There are four different groups of Eternals in Marvel Comics, and at least two are expected to appear in the upcoming Marvel movie. In the Marvel Universe, the Eternals are a super-powered race of immortal beings created by the Celestials thousands of years ago. They were born from the imagination of legendary Marvel Comics writer and artist Jack Kirby during the 1970s.
These obscure Marvel characters will be making their live-action debut when they join the MCU in Phase 4. Directed by Chloe Zhao and scheduled for a February 2021 release, Eternals features a star-studded cast that includes names like Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Richard Madden. The movie’s story will follow the Eternals on a story that will pit them against the Deviants, who in the comic books are the Eternals’ greatest enemies. These grotesque creatures are a genetic offshoot of humanity who live underground. The Eternals and the Deviants have been in conflict with each other for millennia.
Though the MCU’s Deviants haven’t been revealed yet, Marvel has revealed which Eternals from the comics the movie will use. As expected, the second film on Marvel’s Phase 4 slate will center on Marvel’s Earth-based Eternals, which includes characters like Ikaris, Sersi, Thena, and Makkari. However, there are other branches of Eternals that exist across the cosmos, and it’s possible that they’ll make cameo appearances through flashbacks, or be saved for future Marvel movies. Here’s every group of Eternals in Marvel Comics, and which ones that the movie will use.
Thousands of years into the past, the god-like Celestials paid a visit to Earth and conducted experiments on human test subjects. Their experiments resulted in the creation of two additional races, the Eternals and the Deviants – the latter of which was considered a failure, while the former resembled humans but possessed an unnatural longevity. The Eternals built a city called Titanos on Earth and made it their home. Centuries later, their chief scientist and leader – an Eternal named Kronos – was working with cosmic energy when an accident destroyed his body and permanently altered the molecular structure of all Eternals on Titanos. Because of this incident, the Eternals and all their descendants gained immortality and developed cosmic powers.
One of the consequences of this experiment was that Titanos was destroyed by the release of all that energy, forcing the Eternals to build a new home. With Kronos gone, a new leader was chosen to take his place: Zuras, Kronos’ son. Under the leadership of Zuras, the Eternals founded the city of Olympia, a secret place located near Mount Olympus in Greece. This became the main base of the Eternals going forward. Most of the stories in the comics related to the Eternals revolve around Zuras’ group, and it would seem that the same will be true for the movie, as the main cast is mostly made up of Olympian Eternals. Thena (Angelina Jolie), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), and Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), all hail from Olympia in Marvel Comics.
When Titanos was destroyed, the Eternals didn’t just build one city; three others were built as well, with one of which being Polaria in Siberia. Those who were born in Polaria are known as Polar Eternals, and they were intitially led by Virako, an incredibly powerful Eternal and the father of Ikaris. After Virako died, his brother Valkin became the new leader of the Polar Eternals. The Polar and Olympian Eternals remained separate, but came together when it was necessary. In the modern era, members of the Polar Eternals settled into Russia and infiltrated their government. It should be noted that the Polar Eternals don’t share the respected reputation of the noble Olympian Eternals.
As explained by Ikaris, “the Polar Eternals don’t “have gentle hearts”. Ikaris said that “Polar Eternals are where thunder rolls and lightning rides the skies”. Sersi described them as bullies. Ikaris and Ajak, though, are exceptions, as both are utilized as heroic characters. Druig, on the other hand, is a rogue Eternal who often stirs up trouble and acts on his own. All three of these Polar Eternals will be adapted to the MCU, with Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, and Barry Keoghan playing Ikaris, a gender-swapped Ajak, and Druig respectively. It hasn’t been confirmed yet if Polaria will be included in the MCU, or if Marvel will simply incorporate these characters by lumping them in with the Olympian Eternals.
Prior to the destruction of Titanos, the Eternals went through a civil war, with one side being led by Kronos and the other by his rebellious brother, Uranos. Kronos defeated Uranos, but didn’t kill him. Uranos, who knew that his differences with Kronos made them irreconcilable, left Titanos with his most loyal followers and established colonies on Uranus and one of Saturn’s moons, Titan. The Titan colony was wiped out, but the Uranian colony preserved.
The most prominent member of the Uranian Eternals, Thelius aka The Crusader, wore cosmic devices on his wrists called Quantum Bands and became a hero to his people. After his alleged death, the Uranian Eternals gave the Quantum Bands and Thelius’ costume to an American astronaut named Robert Grayson, who used them to become the 1950s superhero, “Marvel Boy”. In the 1980s, they fell into the hands of Wendell Vaughn, who became Quasar. Quasar is a key character in the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, so while the Uranian Eternals are unlikely to be explored anytime soon, they could be saved for later, just in case Marvel has plans for Quasar in the MCU.
Not every Eternal was on board with the idea of Zuras taking over the Eternals in the aftermath of Kronos’ death. Some put their support behind Krono’s other son – A’lars – and were disappointed when Zuras was given command instead. Dissatisfied with the decision, a group of Eternals decided to follow A’lars into space and rebuild the Eternal colony on Titan. After establishing the Titanian Eternals, A’lars became romantically involved with one of the surviving members of Uranos’ Eternals, Sui-San, and fathered two sons: Thanos and Eros (better known as Starfox). Starfox is an Eternal who joined the Avengers in pursuit of adventure in the 1980s.
Thanos obviously exists in the MCU, but it’s not been made clear yet if the MCU version of the character counts as an Eternal. If he does, the Marvel movie could use a flashback or a cameo from A’lars to confirm this connection. The Titanian Eternals could be briefly seen or referenced in the film in order to set up a bigger role for them in a sequel. If that happens, Marvel can bring Thanos’ brother into the MCU and turn him into a superhero, just like his comic book counterpart.
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