After being teased and hearing all about its amazing filmmaking, not to mention get a major spotlight boost by having director Chloe Zhao make history at the Oscars just a short while back, Marvel’s Eternals is finally here. Well, at least the first trailer is, and I’ll be damned if this looks like nothing else we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before. A story literally tens of thousands of years in the making, Eternals tells the tale of a group of superpowered beings, demigods for all intents and purposes, who have lived among humanity since the dawn of the species, cultivating and educating but never interfering… until now. And looking damn good while doing it. Check out the trailer below.
Am I the only one getting more of a “big budget philosophical Ridley Scott sci-fi epic” vibe from this than you would expect from a comic book studio? Maybe it’s just the cut of this trailer, all moody pacing devoid of explosive action, or Zhao’s Best Picture-winning filmmaking eye for sweeping visuals, but this feels far removed from the world where a man dressed in the American flag had a fist fight with an cosmic California Raisin in gold armour to decide the fate of the universe.
Speaking of Avengers: Endgame, once the dust settled on that climactic battle there was a profound sense of “Where to from here?”. Sure, Spider-Man: Far From Home had still been on the way to tie up a few loose ends and set the wallcrawling hero up for his own future adventures, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe overall had undoubtedly reached a major closing chapter, ending on one of the biggest highs the entertainment world has ever seen. Sure Marvel could have just tried to replicate the winning formula that had brought the studio that success, but for how long could it keep that up before the whole affair became stale? Marvel boss Kevin Feige doesn’t do stale.
No, Feige is a bit of a gambler, a risk-taker. Arguably the greatest gamble in recent modern movie history was not just making an Iron Man movie but casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. And hoo boy did that risk pay off big time. And so for its Phase 4 (or whatever they’re called now since Feige doesn’t even want to stick to that structure anymore), the MCU is getting bold. Sure, The Falcon & the Winter Soldier and the upcoming Black Widow are more conventional superhero fare, but there was very little conventional about WandaVision. But it was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the bold, risky productions Marvel is lining up. And none of these are bolder than Eternals, easily the biggest swing Marvel Studios is taking since it had to convince us that a talking tree and a raccoon with a machinegun was cool.
Will it actually work? It’s too early to say for now, but Marvel certainly are front-loading this one with star power. Gemma Chan and Richard Madden’s respective star-crossed lovers Sersi and Ikaris will be at the centre of this tale, surrounded by the likes of Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Kumail Nanjiana as Kingo, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastso, Lauren Ridloff as Makari, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Lia McHugh as Sprite, and Barry Keoghan as Druig. They play the Eternals, one half of the result of experiments conducted by the godlike Celestials millennia ago (the other half, in comic book lore, being the Deviants, none other than Thanos’ race). Besides these immortal superbeings, Eternals will also feature Kit Harrington as Dane Whitman, aka the classic sword-wielding hero Black Knight. Just how he fits into things is unclear for now. Based on how massively this film appears to be scoped, it could be anything. Including, seemingly, a Bollywood dance number. Like I said, bold moves.
Eternals was co-written by Zhao and Patrick Burleigh, and is scheduled for release on 5 November 2021.
Last Updated: May 25, 2021