A New Team
With a new trailer from Marvel, many MCU fans might be wondering who the Eternals are, and where they come from. In this article, those questions will be answered. We’ll take a look at their origins, how they differ in the MCU adaptation, and the team’s potential connections to the MCU films of the past.
Eternals in the Comics
Introduced by Jack Kirby in The Eternals #1 (1976), this group of immortal beings was created by the Celestials – an ancient race of beings who are responsible for creating much of the life and matter found in the physical universe. In the comics, they are known to have created the Multiverse as well.
The Celestials came to Earth, and created two races known as the Eternals and the Deviants, genetically mutated offshoots of the Eternals. They leave and let nature take its course. The Eternals were initially led by Kronos (who you might recognize from Greek mythology). However, Kronos begins conducting experiments with cosmic energy. These experiments lead to disaster, and the cosmic energy is unleashed upon Kronos and the other Eternals
However, this cosmic energy leads to Kronos becoming a bodiless, all-knowing galactic consciousness, and it also gives the remaining Eternals god-like powers. After this event, the Eternals must choose a new leader. Zuras, a son of Kronos, is chosen as the new leader.
At this point, the Deviants become major players in the story. As stated before, they are Eternals with genetic mutations that give them monstrous powers, and generally evil dispositions. In fact, Thanos himself is a Deviant in the Marvel Comics, and a cousin of the Eternals! More on that later.
Anyway, some time passes, and Ikaris becomes the new leader of the Eternals. They exist alongside humanity for thousands of years. Ikaris and his team of Eternals is the source material the MCU appears to be borrowing from.
So, the most important thing to remember is that the Eternals are immortal god-like beings who have observed humanity throughout their history.
Eternals in the MCU
We don’t know much about the cinematic version of the Eternals’ story. Marvel Studios often shifts details from the comics when translating them into a cinematic form. However, what has been confirmed are the casting choices and the characters in the film. Here’s who we’ll be seeing in the MCU version:
Richard Madden: Ikaris, leader of the Eternals
Angelina Jolie: Thena, often confused for Athena of Ancient Greece
Selma Hayek: Ajak, a famous warrior of Greek legend
Gemma Chan: Sersi, an Eternal fascinated by humanity
Kumail Nanjiani: Kingo, an Eternal with skills in martial arts and sword fighting, also a Bollywood star
Brian Tyree Henry: Phastos, a technologically savvy Eternal
Barry Keoghan: Druig, often portrayed as a villain in the comics with telekinetic powers
Lauren Ridloff: Makkari, a deaf Eternal with super speed capabilities
Ma Dong-seok: Gilgamesh, a powerful warrior and explorer of the Eternals
Lia McHugh: Sprite, a thousands-of-years-old being with the appearance of a child
Kit Harington: Dane Whitman, not an Eternal but a human who becomes Black Knight in the comics
Simply put, the Eternals are an ancient race of god-like beings. In the comics, Thanos is a cousin of these beings, and an Eternal with the Deviant mutation (hence his purple skin, massive chin, and unpleasant demeanor). The film might reveal more details about Thanos’ backstory. Then again, Marvel might completely change the details in order to fit their cinematic narrative. For now, all you need to know is that the Eternals are very very old, and they’ve witnessed humanity through all its trials and tribulations with very little interference.
The film will provide us the answer as to why the Eternals feel that now is the time to intervene. Perhaps it will have to do with Thanos. Maybe it will do with something even larger than that. The director of the film, Chloé Zhao, said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “How much further and bigger can we go after Endgame? Because I’m not just making the film as a director. I’m making the film as a fan.”
One thing is for sure, fans of Marvel can look forward to a story that will deal with the history of humanity, the Avengers, and the larger universe surrounding the MCU. Maybe we’ll even get some hints at the Multiverse? Catch Marvel’s Eternals in theaters November 5, 2021.