The Eternals: Angelina Jolie’s Potential Marvel Movie Explained

Even with all the characters introduced in the first decade of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these movies have barely scratched the surface of what’s out there. And it looks like Phase 4 of the MCU is adding at least one major new franchise: The Eternals. We’ve met Thanos, but what about the rest of his people?

Reports indicate that The Rider director Chloe Zhao will direct Marvel’s The Eternals and none other than Angelina Jolie is in talks to star in the film. So while we wait to learn more about Marvel’s plans for Avengers: Endgame and beyond, here’s everything you need to know about the Eternals and how they fit into the grand scheme of the Marvel Universe.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect the latest developments regarding Marvel’s Eternals movie.

Eternals have the potential to develop many superhuman abilities, including super-strength, flight, telepathy, force field generation and transmutation. However, most tend to focus on honing specific abilities. For example, Ikaris has incredibly attuned senses, while Makkari’s signature ability is to run at great speeds and Sersi can manipulate objects on the atomic level.

The Eternals also have the ability to merge their bodies and powers to form a powerful psychic construct called the Uni-Mind.

The Eternals: Origin and Background

The Eternals is one of many Marvel properties created by artist Jack Kirby. These characters made their debut in 1976’s The Eternals #1, as Kirby returned to Marvel after a brief period working at DC Comics instead. The new series allowed Kirby to explore similar themes and ideas to that of his unfinished Fourth World saga, including the idea of two advanced cosmic races locked in a never-ending war. The series also showed a clear influence from writer Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Childhood’s End.

Unfortunately, The Eternals didn’t find the audience many of Kirby’ s prior Marvel projects did, and the series was canceled before his story could be finished. Eventually, writers Roy Thomas and Mark Gruenwald resolved some of those loose ends in the pages of The Mighty Thor. That Thor/Eternals crossover paved the way for these characters to begin taking a more active role in the larger Marvel Universe.

These early stories established the general history of the Eternals, their relationship to the Deviants and major heroes like Ikaris, Sersei and Makkari. As readers learned, these heroes impersonated the gods of Greek and Roman mythology, gaining worshipers on those rare occasions when they actually revealed themselves to mankind.

  • But Marvel’s most ambitious revamp, of the franchise came in 2006, when writer Neil Gaiman and artist John Romita, Jr. crafted a seven-issue, new reader-friendly take on the franchise. That series later spawned a new ongoing Eternals comic, though it was canceled after only nine issues.

    The Eternals: Beyond the Comics

    Despite being over 40 years old at this point, the Eternals franchise has had almost no exposure outside of Marvel’s comics. The franchise’s only non-comic book appearance to date is in the form of a 2014 Marvel Knights Animation series, where the Gaiman/Romita comic was converted into a motion comic with animation and sound effects. Several Eternals characters also appeared in the free-to-play video game Marvel Heroes, including Ikaris and Sersi.

    But while the Eternals as a whole have been left out of Marvel’s various multimedia projects, Thanos himself has been given plenty of exposure. The character of course played a starring role in Avengers: Infinity War (played by Josh Brolin) and will  return in Avengers: Endgame. Infinity War also makes reference to Thanos’ father A’lars and showcases the abandoned moon of Titan.

    Infinity War has seemingly set the stage for an Eternals movie in Phase 4 of the MCU. At one point, Marvel’s Kevin Feige  hinted that the movie was in development, with rumors indicating that Sersi will be its central character. In May 2018, Matthew and Ryan Firpo were hired to pen the screenplay, and in September of 2018 The Rider director Chloe Zhao was tapped to helm the film. In March, 2019, THR reported that Angelina Jolie was in talks to star in the film and that “one aspect to the story involves the love story between Ikaris, a man fueled by cosmic energy, and Sersi, who relishes moving amongst humans.” It’s not currently known who Jolie would play.

    Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.

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