Eternals, the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), is almost here. The third movie in the studio's Phase 4 plans arrive exclusively in theaters on November 5 and, while it's currently rated as the worst Marvel movie ever, don't let those reviews put you off from seeing it.
Yes, there's plenty to look forward to. Eternals' plot is told across 7,000 years of human history, it comes packed with an all-star cast, it's directed by an Oscar winner in Chloé Zhao, and it changes how we'll view the MCU for years to come. Not bad for a film that some think is worse than Thor: The Dark World. Or The Incredible Hulk.
Ahead of release, then, you'll want to know more about the Eternals. Who are these new superpowered beings? Why haven't we seen them in the MCU before, especially when Thanos was eradicating half of all life in the universe? And how does Eternals actually tie into Marvel's multiversal plans?
If you're looking for everything worth knowing about Eternals, we're here to help. Below, you'll find out more about the forthcoming MCU flick, including its release date, trailers, all-star cast, potential plot points, whether it'll be the most inclusive Marvel movie ever and more.
Be aware: there are mild to big spoilers for some other Marvel movies. There are also a couple of hints about certain rumors surrounding Eternals, too. If you'd prefer to go into the movie with little to no knowledge of what it entails, turn back now. If you're happy to proceed, though, let's dive in.
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Cut to the chase
- What is it? Eternals follows a group of ancient immortal beings who have protected Earth's human population from the Deviants, at the behest of the Celestials, for millennia.
- Where can I see it? Eternals will be released in theaters worldwide.
- When can I watch it? Eternals is scheduled for release on Friday, November 5.
- How long is it? Eternals is two and a half hours long.
- Are there any post-credits scenes? Yes. Eternals has a mid-credits scene and post-credits stinger.
- Will it be available on Disney Plus at launch? No. Eternals will have a 45-day exclusivity window in theaters, so it won't simultaneously arrive on Disney Plus in November.
Marvel's Eternals release date: Friday, November 5
Marvel's Eternals will land in theaters on Friday, November 5, 2021. The MCU movie has been delayed twice due to the pandemic, but is now set to arrive in cinemas worldwide later this week.
We've also learned that the film won't get a day-and-date release on Disney Plus, either. The Walt Disney Company has confirmed that Eternals will receive a 45-day exclusive theatrical release, so Eternals won't be viewable on Disney Plus until six weeks after it debuts in cinemas.
That means it won't launch on Disney's streaming service until December 17 at the very earliest. Given that Shang-Chi didn't arrive until two months after its theatrical debut, though, Eternals might not land on Disney Plus until early 2022.
Marvel's Eternals trailer: watch the final teaser
Marvel has been ramping up its marketing for Eternals in recent weeks, with plenty of new teasers and character profiles being posted on its social media channels.
The studio has also been busy releasing trailers ahead of Eternals' arrival, with the most recent one giving us a better look at certain parts of the movie. There's footage of the Eternals' various powers in action, a first look at the villainous Deviants, a couple of blink and you'll miss it moments involving the Celestials, and some humorous moments to enjoy, too.
Check out the latest trailer above, and read on to see the movie's first trailer that arrived earlier this year.
Marvel's Eternals' first teaser trailer was released on May 24. Now that we've received a second trailer, though, we have a better idea of how the movie will play out and fit into the wider MCU.
Speaking of where it'll fit on the MCU's main timeline, Eternals producer Nate Moore confirmed that the film happens "right around the same time as Spider-Man: Far From Home, with the world recovering from the attack of Thanos and the return of half the world population." So Eternals' events sounds like they'll play out in unison to those that transpired in Spider-Man's second solo outing.
Marvel's Eternals cast: who is playing who?
Eternals has a stacked cast that might rival any Avengers movie. You can see why by looking at the confirmed cast list below:
- Gemma Chan as Sersi
- Richard Madden as Ikaris
- Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo
- Lia McHugh as Sprite
- Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
- Lauren Ridloff as Makkari
- Barry Keoghan as Druig
- Don Lee as Gilgamesh
- Kit Harington as Dane Whitman
- Salma Hayek as Ajak
- Angelina Jolie as Thena
There are some huge names attached to this movie but, perhaps surprisingly, the likes of Jolie and Madden aren't the main stars.
That role is reserved for Chan (Humans, Raya and the Last Dragon), who MCU fans will recognize as Minn-Erva from Captain Marvel. As Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Variety in April: "If there was a lead in this ensemble, it is Sersi, it is Gemma Chan".
Our entertainment reporter Tom Power has seen the film, and we can see why Sersi is being positioned as the film's 'lead'. Everyone gets their moment to shine, though, so Eternals is more ensemble in nature than other 'solo' MCU movies.
As for the superpowers that each Eternal possesses, it's a broad list. As Zhao has previously stated, five of Eternals' 10 members are viewed as fighters, with the rest seen as the group's thinkers.
Sersi can manipulate matter, such as turning water into ice or dry Earth into soil to grow crops in. Meanwhile, Ikaris possesses superhuman flight, strength and the ability to fire energy beams from his eyes. Think Superman, and you'll be on the right track.
Kingo can fire cosmic projectiles from his hands and, unlike most Eternals, he's happiest in the spotlight. As such, he's masquerading as a Bollywood star in the present day. The child-like Sprite is an illusionist, which means she can conjure up images to distract people or turn items into something else of her own choosing.
Makkari is the MCU's version of The Flash, so her chief superpower is superhuman speed. She packs a mean punch when she's at full tilt, too. Phastos is the Eternals' inventor, and is tasked with creating weaponry and other technology that'll aid the group as well as humans.
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Druig has mind control capabilities, which enables him to possess and control anyone whose mind is more malleable than his. Gilgamesh can project an exoskeleton of cosmic armor, which serves the strongest of the Eternals well during fights. He's also the toughest character from a physical strength perspective, and one punch can regularly knock out opponents.
Ajak is the group's healer, as well as being the bridge between the Eternals and the Celestials. It sounds, then, that she'll play a vital role in proceedings. Thena can form a weapon of her choice out of cosmic energy, including swords, spears and shields. Like Gilgamesh, she's an expert fighter.
Finally, some Marvel fans will know that Whitman possesses a mystical sword that grants him the powers of the Black Knight – an individual who is resistant to magic, is an expert swordsman and a gifted tactician. Harington, though, has been keen to stress (per Total Film) that Whitman isn't an Eternal.
Also asked whether his character would crop up in more MCU movies in the future, Harington added: "I’ve got no idea whether my character goes on or not. I had read up on who he could be, or might be. So there’s the possibility for a longer trajectory. And hopefully, I think this is the tip of the iceberg for my character."
While Harington was reserved in his answer, Moore told ComicBook.com: "He's not going to be a Black Knight necessarily, but that is something that we get to play with down the road." Expect more Dane Whitman in the MCU in the future, then.
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Away from the main cast, Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor) portrays Phastos' husband and Ozer Ercan will play a smuggler. Harish Patel (Run Fatboy Run) also plays a character called Karun, who is Kingo's valet driver and personal assistant in the present day.
Since the second trailer's release, we know who one of the film's main villains will be, too. A deviant called Kro, who comic fans will know about, will make their live-action debut in Eternals.Additionally, when speaking to Collider for sci-fi romance film I'm Your Man, Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast) appeared to confirm that he'll be voicing the Deviant's leader in Eternals.
However, having seen the film, we can confirm that Stevens is not portraying Kro. We won't spoil the surprise here, but the former isn't voicing this particular character.
Eternals will also feature Arishem the Judge, one of the most prominent Celestials in the MCU. We won't reveal who voices this character for spoiler reasons, too, but you should recognise them when you see it.
Finally, there have been leaks surrounding a character in one of the film's post-credits scenes. Again, we won't be revealing who this actor is, or the person that they play. So, if you're one of the lucky individuals who hasn't seen the leak, some advice: mute any words relating to Eternals on social media. In fact, it may be best to stay away from social media entirely until you see the movie. That way, you won't have it ruined for you.
Marvel's Eternals: who are the cosmic superheroes?
The Eternals emerged from the mind of Jack Kirby, the individual who co-created legendary characters including Captain America, Fantastic Four, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and the X-Men. Having made the New Gods for DC, Kirby was clearly taken with the idea of immortal, god-like individuals, so mined a similar premise when he returned to Marvel in the 1970s.
Making their debut in July 1976, the Eternals' comic series was not a commercial success and was cancelled before Kirby’s storylines were resolved. The characters have appeared at various times over the subsequent decades – including a notable crossover with Thor – and had arguably their most successful run when Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. gave them a seven-issue reboot in 2006.
So who are they? Although they look human, the Eternals are actually immortal humanoids from outer space who have lived on Earth for thousands of years.
Like the X-Men, they all have their own unique abilities but, in a Power Rangers/Voltron-like twist, they can combine to form a powerful entity known as a Uni-Mind. We got a glimpse of this melding of minds in the movie's first trailer, so expect it to be a part of proceedings.
The Eternals generally use their powers for good, and every superhero group needs an antagonistic team to go up against. That position is reserved for the Deviants, a rival race who, unlike the Eternals, are abnormal creatures due to the genetic mutation they possess.
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No two Deviants are the same and, while they have their own superhuman abilities (such as fire breathing, matter manipulation and shapeshifting), they're looked down upon by the Eternals and the two groups' creators in the Celestials. As such, the Deviants have become jealous of their immortal counterparts – so much so that a war has waged between the two factions for millennia.
We've already seen a Deviant appear in the MCU before in the form of Thanos. And, given how he was key to the events that unfolded in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, it's unsurprising that the Eternals have finally decided to show their faces. You'll find out why the Eternals didn't join the fight to stop Thanos as part of the film's plot.
As for who the Celestials are, they're ancient cosmic beings who, in effect, made the Marvel universe. They have the ability to create and destroy life as they seem fit, and are the individuals behind the birth of the Eternals, Deviants and Humans.
Incidentally, we've seen the Celestials make brief cameos in other MCU flicks.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1, we were given two glimpses of this cosmic group. The first is when the Guardians traveled to the city of Knowhere, which was built in the remains of a dead Celestial's skull.
The second, meanwhile, is when the Collector shows the Guardians what the Power Stone actually is. During that sequence, it was Eson the Searcher who used the Power Stone to destroy an unknown planet and its dominant species – something the Celestials are known to regularly do in the comics in a process known as a Host Event.
Later, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it's revealed that Ego, Star-Lord's father, is a Celestial, too. He takes the form of a planet, though, which suggests that not all Celestials are human or android in form.
Marvel's Eternals plot: what do we know about the story?
As the movie’s official synopsis reveals: “Marvel Studios’ The Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants”.
Little is known about the movie's plot in public circles, apart from the fact that it'll span 7,000 years of humanity's history (per Entertainment Weekly). The Eternals arrive on Earth via their spaceship, aka the Domo, and viewers may be wondering how (and why) they end up here in the first place.
That, and much more, is revealed as the film plays out, including showing viewers how the MCU looked before "anyone was born", as Zhao recently told Total Film. So there will be sequences that show the Celestials in greater detail, or how the universe was formed, with Zhao stating that "anything involving the Celestials is going to be at a huge scale level of complication, let’s put it that way.”
We also know that an event called the 'Emergence' will take center stage in the film. As Ajak tells Ikaris in the second trailer, when the Avengers snapped half of the universe back into existence – after Thanos had wiped them out in Infinity War – the sudden surge in cosmic energy kicked the Emergence into life.
It's possible that the Emergence is the MCU's name for the Host Events that we mentioned earlier. Having seen the film now, though, we can confirm that this isn't the case. No spoilers for what it does entail, though.
But we digress. Thanos' universe-spanning genocidal plan was enough to convince the Eternals to come out of hiding, and that the Deviants and Celestials will play their respective parts in how the movie's events play out. Someone has to step up and save the day with the Avengers disbanding, so who better than a bunch of secretive superheroes?
As for how Eternals will impact the MCU, Zhao has revealed (in a separate Total Film article) that, while the movie stands on its own, she does "think we will have a very big effect on the future of the MCU with what happens in this film. Which, you know, as a fan, is really satisfying for me! I geek out."
In a separate Fandango interview, Zhao elaborated further by saying: "I think a big part of it [Eternals] is that audiences will be discovering the origin of the MCU through the mythology of the Celestials. I think by the end of the film, we will have a new understanding of planet Earth’s relationship with the cosmos, and also with her own inhabitants."
Marvel's Eternals is a welcome new chapter for the MCU
Marvel can afford to take a few risks in the wake of Endgame. You can expect Eternals to have a similar balance of comedy and drama as any other MCU picture – something that was certainly on show in the movie's trailers.
Like the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, you might need to see it in action to truly understand why these characters are appealing, but history shows that Feige and company have form at introducing new sides to the MCU.
That extends to greater inclusivity, too. Eternals stars the first openly gay superhero in Henry's Phastos, while Ridloff's Makkari is the first deaf actor to appear in a Marvel movie. Ridloff will be followed by another deaf actress in Alaqua Cox in Marvel's upcoming Hawkeye Disney Plus series, which shows that the studio is diversifying its superhero line up even more than before.
Marvel has drawn criticism in the past for its predominantly white, male superhero line-up, so it's promising to see improved diversity and representation in Marvel's Eternals.
In an interview with Vogue, Jolie revealed that Marvel's "commitment to expand the way we see 'superheroes'" was key to her signing onto the movie, while Hayek told Variety that Marvel's Vice-President of Film Production Victoria Alonso was eager for the studio to represent more people in its movies moving forward. Eternals, then, will be unlike any previous MCU film we've seen before.
Ridloff also told Total Film that she feels that "with more representation and diversity within the MCU, that sense of optimism and ‘can-do’ becomes more strong, more palpable. I hope that people who feel seen also feel empowered to dream bigger."
With its A-list cast, Zhao's vision and the backing of Disney, Marvel Studios could be onto another ensemble movie winner with Marvel's Eternals – regardless of what some critics think.
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Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.