Marvel has finally dropped an official Eternals trailer, and it seems to be exactly what the 25th MCU movie should look like – something different. While WandaVision (and The Falcon And The Winter Soldier to an extent) certainly established that Marvel’s ready to break some of their typical mold, it’s even more exciting to see a director like Chloé Zhao able to apply her unique vision to a mega budget Marvel movie.
Having the trailer open to the sound of The End Of The World by Skeeter Davis with broad sweeping shots of uninhabited land and ocean actually feels more like Zhao’s Nomadland than the latest MCU entry. It elicits feelings of melancholy and existentialism more so than the warm fuzzies of seeing your favorite superheroes again. And that’s pretty impressive. Still, the trailer does eventually lead into the grandiose magic of the MCU before the end, but not as much as one might expect. Now let’s break this thing down…
Eternals will explore the earliest days of man all the way up to the present, revealing that these god-like beings have been around from the beginning, watching humans grow and evolve but never interfering. The best Eternals comics – including the stellar current series by Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic – have explored this group of characters as neither heroes nor villains. They’ve been around for so long that they see themselves above such concepts, acting only as observers to humanity, viewing people as these fragile finite entities that experience existence in only the slightest blip in the grand scheme of time.
It’s seems like Gemma Chan’s Sersi will be one of the central characters next to Richard Madden’s Ikaris. This makes sense given that Sersi has typically had a personality that stands out among the more self-serious characterizations of the other Eternals. In the comics, Sersi had a very bubbly and social personality and was well-known for her exclusive Manhattan parties, often showing off her unique ability to cast grand illusions. She even had a stint as an Avenger for a while. It’s hard to tell if the movie will lean as much into her extroverted comic book personality, but she’ll definitely be one of the main players to watch out for.
Now this is an interesting image. This looks to be the beginnings of the Uni-Mind, which is one of the more zany and out there concepts in Eternals lore. In Jack Kirby’s original series, the Eternals join together to become one entity called the Uni-Mind – a singular, conscious orb of light and energy. They essentially dissolve their concepts of self to become one intelligent being and level up their capacity for knowledge and understanding. Humans have adopted a similar means to joining the Uni-Mind known as taking psychedelics.
Here we have Lia McHugh busting a move as Sprite, an Eternal who is forever trapped in a child’s body. Sprite’s most notable development occurred in Neil Gaiman’s Eternals series, where she (at the time a he) was portrayed a lot like Loki, with a trickster-like persona. Sprite got pretty devious in this storyline, wiping the minds of all her fellow Eternals and giving them human lives. Little Sprite wanted nothing more than to simply grow up for the first time in her never-ending lifespan, but she nearly killed all the Eternals in the process. It remains to be seen if Sprite will be some sort of villain here or just a hyper little prankster. Either way, the notion of being trapped in a child’s body makes for a very intriguing character exploration.
Naturally, we arrive at a costume-accurate group shot of these new and mysterious beings carving their way into MCU mythology. Yet another image that is a beautiful rarity given that the heroic group shot for every other Marvel Studios film has always consisted of CGI both in the background and foreground. There’s something pure and pensive about this shot in comparison to your typical superhero gathering that couldn’t be more fitting to the themes behind of the Eternals.
While the bulk of the trailer does set itself apart from typical Marvel fair, the very tail end is sure to remind audiences that this is still an MCU entry and will no doubt come equipped with, to some extent at least, lighthearted comedy and references to the greater universe. As has been pretty consistent with the post-Endgame MCU projects thus far, there’s the larger question of who will fill the void of the top tier characters no longer involved with the Avengers. Spider-Man: Far From Home explored the question of Tony Stark’s legacy while The Falcon And The Winter Soldier dove into Captain America’s. In Eternals however, the notion is posed more as a joke. Given that these characters didn’t bother to fraternize with the Avengers when the fate of 50% of all life in the universe was at stake, they surly wouldn’t bother intermingling with them now.
And there you have it, the Eternals have officially been introduced to mainstream audiences, and hopefully the movie itself will project the same feeling of newness and originality this trailer evokes. If executed right, this could be the most relieving breath of fresh air the MCU has experienced since the Guardians of the Galaxy. Let the hype commence!