Daddy Galactus

Why 'The Eternals' will change the MCU forever

Who awaits in Marvel's deep space?

Of all the movies in Marvel's "Phase Four" slate, it's 2020's The Eternals that raises the most questions — and we don't just mean, "Who the heck are the Eternals?" But whatever mysteries that shroud The Eternals, you can bet that this movie is set to change the fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe more than anything else on the horizon.

A new, rather innocuous interview with Eternals star Kumail Nanjiani, who is now totally ripped, revealed that The Eternals is a science-fiction film that spans thousands of years in a single movie. “It’s really, really an epic,” Nanjiani told Entertainment Weekly. “And it’s really such a science-fiction story. It’s a superhero story, but in some ways, it’s the most sci-fi of all the Marvel movies and it’s the most epic of all the Marvel movies. And the story spans thousands of years. So it’s really not like any of the other Marvel movies.”

“It’s the most sci-fi of all the Marvel movies.” — Kumail Nanjiani

Neat! But Nanjiani (predictably) isn't talking about what else is in store for The Eternals. Namely how it could change the MCU by going deeper into the deep reaches of Marvel space.

In 2014, six years after Iron Man introduced moviegoers to the MCU, the studio went far into space with Guardians of the Galaxy. Although the film starred Z-list characters, two of whom were a talking raccoon and a giant tree, the movie's fresh tone and dope playlist of boomer pop made it an overnight franchise.

But the film's success also gave Marvel the confidence to go full speed ahead with plans further down the road. Without the Guardians, there are no stakes with Thanos, the most crucial character in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Without Zoe Saldana's Gamora, there is no access to Thanos beyond his goals. Gamora was the key to his psyche, which is how Thanos became one of the most compelling antagonists in all of superhero movies. The Avengers saw an alien threat, but audiences saw an abusive father.

This is not to say that The Eternals will for sure include something as big as Thanos for a future Avengers movie. (Maybe it will! We really don't know.) But it is important that the MCU push its scope beyond the confines of Earth. It was exciting when, in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio said he came from a parallel Earth, and that the MCU was just one Earth out of many in the multiverse.

In 'Spider-Man: Far From Home,' Spider-Man met the biggest bullshitter of the Marvel Universe, Mysterio.Sony Pictures

Of course, Mysterio was lying out his ass, but the multiverse is real. We're getting a whole movie out of it in 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But alternate Earths are just one realm that the Marvel Universe in comics explores. Deep space is another, and it's where a host of characters like the Celestials, the Elders of the Univers, and the godlike being Eternity, who despite being basically god has also been killed and/or imprisoned.

While it looks like Secret Invasion will be the next major storyline in the MCU (what with all these Skrulls popping up in Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home), characters like Eternity are also powerful enough to anchor a cosmic-scale crossover that would necessitate another massive convergence of heroes.

If “Thicc Thanos” happened, so can “Daddy Galactus.”

But even if Eternity never becomes a character in the MCU, The Eternals still has an opportunity to go big with the MCU and feature far-out characters that could be as big and well-known as Thanos. Imagine the near future, where cosplayers dress up as Arishem or make thirsty memes of Galactus. If "Thicc Thanos" happened, so can "Daddy Galactus."

It's true that there's still so much of The Eternals we've yet to know about. It's unknown what Marvel is thinking of for its next major arc, the one that will propel the MCU into Phase Five, Six, maybe even Seven. But just as it was a mistake that people dismissed Guardians of the Galaxy, calling it Marvel's "riskiest" movie -- Dave Bautista's own bosses at WWE wrote off the film, telling "Drax" to his face, "We don’t know if the movie’s going to be that good" — it would be a mistake not to expect big things from The Eternals.

The Eternals will release in theaters on November 6.

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