Now that Avengers: Endgame is done and ‘dust’ed (pun intended), all eyes are now trained to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). 11 years and 22 movies later, we now know that we are friends for life with some of the MCU characters. While Chris Evans as Captain America was our crush for the longest time, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man will always be who we all want to be when we grow up. Captain Marvel gave us serious #lifegoals and the love story of Wanda and Vision made us believe that people need not be perfect, the love they have can be perfect.
And how can we forget Tom Holland aka Peter Parker. The pint-size web-slinger made us believe that you don’t need to be a big guy to be a big hero. And now that we know that he comes back at the end of Endgame (Oops, spoiler alert!), we can be assured that bigger and better things are in store for us now. But I don’t think that one is much of a spoiler, given that Spider Man: Far From Home’s trailer dropped well before the release of Avengers: Endgame released. So that basically did confirm that he was going to come back to life one way or the other.
However, that is just one of many films that will be a part of MCU’s upcoming Phase 4. Endgame essentially closed the arc of MCU’s Phase 3. And going by past examples, we can be rest assured that Phase 4 will have some exciting movies to look forward to. And one of the most anticipated movies in this phase is ‘The Eternals’. But, who are The Eternals and how do they figure in the MCU. Come, let’s find out.
So who are The Eternals?
If you have a fan of the Marvel comics at any point you know the answer to this and you can skip this section. If not, read on. Well first things first. The Eternals’ timeline is a million years before the events of the existing MCU. So, rest assured there will not be a clash in timelines. Hopefully. So the story goes something like this: A superior race called The Celestials visited Earth millions of years ago and decided to experiment on humans. Why? Just because. As a part of their genetic alteration experiments on humans, they ended up giving birth to The Eternals.
So essentially the Celestials gave the Eternals powers to augment their own life fore essentially making them immortal (or a version of that. Basically a really long life). They also gave them powers that helped them make advanced weapons and helped them become stronger. You know how the story goes. But given the rules of nature, experiments can never go right in the first go, can they? So when the Celestials made the Eternals, they also made the Deviants. Deviants, as the name suggests, are monstrosities that are genetically altered humans (not Mutants, mind you). And the Eternals and the Deviants end up hating each other and are essentially locked in a battle for time immemorial. Duh!
But there are a few caveats in the Eternals’ existence. One, they are limited in number. Two, they cannot transfer their powers to others. But they can breed with other humans. But their human offspring will essentially be human only. And their job, besides earning a living through the ages, is to save the Earth from the wrath of the Deviants. Because the latter want to end all life on Earth. Because they hate life. And the Eternals.
What we know so far
According to the comic books, the Eternals have been a part of almost all the historic events we know. And most of our mythological creatures and heroes are based on them. Or some form of them. In the comic books, there are a bunch of Eternals. But the Marvel movie will only focus on some of them. Marvel has brought in Chole Zhao to direct the first Eternals movie. Zhao is a Chinese director whose debut ‘The Songs My Brothers Taught Me’ premiered in Sundance in 2015 and her next was the critically acclaimed ‘The Rider’ that premiered in 2017.
Reports of the MCU adding the Eternals to their roster first made the rounds of the rumour circuit in September 2018. MCU showrunner Kevin Feige said that the studio is planning for the next five years of the franchise and it is bound to be different to the existing slate because they are movies based on comic books after all. The only constant in them is change, after all. So, when he confirmed the existence of The Eternals movie, nobody was shocked. Maybe a few people, given that the Eternals are not very famous in comic book lore.
But the news became all too real when Angelina Jolie was roped in to play the role of Sersei. Now Sersei is an Eternal who loves to live among her human cousins despite her origin story. And Jolie’s character will be pivotal to the entire franchise. Or so the initial synopsis claims. And the movie will revolve around Sersei’s love story with a human Ikaris, a man who is fuelled by cosmic energy. Obviously, the film is about so much more but that is what we know about the movie so far.
Like I mentioned before, Angelina Jolie has already been cast as Sersei. Fun fact: Jolie was also in the running to play Black Widow before the role eventually went to Scarlett Johansson. Joining Jolie will be ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘The Big Sick’ alum Kumail Nanjiani who joined the cast sometime last month. But there is no information yet as to his role in the movie. Also joining the cast will be South Korean actor Ma Dong-Seok, but as whom and what his role will be, Marvel has kept us in the dark thus far.
The only other thing we know about the movie is that it will release sometime in 2020 after it goes on the floors in August 2019.
The future of the MCU, after Avengers: Endgame
Okay, so remember how I droned on and on about how Disney will kick things into high gear with the launch of the streaming service, Disney+. If you didn’t, you should have. Because it turns out, the entire MCU will now revolve around not just their movies, but their web-series as well. And I am not talking about the Marvel shows that were on ABC, Freeform or Netflix. I am talking about the shows that will now be on Disney+.
So it turns out besides Star Wars and several lesser known Marvel superheroes making their appearance on Disney+ shows, several of our MCU favorites will also be returning to the fold on Disney+. And this is beside the Loki series that was announced amid much fanfare last month.
If reports are to be believed, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will be coming together for a series. And given their witty banter in the movies so far, this will be a highly anticipated show.
Then there is WandaVision. As the name suggests, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are all set to reprise their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision in this series. But how will this happen, given that Vision died in Infinity War, is to be seen.
Then there are also rumours of a HawkEye limited series. In this, Jeremy Renner will be training his daughter to take over the mantle of HawkEye given her penchant for archery. So, that’s that.
Most importantly, these shows will now directly tie-in the movies, which make them essential viewing for all MCU fans if they truly want to understand the scope and plot of the upcoming Phase 4 and further movies.
So that means, besides the Eternals and other MCU movies, Marvel has more than enough content planned for us, the viewer that may quench our thirst for more Marvel content in our anticipation for the upcoming releases.
Stay tuned to Bitneni for more updates on the upcoming Marvel movies and television shows.