Richard Madden has entered talks to join the cast of Marvel's The Eternals. Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe reached its culmination with last month's Avengers: Endgame, which concluded the franchise's so-called Infinity Saga (a story that began with Iron Man in 2008). July's Spider-Man: Far From Home will then bring Phase 3 to an official close and pave the way for the as-yet unannounced Phase 4 film slate. While Marvel Studios has yet to confirm any movie release dates beyond Far From Home, it's known they're actively developing projects like The Eternals and Black Widow for release in 2020.
Written by Matthew and Ryan Firpo (Ruin) and directed by Chloé Zhao (The Rider), The Eternals will bring the cosmically-powered ancient human beings to life in the MCU for the first time. The film's cast has been coming together in recent months, between Angelina Jolie signing on for a lead role (supposedly, that of Sersi), and Kumail Nanjiani and South Korean actor Ma Dong-seok reportedly signing on for as-yet unknown parts. Now, it appears the movie has filled another key spot in its ensemble.
The Wrap is reporting that Madden has entered talks to star opposite Jolie, Nanjiani, and Dong-Seok in The Eternals cast, with details on his character under-wraps for the time being. However, in their own report, Variety claims that Madden is lining up to portray the Eternal Ikaris in the film. Meanwhile, THR has gotten word the movie revolves around the love story between the cosmically-superpowered Ikaris and Sersi, an Eternal who'd prefer to reside among the regular humans of earth than with other Eternals.
The comic book version of Ikaris was created by Jack Kirby in 1976 and has continued to be a major player in Eternals comic book stories over the years. More recently, for example, he played a key role in a 2006 mini-series (written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by John Romita, Jr.) where the Eternals have forgotten their original identities and it falls to Ikaris to reawaken them, upon regaining his memories and powers. Gaiman's storyline served to modernize the Eternals in the Marvel Comics universe, so it's possible certain elements will be adapted for the MCU. After all, a similar plot-line could serve to explain why the Eternals didn't explicitly show up during the Infinity Saga, yet have always been around in some form.
Of course, with so little known at the moment, The Eternals might end up going in a very different direction story-wise. Reports about the film including a romance between Ikaris and Sersi have been around since 2018, which could mean they're accurate... or they're based on an earlier and now outdated script draft. Either way, Madden's a fine pick for Ikaris, assuming that's the plan. The role plays to the Game of Thrones and Bodyguard actor's heartthrob persona, and further reunites him with Disney, following his well-received turn as "Prince Charming" in the studio and Kenneth Branagh's live-action Cinderella. Marvel has increasingly cast the Mouse House's trusted collaborators in their movies of late (see also: Jolie), and for good reason. An actor like Madden should only help to bring additional attention to an adaptation of a relatively obscure comic book property like The Eternals.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019