Chloé Zhao is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe to direct The Eternals. Marvel Studios is putting Phase 4 into order by lining up several new projects. These will all come after Avengers 4 wraps up a decade-long story, while it will be Spider-Man: Far From Home that picks up the pieces. From there on, they've made movement on Black Widow by hiring Cate Shortland as the first solo female MCU director. There have also been talks of Doctor Strange 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 coming soon, with The Eternals positioned as a new franchise.
The movie was previously rumored to be in development early this year but took a major step forward by hiring a pair of writers. Since then, any update on The Eternals has been difficult to come by, as some began to question just when this project could be seen.
THR reports that Marvel's moving quickly on the project as they've named Chloé Zhao as the director of The Eternals. She is the latest female filmmaker to join Marvel Studios' ranks. Her most recent credit is an indie-favorite, The Rider, which received great reviews earlier this year. Not only has Marvel hired the Chinese director, but they are also reportedly looking to cast an incredibly diverse set of actors to lead the franchise.
Even though many may not have seen The Rider yet, Zhao's name may ring a bell with those who've followed Marvel Studios' other director searches. They met with over 60 directors for Black Widow, many of whom were women, and Zhao was one of the names in consideration. She may not have ultimately received that job, but she clearly made an impression on Marvel, so much so that they brought her back in to discuss a fit with The Eternals. And it appears those meetings went very well. THR reports that Zhao was the pick among a final shortlist that included Bumblebee's Travis Knight, Watchmen pilot director Nicole Kassell, and Birds of Passage directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra.
Now that Zhao is attached to the project (unofficially that is, as Marvel has not "officially" confirmed the news), The Eternals looks to be in great position among early Phase 4 contenders. Zhao is both a writer and director, so one of her duties as director may be to take a pass at Matthew and Ryan Firpo's script to make any changes she feels is necessary. Other than Black Widow, The Eternals is now the only in-development Marvel movie that has a director attached. It should be able to enter production sometime next year, making it an early contender for one of Marvel's three 2020 release dates. And, as long as everything goes smoothly from here, we may start to get some casting news for The Eternals by the end of this year or early next.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019