In just a couple of short weeks, Marvel Studios will expand on its long-standing theatrical legacy with Chloé Zhao's Eternals, which will be the 26th film and 30th project overall in MCU history. Featuring a host of Hollywood icons in its cast and a revolutionary approach to visual storytelling, considerable hype is building to see how this movie will add to the Marvel Studios legacy.
Hollywood, California recently hosted the world premiere for Eternals, which is adding to the enthusiasm thanks to glowing reviews from critics from multiple major outlets across the USA. This is only the latest portion of Marvel's promotional tour for this movie, which recently debuted the movie's first full clip after numerous other trailers gave fans clues toward what to expect in the plot.
One specific clip that has fans intrigued in terms of its place in the film is one in which Phastos's son compares Richard Madden's Ikaris to DC hero Superman, thanks to their powers being so similar. This name-drop seemed to confirm that DC's catalog of heroes exists in some form within the MCU, which Chloé Zhao recently touched on during her press rounds.
Superman Exists Within the MCU
Eternals director Chloé Zhao spoke with ComicBook.com about her choice to reference DC heroes like Superman and Batman within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Zhao claimed responsibility for this reference, noting how characters like Superman came from "stories about mythology" in the real world. Even though they exist in a separate universe from Marvel, Zhao described movies centered around those heroes as something that deliver "a modern interpretation" of the myths delivered in the comics :
"I take some responsibility for that. I think we're in the business of telling stories about mythology, and Superman, for example, comes from origin of mythology. In many different cultures, there's a form of Superman. And the people that created Superman and the brilliant filmmakers [who] brought Superman to screen, their movies are basically, in my opinion, doing a modern interpretation of that mythology."
Even considering the Marvel/DC distinctions, Zhao makes it clear that the MCU has the ability to "pay tribute" to other heroes that don't exist in their real world.
"It doesn't mean we can't pay tribute and have a good time with these iconic ones that we all love to so much. I mean, who doesn't love Superman and Batman? Clearly our Eternals like them."
Universes Colliding in Marvel's Eternals
The MCU is no stranger to referencing real world pop culture phenomena, as proven by numerous other instances mostly from the Infinity Saga. A couple of the more notable references come from Tom Holland's Peter Parker, who proves his place in the Star Wars fandom in both Spider-Man solo movies and Captain America: Civil War.
Eternals takes this trend into the world of DC when Phastos' son compares Ikaris to the Man of Steel, both of whom can fly and shoot lasers from their eyes. While this is the only confirmed DC reference in the MCU's next theatrical outing, Zhao saw no problem paying tribute to the work DC has done regardless of what cinematic universe she's making a movie for.
The big questions now are how the rest of that scene will play out in the movie and if the story will use more DC references or pay tribute to any other major franchises like Star Wars. No matter what happens, the MCU is continuing its longstanding trend of giving other stories their shine in various ways.
Eternals will debut in theaters on November 5, 2021.