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Eternals: release date, cast, and what we know about the Marvel movie

(Image credit: Marvel)

The Eternals – sorry, that's now just "Eternals" as Marvel has renamed the movie – looks set to be one of the MCU's most exciting entries to date. The intergalactic adventure will go deep into the history of the eponymous cosmic race while also helping to recontextualise the Marvel universe as we know it. And while you may not currently know your Thena from your Phastos, lest we forget that even comic-book fans couldn't tell their Groot from their Gamora before Guardians of the Galaxy.

So, what can we expect from the Marvel Phase 4 movie? While there's currently no Eternals trailer, we do have a release date, lots of casting news, and promise of a movie that could contend with Avengers: Endgame for scope and size. Don’t fancy the homework to find out more? You’re in luck. GamesRadar+ has done all the hard work for you and rounded up everything you need to know about Eternals.

The Eternals release date

Marvel Phase 4 Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Following Black Widow, Eternals will be the second Phase 4 movie for the MCU and is currently set to arrive in cinemas on February 12, 2021. The Coronavirus pandemic has halted much of the movie industry and had Disney shuffling their release schedule. The Eternals was pushed back from its original November 2020 slot – taking the place of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – to accommodate for Black Widow. 

The carefully curated order stays firmly intact, however, and 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?

(Image credit: Marvel)

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 this November for anything from the new Marvel movie. 

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

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

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

(Image credit: Marvel)

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.

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.

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, bringing you the latest on movies and TV. I think about The Last of Us almost everyday and will fight to the death defending Spy Kids as a cinematic masterpiece.