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How Will Eternals Change the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

November 6, 2021 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m not sure how I would have reacted if you had told me 20 years ago that we’d be getting a big screen version of Marvel’s Eternals. Think about it. The odds of the Eternals getting cinematic love seemed even more far off after the dismal Inhumans television series was dead on arrival and seems to have been forgotten by everyone. 

Yet here we are.   

Eternals has a unique history and has struggled to find popularity in the comic universe so the question has been will it find an audience and become a success or stumble out the gate? 

When it was first announced that Marvel was going full speed ahead on the Eternals, a group from the mind of the late, great Jack Kirby, we heard plenty of skepticism. 

Deservedly so. 

During Marvel ‘s panel at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2019 we got an idea of what they have in store. Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige promised it would be going “full Jack Kirby,” which left us with more questions than answers. Also during the panel, Feige and actor Richard Madden shared story details, The Eternals are “a group of immortals who have been on earth for 35,000 years, but we haven’t met them before,” Feige explained. Madden continued, “The Eternals are immortal aliens, sent to earth by the Celestials to protect the earth from the deviants.”

A difference from their comic book origins but outside hardcore Eternal fans, no one will quibble with the change.
Director Chloe Zhao brings a fresh eye to things stars an ensemble cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie.

OK, so we have the basics but what does this mean for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

For me, the biggest thing is if this does as well as they expect, then ANYTHING goes. Think about it. Before we cheered on Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, as they battled Thanos. Names we were familiar with and the average audience member had a passing knowledge of. With Eternals, it’s a new ballgame, new names, new powers, and if they can make it work, then any character that appeared in a Marvel comic is fair game for big fame.

Take Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman. Fans know his characters as the Black Knight but I can tell you the majority of people have no clue who Dane is. But you can be sure they will after this movie. 

No spoilers.

“There is no roadmap that I know of at the moment. If they have ideas about where my character goes, I’m not privy to it,” Harington shared. “All I know is that when I came on board, they said, ‘There’s a really interesting future for this character, and if you read up about him, there are many different ways we could go with him.’ And that intrigues me. I’m fascinated by the idea that any character in any story is driven by some addiction to something. And with [Dane Whitman], it’s very palpable that this sword, this blade, has an addictive pull on him, and I find that really interesting.”

After this weekend, if things go as planned, expect a much broader Marvel Cinematic Universe that can pull just about any character from it’s vast history and give them some shine on the big screen. To me, that’s amazing. 
Still makes me wonder what went so wrong with the Inhumans but that’s for another day. 

What are your thoughts on the Eternals? How will this movie impact the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?