The Marvel Cinematic Universe will soon open its doors to the Eternals, a powerful race of immortal beings tasked with defending Earth. The MCU movies haven't yet revealed much about them or their history, but a recent leak suggests they have a deep-rooted connection to Thanos, the villain who sought control over life and death in Avengers: Infinity War. The Mad Titan may have died for good in Endgame, but a crucial detail about his identity may be the key to unlocking a central mystery in Eternals.
Possible spoilers for Eternals ahead.
The first three phases of the MCU followed Thanos in his quest to acquire the Infinity Stones and destroy half of all living things in the universe. The Mad Titan believed this act would save others from succumbing to his home planet's grim fate. But other than his desire for galactic dominion, we know relatively little about Thanos' past.
In the comics, Thanos is a member of the Eternals, god-like entities created by the ancient alien race known as the Celestials. The son of A'lars and Sui-San, Thanos looks more like a Deviant, the mutated counterparts of the Eternals. The connection is doubly strong because Thanos is also the cousin of Thena, Angelina Jolie’s character in Eternals.
While this aspect of Thanos’ identity has not yet been touched on in the Marvel Studios movies, an Eternals leak retroactively that detail to the forefront and sets the stage for how the upcoming film could actually end. The Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit — a showcase that highlights facts, features, and props from across the MCU — confirms that Thanos is an Eternal and the last of his kind. Here’s what the intel said (via The Direct):
“Thanos’ origin is said to be on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, making him a Titanian in nature. It is rumored however that Thanos is the last of an ancient and highly sophisticated species known throughout the universe as ‘The Eternals’.”
It turns out Thor documented this information about Thanos for the Asgardians, but it’s possible that it was added to the exhibit so that the Eternals don’t feel too much like strangers when they show up. If Thanos is the last of his kind, then it doesn’t bode well for the protagonists of the upcoming movie. We know that their self-titled film will span generations and that the Deviants will be their primary antagonists.
The leak suggests that the Eternals may have been defeated by the Deviants prior to the events of the MCU. It would certainly explain why none of the characters appeared to assist the Avengers in their battle against Thanos. After all, the Eternals have defended the world before, so it stands to reason that they would do so in the face of an alien threat like Thanos.
What’s more, the Eternals would have likely defeated Thanos quickly considering that they are the same species and know what to expect. Alas, they were nowhere to be found and it could mean that they are indeed dead. Conversely, Thor may be working off of limited knowledge and only assumes that Thanos was the last of the Eternals because they haven’t been spotted in a while.
For all we know, the Eternals could have been off-world battling another galactic threat. Either way, Thanos’ connection to the immortal beings makes for a contrasting dynamic to the superhero-like characters and adds to their mythology.
Eternals is set to hit theaters on November 5, 2021.