Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Marvel debuts first trailer for The Eternals, which will feature the MCU’s first gay superhero

The first trailer for Marvel’s long-awaited The Eternals has finally dropped, giving viewers their first glimpse of how the immortal race from the comics will fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel describes the film as an “epic story, spanning thousands of years, featur[ing] a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, the Deviants.”

The trailer really is just a glimpse though, with the clip below doing more to establish director Chloé Zhao’s vision and tone for the film than it does to tease story or even name its expansive cast. It does cement its connections to the wider MCU though, with the group discussing who should take over as leader of The Avengers following the events of Avengers: Endgame.

The teaser also gives us a look at what the Eternals have been up to until now – and that seems to be hiding. The film appears to establish the characters as being an unseen hand guiding humanity over the centuries, with the narration informing viewers “We have watched and guided. We have helped them progress and seen them accomplish wonders. Throughout the years, we have never interfered – until now.”

If you want to get pedantic – and we do – helping humanity progress technically IS interfering though. We’ll find out how the film squares that circle when it opens in cinemas in November 2021.

(©Marvel Studios)

The film’s cast (above, L-R) is Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Selma Hayek as Ajak, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Bryan Tyree Henry as Phastos, and Barry Keoghan as Druig. The film will also introduce Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, the Black Knight.

The Eternals were created by Jack Kirby in 1976, the centrepiece of his return to Marvel after years of creating comics for DC. An ancient race, the Eternals were an offshoot of humanity, meddled with millennia ago by the cosmic Celestials to grant them powers and immortality. As a result, they were mistaken for centuries by regular humans as the Greek and Roman – hence the naming similarities of Ikaris/Icarus, Thena/Athena, Phastos/Hephaestus, and so on.

For the movie, many of the characters have been drastically changed from their comic book origins, increasing the diversity of the group. Makkari is now a deaf black woman rather than a white man – which makes her the first deaf superhero in a major movie, and is played by deaf actor Lauren Ridloff – while British-Asian actor Gemma Chan (who previously played Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel) serves as the movie’s lead Sersi, traditionally depicted as a caucasian woman in the comics.

Eternals is also set to give viewers some long-overdue LGBTQ+ representation in the MCU. Bryan Tyree Henry’s Phastos will be the first openly gay superhero in the shared universe, with a husband played by Haaz Sleiman. Hopefully, this will be more significant than Marvel’s last attempt at a gay character onscreen, which turned out to be a civilian in Captain America’s group therapy session in Endgame. However, as Sleiman’s character seems to be a human rather than an Eternal, we’re hoping Marvel isn’t going to lean into the Bury Your Gays trope to create some forced pathos for Phastos.

(©Marvel Studios)

Marvel has also unveiled the first teaser poster for the film, although it doesn’t give a lot away either, merely highlighting the impressive cast credits and showcasing the intimidating vessel that seems central to the Eternals’ presence on Earth.

Given there’s only six months until the release of Eternals – a year later than originally planned, following numerous delays due to the COVID pandemic – we can probably expect a more story-focused trailer relatively soon, to give us more insight into how these unorthodox superbeings fit into the Marvel canon.

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