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Eternals ending explained: your biggest Marvel questions answered

Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

 Warning: major spoilers for Eternals follow, including the finale and its post-credits scenes. You have been warned!

The Eternals ending is a cosmic rollercoaster. Lives are lost, various crises are averted, and a certain pair of lovers now have to seriously redefine the term ‘long-distance relationship’.

Not only does the final act of Eternals throw some serious curveballs and cliffhangers our way, it also introduces new characters, new concepts, and new setups for future Marvel stories.

All told, there’s a lot to take in. You probably left the cinema with more questions than answers. But worry not: we’ve pieced together all the head-scratchers and out-of-nowhere moments to bring you the definitive rundown of the Eternals ending: who lives, who dies, and how the millennia-old superheroes are redefining the MCU in front of our very eyes.

Eternals ending explained: your biggest Marvel questions answered

Where did Arishem take the Eternals and what will he do now?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

At the very end of the movie, Arishem appears over Earth and takes a handful of the remaining Eternals – Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos – into space. There he tells them that, while the almighty Celestial will spare the people of Earth, the Eternals' memories will be looked at and they are going to be judged.

What next? Well, they don’t call him Arishem the Judge for nothing. Now the Celestials’ planet-wiping secret is out, Arishem could decide to destroy or reset the memories of the Eternal trio, as has been done before on other post-Emergence worlds. Either way, Arishem has plans for his Eternals – and they’re probably not going to be much fun for any cosmic entities standing in Arishem’s way.

Who is Harry Styles’ Marvel character?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Even if you had Harry Styles’ post-credits cameo ruined, you’re (probably) none the wiser regarding who he’s actually playing – despite the grand introduction from Patton Oswalt’s Pip the Troll.

Styles plays the brother of Thanos, Eros, who also goes by the superhero name Starfox. His main power involves being able to control people’s emotions – something that has given the character a decidedly murky past in Marvel’s comics.

It’s not yet known whether he’s on the side of good or evil in the MCU. It’s likely he’ll factor into any Eternals sequel, guiding the Eternals on the spaceship – that's Druig, Thena, and Makkari – towards Arishem’s location to potentially save their friends. But his motives are still unclear. After all, anyone who’s related to Thanos – and with the power to control minds – probably can’t be trusted.

What is Dane’s family history?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

During the Eternals ending, Dane Whitman and Sersi are seen walking around Hampstead Heath, London. There, Kit Harington’s teacher mentions he has a secret: some “family history” that he’s been looking into.

That history is seen directly in the film’s second post-credits scene. Whitman unravels a family sword that has the words “Death is my reward” engraved on its case.

That sword, if the MCU is to follow the same path as the comics, is the Ebony Blade, a weapon that can cut through any object and can make its wielder essentially invincible. It once belonged to Dane’s uncle, Nathan Garrett, who had been the villainous Black Knight.

It remains to be seen whether Dane will take up that mantle – or fight for good – but a certain someone warns him during the post-credits…

Who was the off-screen voice in the post-credits?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

“Are you sure you’re ready for this, Mr. Whitman?” asks an off-screen voice. Who is it? And why is he suddenly appearing at what is probably Dane’s ancestral home?

That was, as confirmed by director Chloé Zhao, the voice of Mahershala Ali's Blade. "That was the voice of one of my favorite superheroes, Mr. Blade himself," she told Fandom. "Blade, Blade, Blade, yeah!”

Unfortunately, she was unable to give away any specifics about the character's upcoming solo movie, saying: "I don’t know what they’re doing with the movie, but Mahershala is a treasure. It’s going to be epic."

Harington also spoke about the introduction of Blade into the MCU: "It’s really cool. [Chloé] texted me about that a couple of weeks ago and it sort of blew my mind. I didn’t know that that would be the case, so it’s pretty exciting for me."

What is the Emergence?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Short answer? It’s not good news for planet Earth (or any planet, for that matter). Arishem explains to Sersi that the Eternals – secretly robot-like constructs – are tasked with protecting Celestial seeds, embedded within each planet, from the Deviants attack.

When there’s enough life on the planet, those seeds feed off that planet’s energy to create a new Celestial – a process known as the Emergence. In theory, that Celestial will then give birth to suns, creating a new series of planets and galaxies. As Arishem puts it, the infinite loop of creation and destruction goes on.

In Eternals, the imminent Emergence would destroy Earth (the earthquake in the opening act was just a taster of things to come) – and it’s something that most of the Eternals eventually want to stop.

How was the Emergence stopped?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Emergence, now that Earth’s population hit a set number, seemed irreversible. Thankfully, the Eternals just managed to save the day. That was achieved through a combination of Phastos’ Uni-Mind device and Sersi’s ‘tree’ powers – first glimpsed in the Amazon. Together, the Eternals turned Tiamut the Celestial into crystal as he emerged from his resting place. As evidenced by a news report after the event, he still remains there and is likely dead or dormant – though the general public aren’t aware of the reasons why.

What is the Uni-Mind?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Phastos’ trademark ability is being able to invent and create new technologies. Early on in Earth’s timeline, he wanted to introduce both the engine and the plough. In the present-day, he puts together the Uni-Mind, a device constructed from Sersi’s sphere to help connect all the Eternals and combine their energy. Think of it as an interminable ‘put your heads together’ meeting or an Uber Pool that saves the world and you’re on the right track.

Using the Uni-Mind, the Eternals were able to come together. At first, they were going to use Druig’s mind control power to nullify the Eternal. After Ikaris and Sprite’s attack, Sersi had to use the Uni-Mind’s stored energy to help strengthen her own ability to alter matter and she then crystalises Tiamut.

Why did Ikaris betray the Eternals?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

A flashback to South Dakota reveals that Ikaris has known – since the Babylonian days – of Arishem’s plan to continue using the Eternals as pawns to ensure each Emergence went ahead as planned.

Knowing that Ajak, and others, wouldn’t go along with that grand design, Ikaris pushed the Prime Eternal into a sheet of ice with the planet’s last remaining Deviants. They killed her – all so Ikaris could cover it up and rally the other Eternals to kill the Deviants in revenge. That’s because the Deviants (and their defacto leader, Kro) want to stop the Emergence; Ikaris was content with letting the destructive cycle continue.

Who lived and who died?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

From the Eternals, Gilgamesh (killed by Kro in the Amazon rainforest) and Ajak (killed by Deviants) are definitely dead. Ikaris’ fate is a little more up in the air, if you’ll excuse the pun. He flew into the sun after apologizing to Sersi and is presumed dead. The door is very much open for him to come back, however, if Kevin Feige and the powers-that-be dictate it.

As revenge for Gilgamesh’s death, Thena killed Kro. The only other major change in status by the movie’s end was that of Sprite, who wanted to live as a ‘real’ human. Conveniently enough, Sersi had another leftover energy from the Uni-Mind to make that wish come true.

What was Kro’s plan?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

If you believed some of the early merchandising leaks, you would have expected the Deviant leader Kro to be a pretty typical Marvel villain. It wasn’t quite that black-and-white. While he did kill Gilgamesh in the Amazon as a result of some seriously crossed wires – Deviants and Eternals just needed to sit down and talk, clearly – Kro actually has the same end goal as the reformed Eternals: stop the Emergence.

If the Emergence happens, the Deviants die. It’s a no-brainer as to why they wanted to stop it. It also made sense for Arishem to paint them as the bad guys to help his ultimate narrative and simultaneously keep the Eternals out of the loop. Eternals were conditioned to think of Deviants as evil when, in actual fact, they were there to help the greater good.

Did Thanos nearly save the world?

Thanos

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Kinda. Stick with us here. As revealed by Ajak, ironically, by wiping out half of the universe’s population, Thanos slowed down the Emergence. When Hulk snapped everyone back in Avengers: Endgame, he helped speed up the Emergence process once more. With half of all life on the planet restored, the Emergence was able to start in earnest.

Not to defend the Mad Titan here, but his actions would have resulted in Earth being saved from the effects of the Emergence. Maybe he was onto something about the whole balance thing…

Have we seen the Celestials before in the MCU?

A Celestial in Guardians of the Galaxy

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

There’s a reason why the likes of Arishem look so familiar. The god-like Celestials were introduced as early as Guardians of the Galaxy in an exposition-laden sequence from the Collector on the power of the Infinity Stones. Some Celestials wielded a Stone that granted them enormous power, with one even shown destroying an entire planet with the Power Stone.

Then, in Guardians 2, it was revealed one of the Celestials was still around: Kurt Russell’s Ego. If you’re keeping track, that also makes Star-Lord half-Celestial.

Who is Tiamut?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel)

Tiamut was the Celestial waiting to be ‘born’ and fully powered up so he could emerge from under the Earth and create a new sun.

In the comics, Tiamut is known as the ‘Dreaming Celestial’, an all-powerful entity that was put in a million-year deep sleep after attacking Arishem. 


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Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.