Marvel Studios has hired a director for Eternals, a cosmic odyssey based on the characters introduced in 1974 by legendary creator Jack Kirby.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chloe Zhao (The Rider, Songs My Brothers Taught Me) will direct the feature from a script by Ruins writers Matthew and Ryan Firpo, whose involvement was first reported in May.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed in May that Eternals was in early development, but insisted the focus remained on the final leg of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- at the time, that involved Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 -- and suggested the project was only one of many under consideration.
Nevertheless, details promptly surfaced about Eternals, including its purported focus, and the names of the screenwriters.
In Marvel Comics lore, the Eternals are a super-powered evolutionary offshoot of humanity created a million years ago through genetic experiments by the ancient alien Celestials. Imbued with the genetic potential to use their minds to control small quantities of cosmic energy, the extremely long-lived Eternals also possess other superhuman abilities.
Echoing earlier reports, THR confirms that the one-time Avenger Sersi will play a key role in the film, with a story thread that deals with her romance with Ikaris.
According to the outlet, Zhao edged out such frontrunners as Nicole Kassell (HBO's Watchmen), Travis Knight (Bumblebee, Kubo and the Two Strings), and Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra (Birds of Passage). She was previously under consideration for Marvel's Black Widow film.
The news of Zhao's hiring for Eternals comes less than a month after Marvel placed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on indefinite hold following the firing of writer/director James Gunn, leaving the future of that cosmic franchise in question.