Marvel’s Phase 4 is on the cusp of becoming a reality. With Black Widow set to release on November 6th, longtime fans of the franchise will finally see the femme fatale on screen. But there’s not much buzz around the second planned Phase 4 film, Eternals. The Eternals were originally a comic book superhero team created by Jack Kirby back in 1976. It’s a team of heroes who haven’t debuted on the big screen before, so the general populace might not know much about them. So today, let’s break down what the plot of Eternals might be comprised of, and what to expect from these new characters.
What’s the premise of the film? According to IMDB’s story synopsis, it’s a clear cut good vs. evil plot-line:
“Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), an unexpected tragedy forces the Eternals, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years, out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.”
In short, it’s mixing some of the elements of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, where the threat is of alien origin and the fighting could take place on Earth. There isn’t much beyond this plot, and it leaves a lot up to the imagination. Considering Marvel’s experience with superhero teams, we can expect a lot of character banter among the team. Maybe we’ll get some inter-character conflict, since it’s hard for an entire team to have the same opinions 24/7.
Now who exactly are the Eternals? Well, they’re a race of humans who were experimented on by Celestials, some of the oldest beings in the universe. These experiments also produced Deviants, who were a genetically unstable race with horrible deformities. The Deviants are the main antagonists of the Eternals in the comics, and by the looks of things, they’ll be following the Eternals onto the big screen.
But we do have the full Eternals roster. There’s some big names on board: Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, and Salma Hayek are the key players here. But we’ve also got Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Barry Keoghan. As you can probably tell, that’s a LOT of people! And this is just the main superhero team! It makes me wonder how the development team will handle everyone getting enough screen time. A bunch of Marvel movies have large casts, and so far, characters in large groups have gotten moments to shine. I still can’t help but worry that some of the Eternals will be sidelined in favor of others.
The team’s size isn’t the only concern I’ve got for the film. The Eternals are immortal – they can’t age, and they can’t die. That’s a huge step away from Marvel’s usual setup, where many of the heroes are mortal. Even Thor isn’t immortal in the movies! So the Eternals movie isn’t going to have the same kind of stakes we’ve seen in past films. If they can’t die, what will the stakes be for our heroes? Well, Earth is in peril, and instead of the heroes facing death, now it’ll be the entire human race at risk. As long as the Eternals care about humanity, they’ll have something to fight for.
But here’s the thing – don’t the other Marvel heroes strive towards the same goal? And they’ll gladly put their lives at risk for the sake of saving others. That risk factor won’t be present in the Eternals since they don’t have anything to lose. I worry that this will be a turnoff for superhero fans, since that aspect of mortality can be what makes a superhero story truly captivating. Hopefully the Deviants will be a big enough threat to justify the Eternals’ immortality. That would make more sense than the Eternals struggling to grasp their own immortality. They’ve had nearly seven thousand years to do that.
Eternals will be premiering in theaters on February 12th, 2021. It’s directed by Chloé Zhao, with the screenplay written by Jack Kirby, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo.
Are you looking forward to the Eternals movie? Do you think that having a large team will prove beneficial, or is the cast’s size going to be the film’s downfall? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!