After making history at the Oscars, Nomadland‘s Chloé Zhao is on to her next feat: her own film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This fall, we’ll see her imprint in the superhero franchise with Eternals, which follows a group of godlike beings in the comics pantheon. Like most installments in the MCU, the cast is loaded with A-listers and the production is already shaping up to be larger than life. Here, everything we know about Zhao’s superhuman feature.
Eternals will release on November 5.
The film will get a wide release on Friday, November 5. With cities across the United States slowly reopening, it might be safe to assume that Eternals will release in cinemas rather than online at Disney+. We’re going to want to see this on a big screen.
The plot takes place after the events of Endgame.
Eternals takes place somewhere in the wake of Earth’s big standoff with Thanos. “Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants,” the official synopsis from Marvel Studios reads.
But let’s backtrack to the basics: Who are these supernatural creatures anyway? They were created a long time ago when the alien Celestials came to Earth and experimented with the human race, according to Screen Rant. The result were powerful, immortal beings known as the Eternals and evil, less-evolved creatures known as the Deviants. The Eternals have disguised themselves among humans for centuries, protecting the planet against their destructive counterparts.
The cast is absolutely stacked.
Angelina Jolie. Salma Hayek. Two Game of Thrones stars. A muscular Kumail Nanjiani. Meet the exciting new roster of heroes below.
- Richard Madden (Game of Thrones, Bodyguard) as Ikaris, the most powerful of the Eternals.
- Gemma Chan (Crazy Rich Asians) as Sersi, a lover of humankind whose origin story (in the comics) overlaps with that of Circe from Homer’s Odyssey.
- Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) as Kingo, a celestial being living on Earth as a Bollywood star.
- Lauren Ridloff (Sound of Metal) as Makkari, the fastest Eternal.
- Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) as Phastos, an inventor.
- Salma Hayek (Frida, Ugly Betty) as Ajak, a spiritual leader with super-strength.
- Lia McHugh (The Lodge) as Sprite, a forever-young and childlike Eternal.
- Don Lee (Train to Busan) as Gilgamesh, a powerful fighter with superhuman strength.
- Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk) as Druig, an aloof loner known to seek personal power.
- Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted, Maleficent) as Thena, a warrior and representative for the goddess Athena on Earth.
- Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) as Dane Whitman, who takes on the mantle of Black Knight.
We already have our first look.
We’re still waiting for official trailers, but Marvel did share a sneak peek at Eternals in a video previewing the studio’s upcoming projects. Jump ahead to the 2:20 mark below for a glimpse of Zhao’s aesthetically pleasing MCU film.
And the first teaser is here too.
The clip reveals a deeper and delicate look into Zhao’s superhero foray. “We have watched and guided,” Hayek’s Ajak says in the narration, describing the Eternals’ relationship with humankind. “We have helped them progress and seen them accomplish wonders. Throughout the years, we have never interfered, until now.”
It features Marvel’s first gay storyline.
Brian Tyree Henry plays Phastos, the first openly gay superhero in the MCU. Little America star Haaz Sleiman plays his husband, and they have a child together. The two share a kiss on-screen, which Sleiman described as a “beautiful, very moving” moment. “Everyone cried on set,” he told NewNowNext.
Marvel boss Kevin Feige says Phastos’s relationship “was always sort of inherent in the story and the makeup of the different types of Eternals,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think it is extremely well done, and I look forward to that level of inclusion in our future movies being less of a topic.”
It also introduces the MCU’s first deaf superhero.
Makkari is depicted as a hearing man in the Marvel comics, but will be portrayed by deaf actress Lauren Ridloff in the film.
“I am more thrilled than overwhelmed about being given the opportunity to represent the deaf community,” she previously said of her role. “I’m very thrilled about that—just to bring in that storyline within the MCU. I think there’s plenty of room for more stories like that.”
Of the inclusive casting, Zhao told THR, “I wanted it to reflect the world we live in.”
Related article: ‘Black Panther 2’: Everything We Know About The Long-Awaited Sequel
Zhao filmed Eternals with her signature style.
Nomadland viewers might notice some cinematic similarities between the Best Picture winner and the MCU project. “I shot exactly the way I wanted to shoot,” the director also told THR. “On location. A lot of magic hour. Three-hundred-sixty degrees on the same camera as I did on Nomadland. Same rigs.”
Feige noted that Zhao insisted on filming on location, even though most Marvel movies are heavy on green screen and visual effects. While watching an early cut of the footage, he was stunned.
“And I had to keep saying, ‘This is right out of a camera; there’s no VFX work to this at all!'” he told Variety. “Because it was a beautiful sunset, with perfect waves and mist coming up from the shore on this giant cliffside—really impressive stuff.”
He noticed some visual parallels in Nomadland too. “That is not just what she wanted to bring to Marvel. This is a signature style,” he remembered thinking.
The final trailer explains where the Eternals were during Endgame.
The final Eternals trailer showcases more of the new heroes’ powers and gives a hint of the MCU’s newest villain. Before the events of the film, the immortal alien heroes have lived apart and hidden from humans for many years. Now they must reunite to fight together during the Emergence, a destructive event that can wipe out Earth in seven days.
The trailer also reveals why they stayed on the sidelines when Thanos came to Earth. According to Gemma Chan’s Sersi, the Eternals were instructed not to get involved in conflicts unless the Deviants were involved.
There’s a love triangle between Gemma Chan’s character and two former Starks.
Game of Thrones fans will see a strange reunion between two Starks in Eternals, which features former GoT actors Richard Madden and Kit Harington. A new Entertainment Weekly interview with the cast revealed that a large part of the film focuses on the estranged relationship between Sersi and Ikaris, played by Madden. The two Eternals, who have a long romantic history but have since drifted apart, will have to reunite to fight together in the new film. If that isn’t awkward enough, Sersi, who has a soft spot for humans, is currently dating human Dane Witman, played by Harington.
When describing Sersi and Ikaris’s relationship, Madden told EW, “You’ve got to have this huge compassion for the human beings you’re with, but then also, you’ve got this huge disconnect from them because you’ve lived through all of this time. That’s what is so good about Sersi and Ikaris together, that they are two opposing sides of how they connect with the world. That’s what balances them.”
The events of Eternals will have ripple effects on future MCU stories.
While the film is a standalone focusing on the 10 Eternals and their unconventional family, Eternals producer Nate Moore told Entertainment Weekly that the film is “part of the fabric of the MCU.” He also compared it to the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, which set up its own self-contained universe before the heroes later met up with the Avengers. It may take a few years, but we can expect the groups’ “no interfering with human affairs” rule to change at some point.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.