first Marvel superhero to be depicted as openly gay onscreen, is Bryan Tyree Henry of FX’s Atlanta. His character is an Eternal and a wildly smart cosmic-powered inventor who secretly assists humans in technological advancements.

The warrior Thena, who can create weapons by using cosmic energy, is played by Angelina Jolie. In the Eternals teaser trailer, Jolie is golden-tressed, just as the superhero was in the comics. Her supernatural powers also include being able to fly and possessing otherworldly strength and speed. In 2019, Jolie told People that her children were happy to see their mom play a “strong” character. “I’m going to have to work very hard to give the Marvel Cinematic Universe the Thena they deserve,” she added.

Kit Harington’s character is Dane Whitman, a scientist who also becomes the Black Knight. According to Men’s Health, Harington will portray the third iteration of the Marvel character. (The first version of Black Knight was a sword-wielding “Medieval-era knight” also described as a “smart guy who’s really good at sword fighting.”) In the movie’s trailer, Harington shares the screen with Chan’s Sersi for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. Insider notes that Black Knight and Sersi become romantically involved in the comic books.

South Korean actor Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee) was announced as a cast member back in 2019, but the nature of his role was a secret at the time. Now, it’s known that the Train to Busan actor will make his American debut on the silver screen as Gilgamesh, otherwise known as the “strongest of the Eternals,” the “Forgotten One,” “Beowulf,” and “Hercules.” In the comics, Gilgamesh joins forces with the Avengers.

Barry Keoghan signed on to star in Eternals as Ikaris’ cousin, Druig, with the powers of “superhuman speed, accelerated healing, and teleportation.” The Dunkirk actor told Games Radar in 2020 that working on Eternals was a “pinch-me moment.” “It’s going to be special. If you’ve seen [director] Chloe Zhao’s [previous film] The Rider, just let your mind go to what she could do with the Eternals because she’s gonna nail it,” he said.

As previously noted, 13-year-old actor McHugh will appear as Sprite, an Eternal who appears to be 12 but is stronger and smarter than she looks, and she can project lifelike illusions. And Hayek stars as Ajax, originally known as a male figure in the Marvel comics. The Eternal was “worshipped by the Incans” and battled in the mythological Trojan War. After being buried in a tomb, Ajax was brought back to the living world from his slumber by Ikaris (Madden). Ajax’s main powers are being able to fly and teleport. Hayek wrote on Instagram that she was “excited” to play Ajax, “the mother of all Eternals.” She added, “It used to be the father of all Eternals, but girls... this is OUR time!!!!”

Like Hayek, Lauren Ridloff will also play an Eternal who is a male in the comics, Makkari. Makkari is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first deaf superhero and the “fastest Eternal known to exist.” Telepathy, the ability to cast low-level illusions, and molecular rearrangement are some of Makkari’s other strengths. If Ridloff’s name sounds familiar, that’s because she was introduced to fans of The Walking Dead as deaf survivor Connie in the series’ ninth season. (Ridloff’s parents discovered she was hard of hearing when she was 2 years old.)

Millie Bobby Brown was previously rumored to have been cast in Eternals, but the Stranger Things star, according to Screen Rant, was allegedly “never officially cast” in the movie. Brown’s name is absent from the EternalsIMDB page, and she’s nowhere to be seen in the trailer, so there’s a high chance she won’t make an appearance in the film.

What should viewers expect from the eclectic group? Some friendly chaos, according to Moore’s Entertainment Weekly statements. “It's a little bit like being on a road trip with nine of your closest friends for 7,000 years ... we joked that it's like if Tony Stark and Steve Rogers lived together for that long,” he said. “That friendship will turn into frenemies, and then turn into enemies, and then come back to friendship because you have that common bond. It's like a family.”

Marvel’s Eternals Premiere Date

Eternals is set for a theatrical release on November 5, 2021.

Reporting by Jack Irvin, Candace Cordelia Smith, and Grace Wehniainen.

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