Movies
Published November 4, 2021

Everything You Need to Know Going Into ‘Eternals’

Experience the movie in theaters now!

It’s a story 7,000 years in the making. Marvel Studios’ latest movie, Eternals, is now playing in theaters and introduces viewers to a brand new group of Super Heroes who know a thing or two about humanity — and how to save it. As Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said during the Eternals press conference, “in a post-Infinity saga world, we wanted to make a bold new step and say you don't know everything about the universe yet and that there are these 10 spectacular heroes who you haven't met who've been here the whole time.”

Eternals follows a group of heroes from beyond the stars who had protected the Earth since the dawn of man. When monstrous creatures called the Deviants, long thought lost to history, mysteriously return, the Eternals are forced to reunite in order to defend humanity once again.
 
The outstanding ensemble cast includes Gemma Chan as humankind-loving Sersi, Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo, Lia McHugh as the eternally young, old-soul Sprite, Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos, Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari, Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig, Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh, with Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, with Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak, and Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena
 
Chloé Zhao directs the film, and Kevin Feige and Nate Moore are the producers, with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Kevin de la Noy serving as executive producers. The screen story is by Ryan Firpo & Kaz Firpo, and the screenplay is by Chloé Zhao and Chloé Zhao & Patrick Burleigh and Ryan Firpo & Kaz Firpo.

Before you head out to the theater to experience the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, read on to find out everything you need to know! 

The cast is one big family

10 Eternals to keep track of? No problem. Zhao really wanted to bring forth everyone’s “true self” with their character, meaning that many aspects of these cosmic beings are pulled right from the actor themselves. And on top of that, as Jolie explained, the movie was essentially about “the idea of what this family would be.  And I just wanted to be a part of this family before I even knew very much about who I was gonna play. A lot of us were cast to bring out something from our own lives, something within ourselves, that maybe we weren't even aware of, and let it live and let it grow within the film.”

“I remember the first time that they were like, ‘So, we want you to be a superhero.’  I was like, ‘Cool.  How much weight do I have to lose?’" Brian Tyree Henry explains. "Chloe was like, ‘What are you talking about?  We want you exactly as you are.’  And to be a black man, to have someone look at you and say, ‘We want you exactly the way you are,’ is unlike anything that I've ever felt.  It just triggered me to be an 11-year-old kid who's watching these Super Hero movies and not ever seeing anyone like me reflected.  Like how I would take these posters and put them in my locker and just hope that you know, one day there would be somebody representing me and the way, you know, that I am.  And I truly believe that that moment started when I sat down with Chloe.  It's just, it's unlike any feeling I've ever experienced.  And to work with this beautiful palette of people and make a family 'cause this is what families look like, this is what they are.  And if not, this is what they should be.  I think that that's what Eternals really brings to the surface is that this is a family.  This is who we are.”

Even Don Lee was a little hesitant at first, but quickly put at ease when he saw who he was joining on screen. "I was like, ‘Is this the right place I'm in?’  I thought I went the wrong way. I was so impressed by all the great, diverse cast from all over the world.  And then I was so interested that this movie could entertain more people in the world.”

Powerful Women 

The women do just as much fighting as the men in the movie, with the likes of Thena and Makkari showing that they can not only take a punch but throw one, too. Jolie loved that Thena was allowed to be vulnerable, while also being “very strong.” 

And even though she might not be in the middle of a battle herself, Gemma Chan adds that Sersi’s “powers are not kind of the most obvious or the-the-flashiest. But what she does have is empathy and a real affinity for humankind and the earth. One of the enjoyable things about the film was going on that journey with that character...it's kind of her coming-of-age, even though she's probably thousands of years old. But she learns to trust herself and to grow into her own power.”

As for Hayek, being on the big screen with powers is a dream come true, considering she always wanted to play a Super Hero. 

“I wanted to work with the best directors in the world, and have big blockbuster movies, and also movies that are art, that is made from a very deep place with great directors.  You cannot ask for more.  It's very humbling when in the middle of your 50s, a brilliant director gives you the opportunity to do both.  To do something that comes from a deep place.  That it's also a big blockbuster. Everything is possible.  

Show-Stopping musical numbers

Eternals has everything — including a song and dance number! Nanjiani prepped for the role by also learning a big Bollywood dance number, one he was a little hesitant of at first. 

“When we first talked about the movie, she was like, ‘There's a Bollywood dance sequence,’ and I was like, ‘Chloe, I don't think I can do that.’  She's like, ‘Okay, we'll make it a Bollywood action scene.’  And then as soon as I got to London, she's like, ‘It's a dance sequence.’ And I was like, ‘Get me a dance teacher right now.’ In meeting [Chloe], I was like, oh, she's not going to let me suck in this thing.  So if she wants me to do something, I'm going to do it. Because I completely trusted her.  I didn't always see, you know, she had this whole movie, this whole universe in her head.  I didn't understand it until I watched the movie, but I knew enough to trust her.  So for me, I was like, "Yeah, this doesn't-this doesn't feel like something I would do, but if Chloe thinks I can do it..."

The Human

There’s one important person who’s not an Eternal, and that’s Dane Whitman. All Kit Harrington can say about him, without giving much away is, “he’s a nice guy.” A nice guy who just happens to represent humanity. 

“I had to represent something that was worth saving, maybe. I hope that Dane comes across as a nice, standup guy.  One thing I really respect him for is that a man flies out of the sky and shoots lasers out of his eyes and steals his girlfriend, and he's kinda cool with it. So yeah, that’s Dane.  And it was an odd movie for me because I come in at the start and sort of, in some ways, into the movie, and then the movie goes its own direction with these wonderful people and this wonderful cast. I felt separated from them, but I think that’s the advantage — you do have a glimpse into the humans at the start.  

Unlikely pairing

Something that comes as a surprise, both on-screen and off, is Makkari's close connection with Druig. "In the scripts, it wasn't really something that was so apparent," Ridloff explained. "But Chloe, under her brilliant direction, wanted us to imply that there was a lot more to Druig and Makkari.  I feel like what actually brought them together is that they both have a lot of power.  They're very powerful individuals.  And they're told to hold back.  To hold themselves back.  And I think that, for Druig and Makkari, you know, they're mischievous, and they also have fun.”

Zhao is quick to add that this was intentional, “It was your first time meeting Barry, the two of you started just riffing.  You know, you start to improvise.  And I go, what? What’s happening? [There were] sparks everywhere.  And 'cause initially, that was not the intention.  I think really it was from you guys meeting that we saw that, and go, ‘Maybe we should let play into it.’”

The Layers of Sprite

Though she might appear young, Sprite is actually an old soul. As McHugh explained, “There's a lot of layers to Sprite.  In every scene, she goes through a lot of emotions, but she expresses them in a sort of sassy, temperamental way as, like, an old lady would, but also have, the wonderment of a child who wants to be part of this world, but can't.”

McHugh was an old soul herself on set, with Zhao adding, “She kept notes.  She came to check in with me and said, ‘Well, in this part of the script, do you think she is…’  I was like, ‘Oh, yeah.  You're right.’  She's always on point, comes in with her homework, you know?

Ikaris’ Duty

For thousands of years, Ikaris has loved Sersi even though the two have since grown apart. But when they’re brought back together, now what? It was a challenge Madden was up for. 

“I'm kind of used to playing lovers often.  And to play someone who's such a soldier, but is completely driven by love, all his decisions are driven by love, and it's actually him that's wrestling with that, I'm used to characters who are very focused on their love, and that comes out.  With Ikaris, it's the opposite of that.  He’s kind of trying to bury that love because it gets in the way of his duty and is constantly wrestling the two.  And that's kinda what made it really interesting for me to pull out that relationship with all the characters from Sprite to Sersi, and kind of work out what this relationship is when you're trying to stick to duty, but your feelings get in the way. It's this kind of eternal soldier wrestling that.”

Marvel Studios’ Eternals is now in theaters! Get tickets now!

Want more Eternals? Follow @TheEternals on Twitter, @Eternals on Instagram, and Eternals on Facebook for the latest on Eternals as it develops!

Want to stay on top of everything in the Marvel Universe? Follow Marvel on social media—TwitterFacebook, and Instagram—and keep watching Marvel.com for more news!

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