Phase four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is fully underway, and with that MCU fans will not only get new adventures with their favorites like Spider-Man, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy and more, but a number of new heroes, including the Eternals.
Making their big screen debut in the eponymously titled Eternals, this new team is an exciting prospect for the MCU. Much like Guardians of the Galaxy, the Eternals are not overly familiar for the non-comic book reader. How will they impact the larger MCU? Where have they been for the events of Infinity Saga? Will we need to head to the theaters to see the movie or will it be available at home? We’re sharing everything we know about Eternals below.
Who are the Eternals?
In the Marvel comic books, Eternals are immortal, god-like beings that were an evolutionary offshoot of humans. With special powers and long-life, they were tasked with being Earth’s protectors from another, dangerous evolutionary result, the Deviants. However, when not protecting against the Deviants, the Eternals attempt to seclude themselves from the actions of the human race.
From what we’ve seen so far of the movie Eternals, the group did not originate on Earth and instead arrived on the planet thousands of years ago, living amongst humanity and becoming fond of them. Still, unless it involves Deviants, they tend not to interfere in Earth conflicts, which is why they were MIA in regards to Thanos and all the other world-threatening events of the MCU thus far.
What is the plot of ‘Eternals’?
Eternals takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Apparently, the snap that brought everyone Thanos dusted back also enabled the Deviants to return. Now, after hundreds of years apart, the Eternals must reunite to once again defend the world from these threats.
Who is in the ‘Eternals’ cast?
Marvel may have lost Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and, tragically, Chadwick Boseman, for their future plans, but the MCU is not short on star power, with the cast of Eternals bringing a whole new batch of A-listers and budding stars into the fold.
Here are the actors that are playing the group of Eternals:
- Salma Hayek - Ajak
- Angelina Jolie - Thena
- Richard Madden - Ikaris
- Gemma Chan - Sersi
- Brian Tyree Henry - Phastos
- Barry Keoghan - Druig
- Kumail Nanjiani - Kingo
- Lauren Ridloff - Makkari
- Lia McHugh - Sprite
- Don Lee - Gilgamesh
The non-Eternals members of the cast include Game of Thrones’ Kit Harrington and Yellowstone star Gil Birmingham.
Who is ‘Eternals’ director Chloe Zhao?
Marvel films have had some talented filmmakers take on the superhero genre, including Taika Waititi, Ryan Coogler, Joe and Anthony Russo, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, James Gunn and Jon Favreau. But never before have they had an Oscar-winning director take the helm of one of their films. They will now with Chloe Zhao.
While Zhao was not an Oscar-winner when she signed on for Eternals (she won for last year’s Nomadland), she certainly had established herself as one of the best indie directors around with her films The Rider and Songs My Brother Taught Me. Eternals is her first foray into big budget filmmaking, and it is an exciting prospect to see how she meshes her intimate, poetic style with the responsibilities of a superhero movie.
When is the ‘Eternals’ release date?
Eternals is slated for an exclusive theatrical release starting on Nov. 5, and as reports have confirmed Disney is sticking an exclusive window despite some worries that they could go back to a hybrid release strategy like they had for Black Widow.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was the first 2021 film owned by Disney to get a exclusive movie theater release. Leading up to the film's rollout, CEO Bob Chapek described the release as an "experiment," presumably meaning it would serve as the barometer for the rest of the Mouse House's 2021 titles.
Shang Chi would set a Labor Day weekend box office record (pandemic or not) with $94.4 million over its first four days. That apparently was enough for Disney to decide to commit to the 45-day window that has now become the defacto standard for big Hollywood releases.
So, in terms of streaming/on-demand, this means that Eternals isn't likely to be available for at-home viewing until just before Christmas, at the earliest.
Is there an ‘Eternals’ trailer?
Fans got their first look at Eternals back in May when Marvel released a teaser trailer, but a new official trailer from the studio gives an even clearer picture of who the Eternals are and what their movie will be about. Give the latest trailer a watch below.
How will ‘Eternals’ impact the rest of the MCU?
The MCU has officially moved past Thanos and is building toward a multiverse. We got hints of it in WandaVision and its full-fledged unleashing in Loki, two of Marvel’s Disney Plus original series. It’s expected that we’ll get more info on the multiverse in Spider-Man: No Way Home and certainly in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
As for how Eternals fits into all of this, the fact that Marvel had to shake up its release schedule of its phase four movies and the Disney Plus series makes it unclear how something like the multiverse may come into effect. What we can be sure of is that the events of Avengers: Endgame seem to have brought back the Deviants and will cause the Eternals to reunite and make themselves more known to humanity.
After this initial film, we can expect that they will be involved in the larger plot moving forward, but it could take a while; remember, the Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t interact with any other MCU characters until Avengers: Infinity War.
Here’s the complete rundown of the MCU to date and upcoming films that we know about. Find out how to watch all of the MCU movies in order right here.
MCU Phase One
- Iron Man (May 2, 2008)
- The Incredible Hulk (June 13, 2008)
- Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010)
- Thor (May 6, 2011)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22, 2011)
- Marvel's The Avengers (May 4, 2012)
MCU Phase Two
- Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013)
- Thor: The Dark World (Nov. 8, 2013)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (Aug. 1, 2014)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015)
- Ant-Man (July 17, 2015)
MCU Phase Three
- Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
- Doctor Strange (Nov. 4, 2016)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, 2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (Nov. 3, 2017)
- Black Panther (Feb. 16, 2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War (April 27, 2018)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6, 2018
- Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019)
- Avengers: Endgame (April 26, 2019)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2, 2019)
MCU Phase Four
- Black Widow (July 9, 2021)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3, 2021)
- Eternals (Nov. 5, 2021)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (Christmas 2021)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (March 25, 2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (May 6, 2022)
- Black Panther 2 (July 8, 2022)
- The Marvels (Nov. 11, 2022)
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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