Eternals director Chloé Zhao explains that Superman reference – and what Kevin Feige thought

Ikaris in Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Eternals director Chloé Zhao has explained the reference to Superman in the upcoming Marvel movie.

A recent Eternals featurette included a name drop of the DC hero, with the son of Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos thinking Richard Madden's Ikaris is the Man of Steel himself: "Dad, that's Superman – with the cape... and you were shooting laser beams out of your eyes."

Speaking to Variety, Zhao revealed how the DC hero came to be part of the MCU. "I take responsibility for that," she said.

"You write it on the page, show it to Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios President], if he doesn't say anything, that's a go," Zhao added. "I don't think there was a conversation. Not really, except, he goes, 'Oh, that’s cool.'"

As for why Superman was mentioned, that all has to do with Eternals' focus on humankind's myths and legends. 

"We're playing on a genre that draws so much from mythology, and Superman, for example, was created in the comics and also by these brilliant filmmakers along the way – they're modern reinterpretations of a mythical characters that exist in different cultures," Zhao explained. "Ikaris is our interpretation of it. It doesn't mean we can't pay tribute to the really iconic version that we've all grown to love and has influenced us."

While we might not be seeing Superman fly to the Avengers' aid anytime soon, then, it’s still a cool crossover – and the first time a DC character has been directly referenced in the MCU.

Eternals hits theaters this November 5. Until then, check out our complete guide to Marvel Phase 4 for everything else the MCU has in store for us. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.