Director Chloe Zhao Brought Her Strong Manga Roots To ‘Eternals’ – Envisions Them As A Group of Misfits

As Marvel Studios tries to figure out how to resume productions safely and when to roll out their upcoming slate of films and television shows, we have some new insight on Chloe Zhao’s upcoming cosmic superhero film Eternals after a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. 

The director talked-up her experience with manga being a big influence on the film and how she attempted to bridge East and West. 

ZHAO: “I have such deep, strong, manga roots. I brought some of that into Eternals. And I look forward to pushing more of that marriage of East and West. How much further and bigger can we go after [Avengers:] Endgame? Because I’m not just making the film as a director. I’m making the film as a fan.”

Kevin Feige named dropping One-Punch Man is a manga she digs.

FEIGE: “Chloé will go toe to toe about Malick, or as esoteric and small a film as has ever been made, but also on Star Wars or on [Japanese superhero franchise] One-Punch Man in a way that is quite unique and quite spectacular.”

The Eternals are a group of cosmic heroes created by comic book legend Jack Kirby taking cues from books such as Chariots of The Gods, which explores the idea of aliens seeding Earth (Prometheus also explored this with The Engineers) and in the case of Eternals that would be giant cosmic beings known as The Celestials. They are tasked as immortal god-like beings to be the protectors of humanity from The Deviants, an off-shoot sect of humanoids that also have powers but have a more monstrous appearance. Some of these Deviants break from ranks and join the superhero team such as Kro and Karkas.

Eternals spans thousands of years of human history and will likely be doing a little time jumping. However, it seems like they’ll be mainly focusing on a connection between Sersi and The Black Knight, who happen to be members of the Avengers. It’s said there will be a love triangle that most likely includes Ikaris in the mix. 

The Celestials are also behind tinkering with early humans inserting the mutant gene into their DNA, which could be how mutants are explained in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for their X-Men reboot. 

Chloe also mentions how her vision for Eternals differed from other teams in the MCU as she saw them as outsiders rather than a regular group of jocks, potentially referring to them as being a direct contrast to The Avengers or even The Justice League. 

ZHAO: “I wanted it to reflect the world we live in. But also I wanted to put a cast together that feels like a group of misfits. I didn’t want the jocks. I want you to walk away at the end of the movie not thinking, ‘This person is this ethnicity, that person is that nationality.’ No. I want you to walk away thinking, ‘That’s a family.’ You don’t think about what they represent. You see them as individuals.”

The film’s cast includes Gemma Chan as Sersi, Kit Harington as Dane Whitman aka Black Knight, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, and Don Lee as Gilgamesh.  

It was also confirmed in the article that Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo will indeed by a Bollywood star. 

Oddly enough, while the Deviants will appear in the film it hasn’t been officially announced who exactly is playing them and this may suggest they’ll be motion-capture characters not unlike Thanos’ Children in Avengers: Infinity War with voice actors added to the cast closer to the release date. 

A trailer for Eternals has yet to be unleashed by Marvel Studios leading to multiple people taking their guesses when it could drop with the film’s release date set for February 12th, 2021. 


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