Eternals stars talk spoilers, a bonus Harry Styles scene, and Dane Whitman's future
Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Marvel's Eternals.
When EW gathered the cast of Eternals for our Around the Table video series, we touched on a lot of topics — from how Chloé Zhao cast her sprawling epic to the perils of shooting in a sandstorm in the Canary Islands. But not everything made the final cut; some parts of the discussion were simply too spoilery to share at the time. Now with Eternals finally in theaters, EW has the full scoop, straight from cast members Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Don Lee, Lauren Ridloff, Lia McHugh, and Kumail Nanjiani.
MEET DANE WHITMAN
One of the few mortal characters introduced in Eternals is Harington's Dane Whitman, a seemingly ordinary British bloke working at a museum and dating Gemma Chan's Sersi. Throughout the film, there are hints that Dane has a "complicated" family legacy, but his true history isn't revealed until the very last credits scene. In it we see Dane nervously opening a case to reveal a mysterious sword — confirmation that there's more to this mild-mannered museum curator than he lets on.
In the comics, Dane Whitman becomes the hero known as Black Knight, a troubled young man who wields the infamous Ebony Blade. The cursed sword gives its wielder immense power, but it also comes at a cost: It can only be carried by a person with an impure heart, and over time the blade will slowly corrupt its user. When Harington first met with Zhao and producer Nate Moore about the role, they filled him in on Dane's comic book arc, and he was intrigued by Dane's relationship with the sword and the idea of a "superpower that surrounds the idea of addiction."
"The thing is if you read up about him, his superpower is also his curse," Harington explains. "Now if that happens [in the MCU] or not, we don't know. In this movie Dane's just Dane, and stay to the end and you might see something fun."
Nanjiani also shares the story of how he and Harington first met: Before filming started, he spotted the Game of Thrones actor on the street in Notting Hill in London, but when he called his name, Harington steadfastly ignored him, thinking he was an obsessive fan. It wasn't until Nanjiani came right up to him that Harington realized it was his new costar, and the two swapped details about their Eternals roles (and how Dane Whitman bears a certain similarity to Game of Thrones' Jon Snow).
"I said, 'What's your character?'" Nanjiani recalls with a laugh. "And you said, 'I can't get away from swords.' Because you have a magical sword now!"
A STYLISH NEW COSTAR
Speaking of credits scenes, Eternals also introduces yet another new face from the comics: Thanos' brother Eros, played by Harry Styles. (He's accompanied by Pip the Troll, voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt.)
Styles' scene is just a brief cameo, where Eros crosses paths with a few Eternals. But the cast reveals to EW that they also shot a much longer scene with Styles that didn't make the final cut.
The stars say they hit it off with Styles as soon as he came to set, with Hayek adding: "He arrived, and he was just like part of us, immediately." Ridloff, who is deaf and uses an interpreter, also shares a story of how she and Styles bonded while shooting together: In the cut scene, the Eternals and Eros are sitting aboard the starship Domo, communicating with the Celestial Arishem with their eyes closed.
"Chloe would say, 'Cut,' and every time she yelled, 'Cut,' the interpreter would have to run around and tap me on the shoulder," Ridloff says. "So after a couple times, Harry was just like, 'Is it okay if I just tap you and cue you when we stop shooting? I was like, 'Yeah, thank you!' That's just who Harry is: He just watches out, and he thinks: 'What can I do?'"
One of the film's more emotional story lines centers on Jolie's character, Thena, who's suffering from an affliction called Mahd Wy'ry — a sort of mental disorder triggered by thousands of years of immortal memories. As Hayek explains, she found Thena's journey to be one of the most moving parts of the whole film.
"She has a conflict and a moment where she gets an illness, where she kind of goes crazy," Hayek says. "That's how we perceive it, but in reality she's actually tapping into a very strong intuition that women have. I find this incredibly deep because a lot of times women who have a different perspective, a different vision, a strong intuition that breaks through the fakeness of the world and the hypocrisy — it's called crazy. This has been happening through the entire history of the world."
"[Thena] does have what would be, I suppose, considered a mental health [issue]," Jolie adds. "She struggles with her mental health. But I think to Salma's point, it's a question of what other people's perception is of somebody being unhealthy mentally, or unbalanced, or labeled as crazy. She's actually trying to deal with something very real, and maybe sometimes the weight of that comes out in a way that isn't understood… There are a lot of strong, amazing people also struggle with their mental health. And to Salma's point, that doesn't mean they're broken."