It is only a matter of weeks before Eternals is thrust upon the world. What will be the MCU's third theatrical venture in Phase 4 has quite the hill to climb. Not only does it have to introduce a whole cast of new characters to audiences, but it is doing so in a story that spans literally thousands of years.
Now, for some, that may seem like a Herculean task; however, Marvel has assembled a star-studded team to tackle such an endeavor. Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao takes the helm on this, with a blockbuster cast filled with names like Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, and Salma Hayek to bring the story to life.
Even though audiences are less than a month away from sitting down and taking in this MCU epic, details on story specifics and character motivations have been few and far between. Other than a brief synopsis, a soundtrack listing, and a few location previews, not much is known about this forthcoming Marvel adventure.
Recently, a few tidbits have been starting to trickle out in regard to Eternals, and the latest involves Jolie's character, Thena.
Thena Suffers from PTSD
In a recent interview with Disney, Eternals star Angelina Jolie revealed that her Marvel superhero suffers from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the upcoming film.
Jolie admitted her character Thena "is like a soldier who is affected by the memories of battle and has PTSD or moral injury to live with," elaborating by saying she struggles "just holding on to her mind and her center and her peace:"
“Thena is like a soldier who is affected by the memories of battle and has PTSD or moral injury to live with. Thena just assumes that a fight’s coming at her rather than care and kindness. So she’s quite wired, and a lot of her struggle is just holding on to her mind and her center and her peace. I understand her, and how she feels.”
The Thena actress has not been shy about who her character is, saying that the Eternals warrior is "not comfortable in peace time" and doesn't have the skills to "exist as a civilian or as a lover or as a friend:"
“Thena is not comfortable in peace time. She doesn’t know how to exist as a civilian or as a lover or as a friend, but she does know war. She knows who she is in combat. But she doesn’t know how to go to a party or socialize. She just doesn’t have those skills.”
Of the other celestial heroes in the film, Jolie's character feels closest to Don Lee's Gilgamesh as the two "have known each other and fought alongside each other," describing their friendship as special because "they are partners, and they fight together:"
"They are like comrades in arms, who have known each other and fought alongside each other. They are partners, and they fight together. There are a lot of strong female characters in film now. But to have a strong woman with a strong man who she can lean on, like in this film, is the kind of partnership and relationship that I’d like to see more of.”
Pulling Back the Layers of an MCU Hero
The comic book world has certainly come a long way since the days of the boy scout stories of Captain America and Superman. Where in days of yore a hero would simply be fighting for the greater good and nothing else, Eternals seems to be going for something much more nuanced with its titular heroes.
The fact that Jolie openly admits that her character is fighting because really that is all she knows holds a lot of weight. Thena is hurting in this story and going to battle simply because that is her life.
While promotional material for the upcoming Marvel film has not been shy in showing that this will be a bit of a deeper superhero experience, these quotes are proof that this is very much the case. And with this entire band of heroes being debuted alongside Jolie's Athena, one can be sure that every one of the Eternals will be dealing with their own personal baggage.
So far in Phase 4, the Marvel faithful have been exposed to stories of grief in WandaVision, legacy in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and identity in Loki. With every bit of info that comes out, it seems that Eternals will not be shying away from this trend of heavy themes in comic book stories. And adding such nuance and weight to these tales may not be such a bad thing.
Eternals hits theaters on November 5, 2021.