‘Eternals’: Paving the Way for Mutant Resurrection

‘Eternals’ ditched an idea from the comics that could end up becoming a Mutant hallmark.

Sometimes what’s left out of Marvel Studios movies could end up being just as relevant as what’s left in. Most of the time we’re talking about plot points that are explored in forthcoming sequels, either to allow them to gain relevance and weight over time or simply because the runtime doesn’t allow for everything to be touched upon. But what’s not so usual is for certain aspects of a superhero’s background to be left out in order to use it on another IP.

There are rumblings of how Kamala Khan’s powers might be reinterpreted in the Ms. Marvel series, with the reasoning being that they might be too similar to Reed Richard’s, who’s soon joining the MCU. On the other hand, there never seemed to be any issues with the number of super-soldiers running around the MCU, all with similar strengths and weaknesses, so who’s to say if the rumors regarding Ms. Marvel have any truth to them. What is not a rumor, as we’ve now seen in Eternals, is how a pivotal and intrinsic characteristic these characters have in the comics has been mostly disregarded (primarily in terms of easy access to the technology), something that might end up being used when the Mutants come around.

Even the latest Eternals run, written by Kieron Gillen and launched earlier this year, makes it extremely clear why Eternals have the name that they have. They are, as their name says, eternal. They might die but are quickly resurrected with the help of their own Resurrection Machine, hidden underneath the surface of the Earth. Their bodies are restored with their memories intact, meaning they know why they died, and who might have been responsible for it. By apparently leaving such a defining aspect of the Eternals out of their MCU introduction, Marvel Studios could be setting up something quite big.

When relaunching the X-Men books in 2019, Jonathan Hickman introduced a similar concept. As part of the creation of the mutant island-nation of Krakoa, it became possible to resurrect mutants who had met a premature end. A telepath would transfer the mutant’s latest Cerebro backup into a developing body inside a cocoon, allowing it to be reborn with memories up to said backup. Both the Eternals’ and the Mutants’ intended resurrections could still hit a few snags, as both the Resurrection Machine and the Krakoan Resurrection Protocols weren’t without flaws and shortcomings, so it’s not like there would be no stakes involved in whatever storyline that ends up being put to screen.

It’s doubtful that the MCU, which is already sometimes referred to as a universe where nobody stays dead, will introduce the resurrection possibility in two of its Phase-4-and-beyond teams. Even if the Eternals are referred to as being built (therefore capable of being rebuilt when destroyed), the process seems to imply Celestial intervention. So being, and even if this weekend we were all reminded that Salma Hayek signed up for Multiple Marvel films, it certainly appears unlikely Arishem would bring back entities that rebelled against him. Her future appearances might turn out to be through flashbacks (the timeline certainly allows for that) or even portraying a different iteration of the character altogether, not a resurrection per se.

By rejecting to apply the concept of resurrection to the most obvious of characters (or at least the ease of the process we grew used to) we might get to a point where Marvel Studios end up keeping one of the most groundbreaking changes to the mutant status quo in decades in its X-Men storylines. Hickman’s work has always lent itself to the sort of sci-fi glimpses the MCU has evolved into, and this specific choice would be the perfect response to the no-death complaints: Embrace it. For a while at least. With caveats.

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