Director Chloé Zhao’s cosmic epic Eternals has finally hit Disney+, and now, people worldwide who missed out in theaters can finally sit down and enjoy the cosmic expansion of the MCU’s lore. However, the film wasn’t the usual Marvel Studios hit. After release, many critics and fans didn’t take too kindly to what the project had to say. Eternals became the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film graded as Rotten on Rotten Tomatoes.
Either way, there were just as many viewers that loved it. The tale wove a completely original narrative and nearly reinvented all of the characters it was adapting.
For those who have read Marvel Comics, many aspects of the film adaptation are different, some more than others. So here’s a list of the most significant changes from page to screen for Eternals.
Excluding the Exclusion
In the film, the Eternals believe that they come from the planet Olympia, but audiences never end up seeing this fictional planet. Instead, the Celestial Arishem tells Sersi that it was all a lie––no such planet exists.
However, in the comics, It’s very much a real place. Olympia serves as the base of operations for the Eternals, not as a planet, but rather as a city on Earth.
The comic lore regarding the city is quite confusing, and where it actually resides ends up changing. It’s been seen in Greece, Antarctica, and, briefly, the Negative Zone.
In the most recent run of comics, the writers attempted to curb this confusion by establishing that there are several Eternal home bases on Earth: Titanos, Oceana, Celestia, The Exclusion, Polaria, and Olympia.
The Exclusion is one of the most important in the bunch. For one, it served as a prison for Eternals who were deemed to have veered too far from their purpose, so much so that they were considered mistakes.
Secondly, the Exclusion houses the single most important thing for the Eternals race, the bread and butter of their existence, the Machines of Resurrection.
The Machines of Resurrection do exactly what they sound like they would do. This plays into why the race of cosmic beings has the name they do.
When an Eternal dies, they are immediately revived. Sometimes one might die, revive, die again, and revive in minutes. There’s no limit to its rejuvenating qualities.
That said, it’s often the subject of conflict in their stories––seeing as shutting down that machine is the only way to truly kill an Eternal.
In the movie, the death of an Eternal is portrayed as seemingly permanent; there is no revive station in sight. However, there’s plenty of room for it to be introduced in a sequel. After all, when Arishem showed Sersi the World Forge, he revealed that he continues to make copies of them if needed.
So while it’s not explicitly stated, that World Forge may end up becoming the Machine of Resurrection as their story unfolds, likely after they loosen Arishem’s grip on it somehow.
Another difference is how Eternals tells the audiences that the Eternals themselves are synthetic, yet, in the comics, despite their consistent regenerations, they are still considered organic beings.
One of the more recent reveals about their life-saving technology is that every time it’s used, a human life is sacrificed for their rebirth.
Druig Saved From Villainy
One of the breakthrough characters of the film was Barry Keoghan’s Druig. Halfway through the film, he declares his loss of faith in humanity and retreats into seclusion to start a village with people under his control.
The character is never posed as a villain, though, but rather someone whose stance on humanity simply differs greatly from others in his family.
He’s also one of the last standing Eternals at the end of the film, positioning him as one of the main heroes of their race going forward.
In the comics, he’s an entirely different character. That grey area where Keoghan’s Druig thrives isn’t there at all—instead, he’s constantly backstabbing his fellow Eternals, making plays for more power and doing his best to assert dominance over those around him.
Yet, despite all of his transgressions, he’s still allowed to be part of the Eternals family. One day, Druig will cross that line, but until then, he remains a thorn in his family’s side.
Ikaris Saved From… Heroism?
While Druig’s villainy was taken away, Marvel decided to give Ikaris a little bit of that misguidedness. His faith in Arishem’s mission was so deep that hurting his family wasn’t out of the question.
On the pages, ironically, Ikaris is one of the most heroic Eternals of the bunch. He’s nearly always portrayed as the good guy and is generally the focus of their stories.
He’s also not nearly as isolated from humanity as the MCU project alluded to. In fact, when it comes to the movie, he’s probably as Earth involved as Gemma Chan’s Sersi was.
Speaking of the matter transmuting Eternal, she and Ikaris are not romantically entangled in the comics. Besides the constant of Dane Whitman’s Black Knight, Sersi finds herself pining for Makkari.
Makkari’s Fresh New Everything
Originally, Makkari was a male and wasn’t deaf—two things that Marvel has since adjusted in its synergistic comic storytelling. On the film side of things, everything worked out because Lauren Ridloff nailed the role.
While Makkari hasn’t been the Eternal Prime, she was originally the point person between the Celestials and Eternals in Neil Gaiman’s famous one, the same one from which the film takes lots of inspiration.
As for her flirtatious and fun dynamic with Druig, which was one of fans’ favorite parts of the movie, it’s nonexistent in the comics. Instead, as mentioned above, Sersi was the honored recipient of those romantic entanglements.
Thena’s Forbidden Romance
Angelina Jolie’s Thena was a strong warrior meant for the fight, yet Mahd Wy’ry had different plans. Because of her affliction, a bond is cornered between Gilgamesh and herself.
While Mahd Wy’ry is an actual disease in comics, it doesn’t cross Thena’s path; instead, Sersi is the one who has to deal with it.
Then there’s Gilgamesh, whose friendship with Thena was an emotional pillar of the Eternals. Here, though, the two rarely interact.
Connect the dots, and that means there’s no vengeful quest against Kro—which would be correct; she’s after something else: romance. Yes, the two have a forbidden love that’s rekindled more than once. They even had hybrid children, Donald and Debrah.
The Sprite's Dangerous Illusions
Sprite’s struggle in Eternals is something the character deals with in Gaiman’s run on the characters. While there’s no secret love for Ikaris, she has always had a hard time dealing with being a million-year-old being in a child’s body (originally, the character was a boy).
Sprite ends up tapping into the power of a Celestial to rewrite the lives of her fellow Eternals—brainwashing them all into living ordinary human lives; in doing so, she is provided a chance to actually grow up.
The Eternals eventually catch on to what Sprite did and break through their false memories. Instead of a simple reprimanding, she’s murdered by the Eternal Prime at the time, Zuras (a member of their race who doesn't make it into the MCU project).
While Sprite is eventually revived as all Eternals are, she’s imprisoned in the Exclusion for her crimes, with the last hundred years of her memories wiped clean.
The Natural-Born Uni-Mind
Eternals makes a clear plot point that the Uni-Mind is when the Eternals are at their strongest, but to get there, Phastos had to eventually invent the tools to do so. In the source material, there’s no need for fancy gadgets.
At one point in their history, the Eternals discovered that they could form a Uni-Mind by joining their will and intelligence. This process increased their strength tenfold.
They also don’t need a Celestial to be present when they use the Uni-Mind. In the film, the group used the bands to combine their energies and form a link with the emerging Celestial Tiamat.
There’s always the chance down the line that the crew will learn how to trigger the ability naturally and without an Eternal present.
How the Eternals Movie Differs From the Comics
There are many more differences between the comics and the film that have gone unmentioned. The Domo was an Eternal, Ikaris had a son, Kingo was an actual Samurai—the list goes on.
It’s important to state that just because there are many differences doesn’t mean that they are inherently bad. Most of them actually better their source material. After all, not only are many of the characters being adapted outdated, but their appearances in comics are fairly limited compared to most other MCU leading characters.
Assuming there’ll be a sequel, these will be far from the last changes to the source material. For one, the end of the film seems to open the door to a different interpretation of Galactus, a villain that many fans are dying to see properly hit the big screen.
Eternals is now streaming exclusively on Disney+