Exploring the Eternals’ Cosmic and Earth-based Future in the MCU

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The final trailer for Marvel Studios’ Eternals gives us a closer look at the titular alien race, the Deviants, and even the Celestials. Yet many fans are not only intrigued by the main cast but also how they might fit into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are many questions the trailer still leaves us with, but also some intriguing hints that could be built upon. So using comic runs and promotional materials let’s guess as to where the Eternals might go next.

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Created in 1976 by Jack Kirby, the Eternals are tied to the cosmos and Earth. They are a result of Celestial experiments on archaic humanity. Despite being immortals the “minds [of the Eternals] remained all too human” as noted in Avengers #361 Vol 1. This is perhaps where, as Thena suggests in the trailer, their love of humans comes from amidst their long-standing watch over them. As they are pulled in opposing directions between being amongst humanity and learning more about their Celestial creators in the cosmos, we might see our group of ten Eternals split between those different overarching stories of the MCU going forward. This is perhaps even more likely if the film follows some elements of Neil Gaiman‘s (Vol 3, 2006) and Kieron Gillen‘s (Vol 5, 2021) comic runs. What made these two stories stand out was that there’s a betrayer amongst them.

Sersi’s fondness for humans and her romance with Dane Whitman seems to suggest she might be amongst the top candidates to stay on Earth. Sersi was a member of the Avengers between issues #314 (Vol 1, 1990) and #375 (Vol 1, 1994) along with Dane Whitman. It suggests she might have a role to play alongside the cinematic version of Earth’s mightiest heroes. In the trailers, we’ve seen Kingo enjoying life as a famous Bollywood star, meaning he might not have any interest in the isolation of space. It’s not too hard to imagine him being a famous hero on Earth once the Eternals reveal themselves.

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Sprite as the Eternal trickster child, who wants to experience fun amongst humans as she does in the 2006 Gaiman run, seems bound to the planet as well. Similarly, Makkari is repeatedly seen saving humans and Phastos’ home setup seems to suggest he has a human family, indicating each of them having a preference for being rooted where they are, regardless of whether they join a team of adventurers or not. 

One of the leading candidates for space adventures is Ikaris. Although he volunteers to lead the Avengers in the teaser trailer, it’s also clear that his relationship with Sersi might be changing. Although it has been teased before, thanks to the update that Sersi and Dane are dating in the modern era rather than the past, perhaps might motivate Ikaris to head out into space. He has sometimes shown more reticence than other Eternals to help humans and join the Avengers in the comics. So, it’ll be curious to see whether that translates into the film or whether he goes in search of the Celestials or even others of their race.

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In the most recent comic run by Gillen, Druig is another Eternal who has come under suspicion of being a traitor. In the trailer, it looks like he might be running some kind of a cult in a forest, suggesting he disagrees with how other Eternals have interacted with humans, as earlier character descriptions have suggested. Perhaps his disdain toward humanity might lead to a mission to get involved in the cosmic politics soon to engulf various planets and races of the universe. 

There are some Eternals whose destinations are less foreseen. Ajak has often performed the role of the communicator with the Celestials in the various comic runs. Whether she stays on Earth to protect humanity or goes off into space to find out more about their otherworldly masters is an open question. The trailer teases a connection with Ikaris, which might hint at a joint journey. Thena and Gilgamesh have complicated comic histories. She’s been involved with the Deviant leader Kro and even bore him twin children in the comics, while Gilgamesh has been an on-off Avenger. In the trailer, he seems bound to Thena in some way. They are still hiding quite a bit of detail to really pinpoint these character’s future journeys.

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Even if any of Eternals die, as they have done a myriad times, The Machine, the narrator of the recent Kieron Gillen run, is their resurrection protocol in the comics. It is an artificial intelligence that is composed of and thinks of itself as Earth. This is particularly interesting as EW recently noted that Chloe Zhao “​​loved the idea of treating the Earth itself as an 11th character in the film.”  Fully introducing The Machine as a disembodied voice for a character could be an intriguing prospect for an antagonist in a sequel.

Another aspect could be how the various other hosts of Eternals that might be on different planets similar to Titan, Thanos’ planet could factor into a sequel. Perhaps we might even see some other Eternals in Thor: Love & Thunder, as Gorr The God Butcher goes on a tour of destruction. Drawing the Eternals team back together again seems like it will again represent a tension between planetary and cosmic conflict.

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There are plenty of different places for the Eternals to join various overarching stories on the streets, across the globe, and beyond the stars. Whether it’s keeping to themselves and trying not to interfere again, saving people on street corners, joining The Avengers, or going in search of the Celestials, there are plenty of opportunities for each of them to go in different directions before coming back together for a sequel. 

Source: EW

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