Less than a year ago, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told The Wrap that The Eternals was "one of many, many, many things that we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about to see if we believe in them enough to put them on a slate." Now, the possibility has become a reality and Eternals is moving forward to the next level.
While there’s still no release date announced, The Eternals does have writers and a director in place with plans to shoot later this year. And now, after recently revealing Angelina Jolie is in talks to star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe installment, The Hollywood Reporter has shared that comedic actor Kumail Nanjiani may also join the ensemble cast.
Check out everything we know about the movie and the comic books it's based on below.
Who are the Eternals?
In Marvel Comics, the Eternals are a race of near-immortal super-powered beings spawned from early proto-humans. They were created through genetic experimentation by the ancient cosmic entities the Celestials (seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies), as were the Eternals' enemy race, the monstrous Deviants.
So they're not aliens?
No, the Eternals have lived on Earth for a million years alongside humans and Deviants, sometimes interacting during events that became classic myths (the one called Ikaris, for example, is the father of the Icarus of Greek legend -- they're like Forrest Gumps, the lot of them). Some Eternals did leave and colonize Uranus and other planets, but the main group in the comics remained here.
Which Eternals will the movie focus on?
Reportedly, the main characters of The Eternals will be Sersi and Ikaris. The former can "manipulate cosmic energy to grant herself virtual immortality and invulnerability, reshape the molecules of other people or objects, release heat, light and other energies from her eyes and hands, fly, teleport herself and others, and cast illusions," per Marvel.com. She also wishes to integrate with humans.
Ikaris is a 20,000-year-old Eternal fueled by cosmic energy and is nearly invulnerable. He has been one of the leaders of the Eternals and brought about their introduction to the rest of the world as superheroes. Whether this happens in the movie is unknown, and currently, the era of the plot has yet to be revealed. For all we know, the movie could be set millennia ago.
So The Eternals could possibly not even crossover with the rest of the MCU?
At the moment, we don't even know what the Marvel Cinematic Universe is like after Avengers: Endgame. The MCU titles may not have the same sort of intersections that we've been seeing. While we weren’t expecting to meet any Eternals in Captain Marvel, there was a chance some of their names would be teased, yet not even that occurred.
In a way, though, the Eternals have already been sort of introduced in the MCU. Thanos, big bad of the franchise and Avengers: Infinity War in particular, is the son of two Eternals who had settled on Titan. But he doesn't look human, as Eternals tend to, because he has Deviant genes.
Thanos' Eternal father, A'lars (aka Mentor), was named in Infinity War by Red Skull upon his arrival on Vormir (see below). Perhaps the Eternals movie could go back and set up both the origin of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Thanos, the latter as a prequel set up to the villain's backstory.
Who is starring in The Eternals?
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Angelina Jolie (Maleficent) is in talks to join the MCU with a role in The Eternals, her first comic book movie since 2008’s Wanted. Although the character she’ll play has not yet been revealed, many presume she’d take the female lead of Sersi. But it’s also possible that she will only appear in a supporting part given her stature.
THR has also reported that comedic actor Kumail Nanjiani, one of the regulars on the HBO series Silicon Valley and an Oscar nominee for co-writing the movie The Big Sick, is probably joining the cast of the MCU installment. The character that he is in talks to play has also not been revealed, but perhaps he could take the other possible aforementioned lead role of Ikaris.
Who is directing the Eternals movie?
Chinese filmmaker Chloe Zhao, best known for 2017’s award-winning contemporary Western indieThe Rider, has been hired to take the helm of The Eternals after having been shortlisted for the gig directing Black Widow.
Were there other candidates shortlisted for Eternals?
Nicole Kassell (Westworld), Travis Knight (Bumblebee) and the team of Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (Birds of Passage).
Who are the writers?
Matthew and Ryan Firpo, siblings who've separately made short films and who landed on the 2017 Black List for their hot script Ruin, have apparently already written the script for The Eternals.
When will The Eternals hit theaters?
There is no release date set at this time.