Eternals: Everything You Need to Know
Marvel interweaves the tapestry of the MCU universe with its release of Eternals. In this detailed guide, we break down the origins of the Eternals, cast & characters, and much more.
Since the San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, fans have anxiously awaited the release of Eternals. A movie about a race of immortal aliens sent to planet Earth by the Celestials to protect humankind from the Deviants. Marvel’s origins of the universe story is slated for a February 2021 release.
Who Are the Eternals?
The Eternals is the epic saga, and brainchild of none other than Jack Kirby, the man responsible for the comics in the 1970s. It is responsible for laying the groundwork for much of MCU’s mythology. Originally released in 1976, the comic chronicles the origins of the universe.
The Story of Jack Kirby
Ironically enough, the creator of the Eternals and “King of Comics” never actually set out to make his origin story for Marvel, but for DC comics.
The story goes that Kirby left Marvel to write his own story about the “Fourth World,” a saga called New Gods. The comic centered around the warring factions of God-like creatures. They battle for supernatural supremacy.
Unfortunately, his series was canceled at DC before he could finish it, SO...back to Marvel he went to recreate his vision, now called The Eternals. In the first episode, Kirby takes readers to an archeological dig in the Andes Mountains, where he laid the foundation for the series.
The series centered on God-like robot beings that visited Earth millions of years before the dawn of mankind. The Celestials are responsible for creating three species from apes on the planet: Eternals, Humans, and Deviants.
The Eternals represent the best genomic make-up that the Celestials have to offer. They are super beings who are immortal and possess great powers. Together, they are responsible for the sum total of all the mythological stories of mankind. The Eternals intermingle with humans and are treated like Gods. Their only downfall as a species is that they cannot reproduce easily, so they are small in number.
On the other end of the genomic spectrum is the Deviants, a group of mutant-like monsters representing the failed evolutionary experiences of the Celestials. They tend to make up the age-old stories of monsters. Living underground, they are tucked away from the world and only wish to destroy the Eternals. Able to reproduce rapidly, their war against the Eternals is a numbers game. They look to find an advantage over the Eternals through their design of weaponry.
Humans stand evolutionary between these two groups. They represent the average genomic spectrum that the Celestials were able to produce. Prone to jealousy, in-fighting, and greed, they fight amongst themselves. This is for the control of land and natural resources on the planet.
The Origins of the Eternals Story
The origins of the Eternals is a complex one. Starting with Kirby and picked up by other creators, it is safe to say that Marvel has done a poor job of attaching the Eternals to one nice, neat storyline. This leads to multiple stories that have reference to one another, but no definable structure as one entity.
Jack Kirby’s New Gods
In Jack Kirby’s Eternals, readers get a glimpse into his idea of the Celestials being the watchdogs of the universe. Kirby takes us through Four Celestial Hosts.
The Celestial’s first initial visit is known as the First Host. in it, they experimented on humanoids and created three separate species. Each successive Host is designed for Celestials to check-in to see if the Earth's species deserve to live or die.
In the Second Host, the Deviants establish a vast empire some 21,000 years before Jack Kirby’s first run of the comic. The empire spanned a continent known as Lemuria that was waging war on their neighboring empire, Atlantis. Observing the greed of the Deviants, the Celestials sunk Lemuria. Atlantis being sunken as well was the unintended consequence of stopping the war.
The Third Celestial Host arrived 1,000 years ago to further test the species they had created. Due to his concern, Odin of Asgard sends a team of Sky-Gods to meet the Celestials. The Sky-Gods conclude that they will not interfere with the Celestials for 1,000 years. This is due to their ability to drastically change humanity and the gods they worship.
Jack Kirby’s Eternals for Marvel
Kirby’s Marvel segment picks up where DC left off 1,000 years later. In this storyline, the Eternal Ikaris unwittingly triggers the Fourth Host. He assembles a team of Eternals for when the Celestials return. Meanwhile, the Deviants are set upon destroying the Eternals. With the help of Sersi, Makkari, and Thena, they stop the Deviants from setting off an energy bomb. It is aimed at the Celestial mothership. This saves humanity from the Celestial’s final judgment.
Also discussed in Jack Kirby’s Eternals, factions of Eternals eventually clash. One faction is led by Uranos and the other by Kronos. Uranos believes the Eternals should rule over mankind. Kronos believes humans should control their own destiny. Eventually, this leads to an Eternal civil war, where Uranos and his faction decide to leave Earth and form a new colony on Titan.
Eternals of Earth vs. Eternals of Titan
The Eternals on Earth stay and create the cities of Olympia in Greece, Polaria in the frozen Tundra, and Oceana in the Pacific Ocean. Eternals form human mythological stories. Deviants represent old tales of monsters. The two fight for many years without human awareness until eventually forming a treaty until the Celestials return.
Kronos perishes in a mysterious cosmic energy accident. His sons Zuras and A’Lars form the Uni-Mind that allows multiple Eternals to act as one being to help appoint a new ruler. Zuras wins, and A’Lars leaves for Titan.
On Titan, A’Lars meets Sui-San and basically populates the entire planet. Together they also give birth to Starfox, also known as Eros and Thanos. Thanos goes on to be the ambassador of all bad things in the movies Infinity War and End Game.
Is Thanos an Eternal?
The short answer to that question is yes. While Thanos is essentially an Eternal, he was born with what is called Deviant Syndrome. So while he is an Eternal, he is also a Devant, forming an Eternal/Deviant hybrid. This gives him the power of a god, and the repulsive and destructive tendencies of a Deviant.
Neil Gaiman’s Eternals
In 2006, Neil Gaiman told the story of how one-by-one the Eternals wake up only to forget who they are. This is due to a character (being played in the movie) named Sprite, an Eternal trapped in the body of an eleven-year-old. She decides to activate the Uni-Mind, which summons all the might of the Eternals, which is powered by a Dreaming Celestial. Her goal is to turn all of the Eternals human so she can finally grow up. The story ends with Sprite’s death and is left for other writers to pick up from there.
Other Incarnations of the Eternals
Since Neil Gaiman's version, other writers have joined at different times, each with their own storylines. While they borrow from the larger Eternals subplot, they act as different stand-alone versions. It will be interesting to see how Marvel borrows from these storylines. The hope is to accomplish what the comic books failed to do, connect the Eternals to the larger MCU.
The Tough Road Ahead for Marvel
Given the fractured and complex storylines. Marvel has to sort through to create the Eternals movie saga. Best estimates indicate that it will use the miniseries from Neil Gaiman’s Eternals as well as some newer elements with dark Celestials. This will create a timeline that can fit in the larger MCU.
No doubt, director Chloe Zhao, has her work cut out for her on her first Marvel movie. It is of great importance to the Marvel movie franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With a star-studded cast, she appears in good hands.
Cast & Characters
Like all the other Marvel movies in the MCU, the Eternals will have a superior cast of A-List actors and actresses to bring the story to life on the big screen. Here is the list set to play in the Eternals.
Thena - Angelina Jolie
The daughter of Zuras, named after the Greek Goddess Athena, Thena is an Eternal with superhuman abilities. She has strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, and reflexes. She also can manipulate cosmic energy making her virtually indestructible and immortal.
She can emit cosmic energy from her eyes and fingertips in the form of heat, light, and concussive blasts. She has the power to fly and can also cast illusions to disguise her appearance. Thena is gifted intellectually and a fierce warrior. She uses a bow and arrow that releases cold energy. She also fights with an energy spear.
Ikaris - Richard Madden
The sole Eternal that can still remember the past after the Uni-Mind, Ikaris is integral to the Eternal’s success against the Deviant forces. He has the power of teleportation, flight, and the ability to manipulate cosmic energy. He can melt through solid objects with his disintegrator beams and can regenerate tissue if he is injured. Virtually immortal and indestructible, he is a fierce fighter. He can create force fields to withstand blows from opponents.
Kingo Sunen - Kumail Nanjiani
Displaying all the powers and attributes of other Eternals, he can manipulate cosmic energy, fly, and is virtually immortal. What makes him unique is his preference to fight in the style of the ancient samurai using a sword as his primary weapon of choice.
Ajak - Salma Hayek
Ajak possesses all the same skills of other Eternals. She has cosmic manipulation, teleportation, flights, and the ability to shoot energy bolts. What sets Ajak apart from other Eternals is her ability to communicate with Celestials when they are nearby. This was a power given to her in Neil Gaiman’s series of Eternals.
Phastos - Bryan Tyree Henry
Phastos is known for his superior ability as a technologist. He also has super strength, teleportation, cosmic manipulation, and more. He is a great inventor and engineer and uses his abilities to help him battle. His weapon of choice is a hammer that can shoot bolts of cosmic energy. He also has other weapons that he may use of his own creation.
Sprite - Lia McHugh
Sprite is second only to Sersi in molecular reconstruction. She possesses all the powers and abilities of other Eternals. Except she is trapped in the body of an eleven-year-old. In the comics, she’s responsible for using the Uni-Mind. It makes Eternal's mortal and erases Eternal’s memories. She did this so she could grow up.
Gilgamesh - Don Lee
Gilgamesh is known for crafting his own battle armor. He has the powers of levitation, flight, illusion casting, and near-limitless stamina. He has increased strength and durability but lacks intelligence and fighting skills. He is a resourceful superhero.
Makkari - Lauren Ridloff
Possessing all the skills and abilities of other Eternals, Makkari has the power to also run in circles creating cyclones. These walls of wind are used in battle. Also, Makkari has the ability to climb up walls and walk on water. Due to Makkari’s fascination with building up her power of speed, she lost the ability to fly and levitate objects like other Eternals. She can run at light speed for extended intervals.
Sersi - Gemma Chan
She is known for having the greatest psionic ability of all other Eternals to manipulate cosmic energy. As a result of this, she doesn’t age and can only be killed by dividing her molecular structure. She can communicate telepathically. She can resist psychic attacks. She can survive psychic attacks from enemies as powerful as Exodus and Professor X. She can control the minds of Deviants, humans, and other Eternals.
Druig - Barry Keoghan
Playing the villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Eternals, Druig has the same powers as all other Eternals. He has special psychic abilities that allow him to experience someone’s most painful memory. He then uses that to immobilize his victims by forcing them to replay that memory in their minds. Along with his psychic abilities, he has super strength, speed, agility, and reflexes. Last he can manipulate cosmic energy like other Eternals, allowing him to use cosmic energy as a weapon.
What Powers Do Eternals Have?
Most Eternals have the powers of super speed, strength, agility, and reflexes. They have the ability to levitate, make other objects levitate. They can manipulate cosmic energy. They can virtually live forever. Last, they can use the power as a weapon in the form of heat, light, or concussive force. They emit beams of light from their eyes and fingertips. Some Eternals have psychic abilities and can control minds. Others can create illusions that disguise them from other people.
Who Is the Most Powerful Eternal?
Without question, the most powerful Eternal is Kronos. Originally the ruler of Eternals on Earth before an accident in a lab destroyed his physical body. He became one with the Universe itself. Kronos has superior intellect. He has the power to manipulate time. Last he has amazing psychic abilities like controlling deceased humans.
After Kronos, the most powerful Eternal is considered to be Thanos.
Where Does Eternals Fit in With the Marvel Universe?
We have seen the Celestials creep up in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy. We see one massive robotic form completely obliterate an entire planet. So we have some connections there.
Infinity War and End Game had Thanos as the main antagonist. Knowing now that he is an Eternal/Deviant hybrid from Titan, we have some crossover.
The one looming question people will ultimately have is if the Eternals have been here all along, why didn't they do something to stop Thanos? We believe that will be answered in Eternals. The concept of the Uni-Mind being activated renders all Eternals in the dark about who they are. This should play a role in why they didn't do anything when Thanos arrived.
On top of that, we have the Celestials themselves who tinkered with humanoids. The idea is that some of these experiments with humanoids left errors for genetic mutation. This could help explain how mutants like the X-Men and the Fantastic 4 were created. That would factor into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
These are a lot of the loose ends that Marvel needs to explain in the movie, so it would make sense that this is how Marvel can fit the Eternals into the MCU.
Eternals Will Set up Phase 5
If done right, Eternals has the power to set up Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The one compelling thing that Marvel has going for it is its tapestry of interwoven superhero storylines. If they can figure out a way to tie all these loose ends with Eternals, Marvel will remain king of the box office for years to come.