New superhero epic Eternals is certainly one of the longest Marvel movies, clocking in at a hefty two hours and 37 minutes (just behind Avengers: Endgame) – but that’s not the only way it stands out within the franchise.


You see, Eternals actually stands fairly apart from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A little like 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy, it introduces viewers to an all-new cast of characters, in a world with unfamiliar rules and different stakes.

Eternals connects to the main MCU action through a few namedrops, but otherwise it could almost exist in an entirely different universe. With that in mind, perhaps it should be no surprise that some have been asking...

Is Eternals a Marvel movie?

(L-R): Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Ajak (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Druig (Barry Keoghan) in Eternals. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

The short answer is yes – Eternals is firmly set within the MCU. Characters make reference to the Avengers, namedrop better-known heroes like Doctor Strange, Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor (in fact, it’s claimed Thor has met the Eternals), while Josh Brolin’s villain Thanos is mentioned quite a few times and the Eternals’ Celestial boss previously had a cameo himself in Guardians of the Galaxy.

In other words, it’s made clear that the Eternals live in the world of superheroes Marvel fans have come to know and love. They just haven’t run into them due to their vow to stay out of inter-human conflicts, only battling when the deadly Deviants are involved (and given that they apparently killed off almost all the Deviants centuries ago, they now just mooch around).

More like this

Still, with all that said, it’s easy to see why fans have been confused about Eternals’ Marvel provenance. If you removed the references to familiar Marvel superheroes it wouldn’t alter the storyline in any way, and no previously-encountered characters from other films pop in for a visit either.

So yes, it is a Marvel movie – but it has to try quite hard to be.

How does Eternals fit into the Marvel timeline?

Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far From Home (Marvel, Disney)
Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal in Spider-Man: Far from Home (Marvel, Disney) Disney

While there are plenty of flashbacks, Eternals is mostly set in the present day after Thanos’ defeat in Avengers: Endgame. This is made clear in dialogue, and the film’s creators have suggested that the film is set around eight months after Endgame.

This means it’s set after other recent projects like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but before the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Interestingly, producer Nate Moore has suggested that Eternals takes place at roughly the same time as 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home – clearly, the MCU Earth had a LOT to deal with that year. To see who is starring in the new movie, here is our Eternals cast breakdown.


Eternals is in UK cinemas from Friday 5th November. For more, check out our dedicated Sci-Fi page or our full TV Guide.