It was nearly three years ago when Thor: Ragnarok redefined Marvel’s God of Thunder, but the movie didn’t shy away from its comic book roots. On the contrary, the film’s visuals paid tribute to the legendary Jack Kirby in almost every inch of every frame. And in one special case, as pointed out by a fan, it even references a spaceship with some very special meaning heading into Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On Reddit, user u/Initial_XD shared a screenshot of the Act 2 chase from Thor: Ragnarok where Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) hops from ship to ship to keep them from chasing her, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner. Behind her, deep in the background, is the ship of the Celestial being Arishem, who first appeared in issue #2 of Jack Kirby’s Eternals.
“Hadn’t noticed this little Easter egg before,” wrote Initial_XD, “and just in times for the ETERNALS.” Other redditors commented that they hadn’t picked up on the Easter egg before, calling it a “nice catch.”
While the ship may suggest that a very powerful character from the Marvel Universe, Arishem, may have made an early cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the truth is probably more underwhelming. As a film that pays tribute to Jack Kirby in its design, it is likely that the filmmakers, including director Taika Waititi, simply picked out ships from old comics rather than consciously including actual characters into the films. Still, Arishem’s ship, even one that looks modified (note that there are only two circular windows on the ship in Thor: Ragnarok and three in Kirby’s original design), is a neat discovery.
In issue #2 of Eternals, Ikaris, Margo, Doctor Damian, and a Deviant named Kro are at the “City of the Space Gods” when a giant Celestial ship appears before them from out of nowhere. Inside a crypt, Ikaris awakens Ajak (to be played by Salma Hayek in Eternals later this year), who activates a ceremonial pylon to welcome the first Celestial.
At the end of the issue, the one to arrive is Arishem, leader of the Four Celestial Hosts of Earth and the one responsible for culling the Deviants out of Earth. Arishem is also a judge who decides the fate of a planet’s civilization.
(A fun connection to Thor: Ragnarok is that Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is also a Celestial, just like Arishem and Kurt Russell’s Ego from Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. In the comics, the Grandmaster was an Elder of the Universe alongside the Collector, played by Benicio del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War.)
Arishem is probably one of the strongest beings in the Marvel Universe, equal in power to the other Celestials. It’s doubtful, then, that his “appearance” in Thor: Ragnarok would be as a mere ship chasing after Valkyrie. Still, given the proximity to the release of the Eternals, it might not be long until Arishem and the Celestials finally make their presence known.
Eternals releases in theaters on November 6, 2020.