Where Do We Go From Here

[Editor’s Note: Spoilers ahead for Eternals]

Chloe Zhao’s Eternals introduces a new team of superheroes only to break them apart. By the time the film is over, Ajak (Salma Hayek), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), and Ikaris (Richard Madden) are dead. Thena (Angelina Jolie), Druig (Barry Keoghan), and Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) have left on their spaceship Domo to tell the truth to the other Eternals—that they’re synthetic beings created to ensure population growth so that seeds of Celestials can sprout, destroy the planet that harvested them, and create new galaxies, essentially trading billions of lives on a planet for billions more. The Eternals then have their memories wiped and are sent to a new planet to repeat the process. Down on Earth, Sprite (Lia McHugh) is now human and ready to go to school with Sersi (Gemma Chan), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), and Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) ready to resume their lives back on Earth.

Sersi is about to learn an important secret from her boyfriend, Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) (click here for more on that) when the Celestial Arishem comes to Earth and takes Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos off-world (presumably Sprite wasn’t included because she’s now a human, not an Eternal). Arishem says he will allow humanity to continue for the time being, but that Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos will be taken away to have their memories scanned to see if humanity is really worth saving. They’re then sucked up into a black hole created by Arishem and the three of them will essentially stand trial with the fate of humanity on the line.

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This is a clever place to leave the Eternals because essentially they’re all off-world until their next adventure. If you look at the MCU as a big board of characters interacting with each other, the Eternals are still in their own little corner. Yes, it’s possible that sometime in the future they could cross paths with the Guardians of the Galaxy or Captain Marvel, but the implication seems to be that the Eternals remain on their own. Thena, Druig, and Makkari are taking some steps towards the MCU, but who knows what will happen next with Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos. Either way, when the next world-ending threat comes along, none of these characters can come to the rescue, which they would now be free to do since they’ve broken with Arishem’s instructions.

The conclusion of Eternals basically cements the introduction of these characters, but also puts a hold on their entry to the larger MCU. Yes, everyone in the Eternals was aware of the larger MCU, but Eternals concludes by keeping them out of the bigger party. This helps Marvel dodge larger questions about their participation in future events. You’ll note that in Phase Four thus far, Black Widow basically doesn’t count because it takes place in the past (aside from its credits scene, which ties into Hawkeye) and then Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings only makes inroads into the MCU at the end with Wong (Benedict Wong) introducing Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) to Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). We'll have to wait for the Eternals to cross paths with any other established MCU hero.

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About The Author
Matt Goldberg (15116 Articles Published)

Matt Goldberg has been an editor with Collider since 2007. As the site's Chief Film Critic, he has authored hundreds of reviews and covered major film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. He resides in Atlanta with his wife and their dog Jack.

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