Anyone with similar questions or who might be interesting in watching Eternals with a basic knowledge of who they are and what they stand for, has come to the right place. Within this article, readers will find a brief overview of each Eternal, what powers they wield and how they fit into the MCU as a whole – everything needed to ensure watching Marvels Eternals is as rewarding as possible.
During Comic-Con 2019, Marvel Studios revealed the official line-up for what would become Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). For the first time this new phase would include unique television productions, such as WandaVision (2021) and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), alongside feature films. With this in mind, and although having officially kicked off with Black Widow (2021), ‘phase four’ is set to reach fever pitch with the 26th film in the collection, Marvel’s Eternals (2021).
With the film in mind, now would be a good time to learn more about these unique characters and how they fit into the over-arching ethos of the MCU. As such, and thanks in part to the information released since Eternals was first announced, we do know the film technically takes place eight months after Avengers: Endgame (2019) – putting it in the year 2024 and around about the same time as Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
In terms of narrative, when Thanos snapped his fingers to erase half of the population of the universe at the end of Avengers: Infinity War (2018); it caused a massive disruption throughout time and space. However, when Hulk reversed the changes in Avengers: Endgame (2019), it unknowingly provided enough cosmic energy to ignite an event known only as “the emergence”, which is the catalyst behind Eternals.
For those who might not be aware of the comics, The Eternals are an immortal alien race created by the Celestials, a race of cosmic beings who are among the most powerful in the Marvel universe (they are often thought of as representing the concept of ‘existence’). Each of the Eternals possess a unique cosmic ability, and when together, they can harness their cosmic powers to create the “uni-mind”, which links them together and amplifies their powers. Centuries ago, the Eternals were sent to Earth by The Celestials to protect the human race from their parasitic counterparts known as the Changing People, or The Deviants, a name that should be familiar to anyone who watched Loki (2021) on Disney+.
With the overall narrative in place, let us find out more about these interesting characters.
Thena, whose name at birth was Azura, is one of the Eternals of Olympia. She was born in Olympia in ancient Greece, and shortly after her birth, her father, Zuras, had her name changed to Thena to more closely resemble that of Athena, daughter of Zeus. On Earth, Thena would go on to serve as the personal representative to the god Athena. As a result of being one of the Eternals, Thena has the gifts of superhuman strength, speed, and the ability to project cosmic energy from her eyes or hands in the form of heat or light. She can also fly as well as cast illusions – allowing her to disguise herself and others.
Over the years, Thena has crossed paths with and aided various members of the Avengers, from being an ally to Thor to battling Maelstrom alongside the Avengers. However, her most significant relationship would be with the known warlord and the leader of the Deviants, Kro. After first encountering Kro, the two bonded instead of attacking each other, and the result was Thena becoming pregnant with twins, Donald and Deborah. After Zuras’ death (her father), Thena would temporarily take over as the leader of the Eternals of Earth and go by the name Prime Eternal.
Makkari, otherwise known as Hurricane or Mercury, is an Eternal who possesses the power of super-speed, allowing him to run on water and create powerful cyclones when running in circles. Makkari was initially portrayed as the son of Verona and Mara, both of which taught and encouraged him to pursue engineering because of his passion for speed and creating high-velocity transport vessels. As Makkari grew, he became highly skilled at designing and building high-speed vehicles, which landed him a spot in the Eternals Technologists Guild.
As per the rules set by the Celestials, none of the Eternals are supposed to meddle in the affairs of man – other than when Deviants are involved. Yet Makkari chose to ignore these rules. In this way, and over the years, Makkari would teach writing to the Egyptians, learn philosophy from Plato, and teach a few guitar tricks to a human who would become Elvis Presley. Makkari is also the first deaf superhero to be featured in the MCU.
Although having the physical appearance of an innocent child, Sprite is anything but guiltless. They claim to be the inspiration behind the works of many childlike stories from great authors. For instance, William Shakespeare’s Puck or J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan are said to be inspired by them, although a better comparison would be to Don Mancini’s Chucky. Through the years, many things have changed in Sprites origin, such as how the character is depicted as alternatively male or female depending on what the story calls for. However, one thing remains constant: Sprite’s deadly trickster personality. They love playing pranks on humans, which are rarely ever funny or end well, and because of this behaviour, Sprite is one of the Eternals who is actually considered a supervillain.
Even though Sprite looks like a child, they are thousands of years old and only appear youthful because of the powers that come with being an Eternal. In terms of further abilities, they can channel cosmic radiation and use it as blasts of heat, levitate themselves and others, and create illusions. However, their most special power is the ability to restructure objects at will – they once created a complete, working spacecraft, in seconds. Just imagine the possibilities, not to mention what Loki might think if they ever meet!
Ajax is perhaps one of the most essential members of the Eternals. He is the leader of the group and acts as the bridge between the Eternals and Celestials. With powers of destruction as well as healing, Ajax is one of the few Eternals to be considered both a superhero and supervillain, depending on the story. He has been on Earth since 2500 BC and has had quite a colourful past, at times fighting alongside the likes of Hercules as part of the God Squad battling Skrull. Ajak also has a brother Arex, and back home in Greece, they were known as Ajak the Greater and Arex the Lesser, respectively.
In one of Ajaks most prominent storylines, he is transformed into a monster by Celestial technology and gets sent to kill Kro and Thenas twins, Deborah and Donald. Although the children are ultimately saved, and Ajak returns to normal, the guilt of all the other children he slayed along the way (and not in the fun way) haunted him up until he chose to disintegrate himself – leaving the Eternals without a leader. Quite a tumultuous run, to say the least.
Born over 20,000 years ago in Siberia, Ikaris is the son of renowned Eternals Virako and Tulayn. They never named him, letting him choose his own name when he was old enough to do so. With this in mind, the story behind Ikaris’s name is a tragic one. While fighting the Deviants in Greece, he meets a human woman whom he marries. When their son is born, they name him Icarus. One day, when young Icarus realises he cannot fly around with his father, the Eternal builds his son his own set of mechanical wings/ This way, the father and son duo could sour above the seas of Greece together. However, the joy from the child’s new toy quickly turns to fear and sadness, as Icarus’ inexperience results in him flying too high, losing consciousness, and falling to his death. When the Eternal finds his son’s body, he takes on the name Ikaris in his memory.
With tragic backstory in tow, Ikaris is one of the most powerful Eternals. Abilities wise, he is able to read minds, fly and project cosmic energy breams from his eyes. The energy he wields gets stored within the cells of his body until he chooses to use it as either heat, light or force. Interestingly, his heat beams can also vaporise most solid objects, which is why he often refers to them as ‘disintegrator beams’.
During his lifetime, Ikaris always tried to be a leader for the rest of the Eternals. However, when Thena gets chosen as Prime Eternal over him, Ikaris questions her worth and forces her into the Hall of Eternal Judgment. A fight ensues, where Ikaris becomes champion, and takes on the role of Prime Eternal in her place.
Kingo is an Eternal who presumably has most of the typical powers featured by the rest of the Eternals (speed, strength etc). However, he chooses not to use any of his powers in battle, preferring to train and fight like a Samurai. When faced with blending in with the humans on Earth, Kingo realises how his Samurai training and skills could be used in movies; and soon finds himself starring in major action films – becoming a full-on movie star.
In the distant past, Kingo learned of how fellow Eternal Druig might be behind the invasion led by the son of Ghenghis Khan. Kingo believed that Druig was controlling the Mongols minds, but when he confronted him, Druig insisted he had no hand in their brutality. Rather, he was just around to study and observe. When Druig suggests Kingo could easily stop Khan by just assassinating him, Kingo refuses, unwilling to become hardened like Druig.
Sersi is not just your everyday Eternal; she is a fourth generational Eternal, daughter of Eternals Helios and Perse. All Sersi wanted to do was live among humans from childhood, and even as an adult, she has never stopped revelling in her humanity. Throughout history, she lived amongst humans and was part of many historical moments. She helped Merlin, the magician, defeat an impostor and fought alongside Thor in the Viking Siege of Paris. During her years on Earth, she has been an actress, a magician and even a dancer.
Despite enjoying her role as an Eternal, Sersi has always valued making her own choices and independence. As such, there are many notable times where she has defied the decisions made by the rest of the Eternals, opting to do her own thing instead. She also has a link to the Avengers.
In this way, she first met Captain America when she was a child. Later in life, when Captain America needed someone with strong illusion casting abilities, he invited Sersi to become one of Earth’s mightiest Avengers. During this time, Sersi would begin a relationship with a fellow Avenger known as the Black Knight, despite centuries of holding onto feelings for the Eternal Ikaris.
Not much is known about the past of the Eternal known as Phastos. With that said, it is known how Phastos worked as a weaponsmith in Ancient Greece, where his talent was often mistaken by humans for the Olympian god Hephaestus. In modern times, Phastos is responsible for creating all of the weapons and inventions used by the other Eternals (like the samurai sword used by Kingo).
One of Phastos’ best story arcs is where he teams up with Thanos. In the comics, the Eternals eventually commit mass suicide after learning their true purpose on Earth. However, before long, they each find themselves resurrected. The cost of their resurrections? Human lives. Phastos decides how this needs to end and seeks out the help of Thanos to kill the already resurrected Eternals while he destroys the machines used for resurrection.
In the upcoming MCU debut, Phastos is the first superhero to be depicted as openly gay.
Druig, known as the Lord of Flames and Nightmares, is the cousin of Ikaris. He is known for his aloof nature as well as his ability to manipulate those around him. Given his nature, he does not get along with his fellow Eternals. This is partly because of his antagonistic nature and also because he disagrees with how the other Eternals have interacted with humans over the years. During his time on Earth, he spent time as a KGB agent and soon discovered his love for torturing both humans and other Eternals.
At a stage, Druig decides to act upon his ambitions and heads to Vorozheika. Once there, he takes control of an army and gathers all of the countries current heads of government. Soon there is a short, but very bloody, altercation leaving Druig as the uncontested leader of Vorozheika.
Dane Whitman, otherwise known as The Black Knight, is a normal, if somewhat athletic, human. He works for the Natural History Museum in London and is dating the Eternal Sersi. Dane is also the third person to have the title of Black Knight.
He was born into wealth, and his ancestor, Sir Percy, was the first Black Knight – who lived during the reign of King Arthur before being murdered by Mordred. Danes uncle, Nathan Garret, was the second person to be dubbed Black Knight, but rather than use the title for good, Nathan became a notorious supervillain. After almost dying at the hands of Iron Man, Nathan reaches out to Dane. He confesses everything before bestowing the Black Knight moniker onto Dane and requesting he use it to restore honour to their family to make up for his misdeeds. Thus Dane becomes the new Black Knight.
Much like Sersi, Dane has a connection to the Avenges. After infiltrating the Masters of Evil all on his own, the Avengers invite him to become a member. During this time, he helps the Avengers fight and defeat Kang the Conqueror and Ares.
Gilgamesh is known by many names, The Forgotten One and Hero among them. He is an Eternal, but even among them, he is special. Thanks to his dedicated training, Gilgamesh has knowledge of most ancient fighting methods, and his abilities are far beyond what the other Eternals can muster. As such, he is one of the strongest Eternals, second only to Thanos. In the comics, his strength easily rivals the likes of Hercules and Thor.
For a long time, Gilgamesh was estranged from his fellow Eternals when their ruler, Zuras, exiled him to a far sector of Olympus for meddling in the matters of man. When another Eternal, known as Sprite, eventually finds him and convinces him to leave his exile, Gilgamesh ends up fighting alongside the other Eternals against the Deviants, thus earning him the name of Hero from the One Above All.
What Should You Expect From Eternals?
Where the Avengers featured an ensemble cast of superheroes with developed backstories, Marvel’s Eternals is introducing more obscure and relatively unknown characters to the MCU. As viewers have not yet been exposed to established versions of these characters, the studio took full advantage of casting. The cast is therefore wonderfully diverse and inclusive, reflecting on the much overdue and needed changes to the continued globalised popularity of super heroes. From the first deaf hero, to the inclusion of the first openly gay hero, Eternals promises to be a superhero movie for everyone.
In terms of the film, Eternals will be broken up into two timelines: one exploring the past and the origins of the Eternals and one focused on the present. In the present, the Eternals appear to be struggling with very human issues; ranging from identity and faith, through to morality; with each of the Eternals facing the question of ‘what makes one human’? According to Marvel, Eternals is a story about a family unit that ends up shattering and breaking apart before ultimately finding their way back together again.
Which of the Eternals are you most excited to see make their big screen debut? Let us know in the comments below.