Eternals Director Gets Candid About Marvel's Stigmatized Reshoots

By Benny Stein Posted:
Eternals, Marvel Studios, Avengers

Eternals, Marvel Studios' millennia-spanning epic, recently released on Disney+ for the world to enjoy. Although the film failed to stun critics or impress at the box office, it has managed to find new success upon its streaming arrival. Eternals has done especially well on Disney+, garnering over 2 million views during its debut on the platform.

The streaming release of Eternals has also brought with it a whole host of new goodies, including a director's commentary and deleted scenes. These extras have already shed some interesting light on the film by showcasing Easter eggs, revealing universe-related VFX limitations, and expanding on relationships between characters.

Disney+ subscribers can look forward to these special features, as they are scheduled to be added alongside a new episode of the behind-the-scenes series Assembled in March.

The director's commentary track has proven especially enlightening, providing insight on matters big and small, including elements of the film's production.

Why Marvel Reshoots Aren't a Bad Thing

Eternals, Captain America, Iron Man

As a part of the director's commentary released alongside Eternals' recent digital debut, director Chloé Zhao touched on the value of additional photography. Speaking with visual effects coordinator Stephane Cerreti during a battle during the film's finale, Zhao spoke about how the often-maligned reshoots can actually be an important tool in a filmmaker's arsenal, even "a blessing."

"I realized that there’s a stigma attached to additional photography. You know, for me, additional photography, if you can afford to do it, it’s a blessing. You know, it's a tool to use. You know, it’s not something that [you] say, 'Oh, I didn’t get it right the first time.' The more you want to challenge yourself on your first way out, you know, like your first time around, the more likely you’re going to have mistakes. Things that you didn’t get. And so, being able to catch these moments, also, like CG, some of the moments to be able to, you know, connect the fights was crucial to get this done."

Cerreti also chimed in, noting that "it’s something that’s really great because, you know, it makes our films better."

"And it’s so complicated. I mean, you can’t get everything right from the get-go. And you need to sometimes go back to the editing room and figure out what’s working and what’s not. And then just make a plan on how to get the elements that you need to finish it, you know. It’s part of our process. It’s just the way it is. And I think it’s a luxury and it’s something that’s really great because, you know, it makes our films better. If you were just stuck with what we had, sometimes we’d be really troubled."

Zhao continued to explain how the promise of additional photography served as a creative boon, helping her to "take risks" while also ensuring that there weren't "a lot of holes left."

"Well, it would make you less likely to take risks. Because you know, for me, I think for this, because I was so wild once I got on location; yes, there are some magical things happening, but there are also a lot of holes left for you guys. You know, so that when we go into the edit, it has to figure this out. For me, post-vis was a very, very important tool for us. To know that we have a post-vis team be able to just come up with shots that we need. Trying things out before we go into additional photography was brilliant."

Additional Photography Helping Films Like Eternals

Chloé Zhao's comments about the real value of reshoots helps to illuminate a great deal about the process of making massive MCU movies.

While additional photography is often seen as a sign that a film is in trouble, the reality is that the practice is becoming ever more standard for those blockbuster films that can afford it. Sure, reshoots signaled problems for some projects like Justice League and potentially the upcoming Ms. Marvel series, but on the whole, additional photography is nothing but a luxury for creatives.

The Eternals director's thoughts on reshoots mirror those made by other MCU directors. Peyton Reed, director of the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and its two predecessors, noted that reshoots were "just a given" at Marvel and something he described as "liberating."

Zhao's perspective on reshoots also paints a better picture of Eternals' production. As a newcomer to the blockbuster filmmaking game, having reshoots allowed her execute her full creative vision while still ensuring the film had all the pieces it needed. 

As upcoming MCU projects head into and exit additional photography, fans should keep in mind the value that Zhao and other MCU directors attribute to the practice.

Eternals is now available to stream on Disney+.

- About The Author: Benny Stein