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Thursday, October 28, 2021

‘Eternals’: Release Date, Plot, Cast, Villains, and Everything We Know About the New Cosmic MCU Movie


After a brief stretch there in 2020 where the world went MCU-less, Disney is back to launching Marvel movies and TV series at us so rapidly the Multiverse itself is coming apart. WandaVision introduced dangerous dark magic to the franchise, Loki altered time itself, and then Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings literally kicked off the big-screen portion of the MCU’s Phase Four, which will get truly wonky in December’s multiverse-smashing Spider-Man: No Way Home. There’s a lot happening, and sitting smack dab in the middle of all that chaos is Eternals, as close to a gamble as the MCU is ever going to get at this point. Featuring a gigantic ensemble cast, a cosmic story spanning thousands of years, and characters you wouldn’t exactly call “well-known,” Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao‘s is a lot to take in, even without the Multiverse of Madness swirling around it.

Luckily, we’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about Eternals, from its release date to who is who in that ginormous cast, the (probably) identity of the villain, and the film’s centuries-spanning plot.

RELATED: New ‘Eternals’ Poster Showcases the Marvel Movie’s Utterly Stacked Cast

First, Check Out the ‘Eternals’ Trailers

The first official teaser trailer for Eternals dropped back in May of 2021, giving a good sense of this thing’s grand scope and Zhao’s gorgeous cinematography but no real idea of what kind of plot we’re dealing with. Check it out above.

The second, full-length trailer debuted in August of 2021, offering up a few more clues as to what the central conflict is—remember the word “Deviants” for later—and a bit of an explanation as to what the heck the Eternals were doing during the galaxy-threatening conflict in Avengers: Endgame. Check it out below:

When Is the ‘Eternals’ Release Date?

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Image via Marvel Studios

Eternals was originally slated to hit theaters in November of 2020, but like almost all of its blockbuster peers, was shifted due to the COVID pandemic to February 2021. A second release date shuffle landed Eternals on the release date of November 5, 2021, which it seems to be sticking to. Back in September, Disney confirmed Eternals would exclusively be released in theaters, ruling out the day-and-date Disney+ Premiere Access route Black Widow took (resulting in quite the legal hullabaloo).

Who Is In the ‘Eternals’ Cast?

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Image via Marvel Studios

Announced all the way back at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 in a cast reveal that spanned the entire Hall H stage, the stacked, wonderfully diverse cast includes [deep breathe] Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Laren Ridloff as Makkari, and Lia McHugh as Sprite. In non-Eternal roles, you’ve got Kit Harington as Dane Whitman and Dan Stevens rumored—see: basically confirmed—to be playing the villain.

Wait, Who Are the Eternals?

Image via Marvel Studios

Created in 1976 by one of the greats, Jack Kirby, in his trademark madcap cosmic style, the Eternals are basically a more advanced form of human evolution. Many, many thousands of years ago, the god-like figures known as Celestials started tinkering with Earth’s earliest life forms. The more positive results of their experimentation were the Eternals, quasi-immortal beings born wide a wide array of superpowers, tasked with defending the Earth from their more monstrous counterparts, the Deviants. Like most comic book characters, the Eternals have mixed and matched names, faces, and vibes throughout the years, but these are the versions Zhao is bringing to the big screen:

Sersi (Chan): An empath with the ability to manipulate the molecules inside inanimate objects, Sersi poses as a museum curator while living among humans. According to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, Sersi is the lead character of the film. Here’s what he said, while also speaking on the importance of Chan’s casting:

“So for Sersi, for instance — and if there was a lead in this ensemble, it is Sersi, it is Gemma Chan — we looked at and read all sorts of women for that part. And ended up really believing that Gemma was best for it. And thankfully, she’s proven that to be the case in the final movie. So, of course, Chloé was a big part of that decision, and of every casting decision.”

Ikaris (Madden): In the comics, Ikaris goes by the extremely conspicuous name of “Ike Harris” on Earth, something I deeply hope has carried over into the film. Gifted with the power of flight and the ability to fire cosmic energy beams out of his eyes, Ikaris is one-third of an intense love triangle with Sersi and Harington’s human Dane Whitman that forms the backbone of Eternals. Here’s what Chan told Vanity Fair:

“Sersi is the one that has the most affinity with humans, indeed is even involved in two love stories, an absolute novelty for Marvel events and one of the reasons that attracted me to this project.”

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Image via Marvel Studios

Kingo (Nanjiani): Doing the exact opposite of blending in, Kingo—whose Eternals power is flinging cosmic projectiles from his hands—is a world-famous Bollywood movie star down on Earth. “I took months of Bollywood dance classes to prepare for that,” Nanjiani told us. “It’s really a workout… and you know, there’s like 52 dancers, and 51 of them are professional dancers, and then there’s me!”

Gilgamesh (Lee): Although every Eternal has, at the very least, a hint of super strength, Gilgamesh is the strongest. Also, because he is played by Korean-American actor Don Lee, he is all but guaranteed to be the coolest dude in this film, if not the entire MCU.

Thena (Jolie): Capable of constructing a variety of weapons out of cosmic energy, Thena is a top-tier warrior whose been mistaken for a literal goddess by several ancient societies. She’s been a close, personal friend to Gilgamesh for thousands of years, and also occasionally partakes in a secret romantic relationship with the Deviant names Kro, who is all but confirmed to be the main antagonist of Eternals. Yes, this film is like 65% saucy romantic drama already and quite frankly we’re here for it.

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Image via Marvel Studios

Phastos (Henry): The weapons and tech guy of the Eternals, Phastos also holds the distinction of being the first openly gay superhero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here’s what actor Haaz Sleiman, who plays Phastos’ husband in the film, told Logo about filming the MCU’s first same-sex kiss:

“It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss Everyone cried on set. For me it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be. Brian Tyree Henry is such a tremendous actor and brought so much beauty into this part, and at one point I saw a child in his eyes, and I think it’s important for the world to be reminded that we in the queer community we’re all children at one point. We forget that because we’re always depicted as sexual or rebellious. We forget to connect on that human part.”

Makkari (Ridloff): Another history-maker for the MCU, Makkari—the resident speedster of the Eternals—is the franchise’s first deaf superhero. Appropriately, the character is portrayed by deaf actor Lauren Ridloff, who recently spoke to her experience on set:

“I got to set believing that I had to show how easy I am to work with as a deaf person. I was concerned about seeming too fragile. But after working with others, I realized everyone has their own unique set of challenges, and that I need to think about what I need to deliver as an actor, and don’t apologize for it.”

Ajak (Hayek): As the primary liaison for the Eternals and their Celestial overlords Ajak—genderswapped from the character’s historically male appearance in the comics—is ostensibly the team’s leader, and by all accounts will act as the film’s “Nick Fury” role, bringing together the various Eternals from all corners of the globe.

Sprite (McHugh): A tiny trickster capable of constructing elaborate illusions, Sprite has a bit of a tragic vampire situation going on, as she’s still thousands of years old but trapped in the body of a 12-year-old.

Druig (Keoghan): Druig has the power to control other people’s minds and because he is played by Barry Keoghan there is a roughly 99% chance he’s going to betray everyone in the third act.

Who Is The Villain In ‘Eternals’?

Angelina Jolie as Thena in Marvel's Eternals

Image via Marvel Studios

The second Eternals trailer confirmed the inevitable: The title team will be facing off against Deviants. While the Celestials eventually got their experiments right and created the near-perfect Eternals, things went horrifically wrong for a while there, resulting in the Deviants. Burdened with horrific appearances and none of their Eternal counterparts’ immortality or abilities, the Deviants have pretty much dedicated their entire existence to seeking revenge for the crime of their own creation.

Specifically, it appears the main threat will be Kro, a Deviant general whose genetic makeup actually did grant him near-immortality, linking him to his archnemeses in a way he has to keep secret from his own kind. Over the years, Kro has also carried out a hidden romance with the Eternal Thena, which will absolutely play out in the film. When Collider recently sat down with Dan Stevens and asked if he was in Eternals, he had two words for us:

“Kro how.”

What Is the Plot of ‘Eternals’?

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Image via Marvel Studios

Based on the trailers, we know that the sudden re-appearance of half of all life in the universe during Avengers: Endgame kicked off something ominously known as “The Emergence,” an event dire enough for Ajax to reunite all the Eternals on Earth. Feige has also described the plot—from a script co-written by Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, and Ryan Firpo—as “a very bold and very ambitious, sprawling 7,000-year story of humanity and our place in the cosmos.” Beyond that, for now, we mostly just have the film’s official synopsis:

“Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” welcomes an exciting new team of Super Heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The epic story, spanning thousands of years, features a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, The Deviants.”

Eternals hits theaters on November 5, 2021.

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