- Marvel’s Eternals performed below expectations at the box office, disappointing Marvel Studios.
- John Ridley’s scrapped TV series on the Eternals had a much weirder and darker concept.
- The movie introduced several new characters and set up future storylines, but fans are impatient for their payoffs.
Marvel’s Eternals hit cinemas in 2021, as the industry was just opening back up following the Covid pandemic. This meant that the resulting box office was not exactly what Marvel Studios had hoped for – something that would become an unwanted studio mantra over the next two years – and although audiences were mostly positive about the movie, critics were much less impressed. However, things could have been different if John Ridley’s TV series based on the superhero group had made it to screen in 2015.
Ridley began developing an Eternals TV series when Marvel Television was in the midst of creating shows like Netflix’s Defenders shows, Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L D., but it was scrapped along with all other non-MCU shows when Marvel Studios took charge of the division. In an appearance on the Comic Book Club podcast, Ridley finally shared some information on what his version would have looked like. He said:
“My version was the good version. It was so f–king weird. There was my version, a good version, which is good to me, which doesn’t mean anything. There was the version that [Marvel] ended up doing, I don’t think that version was particularly good. I’ll be honest.My version started with, the first thing you see is a young man, probably about 18 years old. He’s sitting there for a moment. And then he lifts his hands. He has a drill in it. And he turns the drill on. And he puts the drill to his ear. And he starts pushing it in. And then it goes from there. That’s how it starts. And then I think you see… another kid… He sleeps in the bathtub, covers himself with foil. It’s just a really weird story about these people who are, I mean, it’s just weird.”
Eternals Divided Fans but Will Return
Eternals had the makings of a huge summer blockbuster, with an all-star cast and a place in the Marvel Studios franchise that – at the time – could almost do no wrong. However, things didn’t quite go to plan.
- Release Date
- November 5, 2021
- 2hr 36min
- Matthew K. Firpo , Ryan Firpo , Jack Kirby
- Marvel Studios
The movie was delayed due to the pandemic, and when it finally arrived it seemed to be slightly too ambitious for its own good. Introducing an Avengers-sized roster of new characters, complete with backstory and a philosophical edge, the movie suffered for “caring more for its concept than its characters.” Although audiences didn’t really mind any of this, and still found the movie to contain the usual Marvel mix of action set-pieces and humor, the film was certainly hindered by its huge cast of characters, and even had some critics suggesting their introduction could have been better as a long-from Disney+ series.
Of course, the movie serves more than just the purpose of telling its story, setting up the arrival of Blade in the MCU, teasing the introduction of Eros aka Starfox (Harry Styles), and putting the huge corpse of the Celestial Tiamut in the middle of the Indian Ocean. All of these teases are yet to be paid off, and fans have been constantly complaining about the lack of advancement on social media – particularly in relation to the latter one. However, time moves much slower in the real world than it does in the MCU, with most of Phase Four and the first part of Phase Five all taking place within months rather than the years it takes to play out on screen.
Kevin Feige has previously spoken about the future of Eternals, suggesting that the characters will return when the story allows. As for those teases, Harry Styles’ return as Eros is likely guaranteed but has not been confirmed as yet, Blade will make his full debut late in 2025, and when it comes to the giant head sticking out of the ocean, it has been strongly suggested that it will have a role to play in next year’s Captain America: Brave New World and could be tied to the introduction of Adamantium – aka the element that was infused into the body of one Wolverine – to the MCU.