Marvel Studios is only a hours away from its next theatrical release in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and it will be followed soon after by Chloe Zhao's efforts in Eternals. Boasting one of the most high-profile casts of new players in MCU history, the franchise's 26th movie already has high hopes for major success both critically and financially upon its release.
Zhao found her way into the director's chair thanks to delivering what was supposedly the best pitch Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had ever heard. While the plot of the film remains under wraps, it's become clear that Zhao's impact was profound, as she delivered an impactful story and made the best of having such an outstanding cast.
Included in that stacked ensemble is longtime Hollywood mega-star Angelina Jolie, whose character Thena was teased in the movie's most recent trailer, showing off her powers and finding herself in trouble. In a recent interview surrounding the MCU's November release, Jolie even teased part of Zhao's pitch that got her involved with the top comic book movie studio in the business
Marvel Pitched Angelina Jolie With Candy
In the Fall 2021 issue of Disney’s D23 Magazine obtained by The Direct, Eternals star Angelina Jolie revealed how she joined the Marvel Studios film after experiencing director Chloé Zhao's clever pitch for the movie.
The Oscar winner confirmed that Zhao's early work influenced her MCU outing:
"I loved her first film [Songs My Brothers Taught Me], and I knew that she would bring something special to this."
Jolie was kept in the dark upon joining the movie, as all MCU newcomers are:
"It's a unique experience joining the Marvel world. You are asked to come in, but they don't tell you anything about the story or the role you are being asked to play. You walk in, past the uniforms of the characters on the walls, wondering what they have in mind for you."
The Thena actress "was charmed" by the surprising way that Zhao sold her the Eternals story, as the director used pieces of candy to designate various human civilizations on a map as they'll be explored in the movie. Jolie was sold, saying "as they described who Thena was and her arc, I was very happy they asked me to play her."
Zhao's Impact Continues to be Felt
Considering how many people have waxed poetic about Zhao's vision for Eternals, Feige's initial claim seems less far-fetched by the day.
Jolie has been part of her fair share of widely successful movies, already having built an outstanding career over nearly four decades before teaming up with Marvel Studios. Even with that resume, Zhao and Feige helped convince her to be a part of something truly special in Phase 4, although she was completely in the dark as to what she'd be doing in the beginning.
In terms of the candy pieces on the map, Zhao appears to have found unique ways to articulate how Eternals would work considering the challenge of telling the story through 7000 years of human history. It's unclear whether the candy helped differentiate landscapes or the people in these civilizations, but Zhao clearly used the sweets effectively to keep her plan organized and concise.
After Zhao won Best Director at the 2021 Academy Awards for her work on Nomadland, hype built quickly to see what she could bring to the MCU. With stars like Jolie leading the way on-screen to bring Zhao's vision into reality, it seems to be only a matter of time until the MCU fandom finds how Zhao's brilliance will add to the MCU's narrative.
Eternals debuts in theaters on November 5, 2021.