The two-part finale of the Infinity Saga was epic on all fronts. Avengers: Infinity War saw Thanos successfully gather the Infinity Stones and crush all the heroes, while Endgame saw the Avengers pick up the broken pieces of the world and fight to restore what was lost.
Those two movies also happened to be the two longest films in the MCU; this is no surprise given the scale and the sheer amount of things happening. So it was surprising to learn that one of those films' runtime has already been beaten thanks to no other than Eternals.
If there was any film to do it, it would be Chloé Zhao's Eternals. The team the whole story revolves around is composed of ten characters alone. Then there is the matter of Celestials to deal with, among so many other things. A short 90-minute runtime just wouldn't cut it.
Eternals Director Speaks on Long Runtime
In a conversation with Fandango, Eternals director Chloé Zhao commented on the film's lengthy runtime of 2 hours and 36 minutes, that of which exceeds 2018's Avengers: Infinity War of 2 hours and 29 minutes.
She exclaimed that Eternals "could have been longer" as "there's a lot going on:"
“It could be longer!... You know, it’s ten characters, the Celestials and 7,000 years. There’s a lot going on.”
As for what the director is most excited for fans to see, she mentioned fans will "learn new MCU mythologies" as well as "explore some... existential questions:"
"Well, there are three things I'm most excited for. I'm most excited for them to go on this epic journey through time and space, and just have a great time with our wonderful characters. Then, I'm excited for them to learn new MCU mythologies, and to push the Marvel Cinematic Universe forward for the fans. Also, I'm excited for audiences to explore some of the existential questions that we as humans have pondered since the dawn of time."
With a movie as long as Eternals is, there's bound to be stuff left on the cutting room floor; but will fans ever get to see it? According to Zhao herself, people will "see some, yes" when the film hits home entertainment release.
Eternals' Long Runtime Trumps Avengers
With a film that takes place over the course of thousands of years, the opportunities for deep MCU mythology changes and additions are vast, almost endless. To hear Zhao, among others, continually tease all of the exciting additions to the world is making the wait for the film that much more difficult.
It was recently revealed that the movie has two after-credits scene stingers, both of which are teased to contain big surprises. If any project was going to have huge implications for the franchise going forward, it would be Eternals—though, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may give it a run for its money.
There's so much that Eternals could touch upon. There's the potential to set up Mutants for the MCU, dive into Thanos' backstory, explore how the Celestials impacted everything behind the scenes, and possibly even tease Galactus.
Fans can see for themselves when Eternals hits theaters on November 5, 2021.