Marvel Just Killed Off The MCU's Next Big Franchise

WARNING – Spoilers for Avengers #4

Avengers #4 adds some major new mythology to the Marvel Comics universe, while also killing off a group that may soon make their MCU debut. The new Avengers book not only features additional heroes like She-Hulk and Ghost Rider, but it's diving into the ancient history of the team. The Avengers of 1,000,000 BC that debuted in last year's Legacy #1 are a key part in the modern-day story of a new team facing a dark offshoot of the Celestials. And with the Celestials in play, it was only a matter of time before the Eternals arrived.

The history of the Eternals is an intriguing one, as comic legend Jack Kirby crafted them after his New Gods series was cancelled at DC Comics. His return to Marvel saw him create another cosmic group, though this one was an ancient variation of humanity created by the Celestials at the beginning of Earth's history.

Back in April, rumors swirled of a movie centered around the characters and a month later Marvel hired writers for an Eternals film. But while the comics usually prop up the MCU, the latest move does the opposite.

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Avengers #4 sees the team trying to stop the Final Host before they destroy the Earth. But as the heroes soon learn, things aren't what they seem. The insects they've been fighting are the Horde, a group of super-germs capable of destroying the Celestials. The cure, it turns out, is the Earth's population of superheroes that have been cultivated over time to help battle the Horde. But when the Eternals learn this, they pay the price.

It's not clear exactly what happened to the Eternals, as it's implied they killed themselves when they learned the truth. This doesn't make much sense, unless it was due to some level of guilt. Ultimately, the continuing story should reveal more as the mythology of the Marvel Universe is clearly being rewritten here. There's even a hint that the dead Celestial who's been inside the Earth all this time may be connecting to the onset of superpowers on Earth. The whole story is a complex one that clearly has some more twists, which is unsurprising as Jason Aaron is behind it. He's spent years fleshing out the backstory of Asgard, and now Earth is getting a similar treatment.

What is shocking is that the Eternals, who have barely been a blip in the comics recently, are brought back only to be killed. Their connection to the Celestials and their mutant cousins the Deviants seems the perfect time to work them into the story. After all, Thanos is a Deviant and the Eternals are primed to be a big MCU franchise in Phase 4. Because of that, it's likely Marvel has something else up their sleeve.

Marvel has spent years tweaking the comics to reflect the MCU, from making Quake and Inhuman to adding Coulson and the new Nick Fury to Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie joining the fight. Knowing that, this could be an effort to wipe the slate clean and reintroduce a version of the Eternal that can more properly slot into the MCU. We'll have to wait and see how that works out, however, as Marvel looks to be making some major changes.

MORE: Eternals Movie Can Play With MCU History

Avengers #4 is now available from Marvel and comic book retailers.

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