Meet the MCU’s newest aliens
The Eternals may be over a year away, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely in the dark. An explosive Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con gave us a wealth of new information about the MCU’s mysterious new team–including a confirmed cast list, release date, and some vague rumblings of a plot. During the presentation, Marvel Studio’s boss Kevin Feige promised it would be going “full Jack Kirby,” a nod to not only one of the chief engineers of superhero comics dating back to the 1940s, but the Eternals sole creator who functioned as writer, artist, and editor on their original run of stories back in the 70s.
This won’t be the first time Marvel has tapped into the Kirby aesthetic for one of their films with Thor: Ragnarok leaning into his distinctive style and sensibility in brand new ways. So, if Ragnarok was only partly committed to the Kirby bit, we can’t wait to see what happens when director Chloe Zhao decides to play for keeps.
We’ve rounded up every piece of news from the panel and beyond. Let’s break it down.
The cast is stacked
The rumors about the Eternals cast have been swirling for months now, but thankfully the panel at Comic-Con provided official confirmation of the roster.
Angelina Jolie as Thena
Richard Madden as Ikaris
Kumail Nanijani as Kingo
Salma Hayek as Ajak
Bryan Tyree Henry as Phastos
Lauren Ridloff as Makkari
Lia McHugh as Sprite
It’s phase 4’s second movie
In addition to the official cast, we also got the release date: November 6, 2020. Just six months after Phase 4’s first movie, Black Widow.
Their origin story has been changed
During the Comic-Con panel, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige and star Richard Madden gave us a few story details. The Eternals are “a group of immortals who have been on earth for 35000 years, but we haven’t met them before,” Feige explained. Madden continued, “The Enternals are immortal aliens, sent to earth by the Celestials to protect the earth from the deviants.”
This means that the Eternals original origin story–a creation myth that weaves them into the fabric of human evolution from the dawn of man–has been updated. They’re no longer an evolutionary offshoot of humans, but an alien species who have been sent to Earth.
The Celestials are already around
While we can’t be completely sure if the MCU’s take on Celestials actually created the Eternals like their comic book counterparts, or if they simply control them, we can be sure that they’re already lurking around the MCU. In Avengers: Endgame, Nebula namechecks Vormir as the “center of Celestial space,” and we’ve seen various effigies of them in movies like Thor: Ragnarok used as set dressing.
Three of the characters have been majorly updated
Three of the main characters have been completely overhauled from their comic book origins. Makkari, Ajak, and Sprite have been gender-swapped and will be played by women. We also learned during the Comic-Con presentation that Makkari will be the MCU’s first deaf hero.
Phastos is joining the ranks of the MCU’s geniuses
On the flip side, Bryan Tyree Henry’s Phastos seems to be following the comics very closely. In the Hall H panel, Henry confirmed that his character would be a genius–and that he’s excited to join those esteemed ranks. “I feel like the geniuses at Marvel are the ones with the biggest hearts,” Henry explained, “and I feel that about Phastos.”
The Deviants (and the Celestials) are the villains, probably
At the moment, only the Eternals themselves have been officially cast, but the Deviants have been confirmed to appear in the film–most likely as antagonists. However, it’s just as likely that the Celestials themselves will act as villains at one point or another. In the original comics, the Celestials represented a constant threat as they returned to Earth to purge their creations. That’s certainly one way to up the ante after Thanos.