In the Marvel Universe, there are forces and beings even more powerful than those like Thor who call themselves gods. And speaking of the god of thunder, he'll encounter one of them as the cosmic being known as Eternity plays a key role in Thor: Love and Thunder.
We won't spoil exactly how Eternity fits into the movie's plot, but we will tell you all we know about the mysterious entity who exists somewhere beyond time and space in the Marvel cosmos.
From Eternity's comic book history to the heroes who share direct connections to the cosmic being, here's everything you need to know about Eternity in Marvel Comics.
Who is Eternity?
As Eternity's name implies, he is the embodiment of the very concept of 'eternity' itself. Along with his sister Infinity, Eternity is considered one of the most powerful authorities in all creation in the Marvel Universe.
Only one being, the Living Tribunal whose three-faced visage was seen briefly in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is considered to be a higher authority in the cosmic order of the Marvel Universe.
A version of Eternity (and in turn Infinity) exists in all worlds of the Marvel Multiverse, with each incarnation implied to be part of a larger, all-encompassing whole that spans across the entire Multiverse.
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1965's Strange Tales #138, Eternity first appeared when Doctor Strange entreated him for the power to defeat his ancient foe Dormammu. In a similar vein, Eternity has generally only appeared when there's a threat to the very fabric of existence itself - such as Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones.
Weirdly enough, Eternity did once mettle in the cosmic order himself, kidnapping the embodiment of Death and briefly preventing all living things in the universe from dying.
Eternity also has several children who embody their own aspects of the cosmos, including Empathy, Eulogy, Expediency, Entropy, Epiphany, Enmity, and Eon (who was later killed and replaced by Epoch).
Eternity in the Marvel Universe
Along with his own place in the cosmic order alongside Infinity, Eternity has direct connections to several Marvel Comics heroes.
There's Captain Universe, itself a title rather than a being, which empowers champions chosen by Eternity with the so-called Enigma Force (also known in some forms as the Uni-Power).
Several known Marvel heroes, most notably Spider-Man, have taken on the identity of Captain Universe, including Daredevil, Hulk, and Silver Surfer.
There's also the Eternity Mask, an artifact hewn from the very substance of Eternity itself, created to give power to the powerless.
Passed down from hand-to-hand through the ages, the Eternity Mask was most recently worn by the Masked Raider, secretly a villainous super-scientist who was working to undo his past mistakes.
When Masked Raider died, the Eternity Mask was taken to the Sanctum Sanctorum by Doctor Strange.
Following the 2015 story Secret Wars which remade the Marvel Multiverse, Eternity was captured by a being known as the First Firmament who was the embodiment of the original Marvel Multiverse.
Though the First Firmament temporarily captured and subverted several cosmic beings, it was eventually defeated by the team known as the Ultimates.
Eternity in the MCU
Light spoilers ahead for Thor: Love and Thunder, so be warned!
Thor: Love and Thunder introduces Eternity in the MCU, establishing that he resides at the heart of the universe (presumably somewhere near Vormyr, the home of the Soul Stone - Eternity's realm even resembles the inside of the Soul Stone).
In Love and Thunder, Eternity is said to have the power to grant a wish to anyone who reaches his domain. Gorr, the film's villain played by Christian Bale, is on a quest to reach Eternity where he plans to wish for the death of all gods in the Marvel Universe.
We'll leave you to discover whether Gorr achieves his goal or not when you see the film, but for now, we can look into how Eternity's presence and introduction could affect the MCU moving forward.
For one thing, there's the obvious implication that Eternity could meet Doctor Strange at some point, perhaps in the course of fixing the Multiversal Incursion he was warned of by Charlize Theron's Clea at the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
And then there's the potential for the introduction of Eternity's champion, Captain Universe, as well as the artifact known as the Infinity Mask and its bearer.
All that said, Eternity is such a massive concept in the Marvel Universe, the possibilities are, well, infinite.
Gorr is on a quest to find Eternity in Thor: Love and Thunder, an adaptation of one of the best Thor stories of all time.