Blink and you'll miss it, but Avengers: Infinity War actually contains some subtle references to The Eternals. The last few weeks have seen rumors that Marvel Studios are actually beginning work on an Eternals movie, fitting in with the MCU's future cosmic direction. Those were recently confirmed by Kevin Feige himself, who agreed it's one of the "many many things we are actively beginning to have creative discussions about."
Marvel have always liked to play the long-game. The studio first began setting up Black Panther in 2010's Iron Man 2, while they've been building up to Infinity War since 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. Given that's the case, it's no surprise Infinity War sets up some future plots. The Eternals was always one of the most likely, given Thanos has a close connection to the alien race.
So how does Infinity War set up The Eternals? And what does it say about the Eternals' place in the MCU?
Thanos, Son of A'lars
The location of the Soul Stone has been the MCU's most closely guarded secret for the past decade. Now it finally stands revealed: the Soul Stone was located on the barren world of Vormir. Guided to the site by his daughter, Gamora, Thanos was greeted by the man any Marvel fan would recognize as the Red Skull.
The Avengers: Infinity War Prelude comic had teased that the Red Skull survived his apparent death in Captain America: The First Avenger. It seems he was transported to Vormir, and has lived there for decades. The super-soldier serum has granted the Red Skull a long life, and he's lived it learning the secrets of the Infinity Stones. And, as he learned those ancient secrets, he also heard the name: Thanos. It seems the Red Skull has not been alone on Vormir; somehow he has heard of Thanos, and has even heard the Titan's history. He identifies Thanos at a glance, and gives him the name "Thanos, son of A'lars."
A'lars, Father of Thanos
Sometimes known as Mentor, in the comics - just as in the MCU - A'lars is the father of Titan. But there's a lot more to Mentor than just that; he was actually the founder of the Eternals' colony on Titan, one of their most honored figures. For years in the comics, Mentor refused to acknowledge his son's villainy. It was only when Thanos killed his own mother, A'lars's beloved Sui-San, that he realized how monstrously evil his son had become.
It's important to note that the Eternals don't all look like Thanos. Some Eternals possess what's known as the "Deviant gene," which grants them a strange and unusual appearance. Although Thanos has that gene, his father doesn't; A'lars looks like a normal human being. That seems to be true in the MCU as well. In another scene, Thanos uses the Reality Stone to cast a vision of Titan before tragedy struck it. The figures in the background are all clearly normal humans in appearance.
The Story of Titan has Changed
Infinity War also changed Titan's backstory, though, adding a new layer of complexity to this. The film revealed that Thanos had been a philosopher among his people, one who foresaw a horrific ecological crisis. He believed explosive population growth on his homeworld would outstrip the planet's natural resources. Thanos came up with an insane plan to kill half the planet's population. Needless to say, the Eternals rejected his proposal. But the disaster happened all the same, and Thanos believed his race were rendered extinct.
Given Thanos's backstory in Infinity War, how can A'lars possibly fit into a future Eternals movie? It's possible the studio is considering one set in the ancient past of the MCU, perhaps explaining how the race became extinct. In this scenario, the movie would essentially be the history of Thanos, the Mad Titan himself. Another possibility, though, is that the Eternals aren't quite so extinct as Thanos believes - which would mean we may yet meet A'lars after all. That would allow them to return to the MCU, and play an important part in Marvel's growing cosmic universe.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019