The Eternals: Everything you need to know

Hugh Armitage, Daisy Phillipson
Photo credit: Marvel Comics

From Digital Spy

Even before the Phase 4 announcement at Comic-Con, we knew that the Eternals were heading to screens and with an all-star cast.

They're possibly the biggest creative risk since the Guardians of the Galaxy, but that movie turned out alright in the end, so we're confident that Marvel can make fans care about a group of little-known superbeings.

But who are these little-known superbeings? Here's everything you need to know about the movie version.

The Eternals release date: When can we expect it?

Kevin Feige confirmed that The Eternals would be the second movie of Phase 4 as it hits cinemas on November 6, 2020.

It's not yet clear if the movie will have a traditional earlier release in the UK and we don't know for sure when it's filming, but rumour has it that the movie will begin shooting in summer 2019, which sounds about right given the release date.

Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao has signed on as director. She's best known for the 2017 western The Rider. Writing duo Matthew and Ryan Firpo are working on the script.

Photo credit: Marvel Comics

The Eternals cast: Who will be in it?

After what felt like endless rumours of stars being in talks for roles in the movie, the official announcement confirmed who is actually in it and the rumours were pretty spot-on.

Here's how the cast is shaping up:

  • Angelina Jolie as Thena
  • Richard Madden as Ikaris
  • Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo
  • Salma Hayek as Ajak
  • Lauren Ridloff as Makkari
  • Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
  • Lia McHugh as Sprite
  • Don Lee as Gilgamesh
  • Barry Keoghan as Druig
  • Gemma Chan as Sersi
  • Kit Harington as the Black Knight aka Dane Whitman

Not bad, right?

Millie Bobby Brown was rumoured to be in the movie, but she denied it to Digital Spy: "I've heard that... I'm not a part of that, not at all actually. I'm always open to new things but I can't attach myself to something I don't know [laughs]."

And, for now, it seems she was telling the truth.

As for Jolie, taking on the role of Thena meant a drastic change of hair colour revealed when the actress was spotted filming a scene in which she wades out into a lake.

Many believe she is about to spread the ashes of, well, someone dead. Speculation is that the ashes are Thena's father's, Zuras. If so, the moment will likely be a simple mood setter, and only there to show how Thena ended up in charge of the Eternals.

Zuras is one of the few important Eternals from the comics not to be cast in the movie, so his being dead would make sense. Of course, this is pure conjecture and nothing has been confirmed.

The Eternals plot: What will it be about?

We're still waiting on an official synopsis or even some plot hints for The Eternals, but maybe we can gather something from when Kevin Feige first spoke about it while he was promoting Avengers: Infinity War.

Related: How Marvel can bring the Eternals into the MCU

"[We want to introduce] characters that the majority of the world has never heard of, much like Guardians, much like Avengers before we made Avengers. And there are lots of them," said Feige.

Photo credit: Disney

Initial reports posited The Eternals plot would follow Sersi, an Immortal who sometimes acts as an Avenger. Her powers include illusion making, transmutation, and other magical superpowers. Not to be confused with the scary blonde Game of Thrones' matriarch.

Though the world of The Eternals may be unfamiliar to the wider, casual Marvel audience they have actually already featured in the MCU. And not via the character you think... Here's a hint, he's big and purple.

In Marvel's What If series, the Titans were retconned as being an offshoot of the Eternals species, created by Jack Kirby. This meant that Thanos became an Eternal too. But Thanos, with his purple skin and wrinkly chin (and the whole genocidal mania thing), was revealed to have Deviant traits.

His mother trying to murder him upon his birth because of this might have had something to do with his twisted outlook too, but hey, no excuses.

As of yet, the MCU hasn't explicitly confirmed Thanos is an Eternal (and partially a Deviant, too), but it seems like an odd thing not to do when The Eternals movie is on the horizon. It would tie them into the MCU much more clearly.

Photo credit: Marvel Studios

The Deviants are the antithesis of the Eternals, both of whom were created by the Celestials.

Incidentally, the Celestials have already made an appearance in the MCU, too. We glimpsed one in Guardians of the Galaxy in their classic armour when The Collector explains the history of the Power Stone to Star-Lord and his allies. Not to mention the lawless mining 'planet' Knowhere, introduced as the decapitated head of a Celestial.

In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Star-Lord's long-lost father Ego also identified himself as a Celestial (a retcon from the comics, in which he was a mortal scientist who merged with his planet), connecting Peter Quill to the Eternals through his half-Celestial heritage.

The Eternals comics: What exactly are they?

Photo credit: Marvel Comics

The Eternals are a race that evolved from the same genetic ancestors as humans. They were created five million years ago, give or take, thanks to genetic experiments carried out by giant, armoured space gods called the Celestials (much as the Inhumans were created by the Kree, if you'll forgive us for reminding you).

Thanks to their effective immortality and amazing powers, they were the inspiration for many of mankind's ancient myths. They have deadly enemies too, of course, because this is comics. Those enemies are the Deviants, a race of genetically unstable and weird-looking monsters, in another unfortunate example of pretty = good/ugly = evil.

Photo credit: Marvel Comics

The Eternals were the brainchild of Jack Kirby, the artist/writer co-creator of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and many, many more classic characters.

This story was initially supposed to be separate from mainstream Marvel continuity, as Kirby had grown sick of the way comics storytelling had become increasingly interconnected, and wanted to tell a tale without having to worry what was going on in Spider-Man, Avengers and the rest. However, after his departure Marvel reversed that, initially bringing Thor and his fellow gods into the picture as they attempted to protect Earth from destruction by the Celestials.

The Eternals bear a strong similarity to the New Gods, another race of superpowered beings Kirby created for DC Comics. Frustrated by his work for Marvel's rival, he switched back to his old publisher without finishing the New Gods' epic story. There he created the Eternals, only to stop halfway through that story under similar circumstances.

(Incidentally, Warner Bros is developing a New Gods DC movie with director Ava DuVernay.)

Photo credit: Marvel Comics

Kirby's Eternals is set in the present day, where mankind discovers that Superbeings Walk Among Us after the Eternals' war with the Deviants escalates again following the return of the Celestials to Earth.

The Celestials had come back to judge the Earth, with the promise that if we were found wanting their experiment would be branded a failure and we would all be killed! Thor and the gods allied with the Eternals to try to drive the Celestials away, but failed utterly. Thankfully, the Celestials decided that Earth was okay and left peacefully.

Photo credit: Disney

As time went on, the Eternals were tied more closely into Marvel continuity. Notable Eternals include the warriors Thena and Ikaris, and Sersi, a sorceress-type who even became a member of the Avengers.

The aliens who live on Saturn's moon, Titan, were also retconned to be part of the race of Eternals.

The Eternals trailer: When can we expect it?

With filming having begun this autumn, we could get a trailer later this year. However, we have a feeling we'll be waiting until 2020 for any official footage.

The Eternals will be released on November 6, 2020.

Want up-to-the-minute entertainment news and features? Just hit 'Like' on our Digital Spy Facebook page and 'Follow' on our @digitalspy Instagram and Twitter account.

You Might Also Like