Part 2: How Marvel Studios ‘ETERNALS’ Sets the Table for the Future of the MCU
This article originally appeared on That Hashtag Show.
Welcome back. In Part 1, we took a look at how the Celestial’s experiments on early man in Eternals could provide the MCU with a path to eventually introducing the Greek pantheon, Hercules, Moondragon and Phyla-Vell among others. Part 2 will further explore the early history of the Eternals, their rivals the Deviants, their connections to two famed lost contients, Atlantis and Lemuria, and some potential pathways to bring them and their host of characters to MCU.
For hundreds of thousands of years, the Eternals stayed in the shadows, emerging only on occasion to war with the Deviants, or dealing with their own problems which were detailed in Part 1. The genetic manipulation of the Deviants DNA allowed to develop more rapidly than mankind and, as a result, they ruled over most of the world by 18,000 BC. Ruling from the fictional lost land of Lemuria, the Deviants terrorized the inhabitants of the Earth and warred with the one region they could not conquer: Atlantis.
Both Atlantis (located in the North Atlantic Ocean, between North America and Europe) and Lemuria (located in the Southern Pacific Ocean near Southern India, Madagascar and Australia) have made their way into pop culture in various ways over the years but Marvel Comics developed what is an absolutely fascinating treatment of the history of both lost continents. In the earliest times, Lemuria was ruled by Sligguth, the demon spawn of the Elder god, Set. The first cities of men were also built on Lemuria at that time and, eventually, mankind defeated Sligguth and his Dragon Kings and took over the continent. For nearly 100,000 years man thrived on the Lemurian Isles under barbarian kings such as King Kull and often fought with the Serpent Men, remnants of Sligguth’s reign, while the Deviants took control of continental Lemuria and the rest of this world, enslaving mankind, with one exception.
On the other side of the world, the kingdom of Atlantis grew from a land of barbarians (Kull himself was born there) into a one of exploration, trade and alchemy. They created trade routes and discovered new places such as the Savage Land and their alchemists were responsible for the construction of the artifact known as the Serpent Crown which was built as a vessel to house the power of the Elder God, Set. As the two great civilizations grew in power, they continued to come into conflict. After the Deviants overtook the Lemurian Isles, they launched a massive attack on Atlantis wielding the power of the Serpent Crown. To fend off the attack, the Atlantean King unleashed the power of Atlantis’s magma pits. While it defeated the Deviants, it also damaged the tectonic plates below and Atlantis was lost to the sea.
It was at this time that the Celestials, absent from Earth since their genetic experimentation created the Eternals and Deviants, returned to administer the Second Host. Unhappy with how their creations had behaved (the Eternals, for all their power, ignored humanity; the Deviants, in all their cruelty, enslaved it), the Celestials destroyed Lemuria, plunging it underwater and killing most of its Deviant inhabitants. In the comics, this series of events is known as the Great Cataclysm and the flooding of the Earth that followed was responsible for the Ark legend in which the Eternal Utnapishtim built an Ark to help save Earth’s species and his fellow Eternal Ikaris led the Ark to safety.
In the wake of the Great Cataclysm, the Earth was reshaped and man, once again, emerged as the dominant species and spread across the land. This period of nearly 8,000 years became known as the Hyborean Age and saw the likes of Conan and other legends come to life. It was also during this time that the species Homo mermani emerged (some believe through evolution, others believe they were genetically engineered and still others believe that they were survivors of the Great Cataclysm who were transformed either by sorcery or by the god Neptune). While they originally wandered the sea, Homo mermanus eventually found the sunken city of Atlantis and made it their kingdom. At some point, a group of Homo mermanus that worshiped the Elder god, Set, left Atlantis with the Serpent Crown, located sunken Lemuria, and made their home their. That splinter group, led by Naga, came to resemble the early Serpent Men, growing scales and turning green. The Lemurians and Atlanteans became great enemies and have fought against each other for centuries and the Serpent Crown was often at the center of their battles.
Homo mermanus of Lemuria
It doesn’t take a lot of creativity to see the potential here. While the comics present a long, detailed and fantastic story of ancient Earth, Marvel Studios really only has to pick and choose what it would like to show in Eternals in order to set up one of its greatest characters: Namor, the Sub-Mariner. While it’s a subject of speculation and sometimes we like to pretend we know, we truly don’t understand the hangups in the live-action rights that Kevin Feige has hinted at over and again. We do know, however, that Feige’s rhetoric on the subject has evolved over the past several years, culminating with his recent comments which indicated that Namor COULD appear in the MCU and that the studio was pondering the “ifs” and “whens.” While it doesn’t sound like much, that’s as close to confirming plans for Namor as Feige will come and while we don’t know how, we do believe we’ll see the Avenging Son sometime soon.
With a little hand waving here and there, Marvel Studios could establish a brief history of Lemuria and Atlantis, show the Great Cataclysm and the creation/evolution of Homo mermanus. Of course Namor is, at least in the comics, a Homo mermanus/Homo superior hybrid, meaning that his story could be the lynch pin between the story of the Eternals and the X-Men.
Given his age, Namor could appear at any time in the recent history of the MCU and move around as seen fit. While his stories, cast of supporting characters and fan support are worthy of a trilogy of films, it’s unknown exactly what hoops Marvel Studios might have to jump through to make solo Sub-Mariner films. However, should they be capable of going down that road, an origin story that would see Naga or Attuma come into conflict with Namor would be enough to make anyone shout IMPERIUS REX. While fans will be quick to point out that Marvel Studios would just be following the presumed success of DC’s Aquaman, fans of the comics know that while the characters share similar origin stories, they are vastly different men with different values and that Namor has often been the villain (which is probably when he’s at his best). While I’ve long wanted to see Namor square off against T’Challa, The Eternals does provide the opportunity for Marvel Studios to set up a much deeper story for the Lord of the Seven Seas should to be so inclined.
Atlanteans. Lemruians. The Serpent Crown. King Kull and Conan (not sure that Marvel Studios gets to include those characters but it’s still pretty cool). Just a few more potential future stories for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that could spin out of Eternals.