Marvel's Eternals might be the the studio's next best attempt at winning a major Oscar.
The third entry in the MCU's Phase 4 slate is set to be released in November and, given those involved in its production and its beautiful looking cinematography (you can see more in the trailer below), we suspect that it could follow in Black Panther's footsteps and earn an Oscar Best Picture nomination.
Created by the legendary Jack Kirby (the artist behind many of Marvel’s most famous heroes and villains), the Eternals are a group of ancient superpowered beings. Previously residents of the planet Titan (Thanos' home world), the Eternals relocated to Earth in a bid to protect humanity from their archrivals – the Deviants – and the Celestials, the cosmic entities that apparently created the universe and judge its various species accordingly.
While the MCU has told plenty of space-faring tales before, this ensemble movie feels like new territory for Marvel. With its ambitious source material, an impressive cast and an exciting young award-winning writer-director at the helm in Chloé Zhao (Nomadland, The Rider), there’s plenty to get excited about.
If you're looking for everything worth knowing about the Marvel movie, we've got you covered. Below, you'll find out more about Marvel's Eternals, including its release date, trailer, cast, plot and more.
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Cut to the chase
- What is it? Marvel's Eternals is the story of a group of ancient immortal beings who have protected Earth's human population from the Deviants and Celestials for millennia.
- Where can I see it? Marvel's Eternals will be released in theaters worldwide.
- When can I watch it? Marvel's Eternals is scheduled for release internationally on November 5, 2021.
Marvel's Eternals release date: November 2021
Having originally been slated for November 2020, the Eternals’ theatrical debut has been pushed back to November 5, 2021. This is the film's second coronavirus-induced delay, with the first initially pushing the film back to February 2021.
This comes as part of a wider Disney scheduling rejig: Marvel's Eternals will follow Black Widow (which has already been released) and Shang-Chi (coming in September), which were also delayed until this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marvel's Eternals trailer: get your first look at the film
Marvel's Eternals' teaser trailer was released on May 24, and the sheer size and scope of Chloe Zhao's debut superhero flick makes it look like it could a serious awards contender in 2022.
Check out the official teaser trailer for Marvel's Eternals below:
If you thought that the first trailer for Marvel's Eternals was vague, there's a reason for that.
Asad Ayaz, Disney Studios' Head of Marketing, recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about a myriad of topics, including the Eternals' trailer that was released in May.
Answering a question regarding upcoming MCU TV series like Hawkeye, Asad went on to discuss the secretive nature of the Marvel's Eternals teaser, saying that it was a deliberate ploy on Disney and Marvel's part so there would be more for the companies to show later down the line.
"It’s just an introduction to the characters and tone," Asad said. "It was a very, very early tease. We have so much more to do on that.
"We will be very judicious because we do have other films and shows prior to Eternals hitting. And Eternals is such a special movie with all-new characters, and we have two Marvel movies prior to that. So that gives us an advantage in using those to expose people more to Eternals, but also spacing things out."
Marvel's Eternals cast: who is playing who?
Marvel's Eternals has an absolutely stacked cast. Whisper it quietly, but it has a bunch of A-list actors to rival any of the Avengers movies. You can see why we say that by looking at the confirmed cast list below:
- Gemma Chan as Sersi
- Richard Madden as Ikaris
- Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo
- Lia McHugh as Sprite
- Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
- Lauren Ridloff as Makkari
- Barry Keoghan as Druig
- Don Lee as Gilgamesh
- Kit Harington as Dane Whitman/Black Knight
- Salma Hayek as Ajak
- Angelina Jolie as Thena
There are some huge names attached to this movie but, perhaps surprisingly, the likes of Jolie and Madden aren't the main stars of Marvel's Eternals.
That role is reserved for Chan (Humans, Raya and the Last Dragon), who MCU fans will recognize as Minn-Erva from Captain Marvel. As Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Variety in April: "If there was a lead in this ensemble, it is Sersi, it is Gemma Chan", so expect Chan's empathetic Sersi to be the 'lead', if Marvel's Eternals has to have one.
As for what superpowers each Eternal possesses, it's a broad list.
Sersi, who masquearades as a museum curator whilst on Earth, can manipulate matter, while Madden's Ikaris possesses superhuman flight, strength and the ability to fire energy beams from his eyes. Think Superman, and you'll be on the right track.
Nanjiani's Kingo can project cosmic projectiles from his hands, McHugh's Sprite is an illusionist, and Ridloff's Makkari has superhuman speed.
Henry's Phastos is the Eternals' inventor, Druig (Keoghan) has mind control capabilities, Lee's Gilgamesh can project an exoskeleton of cosmic armor, Ajak (Hayek) is the group's healer and Jolie's Thena can form a weapon of her choice out of cosmic energy.
Finally, Harington's Whitman possesses a mystical sword that grants him the powers of the Black Knight – a superhuman individual who is resistant to magic, is an expert swordsman and a gifted tactician.
ICYMI: Take a look at the new poster for Marvel Studios' #Eternals! https://t.co/X3xib5A59nMay 24, 2021
Away from the film's main cast, Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor) will portray Phastos' husband and Ozer Ercan will play a smuggler.
Meanwhile, Gil Birmingham (The Twilight Saga), Jashaun St. John (Songs My Brothers Taught Me) and Zain Al Rafeea (Capernaum) have all been cast in undisclosed roles.
Finally, Harish Patel (Run Fatboy Run) will play a character called Karun, Lucia Efstathiou portrays an unnamed student and Brenda Lorena Garcia has been cast as an unnamed Babylon village per the film's IMDB page.
We know of one Eternals villain who will appear in the MCU movie – Kro – but it's unclear if any of the above names will portray him on screen.
Lastly, rumors have emerged that singer-songwriter and actor Harry Styles (Dunkirk) will appear in the movie. Take this with a massive pinch of salt for now, though, as it's mostly online speculation at this point.
Marvel's Eternals: who are these cosmic superheroes?
The Eternals emerged from the mind of Jack Kirby, the individual who co-created Marvel royalty like Captain America, Fantastic Four, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and the X-Men. Having made the New Gods for DC, Kirby was clearly taken with the idea of immortal, god-like individuals, so mined a similar premise when he returned to Marvel in the 1970s.
The Eternals made their comic book debut in July 1976, though the series was not a commercial success and was cancelled before Kirby’s storylines were resolved. The characters have appeared at various times over the subsequent decades – including a notable crossover with Thor – and had arguably their most successful run when Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. gave the Eternals a seven-issue reboot in 2006.
So who are they? Although they look human, the Eternals are actually immortal humanoids from outer space who’ve lived on Earth for thousands of years.
Like the X-Men, they all have their own unique abilities but – in a Power Rangers/Voltron-like twist – they can combine to form a powerful entity known as a Uni-Mind. We got a glimpse of this melding of minds in the movie's teaser trailer, so we suspect that it'll to be shown in more detail this November.
The Eternals generally use their powers for good, and every superhero group needs an antagonistic team to go up against. That position is reserved for the Deviants, a rival race who, unlike the Eternals, are abnormal creatures due to the genetic mutation they possess.
Eternals is gonna be another masterpiece from Marvel & I’m so glad that Chloé Zhao got a major blockbuster after her phenomenal work on Nomadland! Gemma Chan & Angelina Jolie are gonna be so badass! This movie is gonna be groundbreaking as we have a Deaf actress & a Gay leader! pic.twitter.com/EoxDETv2ciMay 24, 2021
No two Deviants are the same and, while they have their own superhuman abilities (such as fire breathing, matter manipulation and shapeshifting), they're looked down upon by the Eternals and the two groups' creators in the Celestials. As such, the Deviants have grown to become very jealous of their immortal counterparts – so much so that a war has waged between the two factions for millennia by this point.
We've already seen a Deviant appear in the MCU before in the form of Thanos. Given how he was key to the events that unfolded in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, it's unsurprising that the Eternals have finally decided to show their faces.
As for who the Celestials are, these are ancient cosmic beings who, in effect, created the Marvel universe. They have the ability to create and destroy life as they seem fit, and are the individuals behind the birth of the Eternals, Deviants and Humans.
Incidentally, we've seen the Celestials make brief cameos in other MCU flicks.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1, we were given two glimpses of this cosmic group. The first is when the Guardians traveled to the city of Knowhere, which was built in the remains of a dead Celestial's skull.
The second, meanwhile is when the Collector shows the Guardians what the Power Stone actually is. During that sequence, it was Eson the Searcher who used the Power Stone to destroy an unknown planet and its dominant species – something the Celestials are known to regularly do in the comics in a process known as a Host Event.
Later, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it's revealed that Ego, Star-Lord's father, is a Celestial, too – though he takes the form of a planet, rather than something that looks more humanoid-esque.
Marvel's Eternals: where does it fit in the MCU timeline?
While Black Widow is set after Captain America: Civil War, but before Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel's Eternals takes place after Avengers: Endgame.
As the movie’s official synopsis reveals: “Marvel Studios’ The Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants”.
Little is know about the movie's plot beyond that, but it seems that Thanos' universe-spanning genocidal plan was enough to convince the Eternals to come out of hiding. We know that there will be other Deviants (and potentially cosmic threats) ready to try and conquer Earth in the aftermath of Endgame, so someone has to step up and save the day in the Avengers' absence.
Speaking to GQ about his first superhero outing, Richard Madden hinted at what Marvel fans can expect when the film arrives later this year.
Of Ikaris and Sersi's relationship, Madden said it would be “a through-the-ages love story”, which is something that the movie's teaser trailer heavily hints at.
Away from that, though, what else will Marvel's Eternals bring to the MCU (or Marvel Cinematic Multiverse)?
"[It's] above just another superhero movie," Madden told GQ. "It’s about, ‘OK, so how do they interact with the world now, when they’ve done everything?’. What are these people like? And what do they value and care about? What doesn’t affect them?
"We [Marvel] have done that classic thing, so it’s now about how do we make it more interesting? I’m hoping we have done that with Eternals. The Marvel Universe keeps changing and elevating and growing and I really think we’re doing something that they’ve not done yet."
Marvel's Eternals is a welcome new chapter for the MCU
Marvel can afford to take a few risks in the wake of Endgame, and you can expect Marvel's Eternals to have a similar balance of comedy and drama as any other MCU picture – something that was certainly on show in the movie's teaser trailer.
Like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, you might need to see it in action to truly understand why these characters are appealing, but history shows that Feige and company have form at introducing new sides to the MCU.
That extends to greater inclusivity in the MCU, too. Marvel's Eternals will star the first openly gay superhero in Henry's Phastos, while Lauren Ridloff (Makkari) is the first deaf actor to appear in a Marvel movie.
Marvel has drawn criticism in the past for its predominantly white, male superhero lineup, so it's promising to see improved diversity and representation in Marvel's Eternals.
In an interview with Vogue, Jolie revealed that Marvel's "commitment to expand the way we see 'superheroes'" was key to her signing onto the movie, while Hayek told Variety that Marvel's Vice-President of Film Production Victoria Alonso was eager for the studio to represent more people in its movies moving forward. Marvel's Eternals, then, will be unlike any previous MCU film we've seen before.
Ultimately, we can't wait for it to arrive either. With its A-list cast, Zhao's vision and the backing of Disney, Marvel Studios could be onto another ensemble movie winner with Marvel's Eternals – and it wouldn't be a surprise to see it win a few awards next year as a result.
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