The as-yet untitled Avengers 4 will mark the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as we have come to know it. MCU’s Phase IV will open the door to a whole new era of storytelling. Marvel Studios is looking to launch a new franchise in the form of The Eternals. Set to be released in 2020, the Eternals are a group of cosmic adventurers that most comic book fans aren’t really familiar with. Created by the great Jack Kirby, their story is originally set millions of years ago, when the Celestials genetically experimented on humans.
Marvel Studios announced back in April 2018 that they intended to bring The Eternals to the big screen. Soon after, they commissioned writers Matthew and Ryan Firpo to pen the script, and then hired Chloé Zhao to direct. It is unknown what the story will entail or if it will take place eons ago or closer to the present; however, the Eternals’ long history has much that can be adapted for the big screen. Kevin Feige has hinted that the Eternal Sersi would be the film’s central character, but we now have a breakdown of what other characters we can expect to appear.
Much like the Guardians of the Galaxy were before their film was released, the Eternals are pretty obscure and we can expect this film to delve into the ancient history of the MCU. To help prepare you for this new chapter in the MCU, read on for 25 things you didn’t know about Marvel’s The Eternals.
By the 1960s, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee had basically created the Marvel Universe. After a falling out with Martin Goodman, then owner of Marvel, Kirby jumped ship and joined DC Comics. He had been toying around with the thought for a new race of gods, connected thinly to the Asgardians. When he joined DC, he took this idea to them, which then became the New Gods, part of Kirby’s Fourth World Saga (you know, Darkseid, Apokolips, Mother Boxes, all that good stuff).
Kirby returned to Marvel in the 1970s, after Goodman had left, and brought his idea of these new gods with him. For Marvel, he now called them… the Eternals.
Though Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had worked to establish the shared universe between the various Marvel characters, Kirby believed some writers were taking it too far. He disliked having to keep track of what other characters were doing outside of his own titles. He felt the stories at-hand were more important than how they connected to others.
When Kirby returned to Marvel in the 1970s, he made sure his stories made no references to any others. With the Eternals, he even went so far as to insist it wasn’t even part of the established Marvel Universe.
Marvel has hinted at the plans for an Eternals movie for some time. If you watch Avengers: Infinity War, you actually see some clues that the MCU is setting us up to meet these new characters. There are two notable instances where this was most apparent to us. The first was when Thanos travels to Vormir in search of the Soul Stone. There he meets the Red Skull, who greats him as “Son of A’lars.” A’lars, also known as Mentor, was the leader of the Eternals of Titan, father of Thanos. Mentor was his Titan name, but his original Eternals name was A’lars.
Later, when Thanos returns to Titan, he uses the Reality Stone to show what Titan looked like during its glory days. The advanced utopia seems like just the place for a race of Eternals to reside.
Once the Eternals were brought into the Marvel Universe, writers wanted to see what Kirby’s stories meant for the rest of Marvel’s characters. Kirby had drawn from popular books of the time, such as Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods, which proposed that life here on Earth was by design a process started by extraterrestrials many millennia ago.
If we applied this theory to Marvel, the experiments conducted by the Celestials on mankind that resulted in the Eternals, also resulted in the evolution that created meta-humans, mutants, and the whole range of super-powered heroes found on Earth.
The Eternals originally all lived in a land called Titanos, which was destroyed due to cosmic energy research. The Eternals then dispersed and built three futuristic cities around the planet. Polaria, in Siberia, and Oceana, in the Pacific Ocean were the first two cities; however, the main city was Olympia, in Greece.
Olympia was near the portal to the Greek pantheon of gods and led to many Greeks mistakenly worshipping Eternals as those gods. Olympia has been relocated numerous times over the millennia. Later, the civilizations of Titans, as created by writer Jim Starlin, and Uranians, as created by Stan Lee, were written as being ancient Eternals as well.
Marvel Studios has announced that for the proposed 2020 film, they are looking to cast a male, age 20-40, to play the Eternal Ikaris. Ikaris was born over 20,000 years ago in the Eternal city of Polaria. Cosmic energy flows through his body giving him total mental control over his physical form, even when he is asleep.
He has a range of psychic abilities, enabling him to scan and sometimes control the minds of most people, and can mentally create illusions.
Marvel Studios is also seeking a male actor, age 25-45, to portray the Olympian Eternal and speedster, Makkari. Makkari is a member of the Eternals Technologist’s Guild. He is renowned for the various high-speed crafts he designs and builds. Like most Eternals, Makkari possesses super-human strength, speed, and reflexes.
However, the MCU film will probably relegate him to more of a tech support capacity and put him in charge of transporting our heroes across the galaxy. Hopefully we get to see Makkari show off a bit.
Pre-production notes also show that the film is looking to cast a male, aged 25-45, for the character of Gilgamesh. The Eternal Gilgamesh, also known as The Forgotten One was an outcast, banned from his fellow Eternals of Olympia for meddling in the affairs of ordinary humans.
Though he possesses the same abilities as most Eternals, he has honed his skills far beyond most. He is the possibly the most skilled hand-to-hand combatant of the Eternals, and is known to be an expert in many weapons.
"Karen" is another character that is reported to be in the film. Whether this is an actual character name or possibly a code name for another high-profile character from the comics is unknown. Marvel is looking to cast an actress, aged in her early 30’s, and they are open to any nationality or ethnicity.
Though the casting call is open, they are specifically hoping for Middle Eastern, African, and Native American auditions. She is supposedly a powerful leader with an enduring personality.
Marvel Studios has also put out feelers to cast for an unknown male lead character, described only as “a Greek God.” Could this mean we will finally see the MCU debut for the fan-favorite Avenger Hercules? As a demi-god, his inclusion in the film wouldn’t overshadow the Eternals, like possibly seeing Zeus or Ares.
Plus, we known Hercules was a member of the Avengers and an adventure-seeker prone to prolonged journeys of discovery and action. It would be great to see someone to spar with Thor that’s on his level.
Casting for the film is also looking for someone to play the character Druig. For those who might not know, this could mean Druig is going to be the film’s antagonist. Even though Druig is a Jack Kirby creation, Neil Gaiman’s use of him in the 2000s established the character as a villain worthy of inclusion in the MCU.
In the comics, Druig could manipulate energy and matter, including those of his own body. He could teleport, manipulate gravity to allow him to fly, control the minds of others, and project energy from his body, usually channeled through his hands and eyes. He was also an agent of the Soviet KGB for a time, which could lend an interesting link to the Black Widow.
Marvel Studios are reportedly looking to cast for the character Piper. They are looking for a lead female actress, aged 10-16, strong-willed, charismatic, with some athletic ability. The character of Piper has a magnetic personality. They are open to any nationality or ethnicity. She is to be wise beyond her years, articulate, with a quick wit.
There is no Eternal named Piper, canonically, but this could be a new take on the Eternal previously known as Sprite. The description is reminiscent of the ancient trickster eternal that is forever physically in the form of a child.
Elysius is another classic Eternal that is supposedly part of the new film. For the role, Marvel is looking to cast an actress, aged 20-40. In the comics, Elysius has superhuman strength, speed, and durability, with some telepathic abilities, which she uses to control a set of griffin-like creatures.
Elysius was artificially-created by ISAAC, the sentient computer system of Titan, to possess all the attributes of the Eternals. She served as ISAAC’s chief lieutenant. Does this mean we’ll also get to meet Titan’s sentient world-controlling computer?
A fourth-generation Eternal, Sersi is another character Marvel is looking to cast for the upcoming film. They are looking to cast a lead actress, aged 20-40, for what promises to be one of the most interesting roles of the film. Sersi had a strong desire to live among the humans.
Though originally created as Cerci, and then Sersy, it was the later version of Sersi that found fame as a member of the Avengers and partner of the Black Knight. She is incredibly powerful with transmutation abilities, which she passed off as magic for many years, as well as the ability to fly at incredible speeds.
The inclusion of this character has got to be one of the biggest reveals of MCU’s Phase IV. With their casting announcement, Marvel Studios is reportedly looking for an actor, aged 25-45, to portray Eros of Titan. Eros is otherwise known as Starfox. He is the son of A’lars and the brother to Thanos. Eros was a fun-loving womanizer who can harness his cosmic power to fly through space.
His power also, interestingly enough, can stimulate the pleasure centers of people to make them more susceptible to his charms. We wonder if we’ll see that in the film...
One of the Eternals of Olympia, Thena is a warrior who was famous throughout ancient Greece. Originally named Azura, her father Zuras changed her name to resemble that of Zeus’ daughter Athena in honor of the treaty between the Eternals and the Gods of Olympus.
Marvel is looking to cast an actress, aged 20-40, to portray this scholarly warrior with enhanced speed, stamina, agility, and reflexes. She can fly and cast illusions. Thena carries a bow that she uses to harness arrows comprised of cosmic energy. She doesn’t actually need the bow and can also focus this energy to project blasts from her eyes or hands.
A character with a long history in the Marvel Universe, Zuras was born in Titanos, the first city of the Eternals, the son of Kronos, their first leader. After the death of Kronos, being highly competitive, Zuras exiled his brother A’lars to the vastness of space, leaving him as the undisputed leader of the Eternals of Earth.
A’Lars would, of course, go on to establish the Eternals’ society on Titan. He is immensely powerful with the ability to create force fields, manipulate matter, and fly.
When Jack Kirby was crafting his Marvel version of DC’s New Gods (which, of course, he created as well), he carried over the idea that these new gods would have different factions. He revealed that the Celestials altered Earth’s beings into three different groups: Eternals, Deviants, and humans.
The Deviants are described as physically horrific creatures that generally live underground and are as evil as the Eternals are good. However, over some time, writers began to explore whether the Deviants were truly evil or just playing a role that they were forced into. Though some relished their place in the universe as the bad guys, others chose a different path.
Stan Lee was pretty much retired from writing comic books by the early 1970s, and was settling into his role as publisher. This allowed younger writers a chance to step up and take their shot. One of these was Jim Starlin, where, in the pages of Iron Man, introduced the alien race of Titans, namely the Mad Titan Thanos.
Starlin later expanded on the history of the Titans naming Thanos’ father, Mentor, having a brother, Zeus. Once Jack Kirby’s Eternals were incorporated into the Marvel Universe, Zeus was retconned to Zuras, of the Eternals. Thus, Titans were Eternals making Thanos a Deviant (which is why his purplish appearance is far-removed from other Eternals of Titan).
Stan Lee had done pretty well in the 1940s with his superhero characters, but by the 1950s, comics were following the trends with fantasies and westerns. Lee thought he’d give it another try and he, and artist Russ Heath, introduced Marvel Boy as a short-lived superhero series.
The story is about a Jewish scientist devises a way to leave Earth during the rise of Nazi Germany. He went to Uranus and is welcomed by the planet’s inhabitants. His son, Robert, is given special wristbands that grant him amazing superpowers. Robert then returns to Earth as the superhero Marvel Boy. Some years later, Marvel Boy joined the Marvel Universe. The retconned story has the native Uranians actually being Eternals who settled there after leaving Earth many years prior.
In the original narrative of the Eternals, they were waiting for the return of the Celestials to judge Earth’s worthiness to exist. That was pretty much the through line. So, when would the Eternals come back? Fifty years, a hundred? The Celestials genetically engineered the Eternals to be, in effect, immortal.
They’ve been around so long that the story is that some of the biggest myths and gods from throughout history have been Eternals all along. The Eternal Ikaris, for example has lived for over 20,000 years. The Eternals explained their incredibly advanced science in human terms as simply magic.
Over the years, in different stories, there have been many questions over how to injure or kill an eternal. They are essentially immortal, but not literally. Saying this, you could theoretically kill an eternal, but it might not last. Confused? Years ago, in the Avengers crossover, “The Crossing,” the Forgotten One is hunted down and “killed” by agents of Kang the Conqueror. They literally atomized him and spread his molecules throughout space. However, he got better!
Later, in another series, Ikaris is atomized and it was shown that even rendered into scattered molecules, Eternals can reconstitute. The Celestials basically designed them to be connected to the Earth’s own lifespan. So basically as long the planet lives, so do the Eternals!
Jack Kirby, in his "Fourth World Saga," wrote that a group of New Gods could merge together to form a powerful being called the Infinity-Man. He carried this idea over with the Eternals and introduced the Uni-Mind. When the Eternals all merge together as a collective, they form The Uni-Mind, sharing their thoughts and minds in one enormous brain-like head. The notion was that together, as a collective, they would be able to think more efficiently than as individuals. Not just a great thinker, the Uni-Mind possesses additional abilities such as mental and cosmic energy blasts.
The Forgotten One stood for the prototypical mythical hero back when the Eternals were separate from the Marvel Universe, hence his name Gilgamesh. Walt Simonson, fresh off his run on the Eternals mini-series in the 1980s, began adjusting the ranks of a new team of Avengers. Thinking of The Forgotten One, he made him a member of this new team.
Soon after, he suffered an injury and a fellow Eternal, Sersi joined the Avengers to assist. She ended up replacing her fallen comrade on the team. Sersi served admirably until the mid-1990s, before departing to partner up with the Black Knight.
Writers went to great lengths to depict the control that the Celestials have over the Eternals. The prankster Sprite fooled Makkari into taking a full-on run against a Celestial. Just prior to making physical contact with the great space god, Makkari found his body completely shut down. It appears that, even inadvertently, an Eternal cannot touch a Celestial unless they allow it.
Later, the Eternals formed the Uni-Mind in an attempt to convince the Celestials to leave Earth. The Celestials effortlessly forced the Uni-Mind to disperse into individual Eternals once more. Think about it, all that awesome power yet they are still just pawns to a greater cosmic being.