The Marvel Cinematic Universe began fairly practical, but the franchise has added a myriad of magicians in recent years.
The sorcery side of Marvel Studios has been fronted by the likes of Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch, with tricksters like Loki not far behind. Despite having other-worldly abilities, each of the MCU's magic users has had fairly practical explanations of how they conjure their illusions.
Stephen Strange was taught the mystic arts in Kamar-Taj. Wanda Maximoff's hex magic was unlocked by the Mind Stone. Most recently, Loki Lauffeyson gave a detailed breakdown of the differences with his illusion projections and duplication castings.
Eternals will introduce another illusionist to Marvel's ranks with Lia McHugh's Sprite. The youngest (but also oldest?) magician bears similarities to her fellow illusionists but clarified that her powers are still unique.
Lia McHugh Compares Sprite's Powers to Loki and Doctor Strange
Marvel magicians are plentiful in Phase 4, but that doesn't mean they're all carbon copies.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Direct's Liam Crowley, Eternals actress Lia McHugh distinguished Sprite's illusions from Doctor Strange's and Loki's, noting her character's power-set is "less literal:"
"I think her powers are less literal. Like they're only what you can see. They're not actually physical illusions like Loki. They're a little bit different in that."
While it remains to be seen if Sprite will cross paths with her fellow MCU magic users, the Eternal illusionist is well aware of their existence. McHugh herself can be heard name-dropping "Iron Man," "Captain Rogers," and "Avengers" in early Eternals trailers, something she felt was a "curiosity starter" for fans:
"I honestly thought it was really fun during shooting that we got to bring up the Avengers in a couple of scenes. I think that's going to be a lot of fun for the audience to see, especially the scene in the trailer where I ask who you think is going to lead the Avengers. I think that's a fun little... I guess curiosity starter for the fans. I have no idea what the future holds."
More Marvel Magicians
As the Marvel Cinematic Universe dives deeper into the fantastical, more magic users expectedly enter the fold. While this could lead to a repetitiveness of sorts, Marvel Studios has put an emphasis on distinguishing their various illusionists.
On the surface, Sprite's illusions look similar to Doctor Strange's duplications in his battle against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War or Loki's tauntful army of trickster gods in 2011's Thor. McHugh clarifies that her character's magic differs in that her illusions are "not actually physical," which allows her powerset to stand on its own.
In theory, this should make Sprite's illusions weaker. Being "only what you can see" compared to Strange and Loki's abilities to conjure physical mirages means Sprite is relying on human error to believe her hallucinations. In reality, this actually makes her abilities all the more impressive.
In the comics, Sprite uses all five senses to conjure her illusions, making them virtually indistinguishable from real life. Sprite's powers on the page have even grown to allow her to shift perceptions of reality as well as people's memories. Operating outside physical illusions would be considered a disadvantage to most, but to Sprite, it's one of her greatest assets.
Sprite's illusions can be seen in their full glory when Eternals hits theaters on November 5.