When Marvel Studios kicked off its cinematic universe, it built the structure on a foundation of recognizable characters. Early films focused on Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Edward Norton), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) before they started to branch out. It wasn’t until the Guardians of the Galaxy burst on the cosmic scene in 2014 that Marvel started to get confident that mainstream audiences would follow them to unique corners of the universe.
Since then, however, the studio has grown more emboldened. They introduced Wakanda in BLACK PANTHER, opened a door to the mystic arts in DOCTOR STRANGE and soared through the stars in the CAPTAIN MARVEL origin story. And at some point in the upcoming phase of films, Marvel is expected to introduce a new team of heroes — and the villains who try to stop them — when they roll out the Eternals movie.
Who Are the Eternals?
They are hardly household names, like the Avengers were when they entered the MCU. And the Eternals’ history in Marvel Comics is quite dense. Introduced in 1976 by writer-artist Jack Kirby, the Eternals were created by the Celestials when these mythological beings visited Earth five million years ago. The Celestials began conducting genetic experiments on the prototypical humans who occupied our planet at that time. In the process, they created two distinct races: the near-perfect Eternals and the deeply flawed Deviants.
The Eternals are essentially immortal and have lived among us for eons. They look human, but they can’t procreate with other humans. (They’d only create more human babies.) For the course of their existence, they’ve largely worked to protect our species from threats by the Deviants, the Kree and the Skrulls (both introduced in CAPTAIN MARVEL), but there’s a rich history of Eternals stories that a movie adaptation could explore.
The most exciting element of the Eternals is that there’s very little crossover with established Marvel characters. Thanos was a main character in the Eternals stories. But for years, they occupied their own realm in the comics, apart from the Captain America and Iron Man stories, and the movie could also exist away from the Earth-bound MCU stories that probably will center on characters like Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
Nothing has been confirmed on the Eternals movie. Chloe Zhao (THE RIDER) is attached to direct, according to reports. But we are waiting to learn the official title and release date, as well as confirmation on the rumors that Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden (of ROCKETMAN and “Game of Thrones”) are leading this cast.
But if Marvel Studios plans to continue exploring the cosmic side of the comic book universe on the big screen, then the Eternals movie could be the gateway to more adventures in our future.