Marvel Studios won the internet today by dropping what they claimed to be the final trailer for Eternals. And it’s epic nature, gorgeous visuals, breathtaking cinematography and grandiose scope have the web buzzing. I thought it would be interesting to attempt a trailer breakdown in more ways than one.
First, the Eternals are nowhere as well known outside the comic community as folks like Iron Man or Captain America were, and those were Marvel’s B- and C-grade characters so that’s saying something. This coupled with the tight secrecy means there’s little to no information outside of what we’ve been given from official sources.
Second, the trailer itself doesn’t really pack too many plot reveals so it’s unwise to do a scene-by-scene breakdown as I did for movies such as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame where every shot carried potential clues for analysis. In sharp contrast, because this story is new, a lot of shots seem lacking in context.
All said and done then, I just want to take this space to go through some of the important moments in the trailer and what they mean for the movie in particular and for the larger MCU as a whole. And you already know where I’m going to start with:
Why The Eternals Did Not Help The Avengers
When Eternals was announced, it was declared as a story that would span generations and millenia. Naturally, one of the first questions to come out of the collective fandom was: if they’ve been here this whole time, why didn’t they step in to help the Avengers fight Thanos, given the cataclysmic nature of what he managed to achieve.
The trailer answers that upfront with a one-liner for now. The Eternals have created by the Celestials and are bound to obey them. They had strict instructions not to intervene in human affairs unless it involved the Deviants – nefarious, hideous and deformed alien creatures created as an off-shoot to the sapient life on earth. So while the Eternals were present on earth, they were watching from the shadows, although some such as Sersi have assisted humans from behind the scenes in certain battles thanks to her empathetic superpowers.
It’s also our first hint that the cosmic stakes are far, far higher than what goes on in earth. Phase Four looks like it’s going to be stepping well into the cosmos and with the Multiverse theories compounding, it only makes sense that future storylines introduce bigger stakes.
After-Effects of the Three Snaps
Salma Hayek’s Ajak informs Richard Madden’s Ikari of the spike caused by the multiple snaps that occurred on earth by Thanos, Hulk and Stark. We understand that it has led to a massive energy release and drawn in the emergence – although what this exactly is remains unclear. The event could be referring to the emergence of the Deviants on earth but it still doesn’t make sense exactly why this would warrant a 7 day timeline.
A Reddit comment theorizes that the Emergence is some sort of Judgment Day level event which is triggered when a planet is deemed a fail experiment and set for destruction. In this case, the Celestials have declared Earth a failure after the snap led to chaos in the universe and have begun a countdown to destroy it in 7 days. Somehow, perhaps Ajak may have developed a compassion for humankind after hearing about their valiant efforts in traversing time and reversing the snap, which explains why she ruminates about the bravery of the Avengers. But all this remains speculation.
The truly interesting aspect to note here is just how much past MCU movies continue to play into future films. This has been an understated recurring thread in the entirety of the MCU. The Avengers with its Battle of New York became a staple of nearly every film that followed; its plot having ripple effects on future films. With Infinity War and Endgame, we’re seeing one of the most vocal complaints being addressed yet again in that we’ll get to see the consequences that the snap and the blip had, not just on society but across the interplanetary ecosystem as well. As Rocket had mentioned, a single snap releases a massive energy signature and a total of four snaps taking place across a span of half a decade should have lasting consequences.
The Mythology of Celestials and Deviants
We don’t get to learn much about the Celestials and the Deviants but after long rumors of their inclusion in the movie, we get first glimpses at them. No names are given we see a Celestial with six eyes and another with a green, sleek, alien skin. Likewise, we see a Deviant creature and one that abducts Thena. The latter is Kro (can be confirmed on enabling Closed Captioning on YouTube) who is known to have a liking for Thena and they share a sort of love-hate relationship that may get carried over into the movies.
It’s yet again fascinating just how much the MCU continues to keep pushing its own mythological storytelling and world-building. They’re in an enviable position where another Avengers movie could bring them $1 billion+ with relative ease. And yet, they chooes to sidestep that brand and move towards establishing newer properties, unafraid of embracing their kinky comic roots.
Eternals on Earth
We get a glimpse at mostly all of the Eternals residing on Earth. And it appears they’ve donned alternate personas to keep themselves hidden and low profile (well, sort of). Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo for example, is a Bollywood star whereas Brian Tyree Henry stays as a technological inventor along the likes of Stark. Much like the Avengers then, the leaders would call on the team to assemble, drawing out the sleeper Eternals from their guise into their true form to protect humanity and Earth.
Speaking of the Avengers analogy, the focus here seems to be more on the heroes than on the antagonists. As was the case in the first film and even in Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Studios already has a lot of work to do, introducing the roster of new, unfamiliar characters and setting up their world along with a 7,000 year history. No wonder then that Nate Moore said the film moves at a fast-pace spanning all that time and material to cover.
The team dynamics are also going to be interesting to explore. At least one bit tells me Angelina Jolie’s Thena cringes at Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo. And the final exchange between Ikaris assuming Phastos’ furniture is made of vibranium evokes definite laughter.
Eternals Theme Music
This one isn’t too much to talk about but the more I listen to it, the more I’m convinced that’s Ramin Djawadi’s theme for Eternals. It begins in typical Djawadi style – composed entirely of piano notes – before the more powerful full orchestral version plays. As beautiful as the film looks (and I think that point has been hammered home fairly well), I’m equally excited for what Djawadi does with the score. A nice Game of Thrones reunion there with Ramin Djawadi, Richard Madden and Kit Harrington all part of the film.
Eternals releases in theaters on November 5, 2021. Let me know what your biggest moments from the trailer were in the comments below.