The Complete History of the Celestials, the Deviants, and the Eternals
Take a trip through Marvel history to learn about these connected cosmic creations!
In 1976, Jack Kirby’s ETERNALS introduced a new lineup of gods to the Marvel Universe, a debut that was highly influential. From their first appearances, the Celestials, the Deviants, and the Eternals have been incorporated into the wide Marvel mythos. Their shared story continues in current series ETERNALS (2021), but the signs of the Celestials’ presence reaches far beyond. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes transformed the body of a Celestial into Avengers Mountain in AVENGERS (2018), while the space station, Knowhere, was built within a Celestial’s head. And the Celestials have always kept a close eye on Earth.
To get a better grasp on the link between the Celestials, the Deviants, and the Eternals, Marvel.com takes a look back at their shared history across millennia.
IN THE BEGINNING
ETERNALS (1976) referred to the Celestials as “space gods,” but that doesn’t mean they’re gods as we define the term. However, they are cosmic beings of immense power whose size and scope defy human perception. They may not be the almighty, but they have directly influenced the course of human history.
ULTIMATES 2 (2016) #6 revealed that the Celestials themselves have a creator: the First Firmament, a living embodiment of the very first universe. The Celestials and their counterparts, the Aspirants, were meant to be the First Firmament’s servants. However, the Celestials' desire to allow their own creations to live and evolve led to a devastating war between the Celestials and the Aspirants that left the First Firmament shattered. War usually comes with the picture when it comes to the Celestials.
THE FIRST HOST
Celestials have visited Earth numerous times since its creation, referring to these events as “Hosts.” The First Host of Celestials experimented on early humans. As a result, two new species were born: the Eternals and the Deviants. It’s also widely believed that these experiments allowed the rest of humanity to evolve into superhuman beings like mutants and Inhumans. If so, the Celestials’ influence is even greater than originally thought.
Perhaps the most notable Celestial is Arishem, the judge of worlds. As established in ETERNALS (1976) #2, Arishem is the one who passes judgment on the different planets visited by the Celestials. In this case, a thumbs down from Arishem carries very heavy consequences for any planet that fails to pass. Among the cosmic powers, few can match Arishem’s might, even his fellow Celestials. Although a few of Earth’s heroes have successfully swayed Arishem’s judgment in the past, he may one day decide that this planet must die. If and when that happens, very few could stop him.
Unlike the Eternals, the Deviants came close to becoming Earth’s dominant species thanks to their powers and their incredible scientific breakthroughs. ETERNALS (2006) revealed that the Deviants were so close to conquering humanity and the Eternals, that the Second Host of Celestials was summoned to deal a blow. And when faced with the Celestials, the Deviants actually attacked their own creators!
In response, the Celestials caused a great cataclysm that sank the Deviant’s homeland, Lemuria, as well as Atlantis. The Deviants survived, but they have never regained the full power that they once had.
Among the Deviants, Kro stands out because he is virtually immortal and he can change his shape. Kro has also hidden these abilities from his people to ensure that they don’t try to dissect him for the secret of his longevity. Kro made his debut in ETERNALS (1976) #1, but his long life meant that he was perhaps the only Deviant still alive after the sinking of Lemuria.
Kro is also unique in his love for the Eternal known as Thena. They are the only known coupling between an Eternal and a Deviant, even if their romance has waxed and waned over the centuries. The pair also have twin children together, Deborah and Donald Ritter, as revealed in ETERNALS: THE HEROD FACTOR #1.
Unlike the Deviants, the Eternals’ human-like appearance has allowed them to seamlessly live among humanity. However, the Eternals’ superhuman gifts have sometimes caused them to be mistaken as gods, much to the annoyance of actual deities like Zeus and the Greek pantheon. Regardless, Eternals like Makkari still look upon the Celestials as their creators, and treat them accordingly.
Although the Eternals are seemingly immortal, they can be killed. However, the Reactivation Chamber can revive and physically change almost any Eternal. This is why Sprite is now a female as of ETERNALS (2021) #1, as opposed to a young male in their previous life.
Perhaps the most iconic Eternal of them all, Ikaris has incredible powers that include flight, strength, durability, a healing factor, and even cosmic energy eyebeams. He is in many ways the greatest warrior produced by his people. And yet Ikaris hasn’t taken his place alongside many of Marvel’s greatest heroes. In fact, Ikaris has come to question the longevity of his people in the pages of ETERNALS (2021). The price of an Eternal’s resurrection is the life of a human. That’s why Ikaris and others like him have now reached out to the Deviants so that they can learn more from their sister-race about living as mortals.
Although Sersi was an unlikely candidate to emerge as the Eternals’ most well-known hero, she has taken a larger role over the years. Captain America personally invited Sersi to join his team in AVENGERS (1963) #314, and she had a long stint with them. Sersi also had her eye on Cap as a potential lover before she had a very complex relationship with Black Knight: Dane Whitman.
Years later, Sersi reunited with another lover, Makkari, after he became the Eternals’ link to the Dreaming Celestial. When Makkari was killed in ETERNALS (2008) #6, Sersi sacrificed her own mind and body to bring him back just to maintain the connection to the Dreaming Celestial and spare the world. That act of heroism was not forgotten, and Sersi was revived a short time later.
Currently, Sersi has joined with Ikaris on his mission to learn more about their Deviant counterparts and move past the resurrection cycle that has defined her people.
What will happen next? Find out within the pages of ETERNALS (2021)!
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