Marvel Cinematic Universe movies made a comeback in the second half of 2021, with Black Widow in July, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in September, Eternals in November and Spider-Man: No Way Home in December. The debut of Eternals, the alien superteam with the best cheekbones in the cosmos, got pushed back a year due to the pandemic. But after its big-screen run, the flick finally makes it to Disney Plus this week.
Eternals is directed by Chloé Zhao, who won a pair of Oscars for her film Nomadland, and is written by cousins Matthew and Ryan Firpo. Spoilers started rolling out online immediately after its Oct. 18 premiere in Hollywood. Don't worry, we won't be looking at them in this article. (We have separate explainers for all the Eternals spoilers.)
Who exactly are Marvel's Eternals?
They're the next superpowered group to join the MCU. Marvel Studios has assembled an incredible cast -- including Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington and super-buff Wolverine cosplayer Kumail Nanjiani -- to fill out the team.
The official synopsis describes the Eternals as "ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years."
"Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, The Deviants," it reads.
When is Eternals released on Disney Plus?
Eternals streams on Disney Plus this Wednesday, Jan. 12, for no extra fee on top of your subscription.
Unlike 2021 blockbusters like Black Widow, Eternals opened in theaters and not on a streaming service. After the success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings at the box office proved fans were willing to go back to theaters, Disney decided to release future films exclusively in theaters for 45 days before digital platforms.
How long is Eternals?
Eternals' runtime is 2 hours and 37 minutes.
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Does Eternals have any post-credits scenes?
It sure does, and they're excellent. We have spoiler-filled explainers for these and the movie's ending, if you're so inclined.
How are the reviews for Eternals?
The critical reception was mixed, with a 47% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of Tuesday.
In our CNET review, Mike Sorrentino said he appreciates that the movie "takes a creative risk with its time-jumping events," but "its convoluted plot ultimately lets it down."
- Angelina Jolie as "fierce warrior" Thena.
- Richard Madden as "all-powerful" Ikaris.
- Kit Harington as Dane Whitman (who's human).
- Barry Keoghan as "aloof loner" Druig.
- Gemma Chan as "humankind-loving" Sersi.
- Kumail Nanjiani as "cosmic-powered" Kingo.
- Salma Hayek as "wise and spiritual leader" Ajak.
- Lauren Ridloff as "super-fast" Makkari.
- Brian Tyree Henry as "intelligent inventor" Phastos.
- Lia McHugh as "eternally young, old-soul" Sprite.
- Don Lee as "powerful" Gilgamesh.
The character descriptions are from Marvel's official synopsis -- poor Dane Whitman is apparently too boring for any hype. However, he becomes sword-wielding hero Black Knight in the comics, so maybe the company is just keeping that quiet.
The movie reunites Harington and Madden, who played Jon Snow and Robb Stark in Game of Thrones.
"It never crossed my mind to be in a Marvel movie. I guess that I thought that boat had sailed, and it was an absolute shock," Hayek said in a May interview with Variety. She also told the publication that she was one of the first ones cast for the movie.
Chan was previously seen in the MCU as Captain Marvel's Minn-Erva, but Sersi is a different character.
"Sersi is not your typical superhero: She's not necessarily the best fighter, she doesn't have the most obviously impressive powers. The main thing is she's an empath," Chan told Vogue in August. "She has a connection with humans, and with the world and the earth. That is her strength, so I leant into that."
Separately, she said working on Eternals was a very different experience than on Captain Marvel, which employed more studio work and blue screen. Eternals was filmed in the Canary Islands and England, so it uses real environments and mostly natural lighting, as previously reported by IMDbrief.
In December 2019, Nanjiani revealed the fruits of his training -- and the intense regime required to maintain it -- to play swordsman Kingo in some super-buff Instagram shots. He famously used that new physique to pose as Wolverine (replacing Hugh Jackman) and other iconic movie characters for a Men's Health March 2020 photoshoot.
"I would not have been able to do this if I didn't have a full year with the best trainers and nutritionists paid for by the biggest studio in the world," he wrote in his original Instagram caption. "I'm glad I look like this, but I also understand why I never did before. It would have been impossible without these resources and time."
His character was also showcased in Parking Spot, a Lexus promo set in the MCU and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (who helmed Avengers: Endgame).
Eternals offers two major firsts for the MCU: Brian Tyree Henry, from Godzilla vs. Kong, plays Phastos -- the first openly gay superhero in the MCU. And Lauren Ridloff, whom you might know as Connie in The Walking Dead, is the MCU's first deaf superhero. Her character, Makkari, is male in the comics.
Like Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy, this movie focuses on Marvel's cosmic comic characters.
How can I get hyped for Eternals?
Aside from blitzing through a bunch of Marvel movies on Disney Plus, there's also an augmented reality app you can try out. The 10-minute iOS exclusive experience is a walk-around diorama of characters, along with their origin stories, that sees Sprite appearing in your home like a hologram.
What's the Eternals' history in the comics?
Eternals have a comic history that stretches back to 1976. They were dreamed up by Jack Kirby, co-creator of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, after he created the very similar New Gods for DC six years earlier. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige told the Hollywood Reporter that the movie pays tribute to the late artist, who died in 1994.
"The whole movie is a love letter to what one man was able to do with a pencil, sitting at a little desk on the East Coast," Feige said at the Eternals premiere on Oct. 18.
In the comics, they're an evolutionary offshoot of humanity living on Earth who possess greater powers and have longer lifespans. The Celestials, a group of space gods, created them to defend Earth. The current series, from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Esad Ribić, kicked off in January 2021.
We've already seen a few Celestials in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies -- most notably the space station Knowhere (actually a Celestial's severed head) and Peter Quill's dad, Ego, (who took a human form) in the second Guardians flick.