What to Expect from Marvel’s ‘Eternals’

Get ready to meet a whole new cast of Marvel characters.
Marvel Eternals Trailer

Welcome to Great Expectations, a recurring series in which we break down the most essential information about an upcoming movie or show. In this edition, we look at what you can expect from — and where you can watch — Marvel’s Eternals.

Just when you thought every corner of the Marvel Universe has been explored on-screen, here comes Eternals. Based on the comic book series of the same name created by Jack Kirby in 1976, the movie will follow the titular immortal super-aliens who created all of life and secretly live among us.

Eternals is one of the first installments of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which kicked off this year with the series WandaVision. It’s a brand new era for the franchise, as some of the Avengers have sadly retired from the universe in some form or another. The next movies are going to have to prove the MCU is sustainable even without characters we know and love (spoiler alert, we think it most definitely will be).

Eternals is directed by Chloé Zhao, who is on a hot streak after winning not one, but two Academy Awards for Nomadland earlier this year. She also co-wrote the screenplay with Patrick Burleigh (Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway).

Here’s everything you need to know about Marve’s Eternals.

Eternals Release Date (and Where to Watch)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release of Eternals was delayed for about a year. Now, its release date is locked in as November 5, 2021. Starting then, it will be in theaters, and will eventually be available to stream on Disney+.

Eternals Cast

If there’s one thing you can count on in a Marvel movie, it’s a rocking good cast. In Eternals, Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians) stars as Sersi, an Eternal who can control matter. Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) plays her love interest, Ikaris, the leader of the military faction of the Eternals. Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) is Kingo, an Eternal who has the power to control cosmic energy.

Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) plays Druig, an Eternal who specializes in mind-control, Salma Hayek (Frida) is Ajak, the leader of the spiritual faction of the Eternals, Angelina Jolie (Maleficent) is Thena, an Etertainl warrior with the ability to create an infinite amount of weapons with her bare hands, Lia McHugh (The Lodge) is Sprite, a twelve-year-old Eternal who can create realistic holograms, Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) is Phastos, an Eternal master of technology, and Lauren Ridloff (Sound of Metal) is a fast-as-lightning Eternal who seeks out new planets.

Also in the ensemble cast is Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) as human warrior Dane Whitman, whom comic fans know becomes the Black Knight, and Don Lee (Train to Busan) as a super-strong Eternal, plus Gil Birmingham (Hell or High Water), Harish Patel (Gunda), Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor), Ozer Ercan, Jashaun St. John, and Zain Al Rafeea (Capernaum). It’s a lot, we know. But, admit it: did you really expect anything short of epic from an MCU cast?

The Plot of Eternals

Although the Eternals are extraterrestrial beings, they have a penchant for living on Earth and pretending to be human. In fact, they have been doing so for the last seven thousand years. Sersi, for example, has been posing as a museum curator for quite some time now. And Kingo has managed to become a popular Bollywood star. But now it’s time for them to abandon their lives on Earth indefinitely and protect the planet from the Deviants, their powerful mutant counterparts. Eternals will see the cast of ancient superheroes in an epic fight to protect the universe.

Watch the Trailer

Due to its sheer scope, it goes without saying that Eternals is going to be different from other Marvel movies. And the teaser confirms that – but not just because of its span of seven thousand years. From the look of the teaser alone, it is clear that Zhao is going to bring her own directorial style to the film. Much of the lighting is natural, and a number of scenes were filmed on location. Both of these things are highly unconventional for a Marvel movie. After being hired by Kevin Feige, Zhao was given the freedom to apply her own sensibilities to the adaptation, and we think that’s just going to add to it.

Check out the Eternals trailer here and see what you think of Zhao’s interpretation of the comics.

A Possible Appearance From Kang the Conqueror

Given the fact that Eternals covers so much time, it is basically inevitable that we will run into a number of characters from the MCU in the film. Marvel Studios already stated that the film will take place “following the events of Avengers: Endgame.” At the end of the teaser trailer, the connection between superheroes is confirmed, when an Eternal asks: “Now that Captain Rogers and Iron Man are both gone, who do you think is going to lead the Avengers?”

But Eternals might have even more MCU connections than the trailer lets on. One fan theory, courtesy of Redditor ScarletWarlock911, suggests that Kang the Conqueror, who recently made his introduction in the series Loki, might make an appearance. They argue that, since the movie will likely begin in Babylon, it has to make note of Kang – who is also known as Rama-Tut, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Some commenters think it’s a bit of a stretch, but others think the theory fits. Personally, I believe when it comes to the MCU, anything is possible.

Aurora Amidon: Aurora Amidon spends her days running the Great Expectations column and trying to convince people that Hostel II is one of the best movies of all time. Read her mostly embarrassing tweets here: @aurora_amidon.