The Eternals explained


As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand and introduce new characters, one of the most anticipated Marvel films to release is Eternals by Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao (NomadlandThe Rider) and stars Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Brian Tyree Henry, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff, Salma Hayek, Ma Dong-Seok, and Kit Harrington. With only a month till the film’s release, audiences and fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe don’t exactly know who the Eternals are and what to expect of them. Marvel Studios’ presidents Kevin Fiege and Chloe Zhao have already confirmed that Eternals will have a widespread effect on the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward. So, who exactly are the Eternals? Rollback the clock to the 1970s where the late writer and artist Jack Kirby left Marvel Comics to write and create the New Gods for DC Comics. After massive success was found with the New Gods, DC Comics took control over Kirby’s work leading him to leave DC Comics and rejoin Marvel Comics who promised Kirby creative control over his projects. Kirby then created the Eternals which debuted in The Eternals issue #1 back in 1976. 

In Marvel Comics, the Eternals play a huge role in the Marvel Universe as they’re the reason why superheroes exist. In The Eternals issue #2, we’re introduced to the Celestials who’re space gods of creation who go around planet-to-planet and experiment on different species. The Celestials arrived on Earth where they have presented the Wanderers: the bridge between primate and human. The Gatherer Celestial splits them into thirds creating Eternals, Deviants, and humans. Eternals are the “children of gods,” Deviants are failed versions of the Eternals, and humans are meant for destruction but capable of building peace. We’ve already seen an Eternal on-screen with Thanos who also possesses the Deviant gene which is why he’s purple and monstrous in the physique. The Eternals vow to protect humans from Deviants and obey their creators: the Celestials. The Eternals are also immortal and are resurrected using a device called The Machine. Recently established in Marvel Comics, for every Eternal resurrection comes every human death and if The Machine were to be destroyed it would lead to the end of the world. The film will primarily focus on Sersi (Gemma Chan) and will have two storylines that take place in the past and present-day involving the Deviant Kro rumored to be played by Dan Stevens. There will also be a “Game of Thrones-esque” love triangle between Sersi, Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington), and Ikaris (Richard Madden). 

The Eternals are the key to everything and there’s a lot to expect going forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For starters, fans have been theorizing how mutants will be introduced and Eternals is the perfect opportunity to do so. In The Eternals issue #2, after the Gatherer Celestial splits the Wanderers into thirds to create Eternals, Deviants, and humans; he then takes half of the humans and inserts a special gene known as the X-gene: the gene that gives mutants powers. This would be a perfect opportunity for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to start setting up mutants in a way that makes sense and is not too convoluted for audiences and fans to grasp. This would also be a perfect opportunity to set up the Horde as potential villains for the sequel. The Horde is the opposite of Celestials, Celestials are space gods of creation whereas the Horde is space gods of destruction. Once every cosmic cycle, the planet on which Deviants and Eternals reside are harvested, and depending on the ratio of Deviants and Eternals, the essence of that planet will go to either the Celestials or the Horde. 

The film will also set up another character’s future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Dane Whitman who in the comics is Black Knight. In the comics, Nathan Garrett was the original Black Knight who possessed the cursed Ebony Blade. Dane Whitman takes on the mantle of Black Knight and joins the Avengers for a brief period along with Sersi. There’s also a rumor that Eros, Thanos’ brother, will make a cameo appearance and will be played by Harry Styles. Eros in the comics was a member of the Avengers and mostly tags alongside Adam Warlock, who’ll appear in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.3.

If the Eternals has interested you in some way, here are some great starter comics to read before the release of EternalsThe Eternals miniseries written by Neil Gaiman and art done by John Romita Jr., and the current Eternals run written by Kieron Gillen, and art done by Esad Ribic. There’s much to be explored in Eternals in theaters on Nov. 5.