Even with all the characters introduced in the first decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these movies have barely scratched the surface of what’s out there. And it looks like Phase 4 of the MCU is adding another major new franchise:
Could Angelina Jolie be playing Sersi?
Eternals have the potential to develop many superhuman abilities, including super-strength, flight, telepathy, force field generation and transmutation. However, most tend to focus on honing specific abilities. For example, Ikaris has incredibly attuned senses, while Makkari’s signature ability is to run at great speeds and Sersi can manipulate objects on the atomic level.
The Eternals also have the ability to merge their bodies and powers to form a powerful psychic construct called the Uni-Mind.
The Eternals: Origin and Background
The Eternals is one of many Marvel properties created by artist Jack Kirby. These characters made their debut in 1976’s The Eternals #1, as Kirby returned to Marvel after a brief period working at DC Comics instead. The new series allowed Kirby to explore similar themes and ideas to that of his unfinished Fourth World saga, including the idea of two advanced cosmic races locked in a never-ending war. The series also showed a clear influence from writer Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End.
Unfortunately, The Eternals didn’t find the audience many of Kirby’ s prior Marvel projects did, and the series was canceled before his story could be finished. Eventually, writers Roy Thomas and Mark Gruenwald resolved some of those loose ends in the pages of The Mighty Thor. That Thor/Eternals crossover paved the way for these characters to begin taking a more active role in the larger Marvel Universe.
These early stories established the general history of the Eternals, their relationship to the Deviants and major heroes like Ikaris, Sersei and Makkari. As readers learned, these heroes impersonated the gods of Greek and Roman mythology, gaining worshipers on those rare occasions when they actually revealed themselves to mankind.
The early Eternals comics also revealed that there are multiple branches of the Eternals family scattered throughout the solar system. The Eternals were originally divided after a war between brothers Kronos and Uranos, with the former maintaining a peaceful settlement on Earth and the latter’s more warlike faction establishing a colony on Uranus. The Eternals of Earth were further divided when Kronos was killed in an accident and his sons were forced to rule in his stead. Zuras became the Eternals’ new ruler, while A’lars traveled to the moon of Titan, married a woman named Sui-San and rebuilt that ruined world.If the name “A’lars” rings a bell, he also happens to be the father of Thanos, easily the most well-known of the Eternals. Thanos carries the Deviant gene, explaining why his appearance and nature are so much more twisted than that of his family.
The Eternals have sporadically appeared in various short-lived comic book series in the decades since. Writer Peter B. Gillis and artist Sal Buscema relaunched the series in 1985, which ran for 12 issues. In 2000, a one-shot comic called New Eternals: Apocalypse Now #1 chronicled an older conflict between the Eternals and X-Men villain Apocalypse. In 2003, writer Chuck Austen and artist Kev Walker rebooted the franchise for Marvel’s mature readers-focused MAX imprint, resulting in The Eternal.
But Marvel’s most ambitious revamp, of the franchise came in 2006, when writer Neil Gaiman and artist John Romita, Jr. crafted a seven-issue, new reader-friendly take on the franchise. That series later spawned a new ongoing Eternals comic, though it was canceled after only nine issues.
The Eternals: Beyond the Comics
Despite being over 40 years old at this point, the Eternals franchise has had almost no exposure outside of Marvel’s comics. The franchise’s only non-comic book appearance to date is in the form of a 2014 Marvel Knights Animation series, where the Gaiman/Romita comic was converted into a motion comic with animation and sound effects. Several Eternals characters also appeared in the free-to-play video game Marvel Heroes, including Ikaris and Sersi.
But while the Eternals as a whole have been left out of Marvel’s various multimedia projects, Thanos himself has been given plenty of exposure. The character of course played a starring role in Avengers: Infinity War (played by Josh Brolin) and Avengers: Endgame. Infinity War also makes reference to Thanos’ father A’lars and showcases the abandoned moon of Titan.
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Those films seemingly set the stage for an Eternals movie in Phase 4 of the MCU. At one point, Marvel’s Kevin Feige hinted that the movie was in development, with rumors indicating that Sersi will be its central character. In May 2018, Matthew and Ryan Firpo were hired to pen the screenplay, and in September of 2018 The Rider director Chloe Zhao was tapped to helm the film. In March, 2019, THR reported that Angelina Jolie was in talks to star in the film and that “one aspect to the story involves the love story between Ikaris, a man fueled by cosmic energy, and Sersi, who relishes moving amongst humans.” More recently, word of Millie Bobby Brown, Kumail Nanjiani, and Richard Madden’s casting has emerged. We’ll likely know more about the project and finally have official confirmation from Marvel about it at San Diego Comic-Con!Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.
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