While fans continue to enjoy the worlds of What If...? and prepare for a kung-fu spectacle in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it's important to remember that another MCU project lurks on the horizon that's quite unlike any other.
Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao, will be a very different kind of MCU film. The upcoming epic has an absolutely star-studded (and incredibly diverse) cast and a story that spans eons of history as the ageless Eternals stand watch over humanity's evolution as a species.
Among the cast, Gemma Chan stands out as someone who's been in the MCU before, and not all that long ago either. She appeared as the Kree soldier Minn-Erva in 2019's Captain Marvel.
Director Chloé Zhao recently talked about how the film's team came to the decision to cast Chan in a new MCU role.
CAPTAIN MARVEL STAR RETURNS IN ETERNALS
In a recent article from Entertainment Weekly, the process of casting the Eternals was discussed, and some particular attention was paid to bringing Gemma Chan back to portray Sersi in Eternals.
Chan recalls Marvel boss Kevin Feige telling her," I loved your work, and we would really love to work with you again." The star "was really not expecting to be back so soon!"
Feige was so adamant about Chan's inclusion that he said not casting her "would be shooting ourselves in the foot." The fact she'd been in a previous MCU property—especially one as recent as Captain Marvel—proved to be no consequence as Feige said he "can go back to Chris Evans being on the list for Captain America" after his role as Johnny Storm aka. the Human Torch in 2005's Fantastic Four and its 2007 sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.
"I can go back to Chris Evans being on the list for Captain America, and some people said, 'Oh, well, he played the Human Torch [in 2005's Fantastic Four]. Maybe we shouldn't consider him.' And we said, 'No, that's okay,' and the rest is history."
As for the character she'll be playing, Chan described Sersi as "not the most obviously impressive Eternal in terms of her powers," but notes that "her power really is her empathy."
FORMER MARVEL STARS FAIR GAME FOR CASTING
While the above might not seem like much, it has huge implications for casting as the MCU expands. As WandaVision seemed to indicate with its inclusion of X-Men alum Evan Peters, Marvel Studios is willing to cast actors who've appeared in other Marvel projects outside of the MCU.
A one-off for a quick fan-servicey in-joke is one thing, but now that J. K. Simmons has returned as J. Jonah Jameson (who he'd played in the Spider-Man films for Sony), Ryan Reynolds is set to return as Deadpool, and Chan is brought in for Sersi after playing Minn-Erva, there's real fuel to the fire that heavy hitters from other Marvel movie universes are on the table for MCU roles.
With big-name teams like the X-Men and Fantastic Four now in Marvel's hands—and as yet un-cast—there's serious potential for former fan-favorite actors to return. Those hoping to see the likes of Michael Fassbender as Magneto and James McAvoy as Professor X should be paying close attention. As it stands, nothing is off the table.
Fans looking forward to seeing Gemma Chan and the rest of the truly incredible cast of Eternals can see them guide humanity when the film premieres on November 5th, 2021.