Before Eternals can get to the action, Marvel’s new movie has to answer one big question: why didn’t these immortal superheroes try to stop Thanos? Eternals has an answer, but in the process, it rewrites the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turns Thanos into the hero of the Infinity Saga.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Eternals.
The theory — Over on Reddit, u/drmoo314 argues that “Thanos Saved Humanity (and possibly other civilizations).” The reason why is simple, but it requires knowing the plot of Eternals.
Here’s a quick recap: In Eternals, we discover that the Celestials (giant ancient space gods) have been using intelligent life (like humans) to create new Celestials. Basically, at the core of each planet like Earth, there’s a special seed. The seed feeds of the energy of intelligent life, and once there’s enough of that life, a fully formed Celestial is born, destroying its host planet in the process.
The point is, when Thanos snapped his fingers and wiped out half of all life, he stopped the Celestials’ plan from happening. Sure, half of all humans turned to dust, but half is still better than the entire planet.
Thanos and the Eternals
The question remains: Does this make Thanos a hero? I previously argued that the Mad Titan basically saved the world by mistake. But u/drmoo314 has a different take.
They argue that Thanos knew exactly what he was doing, and they have a pretty good reason why. As revealed in Eternals post-credits scene, Thanos’ brother Starfox is an Eternal. That means Thanos is an Eternal too, right?
And if that’s the case, there’s a decent chance Thanos knew exactly what the Celestials were up to and used the Infinity Stones to stop them. In other words, “Without Thanos, humanity would have been eradicated.”
Of course, just like with Thanos’ original plan, this new theory raises the same ethical question: Do the ends justify the means?
The answer is probably no. As Steve Rogers famously says, we don’t trade lives. And if Captain America wasn’t willing to give up one robot to save half the universe, he probably wouldn’t be so keen on sacrificing half the universe to save all intelligent life.
Besides, the Eternals eventually managed to find a way to stop a Celestial from destroying the Earth without dusting anyone. So maybe Thanos’ plan wasn’t so benevolent after all.
Eternals is now playing in theaters.