When Marvel released the first look at Chloe Zhao’s Eternals, back in May, it showed off the barest hints of what the film might be about: a group of super-powered individuals who have watched humanity from the sidelines for eons, never interfering with our development.
Last night, Marvel released a full trailer for the upcoming film, and it showcases not only the Eternal’s mission on Earth, but the stakes for the next big crisis facing humanity.
Marvel announced the film back in 2019 as part of its Phase Four block of films. The Eternals were part of some epic cosmic storytelling from Jack Kirby in the 1970s, who was playing with science fiction and mythology.
In the original comics, the Eternals were created by a race of aliens known as the Celestials, the universe’s first lifeforms. The Celestials visited Earth a million years ago, and began to experiment there, ultimately creating a few races, including the Eternals and the Deviants. The Eternals are beautiful and long-living, while the Deviants are grotesque and monstrous (and may have been designed as food for the Celestials). The two races didn’t get along, and the Eternals were charged with protecting humanity from them.
This new trailer showcases some of that story, and how the Eternals fit into the existing MCU framework. In the trailer, we learn that the Eternals were brought to Earth 7,000 years ago, and have been working to protect humanity from the Deviants ever since. In the trailer, Dane Whitman (played by Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington) asks his Eternals girlfriend Sersi (Gemma Chan)—presumably after learning of her true nature—why they haven’t interfered with any of humanity’s wars or even Thanos’s snap. She tells him that they were instructed to stay out of those affairs by their creators, unless the Deviants were involved.
That brings us up to the post-Snap universe: We learn that the event and its reversal brought about some sort of “emergence” to Earth, an event that will destroy the planet in a week if nothing is done. From there, the Eternals are forced to step in to protect the planet, reuniting after being apart for centuries, scattered across the globe.
We’ve seen some elements of this deeper cosmic history in the MCU already: the Celestials wielded the Infinity Stones in the early days of the universe (and we caught sight of them in some explanatory scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy), while one Celestial, Ego (Kurt Russell), played a central role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
The film boasts an impressive cast: the aforementioned Chan and Harrington, as well as Salma Hayek (Ajak), Brian Tyree Henry (Phastos), Angelina Jolie (Thena), Don Lee (Gilgamesh), Richard Madden (Ikaris), Lia McHugh (Sprite), Kumail Nanjiani (Kingo), and Lauren Ridloff (Makkari).
The film was set to be released last year, but was pushed back to November 5th due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s part of a packed fall for Marvel: September sees the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the studio’s Disney+ series Hawkeye is set to be released a couple of weeks after Eternals on November 24th, and the studio will round out the year with Spider-man: No Way Home on December 17th.