New Eternals trailer teases an epic cosmic showdown
The movie's first full trailer introduces Chloé Zhao’s immortal heroes (and answers why they didn’t step up to help take down Thanos).
Marvel has dropped the first full trailer for its upcoming cosmic epic, giving us our best glimpse yet at Zhao's superhero saga. Eternals introduces a whole squad of new heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Salma Hayek as Ajak, and Angelina Jolie as Thena.
First invented by legendary comic artist Jack Kirby in 1976, the Eternals are one of Marvel Comics' lesser-known properties, but they have a long, trippy history. Fortunately, the trailer serves as a fairly informative primer on who these heroes are and what they've been up to for the last 7,000 years: As Chan's Sersi explains, the Eternals are aliens created by the powerful, godlike Celestials and sent to Earth to save humans from the monstrous Deviants. They're all incredibly strong, and each has unique powers, and they spent the last few millennia silently observing humanity.
The trailer also answers one important question: If the Eternals are so powerful and have been hanging out on Earth all these years, why didn't they volunteer to help take down Thanos? One human character — Dane Whitman, played by Game of Thrones' Kit Harington — asks exactly that. (Surely Steve Rogers and Tony Stark would've welcomed having a guy who can fly and shoot lasers from his eyes.)
"We were instructed not to interfere in any human conflicts unless Deviants were involved," Sersi says. However, as Hayek's leader Ajak explains, Thanos' little stunt has had a ripple effect, and now, it's up to the Eternals to protect humanity from the Deviants once again.
In fact, Zhao previously told EW that part of what drew her to the film were the many storytelling possibilities after 2019's Avengers: Endgame. "I was very fortunate," she says. "I feel like I entered the MCU at a time when a wonderful story had just concluded, so it's a bit like we're on the frontier. There's a lot of desire to explore."
The new trailer also gives a sense of the vast scale and scope of the film, from ancient civilizations to modern-day London to strange, otherworldly vistas in the far reaches of space. It's an epic story spanning thousands of years, but there are also elements that feel similar to Zhao's past work. (The wide-open prairies and images of Hayek on a horse look like they could be outtakes from The Rider or the Oscar-winning Nomadland.)
Zhao also says that while developing the look and feel of the film, she relied heavily on Kirby's original Eternals comics, and it shows: Certain images, like the jaw-dropping shot of the massive red Celestial, look like they were ripped straight from Kirby's pages.
"None of this is possible without Jack Kirby's brilliant creation," Zhao tells EW. "That was a huge part of it for us. That goes for everything, from the design of the spaceship to the tiniest symbol on the costumes, to what their powers look like. And each of those things has to serve the story. For me, it's always like, what does this say about them as a group? Or their relationship with the Celestials and the Deviants and each other?"
But ultimately, even with all the stunts and otherworldly gods and intergalactic adventure, Zhao and her cast say that they hope fans connect with the film's more intimate, down-to-earth themes.
"Coming out of these years that we've had, it's got a nice message at its center about humanity," Jolie tells EW. "I haven't seen the final film, but I will say that humanity and kindness is at its core. I'm hoping audiences feel that."
Eternals will hit theaters Nov. 5. Watch the trailer above, and for more, read EW's digital cover story.
Eternals (2021 movie)