We’re slowly starting to learn more about how the Marvel Cinematic Universe will look in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far from Home, as Marvel Studios moves ahead with its phase 4 plans — plans that include Eternals, which is slated to hit theaters November 5, 2021.
Set to be directed by Chloé Zhao (The Rider) from a script penned by Matthew and Ryan Firpo, Eternals will introduce a new pantheon of powerful heroes and villains to the MCU and already has some high-profile actors attached, including Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani. Here’s everything we know about Eternals.
As theaters open around the country and moviegoing becomes a thing again, Marvel released a somewhat self-celebratory sizzle reel hyping its movies both past and future. In it, we get our first glimpse of Eternals in action at around the 2:20 mark.
At least one Celestial
In the Eternals comics, Celestials are mysterious, giant cosmic space gods who are responsible for the Earth’s Eternals and Deviants races, who are nearly perpetually at war with one another. Every few thousand years, Celestials visit Earth as “Hosts” to observe, analyze, and pass judgment on Earth and its species. The latter may be especially important to the upcoming movie as promotional LEGOs reveal that Celestial Arishem the Judge will play a part in the story.
Arishem the Judge is an especially high-ranking Celestial, one with the authority to dictate the fate of entire planets. With one call to Exitar the Exterminator, he could terminate Earth entirely.
Holy shit pic.twitter.com/G2KQlIzuSJ
— Dylan | TheBrickPal (@RealBrickPal) December 29, 2020
Promotional artwork has hit Twitter, showing the entire Eternals team suited up and ready to go.
New Eternals promo art gives us a look at the Eternals in costumes! pic.twitter.com/xK5Mie4HJZ
— DailyMarvelFanatic (@DailyMarvelFan) November 4, 2020
New leaked 'Eternals' promo art reveals a new look at the costumed family. This gives also gives us a first look at the Thena's costume. ⠀
— The Geeky Nerdian (@thegeekynerdian) January 18, 2021
Additionally, a French activity book provides an even closer look at Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani).
Eternals promotion ✨ pic.twitter.com/YipjnsGaOl
— ETERNALS UPDATES (@ETERNALSnews) November 4, 2020
Merchandisers have also given us our first official descriptions of each character. Indian clothing company Redwolf recently released character descriptions for the film’s tie-in merchandise.
Who makes up the Eternals team you ask?
Ikaris is the tactical leader and most powerful Eternal and takes pride in keeping the other Eternals safe. Moral, kind, and charismatic, Ikaris boasts the power of incredible strength, flight, and the ability to project beams of intense cosmic energy from his eyes. When the monstrous Deviants return after centuries, Ikaris leads the charge to unite the scattered Eternals to stop the new threat. You bet we’ll have some Ikaris t-shirts available as well!
Sersi is the Eternal with an affinity for humanity. Sersi is as happy working as a museum curator as she is saving humans from the threat of the Deviants. Sersi has the ability to manipulate matter, changing the makeup of any non-sentient material she touches. She’s also been in love with Ikaris for centuries and helps him to recruit the Eternals for one last mission.
Ajak is the spiritual leader of the Eternals. Her wisdom has helped guide the team since they arrived here from their home planet to help defend humanity from the Deviants and to help humans advance to the modern civilization that they live in today. Ajak can not only heal humans and Eternals alike, but she is able to communicate with the Celestials as well.
Phastos is blessed with the power of invention. He is able to create whatever he can imagine provided that he has enough raw materials at his disposal. Over the centuries, Phastos has helped nudge humanity forward technologically while always keeping his brilliance hidden in the shadows.
Makkari is the fastest woman in the universe. She uses her cosmically-powered super-speed to scout planets for the Eternals, and as the only deaf Eternal, the sonic boom that accompanies her cosmic running does not affect her.
Phew, that’s only one half of the team that will feature on our Eternals t-shirts! The rest of the team includes:
Druig can use cosmic energy to control the minds of men. Druig has become withdrawn from the other Eternals because he disagrees with how they’ve interacted with mankind over the centuries. Aloof and powerful, at times it’s hard to determine whether he’s friend of foe.
Gilgamesh is the strongest and kindest member of the team. He becomes Thena’s de facto partner when the events of the past exile them from the rest of the team. Capable of projecting a powerful exoskeleton of cosmic energy, Gilgamesh is a fierce warrior who has become legendary for his fights with Deviants throughout history.
Thena, a fierce warrior more comfortable in battle than any other place, she has the ability to use cosmic energy to form any handheld weapon she can think of. Often surly and aloof, she forges an unlikely friendship with Gilgamesh that spans centuries.
Kingo is the Eternal with the power to project cosmic energy projectiles with his hands. Over the centuries, he has become enamored with the idea of fame. In present day, he’s a famous Bollywood star who must leave his life of wealth and celebrity to help the team repel the new Deviant threat.
And finally, Sprite — who appears to be a 12-year-old girl — Sprite has the ability to cast lifelike illusions. Her friendship with Sersi hides a world-weary sadness because she’s been treated like a child by humanity for centuries. But Sprite is much stronger and cleverer than she appears, which will come in handy as they battle with the Deviants.
First look at Kro
We’ve known for some time through the release of Eternals-related action figures that the Eternals’ existential foe, the Deviants, would play a role in the upcoming film. But now we have our first look at Kro, and it appears the MCU version of the character is a lot more sinister looking than in the comics. A shapeshifter by nature, Kro’s powers look somewhat akin to the Venom symbiote if the packaging is any indication. Plus, the packaging reveals he is a “harbinger for a global threat.”
First look at the villainous KRO in ETERNALS. pic.twitter.com/GFj5vPWwzJ
— ETERNALS UPDATES (@ETERNALSnews) October 3, 2020
New description of Kro in ‘ETERNALS’ ???? pic.twitter.com/fiv7npmBiD
— cosmic (@cosmic_marvel) October 3, 2020
The Deviants. pic.twitter.com/mEqkL2V2nG
— ETERNALS UPDATES (@ETERNALSnews) March 7, 2021
The release date
The coronavirus pandemic has delayed many big movies, leading to Disney shuffling its release schedule. Eternals was originally scheduled to premiere on November 6, 2020, but was bumped to make room for Black Widow, originally slated to release in May. The film was then pushed back to February 12, 2021, the date that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was previously scheduled for, only to be delayed again. Currently, Eternals is scheduled to hit theaters on November 5, 2021, more than a year after its original release date.
ETERNALS’ has been delayed & will now release on November 5, 2021! pic.twitter.com/IaDqbuwvO3
— ETERNALS UPDATES (@ETERNALSnews) September 23, 2020
When the film does hit theaters, it will be the second movie in Phase 4 of the MCU and the 25th film overall.
More Marvel romance
In addition to featuring the first openly gay couple in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, Eternals will have even more romantic intrigue. In an interview with Vanity Fair Italy, Gemma Chan confirmed that her character, Sersi, has a romantic history with both Ikaris (Richard Madden) and the Black Knight (Kit Harington).
“Specifically, it is the story of a group of immortal aliens, who arrived on Earth 7,000 years ago, so the plot takes place in a very long period of time,” Chan said. “Sersi is the one that has the most affinity with humans, indeed it is even involved in two love stories, an absolute novelty for Marvel events and one of the reasons that attracted me to this project.”
While not an absolute novelty for Marvel (see: Wanda and Vision), it does seem that Eternals will involve more super-human romances than previous films in the MCU.
Marvel’s first big-screen queer couple
In an interview with Logo, Haaz Sleiman revealed that he’s slated to play the man married to Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) in Eternals, making Phastos the first queer superhero to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Marvel’s first on-screen gay character appeared in television’s Runaways.)
Marvel President Kevin Feige has teased for some time that the MCU would have an openly gay character in an upcoming film. After initial reports that Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) would explore her bisexuality as she does in the comics in 2021’s Thor: Love & Thunder, Feige later clarified that the MCU’s first gay hero would arrive in Eternals.
Now, thanks to this interview, we know that character will be Phastos, one of the titular Eternals. Sleiman explained that the movie depicts what married life is like for the couple, who have a child together — some more semi-new ground for the MCU, which shocked audiences by revealing Hawkeye’s family in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Ah, superhero training. We’re not sure what kind of regimen is required to achieve a look like this, but we do know we’re probably not going to do it. Oscar nominee Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), who plays Eternals member Kingo in the film, showed off his new shredded body on Instagram as the film moves toward production. It’s obvious he’s taking his role as a new superhero/demigod seriously.
In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Nanjiani said he approached playing Kingo by portraying him how Nanjiani didn’t want him to be. “I approached him really as the opposite of the opportunities that I had gotten and the opportunities that a lot of other brown men traditionally get in Hollywood,” He explained. “I feel like we’re this group where we can be the model minority, so the smart nerds, or the exact opposite, terrorists, depending on what the project is. Those are the two ends of the spectrum that we occupy and very little in between. I’ve gotten to play a nerd, so I wanted this guy to be cool. I’ve played weaklings, so I wanted this guy to be strong. Brown men have had to play terrorists, so I wanted this guy to be full of joy. So, really, this character for me was defined by what I didn’t want him to be.”
Nanjiani is joined by a diverse and impressive cast for Eternals. Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie was the first familiar face to sign on. During Marvel Studios’ panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July 2019, it was revealed that Jolie will play Thena, a powerful Eternal who is known for her knowledge and fighting prowess and is similar to the Greek goddess Athena.
Eternals won’t be Jolie’s first foray into comic book movies. She previously starred in 2008’s Wanted, an adaptation of the comic of the same name, and has starred in various other action-packed sci-fi and fantasy films over the years, including the Tomb Raider franchise (based on the video games) and 2014’s Maleficent. This will be her first live-action film based on a superhero comic, though.
Richard Madden will play another lead character, Ikaris, who is a central figure in the film’s story and one of the most powerful Eternals. Madden is best known for playing Robb Stark on HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Along with Jolie, Madden, and Nanjiani, Eternals will star Train to Busan actor Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Oscar-nominated Frida star Salma Hayek as Ajak (the leader of the Eternals), The Walking Dead actress Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Atlanta actor Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, and Lia McHugh (The Lodge) as Sprite.
The Eternals is based on a world created by comics legend Jack Kirby in 1976. The Eternals are a species of powerful immortal beings created by the Celestials — the massive beings introduced in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie — as part of the latter’s evolutionary experiments on Earth eons ago. The Eternals were locked in a never-ending war with The Deviants, their similarly powerful, but destructive counterparts.
Acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman, along with artist John Romita Jr., penned a popular reboot of The Eternals that was first published in 2006 and brought the characters into the modern era of Marvel Comics. In the story, one of the Eternals — Ikaris — discovers that he had his memory erased at some point and that he and his fellow Eternals and the Deviants have been living on Earth in human form for an unknown period of time, unaware of their powerful abilities and origins. He sets out to “wake up” his fellow Eternals and learn what happened to them.