Eternals: release date, cast, and more

Millicent Thomas
·8-min read
 Marvel's Eternals
Marvel's Eternals

Eternals might be the strangest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie coming our way this year. While we may not have seen a single proper still yet, there’s still a lot of info out there to give us all a better idea about what we’re in for from this intergalactic instalment in Marvel Phase 4.

Focusing on a race of ancient aliens, the Chloé Zhao-directed film has a star-studded cast including the likes of Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, and Game of Thrones alumni Richard Madden and Kit Harrington. The movie will also introduce a new enemy to the MCU: The Deviants. 

If all that wasn't exciting enough, The Eternals also have a connection to Thanos, the previous big bad who snapped away half the universe. Eternals looks like it’s shaping up to be a gamechanger. Scroll on to check out our deep dive into the movie – and find out everything we know so far, from the plot to casting and more.

The Eternals release date

Marvel Phase 4 Eternals
Marvel Phase 4 Eternals

Eternals was intended to be the second movie Phase 4 movie for the MCU. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the whole release schedule was torn up, and Eternals will now come after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That makes the Eternals release date November 5, 2021. 

Eternals was first pushed back from its original November 2020 slot – first taking the place of Shang-Chi in February 2021 – to accommodate for Black Widow, which took over that November slot. However, as the pandemic continued, Black Widow was moved again, to April 2021, pushing Eternals to its current November 2021 slot.

We’re sure the wait will be worth it. In fact, director Chloé Zhao has promised as much, saying Eternals will attempt to top Endgame in scope. "How much further and bigger can we go after [Avengers:] Endgame?" asked Zhao during a THR interview, before adding. "Because I’m not just making the film as a director. I’m making the film as a fan."

When can we expect an Eternals trailer?

Unfortunately, there's no real knowing when an Eternals' trailer will land. We thought maybe something would come about at San Diego Comic-Con 2020, yet Marvel Studios were remarkably silent at the pop-culture event. Instead, we'll probably have to wait until Black Widow arrives in May – or fingers crossed, until WandaVision this January – for anything. 

In the meantime, we did get a tiny glimpse at some concept art in this 2020 Marvel preview. Check it out at 1:33 to see a towering Celestial.

Eternals cast

Eternals Gemma Chan
Eternals Gemma Chan

Marvel’s newest super-team is full of big names, and equally, some promising newcomers. Angelina Jolie will play the warrior Thena, and Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden will step into the role of Ikaris. Meanwhile, Kumail Nanjiani is Kingo, a master swordsman and Bollywood film star; Brian Tyree Henry is the inventor Phastos; Train to Busan’s Don Lee is Gilgamesh, and Barry Keoghan is Druig.

Playing her second role in the MCU following Captain Marvel’s Minn-Erva, Gemma Chan is playing the Eternal Sersi alongside Salma Hayek’s Ajak and Kit Harrington’s Black Knight. Big cast, right? And this doesn’t even include the Eternal’s enemies, the Deviants, for which there is no casting news just yet.

Nanjiani has said of the diverse call sheet, “I was on set shooting, and the director showed me just a still of all of us together in the scene… We all look so different. You don’t ever get to see people like this together in the same room, let alone in awesome superhero costumes.” The actor added that it will be “the most epic of all the Marvel movies.”

Salma Hayek also spoke on her excitement to GamesRadar+ sister publication, Total Film. “At 53 – finally! – I can be a superhero,” the actress said. “I play Ajak, who is the leader of the superheroes and all of them are people you would never have imagined. Except for Angelina [Jolie]. Angelina – she was born to be a superhero!”

The Eternals story

The official synopsis for The Eternals reads, “Marvel Studios’ The Eternals features an exciting new team of superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. 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.”

Wondering who on Earth The Deviants are? No problem: The Deviants, like The Eternals, were created by the Celestials and are, at their core, a dark version of our heroic Eternals. The two groups have come into conflict time and time again within the pages of Marvel Comics, and it seems they’ll be bringing their disputes to Earth for Phase 4. For more details on who they are and their abilities, GamesRadar+ has your back; check out The Deviants explained.

We already have a million questions, of course. If The Eternals have been on earth for all this time, why didn’t they step in and help in the fight against Thanos? Are they living a normal life here, with jobs and a family? And what “unexpected tragedy” will force them out of the shadows? Surely there isn’t an event more tragic than Thanos’ snap wiping out half of all living things…

If Kevin Feige and the MCU are to take inspiration from Neil Gaiman’s limited run of The Eternals comics, they might find it easier to explain away these queries. In the series, the heroes memories were erased by Sprite before Iron Man was even Iron Man, leaving them with no memory of being an ethereal race with powerful abilities. Thanos’ appearance on Earth and the galaxy-shattering events of Endgame, however, may well awaken these dormant memories. Marvel has been sprinkling hints about The Eternals for years – a testament to their careful planning. In Avengers: Infinity War, Red Skull greets Thanos as the “Son of A’lars.” A’lars is the leader of the Titan Eternals… see it all adding up yet?

Following the final chapter for The Avengers as we knew them in Endgame, the prospect of some god-like heroes being introduced alongside new mainstays like Captain Marvel and Spidey is an exciting one. Before that, though, we still have Black Widow’s solo outing, as well as some small-screen adventures on Disney Plus for Falcon, The Winter Soldier, Wanda, Vision, and Loki. Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming Marvel shows.

Eternals introduces Kro

Toy production for Eternals has been well underway for a while now, and a release date change does not immediately halt collectibles being made. As a result, a Marvel Legends figure has leaked, offering a first look at the villain Kro.

The leader of the Eternals-opposing Deviants in the comics, Kro has a sinewy, skeletal figure with a red mark on his forehead. His appearance differs from what readers may expect – in the comics, Kro is much more human and pink in colour. Perhaps darker, direction for the MCU’s grandest movie yet?

The back of the packaging could also reveal a little more about the Eternals villain and the movie itself. Described as “a powerful Deviant unlike any other the Eternals has faced over the millenia,” Kro showing up is “the harbinger for a global threat.”

First LGBTQ+ Marvel kiss to feature in Eternals

For those craving more love and swoon-worthy romance in the MCU (we’re still not over Wanda and Vision either), Marvel has heard you loud and clear. Gemma Chan confirmed in an interview with Vanity Fair Italy that there will be plenty of romantic intrigue in The Eternals. “Specifically, it is the story of a group of immortal aliens, who arrived on Earth 7,000 years ago, so the plot takes place in a very long period of time,” Chan said. “Sersi is the one that has the most affinity with humans, indeed it is even involved in two love stories, an absolute novelty for Marvel events and one of the reasons that attracted me to this project.”

Alongside Sersi’s love interests, Haaz Sleiman revealed to NewNowNext that the MCU is getting it’s first openly gay couple on the big screen. The actor will be playing the (currently unnamed) husband of Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), and told the outlet that their first kiss for the camera was “beautiful, very moving.” 

Sleiman added that filming the scene made for an emotional day on set. “Everyone cried… For me, it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be.” After ten years, an openly LGBTQ+ character in the MCU has been a long-time coming. If Sleiman’s comments are anything to go by, it could be a welcome step for LGBTQ+ Marvel fans.

For more Marvel content, be sure to check out the best movies on Disney Plus. Spoilers: yes, Iron Man does appear on the list!