Chloé Zhao‘s plan for “Eternals,” her first entry into the MCU and follow-up to last year’s Best Picture-winning “Nomadland?” Go big and go home. Using Jack Kirby‘s obscure mid-1970’s as her source material, Zhao aims for her Marvel film to capture both the cosmic scale of Kirby’s comics and the intimate, family-like bond between this new group of heroes.
“I thought, I can go as big and as epic as our meaning in the cosmos, but I can also go intimate and explore all of the internal struggles we have as human beings,” Zhao recently told EW. “Because these characters have lived among us for so long, [they have] the same struggles like identity, purpose, faith, personal freedom versus greater good — all the duality and flaws that make us human.”
The characters Zhao refers to are, of course, the Eternals. Genetically engineered by the godlike Celestials, the Eternals are humanoid aliens from the planet Olympus, sworn to protect Earth and humanity throughout history. Their story is a saga that spans over 7000 years, and Zhao’s new film picks up after the events of 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.”
Here’s an official synopsis for the film:
When monstrous creatures called the Deviants mysteriously return, the Eternals—a group of heroes from beyond the stars who have protected Earth since the dawn of man—are forced to reunite in order to defend humanity once again.
“Eternals” spans millennia, making it the most epic Marvel film on a time scale, but the new movie also boasts a massive ensemble cast. Gemma Chan leads the cast as Sersi, alongside Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, and Lia McHugh. Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, and Don Lee (Ma Dong-seok) also star. Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie round out the main cast.
With MCU’s Phase 4 already underway, “Eternals” perhaps gives audiences a preview of the more diverse, inclusive, and cosmically “out there” future of Marvel movies. With the first woman of color to win Best Director at the Oscars at the helm, it should be a Marvel film unlike any fans have seen so far. “Eternals” comes to theaters everywhere on November 5. Check out the new trailer below.