Marvel Confirms Angelina Jolie's MCU Hero Has Tragic Disability In Eternals Movie

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Thena, Angelina Jolie, Eternals

Marvel Studios is in the final stages of preparation for Academy Award-winner Chloé Zhao's Eternals, a movie that has a chance to be one of the MCU's best outings ever. Taking on a deep exploration of the MCU's earliest history while diving into the post-Avengers: Endgame struggle, this adventure will bring something truly unique to the franchise's growing ranks.

Eternals is already shooting for the stars with its cast alone as Marvel Studios brings 10 of Hollywood's iconic stars into new roles for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Part of what will make this movie truly special is its diversity not only in terms of those actors' backgrounds but also the heroes' unique struggles within the movie itself.

Already confirmed to play a role in this movie is the first openly gay character in MCU history with Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos, while Lauren Ridloff will play the story's first-ever deaf superhero Makkari on the big screen.

In a recent interview, a top Marvel producer shed some light on another key team member's own ailment that will have an effect throughout the movie.

Angelina Jolie On Thena's Tragic Ailment

Marvel Eternals Angelina Jolie

In a chat with Screen Rant taken from set visits in 2020, Marvel executive producer Nate Moore revealed that Angelina Jolie's Thena suffers from a version of dementia in the MCU's newest theatrical film.

Moore explained that Thena suffers from "something called Mahd Wy’ry," which is taken directly from the pages of Marvel Comics. Mahd Wy'ry is described as "a version of dementia" that can heavily afflict the Eternals, who can become inflicted by the many memories they gain throughout their immortal lives. In the comics, the fictional illness can drive Eternals mad throughout the course of centuries.

The producer mentioned how Don Lee's Gilgamesh "becomes her protector" as she deals with her affliction, which makes Thena "too dangerous to have around humans" when fans see them in the movie. Her bout with Mahd Wy'ry even forces her to go completely off the radar in an Australian cabin during the movie's modern-day timeline:

"She has a tragic story in our film in that she comes down with something called Mahd Wy’ry. If you guys are fans of comics Mahd Wy’ry is something that can beset an Eternal. It's a version of dementia. Because of the amount of memories they have, they become unstuck in their own mind, so she starts to forget exactly when she is, so through the course of the movie, Gilgamesh becomes her protector. And when we find them in the modern day, they're living off the grid in a cabin in Australia because she's too dangerous to have around humans, so it's a fun arc for Angelina to play."

MCU Eternals Taking Inspiration From the Comics

Considering that Eternals will showcase the immortal beings' time on Earth starting 7,000 years ago, it's no surprise that they have far more memories in their minds than any normal being or even other Avengers. Thus far, the oldest hero in the MCU to date is likely Chris Hemsworth's Thor at over 1,500 years old, pale in comparison to this new team.

Although Thena is the only confirmed Eternal dealing with their version of dementia, there's a chance that some of her teammates will have their own issues with it as well through the movie. Particularly the team having seemingly been apart for centuries before joining together in the Endgame aftermath, it will surely take some time for all of them to get reacclimated after so many other experiences individually.

This news also clarifies a specific shot from the second trailer for Eternals, which showed an interaction between Thena and a handful of other characters.

That shot gave a quick look at Thena fighting with Gilgamesh almost certainly in the Australian countryside, as he helps her either train or simply release some of her building aggression on account of Mahd Wy'ry. She then looks at Kingo, Sprite, Sersi, and Ikaris with a somewhat confused look on her face, although this report clarifies that she likely doesn't remember any of them due to her memory loss.

This ailment adds yet another layer of intrigue to the Eternals' time on Earth as they deal with the ups and downs of living through thousands of years of human history. Whether there's a cure or remedy for Mahd Wy'ry is still a mystery, although it will add another spicy ingredient to the Thena souffle as she fights through her physical and mental battles.

Eternals will debut in theaters on November 5, 2021.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.