Eternals is perhaps the most mysterious project on Marvel Studios' Phase 4 slate, introducing a brand new set of characters into the ever-growing universe.
The film boasts an all-star cast that includes Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani and more. Despite the ensemble focus, Marvel President Kevin Feige revealed that MCU veteran Gemma Chan will arguably be the star, graduating to a leading role following her supporting appearance as a different character in Captain Marvel.
Although the film is expected to be a larger-than-life, sci-fi inspired adventure, Eternals will stay relatively grounded through its use of practical locations and a "signature style" from director Chloé Zhao.
Now, fans have been treated to their first look at Eternals in a Marvel Studios sizzle reel, so it's time to break down every tidbit seen in the brand-new footage...
AJAK'S HEALING HORSES
Salma Hayek's Ajak is the first new hero showcased in the trailer, trading in her Eternals gear for a cowboy hat and a new steed. Ajak is seen striding up on her horse in a wide open plain, seemingly a display of the practical locations that Eternals will show off.
While her appearance is peculiar at first, a previous description for Ajak may reveal what the character is doing here:
"Ajak is the spiritual leader of the Eternals. Her wisdom has helped guide the team since they arrived here from their home planet to help defend humanity from the Deviants and to help humans advance to the modern civilization that they live in today. Ajak can not only heal humans and Eternals alike, but she is able to communicate with the Celestials as well."
Perhaps Ajak's abilities to heal and communicate with other beings could extend to animals, with her powers potentially allowing her to heal and talk to horses. Upon arriving on Earth, all the Eternals assume human identities to blend in with the world's population. This shot could suggest that Ajak has become some kind of stable hand, using it as a harmless facade to aid humanity's development simultaneously.
Whether Hayek's character is a horse-whisperer or just prefers this mode of transport, it is at the very least clear that the Eternals are doing their best to blend into human society.
A WELCOMING CEREMONY OR A SAD FAREWELL?
The next shot shows two Eternals moving to touch hands, with the following shot revealing that these appendages belong to Lia McHugh's Sprite (left) and Gemma Chan's Sersi.
This frame gives a good look at some details of the Eternals' costumes, such as their colorful gradients and many engravings that reaffirm their spatial origins.
The subsequent shot continues by showing, from left to right, Barry Keoghan's Druig, Lauren Ridloff's Makkari, Sprite, Sersi, Angelina Jolie's Thena, and Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos.
So why are the Eternals uniting on a beach? The film's titular heroes are notably suited up in this sequence, which could potentially suggest that this is occurring towards the beginning of the group's tenure on Earth. Several objects in the background appear to be bits of wreckage, possibly from some sort of pod or spacecraft that could have brought Sprite to Earth. With Sprite physically appearing to be the youngest of the Eternals, perhaps she is subsequently the last to join the group and the team are uniting to welcome her arrival to Earth.
Alternatively, this could be the moment where the team splits off to assimilate into the ranks of humanity, giving one last goodbye before they reunite 7000 years later. Sprite's character description notes that she has a "friendship with Sersi," so their connection in this scene could be a display of just that.
While the team may be bidding farewell in the previous scene, they can't be kept apart for too long.
This shot sees some of the Eternals back together in the modern day, as indicated by the more hip and modern clothing. Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo, Sprite, Sersi, Richard Madden's Ikaris, Thena, and Ma-Dong Seok's Gilgamesh all appear together in a wooded area, populated with a few wooden houses as well.
To the very left of this shot, there is the notable appearance of a robust piece of camera equipment. Whether this was an intentional inclusion or another blunder on Disney's part remains to be seen (more on this later).
It is unknown what the cast are heroically staring off towards, but there are few possibilities. The threat of the Deviants is said to be one of the driving forces behind the Eternals getting the band back together, so there is a chance that this shot could precede an action sequence between the two.
There are a few things that could support this, including the voiceover that says "When you love something, you fight for it." The Eternals seem to be something of a family unit, so they will undoubtedly fight to protect one another. A merchandise leak may also suggest that a Deviant appearance is imminent.
One of the Eternals' LEGO sets features a forest background with a tent, similar to the setting seen in this shot. Ikaris and Sprite are also included in the kit fighting off a winged Deviant, potentially hinting towards to the two throwing down with some alien adversaries.
On the other hand, the Eternals could be greeted by one of their own. Not all the team members are seen in this shot, so perhaps another Eternal is paying a visit to their family.
Druig's character description teases some possible familial tension, saying that "he disagrees with how [the Eternals have] interacted with mankind over the centuries" and how it is "hard to determine whether he's friend or foe." An internal fight could be a compelling struggle for the Eternals to overcome, providing the emotional weight that may be necessary for this ensemble-driven feature.
The first footage for 'Eternals' was officially revealed in Marvel Studios' sizzle reel for Phase 4.
Jashaun St. John was reported to have joined the cast of 'Eternals' in an unknown role.
Kevin Feige described Chloe Zhao's pitch for 'Eternals' as "spectacular," saying it was "a very bold and very ambitious, sprawling 7,000-year story of humanity and our place in the cosmos.”
THENA FIGHTS...ANOTHER ETERNAL?!
Angelina Jolie's Thena gets her own time to shine, wielding a glowing blade as she battles an oncoming foe. While it may be expected that Jolie's character would be facing off against a Deviant, her foe seems to be a bit more humanlike.
Continuing this thread of Eternals duking it out, what if Thena is fighting another of her kind? The person in question does seem to resemble Gilgamesh physically, having a rather large arms that match Ma-Dong Seok's in addition to a similar outfit.
Oddly enough though, Gilgamesh is described as being "the kindest member of the team," so it will be interesting to see the reasoning behind this squabble if this mysterious combatant is in fact Seok's character.
This encounter is followed by Thena bringing her blade in for a close-up, showing off the intricate yet delicate details of the shining saber. With Kit Harington portraying the Black Knight in Eternals, this sword could be the MCU's interpretation of the Ebony Blade.
The weapon grants its wielder a wide array of powers in the comics, including the ability to slice and dice through any substance, retroactive immortality, and energy absorption. It will be interesting to see what abilities are brought over into the movie incarnation, or if the sword will just be left as a glorified cutting device.
Thena obtaining this blade could therefore point to her actually combating Dane Whitman's Black Knight as opposed to Gilgamesh in this scene, making for an explosive introduction to Harington's character.
THE CITY OF THE SPACE GODS
The Eternals are next seen in dilapidated ancient ruins, this time all suited up. Makkari shows off her super-speed right off the bat, as she assembles alongside Thena, Gilgamesh, Ikaris, and Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo.
Going back to the LEGO sets once again for guidance, a similar scenario in one of the kids may suggest that this scene will see another encounter between the Eternals and the Deviants. The background of the LEGO set indicates that this location may be part of a larger ancient city, with the gates seemingly being the Babylonian monument Ishtar Gate in Mesopotamia.
One city that is connected to Eternals lore in the pages of Marvel Comics is the City of the Space Gods, which was a network of Incan temples located in the Andes. The structures were built by the Incans in ancient times to honor the Celestials and were subsequently used by Ajak to communicate with them. Perhaps the MCU may have shifted this Eternals-related location to ancient Mesopotamia or present-day Iraq to fit in with the history-bending narrative that the characters center around.
One of the Celestial's, Arishem the Judge, then descended to meet with the Eternals, a character who also seems to be making an appearance in the movie thanks to another brick-related leak. Perhaps this will be the location where the Eternals talk to their creators before they are attacked by Deviants
Hidden within the City of the Space Gods also lies a Resurrection Crypt, which was used to revive Ajak in the comics. Tragedy is said to strike the Eternals in the film, so there may be a chance that the team travels to the ruins to reverse one of their demises.
GEMMA CHAN'S SERSI GETS THE SPOTLIGHT
With Gemma Chan being touted as the lead of Eternals, it makes sense that she would get her own spotlight as Sersi in the brief bits of footage. Chan's character is seen in a desert location not dissimilar to the one where the ruins were based.
The palm trees match the artwork of previous merchandise, so it is likely that both this shot and the previous scene will take place in the same general location.
Sersi's line of "We're the ones who changed everything" refers to the fact that the Eternals have influenced humanity's development over the course of history, but it remains to be seen who she is explaining this to. This may come as a bit of exposition, possibly to a character like Dane Whitman who may not be aware of the group's associated lore.
This could conversely be aimed towards the Eternals themselves, being part of an impassioned speech to motivate them against the impending threat. If the Eternals were able to change everything, they can certainly overcome the mounting evil that opposes them.
This may be supported by Sersi's character description, which says that she is helping Ikaris "to recruit the Eternals for one last mission." This line may be part of a grander monologue to get the other Eternals on board.
KINGO TOUCHES DOWN
The final piece of Eternals footage sees Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo in a desert area, accompanied by another odd fellow holding a camcorder and a large bag.
Nanjiani is noticeably bringing a cool guy attitude to this role, which can be attributed to Kingo's Bollywood actor status. Kingo's character description details how he has used fame to disguise his Eternal origins:
"Over the centuries, he has become enamored with the idea of fame. In present day, he's a famous Bollywood star who must leave his life of wealth and celebrity to help the team repel the new Deviant threat."
Most peculiar is the gentleman that joins Kingo. The character seems to be recording with his small camera, possibly to document Kingo's celebrity lifestyle. There could also be the possibility that he is actually chronicling the lives of the Eternals, following them along on their adventures to understand how they came to be.
This may be backed up by the appearance of the larger camera from the other shot (told you we would come back to that). The larger bit of tech may therefore not be a mistake, but an upgraded piece of machinery for this individual to archive the Eternals with.
Audiences may have edged a bit closer to understanding what exactly Eternals is, but this footage has opened up even more questions about where this film will lead. Is Thena wielding the Black Knight's sword? What will bring the Eternals back together? How many horses does Ajak have in her arsenal?
These are all valid questions and concerns that will hopefully be answered once Eternals hits theaters on November 5, 2021.