How the Eternals Fit Into the Marvel Cinematic Universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand, as this calendar month sees the release of Eternals, the 26th entry in the massive franchise, directed by Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao. As with the previous MCU movie, September ’ s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals focuses on heroes who haven ’ thymine been a separate of the film population until now, and as such, casual moviegoers might not know who the nominal Eternals are. ( Heck, the average comics reader might not be extremely familiar with them. )

In training for Eternals ’ Nov. 5 premiere, here ’ sulfur everything you need to know about the Eternals and how these characters will fit into the MCU.

A cosmic comics history

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Kingo ( Kumail Nanjiani ), Sersi ( Gemma Chan ) and Sprite ( Lia McHugh )
Sophie Mutevelian—©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved .
The Eternals—a group of deity beings tasked with protect and nurturing the homo race—were created by the legendary comics writer and artist Jack Kirby in 1976. Kirby, who co-created Captain America, The Fantastic Four and many more iconic characters, left Marvel Comics for equal DC Comics in 1970. While there, he created the New Gods, a cosmic, high-concept series of characters who count the Justice League villain Darkseid among their ranks. When Kirby returned to Marvel five years late, he still wanted to explore some of the fabulous sci-fi ideas he had embraced with DC ’ s New Gods. This desire yielded The Eternals # 1, which hit shelves in July of 1976. In this original amusing, the Eternals were a character of near-immortal, anthropomorphic being with diverse powers who were created by Celestials, highly herculean, beyond ancient beings. The Celestials experimented on what would become humanness ages ago, seeding the ability for normal humans to develop mutations ( à la the X-Men ) or early superpowers and besides creating an evil kind of being alongside the Eternals : The Deviants. It was the Eternals ’ mission to defend world from the Deviants. There are a lot of Eternals in the comics—more than feature of speech in the movie—and many of them, like Ikarus, Sersi, and Thena ( who are played in the film by Richard Madden, Gemma Chan and Angelina Jolie, respectively ) have names that resemble gods or other characters from greek mythology. These naming similarities are explained due to the Eternals ’ god-like status and bearing throughout prehistory, as they were mistaken for greek gods or otherwise inspire fabulous characters. The specifics of the Eternals ’ fib has changed and been made more complex over the decades, and the MCU interpretation international relations and security network ’ t inevitably precisely like Kirby ’ s original flip ( there ’ s no evidence yet that Celestials are going to be the ones introducing Mutants to the MCU ), but the general kernel is the lapp. The Eternals have appeared throughout the years in several different Marvel comic series, starring in several of their own and making appearances in other comics or big crossover events. A newfangled, ongoing Eternals comic began this January to general critical acclaim, but the Zhao-directed movie is by far their most high-profile appearance .

How do the Eternals fit into the MCU?

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Sersi ( Gemma Chan ) and Ikaris ( Richard Madden )
Sophie Mutevelian—©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved .
As the trailers and the very proper noun-heavy unfold text for the film unwrap, the Eternals have roughly the lapp lineage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as they do in the comics. They were created by Celestials to defend humanness from the Deviants and help the species grow and develop. While neither the Eternals nor the Deviants have appeared in the MCU before, we have seen quite a bit of the Celestials. In Guardians of the Galaxy, we see footage of a towering Celestial wielding an Infinity Stone, and the space mining colony the Guardians visit, called Knowhere, is built in the discerp head of a dead Celestial. In Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 , we learn that Ego the Living Planet ( Kurt Russell ) is a celestial and that Star-Lord ( Chris Pratt ) is half-Celestial by extension. ( however, Ego is precisely your average sentient planet in the comics and not a Celestial, and possibly as a leave, the movie adaptation looks and acts a little sting different from most of the other Celestials in the MCU. ) In any case, Eternals will explain what the Celestials ’ unharmed consider is as a nigh-omnipotent slipstream of elephantine cosmic outer space aliens in a way that earlier MCU films alone touched on .
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Kingo ( Kumail Nanjiani ), Makkari ( Lauren Ridloff ), Gilgamesh ( Don Lee ), Thena ( Angelina Jolie ), Ikaris ( Richard Madden ), Ajak ( Salma Hayek ), Sersi ( Gemma Chan ), Sprite ( Lia McHugh ), Phastos ( Brian Tyree Henry ) and Druig ( Barry Keoghan )
Courtesy of Marvel Studios—©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved .
In the continuity of the MCU, the Eternals have been on Earth since the Stone Age. person who has watched the 25 movies prior to Eternals might sanely ask, “ Where the hell have they been ? ” indeed, in the movie, Dane Whiteman ( a regular human played by Game of Thrones star Kit Harington ) even asks Sersi why the Eternals didn ’ t intervene when Thanos ( Josh Brolin ) destroyed one-half of all biography in the galax. The answer ? The Eternals were instructed by the Celestials not to interfere with any human dispute unless it involved the Deviants. As a consequence, they stood idly by during the Infinity War, the events of Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Thor 2: The Dark World, and any number of other potentially world-ending incidents where you ’ vitamin d think it would ’ ve made sense for the Eternals to lift a finger. The Eternals ’ non-intervention mandate—which is more of a movie thing than a comics one—is convenient. The veridical reason why the Eternals didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate assistant in any of the earlier movies is because Marvel Studios hadn ’ t made Eternals and so they hadn ’ thyroxine been cast and functionally didn ’ thymine exist in the fiction. Plus, even when reading comics, you kind of want to equitable willingly allow for unnecessary crossovers. ( Why doesn ’ metric ton Superman plainly help Batman catch the Joker as it would be easy for him to do so ? Because this is a Batman floor, and if Superman showed up and solved every problem then there wouldn ’ t be any fib at all. )

however, once you just accept that the Eternals merely didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate help oneself in any earlier exemplify in the MCU despite being there the whole time, the movie works just finely. In a room, it ’ south one of the easier movies for an MCU newcomer to go into, as other than some one-off lines of dialogue and asides, there truly international relations and security network ’ metric ton any MCU backstory the average viewer will need to know approximately. Eternals largely stands alone—its narrative spans millennium and contains a rich people history, equitable one that doesn ’ thyroxine actually retread any of the ground the preview MCU films had already covered. While Eternals doesn ’ metric ton have many ties to the MCU ’ s past, it does set up what ’ s coming adjacent in the franchise in some big ways. To say more ahead of its release would be a plunderer, however.

Who are the Eternals?

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Makkari ( Lauren Ridloff )
Sophie Mutevelian
Having established the Eternals ’ comedian history and how that ’ mho been adapted to fit in the MCU, it ’ south worth spending a little clock introducing the actual individual Eternals—though possibly not besides much time, as the point of the movie is letting the audience learn who these characters are. Sersi ( Gemma Chan ) is the ostensible supporter of Eternals, evening with its ensemble casting. Chan, who had a small function as a side villain in Captain Marvel, returns to the MCU as an wholly unrelated character. All the Eternals have a specific world power, and Sersi ’ randomness is the ability to manipulate molecules and atoms, transforming inanimate objects into early materials with a contact. In the past, Sersi was in a relationship with the most knock-down Eternal, Ikarus ( Richard Madden ), who has the ability to fly and shoot laser beams out of his eyes, just like Superman. The Eternals are led by Ajak ( Salma Hayek ). Ajak is one of a handful of characters whose gender and/or rush were changed from the original comics, where most of the Eternals were white guys. She has the power to heal, and she ’ s the one who communicates with their celestial master .
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Ajak ( Salma Hayek ) in Marvel Studios ‘ Eternals
Courtesy of Marvel Studios—©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved .
other Eternals include Kingo ( Kumail Nanjiani ), a charming, reasonably swashbuckling Eternal who can fire energy blasts from his hands, finger-guns vogue. Phastos ( Brian Tyree Henry ) is fabulously imaginative, able to create advanced engineering, some of which he gifts to the nascent human race to aid in their development. Sprite ( Lia McHugh ) can create complex, life-like illusions. She is alone among the Eternals because she has the appearance of a child, though seeing as she ’ s an deity being, she never physically ages or grows up. Makkari ( Lauren Ridloff ) has super-speed and is deaf, as is the actor who plays her .

Druig ( Barry Keoghan ) can control people ’ s minds while Gilgamesh ( Don Lee ) has incredibly super-powered punches. ultimately, there ’ mho Thena ( Angelina Jolie ), a talented warrior who can create any weapon she needs at any given time out of cosmic energy .
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Phastos ( Brian Tyree Henry ) in ‘Eternals ‘
Courtesy of Marvel Studios—©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved .
Harington ’ south quality, Dane Whiteman, is a normal homo whom Sersi is dating when the movie begins, but understanding comics readers have noted that he shares his name with the Marvel hero Black Knight, an observation that could bear hints as to his future in the MCU. It ’ s a distribute of new characters all at once, along with a lot of newfangled concepts that push the MCU in a modern focus. possibly that ’ s why Eternals is 2 hours and 37 minutes long—ample time to give the audience a good sense of who these characters are and what their place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be going forward.

James Grebey is an entertainment diarist who edits features for SYFY WIRE, writes on affair for Vulture, Polygon, GQ, Decider and more, and tweets dumb photoshopped jokes on Twitter, where he ’ mho @ jgrebes. Contact us at letters @ time.com.

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