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Movie Reviews

Eternals' MCU Future Update Eases Fan Concerns (But Marvel Can Do More)

The future of the Eternals continues to be a mystery, and even though Marvel has teased their return, the studio can do a lot more than that. With the original Avengers no longer active and the Guardians of the Galaxy exploring, well, space, it seemed like the Marvel Cinematic Universe had been left without a superhero team operating on Earth, but Marvel quickly addressed this in its Phase 4 and introduced the Eternals in Chloé Zhao’s movie of the same name. The Eternals are a group of synthetic beings created by the Celestial Arishem the Judge with the purpose of preparing planets for the birth of new Celestials, so the Eternals constantly had to go through memory wipes in order for them to be ready for new missions.

Arishem’s plans to prepare Earth for the Emergence of the Celestial Tiamut didn’t go as he hoped as after the death of their leader, Ajak (Salma Hayek), Sersi (Gemma Chan) took her place as the leader of the Eternals and learned the truth about their mission on Earth. With the help of most of the surviving team, the Eternals stopped Tiamut’s emergence and saved Earth, but that wasn’t the end of their problems. At the end of Eternals, the team was divided into two, with some staying on Earth and others leaving on the Domo, and those who stayed on Earth – Sersi, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), and Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) – were abducted by Arishem to judge their actions and decide if humans were worth saving. This left the door open for the return of the Eternals, but a sequel hasn’t been officially announced, and while their return has been teased, Marvel can do a lot more than that.

Related: MCU Wasted Another Eternals Opportunity In Werewolf By Night

Eternals is unlike any other movie in the MCU, as it was darker, slower, and leaned more into the inner struggles of its characters rather than the big fights between them and their enemies. Unfortunately, Eternals wasn’t the big success Marvel was surely expecting, with most complaints aimed at the pace of the story and the fact that it introduced too many characters at once, and ultimately, all these differences and more led to Eternals not really feeling like an MCU movie. However, perhaps the biggest problem of Eternals is how disconnected it feels from the rest of the MCU. Like any other MCU movie, Eternals featured Easter eggs and references to Marvel Comics and the MCU, but the latter were scarce, such as Kingo mentioning Thor and the Captain America shield on his plane, so there was nothing that properly connected Eternals to the rest of the MCU.

The events of Eternals were also ignored throughout most of the MCU’s Phase 4, which seemed very strange as the failed emergence of Tiamut left a giant marble head and hand in the middle of the ocean, which would be very difficult to ignore, as well as the appearance of a giant head in the sky, as happened when Arishem arrived to kidnap Sersi, Phastos, and Kingo. There was no reference to the events of Eternals in the movies and TV shows that followed, just some Easter eggs related to Kingo’s public persona, and it wasn’t until She-Hulk that the MCU included a very hidden Easter egg about Tiamut’s “statue” in the middle of the ocean. The MCU, then, continues to struggle to make the Eternals an active part of this connected universe, and even though it included that one Easter egg, it proved that Eternals don’t matter much, at least during Phase 4.

Even though the Eternals weren’t a big presence in the MCU’s Phase 4 and the rest of it lacked connections to it, the MCU still needs these characters. The Eternals were revealed to be the oldest team in the MCU, so there’s still a lot more to learn from and see of them, and the ending of their first movie left a bunch of questions that need to be answered. In addition to the mystery of where Arishem took Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos and how Arishem will judge Earth, those who were traveling in the Domo – Thena (Angelina Jolie), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), and Druig (Barry Keoghan) – were intercepted by Eros/Starfox (Harry Styles), who claimed to know where to find the rest of the team. There’s also the future of Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) as he was about to touch the Ebony Blade in the post-credits scene of Eternals, but his future can be addressed in other movies, such as Blade.

Attached to the Eternals are the Celestials, of who very little is still known, and with Phases 5 and 6 continuing the exploration of the multiverse and leading up to the massive conflicts in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, the MCU has to explain what their role is in the multiverse and if there’s some connection between them and Kang and his variants. The MCU can’t continue exploring the multiverse without addressing the Eternals and Celestials’ place in it, and it has to explain where the team is now, what will happen to Earth after Tiamut’s failed emergence, and what will be Starfox’s role, as he could be an ally but also an enemy.

Related: Eros As Eternals 2’s Villain Would Avoid A Major Powers Problem

When Kevin Feige announced all the movies in the upcoming Phase 5 of the MCU, as well as the two big events of Phase 6, Eternals 2 was nowhere to be seen. Right at the end of the credits of Eternals, Marvel added a card confirming that the Eternals will return, but this has been endlessly questioned as there hasn’t been an official announcement nor have there been any updates on the development of a sequel. However, Marvel Studios’ VP of Production and Development, Nate Moore, teased the Eternals’ return in an interview with Phase Zero, saying that “we have not seen the last of those characters”, but didn’t say more about a potential release date or an official announcement. It’s unknown exactly why Marvel is taking so long to announce the return of the Eternals, but it might not exactly be in a sequel, and they could instead return in another MCU movie or TV show.

As the Eternals are part of the cosmic side of the MCU, if they were to appear in other movies, the best option would be one from the cosmic side. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Marvels are also part of the cosmic side of the MCU, so the Eternals could show up in a post-credits scene or they and their actions could be referenced in these stories, thus preparing the ground for their big return. The Eternals could also return in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, which will bring together all the current superheroes in the MCU like Infinity War and Endgame did, and as the Eternals no longer have to stay away from human conflicts, they could absolutely join the fight. The future of the Eternals continues to be a mystery, but they will return at some point.

Next: Did Eternals Actually Redefine The MCU?

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