Of all the new movies announced as part of the upcoming Marvel movies in Phase Four, perhaps the one that has provoked the most anticipation is The Eternals – and the film has now undergone a slight name change.
The intergalactic film – which follow a new outer-space superhero team – will now be known simply as Eternals, with the word ‘the’ dropped from the title.
And Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has already poked fun at the name change, tweeting, “My friends at @MarvelStudios did me the favor and gave me the “The.” Thanks, guys!” Gunn’s comments were a reference to his upcoming The Suicide Squad, a sequel to 2016’s critically panned Suicide Squad film.
The film follows the eponymous Eternals, an immortal alien race who have lived on Earth for over 7000 years, and boasts one of Marvel’s most exciting casts to date, including, Game of Thrones alumni Richard Madden and Kit Harington, Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick), Lauren Ridloff (The Walking Dead), Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) and Angelina Jolie (Maleficent).
But when will Eternals emerge onto the big screen? And how exactly does the film fit into current Marvel movies order? You can find all your biggest questions answered below.
Eternals release date
Eternals will be released in cinemas on 5th November 2021, having moved from 12th February after the latest Disney release shake-up date to the pandemic.
The film was previously scheduled to hit the big screen on 6th November 2020. This follows the delay of Black Widow, another movie in Marvel’s Phase Four schedule.
It’s not yet clear if Eternals could be delayed again. Other superhero films, such as Wonder Woman 1984, have been continuously forced to postpone their release due COVID-caused cinema closures.
Shooting on Eternals finished in February 2020, with star Gemma Chan confirming the news on Twitter.
(L-R) Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Director Chloe Zhao, Lia McHugh, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Lauren Ridloff and Don Lee Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images
Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie will star alongside The Big Sick’s already-attached Kumail Nanjiani, with Jolie playing the ultra-powerful character of Thena and Nanjiani playing master swordsman Kingo Sunen.
Jolie’s physical training tackled “everything from swords to ballet,” she told People.
“She’s a warrior,” Jolie said “I’m going to have to work very hard to give the Marvel Cinematic Universe the Thena they deserve.”
Game of Thrones’ and Bodyguard’s Richard Madden has also been confirmed for a role, playing a character called Ikaris known for his numerous abilities (including strength, flight, a healing factor, psychic powers, durability and cosmic energy manipulation).
(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)Roy Rochlin / Getty Images
“It’s brilliant,” Madden told EW. “It’s been about 10 years since we’ve worked together, I think. So we’ve moved on a bit onto different things, so I’m really excited to get back on set.”
Other confirmed castings include:
Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, the MCU’s first deaf superhero
Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
Salma Hayek as Ajak, leader of the Eternals
Lia McHugh as Sprite, an ancient Eternal in the body of a child
Don Lee as Gilgamesh, the Forgotten One
Barry Keoghan as Druig
Captain Marvel‘s Gemma Chan will also be appearing in Eternals, though *not* in her earlier role of Minn-Erva – in a rare case of the MCU doubling up, Chan will play an entirely different character, Sersi.
Featuring in the rumoured-but-unconfirmed space is Hollywood legend Keanu Reeves, currently enjoying a career renaissance thanks to the fan-favourite John Wick movies and possibly now in the frame for another main role in Eternals – though given that he wasn’t included in the SDCC or D23 line-up, it could be more likely that Marvel have him in mind for another upcoming movie.
Perhaps, given the relatively unknown subject manner Marvel are plumping for some well-known names and faces – but whatever the reason, this is looking like a particularly starry group of superheroes. And speaking to GQ Britain, Richard Madden teased that “there’s some more actors yet to be announced” for Eternals “which is gonna be crazy.”
In a positive push for inclusivity, MCU creative caretaker Kevin Feige has also confirmed that Phastos will be gay.
“He’s married, he’s got a family, and that is just part of who he is,” Feige told Good Morning America.
Is there a trailer for Eternals?
No, Marvel is yet to release footage from the movie.
But it’s not all bad news: here’s a first glimpse at the movies’ Celestials (the alien beings who created the Eternals) though, as put together by Marvel Studios’ senior visual development concept artist Rodney Fuentebella:
In the comics, the Jack Kirby-created Eternals are a race of vastly powerful aliens with incredible abilities (including atomic manipulation, super-speed, super-strength and so on), which they’ve primarily used in an endless battle against their foes the Deviants.
Essentially, the Eternals are an entire society of super-powered, near-immortal beings who have occasionally come into contact with more mainstream Marvel heroes, leaving quite a lot of scope for where a film storyline could go.
On Wednesday 15th January 2020, Marvel released more Eternals synopsis details to Fandom, confirming the Deviants as the villains. It also looks like the Eternals might have felt the snap of Thanos’s fingers just as badly as Earth, with exploring the MCU post-Avengers: Endgame listed as one of the film’s main themes:
Eternals is set to feature the MCU’s first LGBT+ kiss
In February 2020, it was confirmed that Eternals would feature the MCU’S first-ever LGBT+ kiss. In a heartfelt interview with NewNowNext, actor Haaz Sleiman confirmed his character would be married to Eternals member Phastos (played by Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry) and that they would have a child.
“It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set. For me, it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be,” he said.
The MCU’s first openly gay character appeared in Avengers: Endgame, portrayed by co-director Joe Russo in a cameo appearance.
Will Eternals cross over with Guardians of the Galaxy?
Quite possibly. As the Guardians were Marvel’s first spacefaring franchise it at least seems likely that some of the alien races and planets introduced in those movies could cross over into Eternals, with Marvel’s world-building (or should that be universe-building?) in full effect.
And who knows? We could even see a few of the Guardians of the Galaxy characters, or the newly-spacebound Thor, turn up in the movie in guest roles to help introduce the audience to these new figures.