Who is Eternals in Marvel? In 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home brought the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 to a close, and the fog lifted on what Marvel planned to do next. Alongside the more earthbound Shang-Chi and the time-loopy Loki, November’s Eternals helps the mega-franchise take a major jump toward the cosmic.
It’s a bold move — even for a studio that has previously taken risks on properties like the Guardians of the Galaxy — for two reasons. The first is that these characters are built around a concept which could rewrite everything we know about the MCU. The second is that, even for long-time comics fans, the Eternals are the kind of characters that prompt the question: Who are they, again? The answers are, as you may expect from the trailers for the movie version, strange.
Who is Eternals in Marvel?
Marvel Studios’ Eternals introduced the eponymous superhero team to the MCU, each imbued with remarkable and otherworldly abilities. Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals hit theaters in November 2021, bringing some of Marvel Comics’ most obscure heroes to the MCU.
With an ensemble cast featuring all-star talent including Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee, Barry Keoghan, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lia McHugh, Eternals explored the history of humanity in the MCU, with the team arriving on Earth around 7000 years ago.
Originally created by Jack Kirby, the Eternals debuted in Marvel Comics’ 1976 series, The Eternals #1, introduced as an offshoot of humanity who had gained godlike powers through experimentation by the Celestials. Solo comics featuring the Eternals found it difficult to gain traction, but the heroes were included in various crossovers, making their way into stories featuring the likes of Thor, the Avengers, and the X-Men.
In Marvel Comics, the Eternals’ most notorious enemies are the Deviants, another offshoot of humanity from the same round of experiments that created them, and to defeat them, the Eternals boast a formidable set of powers, which translated beautifully into the MCU’s Phase 4.
The Eternals’ Cosmic Energy Grants Them Incredible Gifts
The Eternals share similarities with other super-powered beings like mutants or Inhumans, but what sets them apart is that they don’t exhibit just one power, but several. The Eternals are imbued with cosmic energy, gifted to them by their Celestial creators, which they can use to enhance their abilities.
In Marvel Comics, every Eternal harbors potential abilities including enhanced strength, telepathy, telekinesis, flight, illusion creation, and the ability to fire cosmic beams from their eyes and hands, among others, but they often specialize in only one, using the cosmic energy to boost its potential. Their control over their molecules also means they can restore any injury, making them practically immortal.
Phase 4’s Eternals showed off all of these powers, with each one attributed to a specific member of the Eternals in an effort to emphasize the diversity of the team and their respective gifts.
The MCU’s Eternals don’t demonstrate the capacity to branch out and use the others’ gifts, but are shown to have remarkable control over their specific powers. Though the Eternals’ origins had been changed for their MCU debut, the beings are still fueled by cosmic energy, that allows them to form weaponry, advance technology, create beautiful illusions, and transform matter from one state to another.
Ikaris Is Basically Marvel’s Superman
At face value, Richard Madden’s Ikaris is perhaps the most powerful of the Eternals, as he has used his cosmic energy to become adept at several talents, unlike his Eternal family. This has made him better than average – but not the best – at expressing each power, as he hasn’t used the full force of his energy to enhance only one gift. Ikaris’ two primary powers included flight and the ability to fire optic blasts of cosmic energy, though he also proved himself to have some enhanced speed and reflexes, as he took on Phastos, Thena, and Makkari in the final battle of Eternals.
Sersi Can Transform Matter From One State To Another
Sersi’s ability to manipulate matter secretly makes her the most powerful of all the Eternals on Earth, as she can quite literally reshape molecules into any form she pleases. Gemma Chan’s portrayal of the empathetic Sersi proves that she doesn’t take her potentially-dangerous ability for granted, but uses it only when necessary, such as when she irrigates barren soil with water, or transforms an overturned bus into harmless rose petals. Initially, this power didn’t apply to living matter, but after transforming a Deviant into a tree, Sersi unlocked her full potential, and was able to save the Earth by turning the emerging Celestial Tiamut into marble.
Kingo Is The Most Charismatic Eternal
Kingo, played brilliantly by Kumail Nanjiani, has taken advantage of his Eternal physiology to become a Bollywood star, performing as Kingo over several generations. What the unwitting public don’t know, however, is that Kingo’s cosmic energy allows him to fire projectile blasts from his hands and fingers, of which he is capable of manipulating the size, meaning he could fire bullet-like shots from his fingers, or gather the energy into a huge blast with both hands. These blasts are strong enough to obliterate attacking Deviants in one fell swoop, making Kingo an incredibly valuable ally to have on the team.
Gilgamesh Is One Of The Most Powerful Characters In The MCU
The Eternals are inherently strong, but Don Lee’s Gilgamesh puts them all to shame, especially when taken into consideration that his Marvel Comics counterpart has been said to be as strong as Thor and Hercules. Beyond his impressive skills in the kitchen, Gilgamesh uses his cosmic energy to enhance his physical strength, gathering the energy into fist-shapes around his hands.
Prior to starring in Eternals, Lee was a martial arts trainer and amateur arm-wrestler, but the actor trained in boxing fundamentals for his role of Gilgamesh, making his supremely powerful punches even more realistic.
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