Next year, Marvel Studios will be bringing us a standalone movie about one of its most obscure properties: the Eternals. The film is definitely a risk, but according to Kevin Feige, it’s a risk worth taking. And to be fair, every time Marvel has taken a risk in the past — making a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, tearing the Avengers apart in Civil War, giving Infinity War a really downer ending etc. — it’s worked out spectacularly. We should have faith in Feige at this point, because he clearly knows what he’s doing. Here is Marvel's Eternals: 5 Things That Have Been Confirmed (& 5 Fan Theories).
10 Confirmed: Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden are leading a star-studded cast
The upcoming Eternals movie has recruited a heck of a cast. Alongside relative newcomers, such as Lauren Ridloff and Lia McHugh, are Angelina Jolie, one of the biggest stars on the planet, and Richard Madden, who made his name as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones and has since gone from strength to strength. Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, and The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani have also joined the cast. Gemma Chan, who previously portrayed Minn-Erva in this year’s Captain Marvel, will be taking on a second MCU role as Sersi in the Eternals movie. Madden’s GoT co-star Kit Harington is appearing, too.
9 Fan theory: Ego will be making an appearance
In the comics, the Eternals were created by the Celestials to be a delectable snack. The fact that they became the precursors for sentient life on Earth was, shall we say, a happy accident. The Celestials have been featured prominently in the MCU before — Knowhere is located inside a Celestial’s severed head — but there is only one major Celestial character in the franchise: Ego the Living Planet.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ego was played by Kurt Russell. He was portrayed as Peter Quill’s father, and at the end of the movie, Quill killed him to save the universe from his dangerous arrogance. The Eternals movie will take place across thousands of years, so a younger Ego could easily make an appearance.
8 Confirmed: Chloé Zhao is directing
Marvel has hired Chloé Zhao to direct its forthcoming Eternals movie. So far, Zhao has directed two feature films — an independent drama entitled Songs My Brothers Taught Me and a contemporary western called The Rider. Both have been widely praised by critics and showered with awards and further nominations on the festival circuit, which is probably how Zhao ended up on Marvel’s radar.
On the horizon, Zhao is helming Nomadland, a true-to-life story about older American workers who moved into vans after losing everything in the Great Recession, and a western biopic of Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal.
7 Fan theory: The movie will depict the creation of mutants
Marvel has just reacquired the rights to the X-Men characters, and Kevin Feige has been curiously using the term “mutants” in place of “X-Men” when discussing the studio’s plans for them. This has led many fans to formulate theories about how the Eternals movie will show the creation of the X-gene. In addition to creating the Eternals, the Celestials did a lot of experimentation with human DNA, so there’s a chance that this will lead to the birth of mutants, or perhaps just a subsection of the mutant community. Whatever it is, hopefully it won’t involve the Infinity Stones, because the MCU has done them to death.
6 Confirmed: It’ll be released on November 6, 2020
The Eternals is set to be released on November 6, 2020, which will make it the second entry in the MCU’s upcoming Phase 4 slate after May 1’s long-overdue Black Widow solo movie. From previous weeks, The Eternals will face competition from Tom Hardy’s Venom sequel; Kenneth Branagh’s latest star-studded Agatha Christie adaptation, Death on the Nile; Robert Zemeckis’ re-adaptation of Roald Dahl’s terrifying children’s classic The Witches; the sequel to last year’s Halloween reboot, Halloween Kills; and the G.I. Joe spin-off Snake Eyes. After that, its biggest competitor is a live-action Clifford the Big Red Dog movie. As a Marvel release, it’s probably safe.
5 Fan theory: We’ll see the creation of Knowhere
Knowhere has been a significant location in the MCU — at least on the cosmic side of things — since its first appearance in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. As a civilization located inside the severed head of a Celestial, it’s pretty fascinating. We’ve never gotten any details on its backstory, so some fans are figuring that as long as the Eternals movie will feature the Celestial race prominently, we might see how Knowhere came to be. A Celestial’s head getting chopped off and turned into a sort-of planet would definitely make for a cinematic set piece, and fill in a gap in the MCU’s timeline.
4 Confirmed: Eternals features the MCU’s first deaf superhero
After Black Panther gave us the MCU’s first non-white lead and Captain Marvel gave us the MCU’s first female lead, The Eternals will give us the MCU’s first deaf superhero. Makkari is an able-bodied male in the comics, but the movie will depict the character as a deaf woman, played by Lauren Ridloff. Ridloff has played Connie on The Walking Dead since Season 9 and recently wowed critics with her Broadway debut in Children of a Lesser God. The actor was born deaf and is even a former Miss Deaf America. She’s been an important figure in bringing authentic deaf representation to the media.
3 Fan theory: The Asgardians are a “tribe” of Eternals
This theory was first posed on Reddit by u/CyberpunkV2077. It essentially theorizes that the Asgardian race is an offshoot of the Eternals. So far, the MCU has gone off the premise that gods and myths and legends stem from aliens and superhumans, and The Eternals looks like it’ll continue that trend. If true, this theory would give Thor a post-Endgame arc, because as far as he’s concerned, most of his people are dead. However, if he discovers that the Asgardians are just one “tribe” of many, coming from an entire race called the Eternals, it’ll give him a newfound purpose. It would also explain why some Asgardians are much more cosmically powerful than others.
2 Confirmed: The Black Knight will appear
Perhaps the most important Avenger who hasn’t yet appeared in the MCU, Dane Whitman (a.k.a. the Black Knight) will be making his big-screen debut in The Eternals. Kit Harington, best known as fellow knight Jon Snow from HBO’s Game of Thrones, has been cast to play the role. Whitman is a medieval-themed superhero who assumes the powers of “the Black Knight,” a mantle that has been passed down from generation to generation throughout his bloodline.
Exactly how the Black Knight will fit into The Eternals — or if he’ll just make a post-credits cameo appearance — remains to be seen, but if you’re a Marvel fan, it’s certainly exciting.
1 Fan theory: The Eternals will create the Black Knight’s Ebony Blade
The Ebony Blade is the ancient enchanted sword that gives the Black Knight his powers. The MCU has been known to tweak little details from the comics here or there to make its characters feel more interconnected, like having Howard Stark be the scientist who designed Captain America’s shield or turning Hawkeye into an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Marvel’s first Black Knight was Sir Percy of Scandia, but the one appearing in the new Eternals movie will be the third Black Knight, Dane Whitman. What he’s doing in an Eternals movie could be explained by the Eternals creating the Ebony Blade.