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Eternals: release date, trailer, cast, MCU links, and more

Eternals teaser trailer
(Image credit: Disney)

Eternals is fast approaching, touching down toward the end of this year. While that might feel like a long wait, there's a lot about the movie out there to tide us over. The film is directed by Oscar-winning Nomadland helmer Chloé Zhao, and is the third theatrical installment in Marvel Phase 4, following on from Black Widow and the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Eternals looks like it's shaping up to be a grand, cosmic adventure – and could end up being one of the most exciting Marvel movies to hit the big screen this year.

We've rounded up everything there is to know about Eternals so far, including casting details, information about the plot, and more. We've also got the movie's trailer, so you can get your first look at the new superhero team in action. Scroll on to check out everything we know about this Marvel epic.

The Eternals release date

Marvel Phase 4 Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Eternals was intended to be the second Phase 4 movie. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the whole release schedule was torn up, and Eternals will now come after Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That makes the Eternals release date November 5, 2021. 

Eternals was first due to arrive in cinemas in November 2020 slot, but was initially pushed back to February 2021, taking Shang-Chi's original release slot. However, as the pandemic continued and Black Widow was moved again, to May 2021 and then to July 2021, Eternals found itself at its current November slot.

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."

With the release date changes, filming on Eternals actually finished back in 2019. Salma Hyek said of the experience with Entertainment Tonight: "I think it definitely has its own DNA within the Marvel universe. It is different. It was directed by a woman and we didn't do most of the things in the studio. They're real locations which is unusual for Marvel. I'm very excited about the film, it definitely has this special vibe to it that is unique. I'm really excited about it and I love my character and I love the cast."

Eternals trailer

We finally have an actual Eternals trailer. In the teaser, we learn that the titular ancient superhero team has held off from directly interfering in human history throughout the years – but it seems something has happened to change that – perhaps the Thanos snap brought them back, or something more horrible awaits. Although the trailer doesn't give much away, it does show off the star-studded cast. There's also plenty of action, and there's even a reference to two familiar former Avengers right at the end of the clip.

The Eternals trailer, though, was not our first look at the movie. We got our first official glimpse during a Marvel Studios compilation video called Marvel Studios Celebrates the Movies, which you can watch below.

The Eternals footage begins with a look at Salma Hayek, who plays Ajak, the spiritual leader of the Eternals. "When you love something, you fight for it," Ajak says as we see several of the Eternals assemble, including Richard Madden's Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo, Gemma Chan's Sersi, and Angelina Jolie's Thena. We even get a good look at Thena's sword, which she can form out of cosmic energy. 

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

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?

Whenever the Eternals do embrace their superhero side, a merchandise leak has revealed our best look yet at what their costumes might look like. 

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.

Eternals introduces Kro

Toy production for Eternals has been well underway for a while now, and a release date change does not immediately halt collectibles being made. As a result, a Marvel Legends figure has leaked, offering a first look at the villain Kro.

The leader of the Eternals-opposing Deviants in the comics, Kro has a sinewy, skeletal figure with a red mark on his forehead. His appearance differs from what readers may expect – in the comics, Kro is much more human and pink in colour. Perhaps darker, direction for the MCU’s grandest movie yet?

The back of the packaging could also reveal a little more about the Eternals villain and the movie itself. Described as “a powerful Deviant unlike any other the Eternals has faced over the millenia,” Kro showing up is “the harbinger for a global threat.”

More merchandise has given us another look at the villain too, along with some Celestials, including Arishem the Judge. In the source material, Arishem has the power to destroy planets, so expect him to present a serious threat to the Eternals. 

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.

For more Marvel content, be sure to check out the best movies on Disney Plus. Spoilers: yes, Iron Man does appear on the list!