Who is Eternity in Marvel? Thor: Love And Thunder proves faithful to the epic comic book run by writer Jason Aaron that introduces Gorr the God Butcher and Jane Foster as Thor, but departs from the source material in one major way. Gorr seeks the Godbomb in the original comics, but in the movie, he seeks Eternity, an all-powerful abstract entity that is the living multiverse.
Comic book fans know Eternity represents the entire multiverse in a single being and plays a role in many memorable storylines, mostly involving Doctor Strange. Eternity’s function as the embodiment of the multiverse makes sense given the MCU’s focus on the concept, and their debut in the new movie provides another chapter in a growing, complex story that likely leads to Secret Wars.
Who is Eternity in Marvel?
As Eternity’s name implies, he is the embodiment of the very concept of ‘eternity’ itself. Along with his sister Infinity, Eternity is considered one of the most powerful authorities in all creation in the Marvel Universe.
Only one being, the Living Tribunal whose three-faced visage was seen briefly in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is considered to be a higher authority in the cosmic order of the Marvel Universe.
A version of Eternity (and in turn Infinity) exists in all worlds of the Marvel Multiverse, with each incarnation implied to be part of a larger, all-encompassing whole that spans across the entire Multiverse.
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1965’s Strange Tales #138, Eternity first appeared when Doctor Strange entreated him for the power to defeat his ancient foe Dormammu. In a similar vein, Eternity has generally only appeared when there’s a threat to the very fabric of existence itself – such as Thanos and his quest for the Infinity Stones.
Weirdly enough, Eternity did once mettle in the cosmic order himself, kidnapping the embodiment of Death and briefly preventing all living things in the universe from dying.
Eternity also has several children who embody their own aspects of the cosmos, including Empathy, Eulogy, Expediency, Entropy, Epiphany, Enmity, and Eon (who was later killed and replaced by Epoch).
Eternity in the Marvel Universe
Along with his own place in the cosmic order alongside Infinity, Eternity has direct connections to several Marvel Comics heroes.
There’s Captain Universe, itself a title rather than a being, which empowers champions chosen by Eternity with the so-called Enigma Force (also known in some forms as the Uni-Power).
Several known Marvel heroes, most notably Spider-Man, have taken on the identity of Captain Universe, including Daredevil, Hulk, and Silver Surfer.
There’s also the Eternity Mask, an artifact hewn from the very substance of Eternity itself, created to give power to the powerless.
Passed down from hand-to-hand through the ages, the Eternity Mask was most recently worn by the Masked Raider, secretly a villainous super-scientist who was working to undo his past mistakes.
When Masked Raider died, the Eternity Mask was taken to the Sanctum Sanctorum by Doctor Strange.
Following the 2015 story Secret Wars which remade the Marvel Multiverse, Eternity was captured by a being known as the First Firmament who was the embodiment of the original Marvel Multiverse.
Though the First Firmament temporarily captured and subverted several cosmic beings, it was eventually defeated by the team known as the Ultimates.
Captured By Nightmare
Despite their unrivaled power, Eternity proves vulnerable at times. In Doctor Strange #180, Nightmare, among Doctor Strange’s most powerful villains, captures the entity. Nightmare’s gambit results in time distorting and Doctor Strange has to try and rescue Eternity from Nightmare’s realm.
The story takes a strange twist when the Sorcerer Supreme recruits Juggernaut to help him fight Nightmare, but it proves Eternity’s function as almost a Macguffin in and of itself, something that has already occurred in the MCU thanks to Gorr’s quest.
Fantastic Four #262, among the best Fantastic Four storylines the MCU could adapt, features a milestone moment in the Marvel Universe. Reed Richards stands trial for saving Galactus’ life, but Eternity arrives to provide cosmic perspective. Eternity, whom Galactus addresses as his father, claims Galactus serves an essential, natural function within the universe.
Eternity turns the image of Galactus as a villain upside down, providing a challenging justification for genocide that led to many moral, ethical, and legal questions for fans, as discussed at Law and the Multiverse.
Doctor Strange continues his association with Eternity in The Defenders #92. In this key issue, Eternity summons Strange to help recover different aspects of its essence. Eternity once imbued different beings across the multiverse with fragments of itself, but three went astray. This strange fragmentation potentially plays a role in the MCU.
Eternity later gave birth to several children in the comics in a similar fashion. Eternity created the cosmic entities Empathy, Eulogy, Expediency, Entropy, Epiphany, Enmity, and Eon.
The Death Of Eternity
Eternity lives and dies with the cosmos and in New Avengers #30, the Beyonders killed Eternity along with every other abstract cosmic entity in the multiverse. This shocking moment led to a powerful image where Eternity and Infinity fall with seeming ease, heralding an unimaginable catastrophe.
Eternity’s existence in the MCU potentially unfolds as it does in the comics, making its avatar in Gorr’s daughter all the more important. She likely becomes the target of beings, possibly the Beyonders or perhaps Kang The Conqueror, seeking to destroy the multiverse.
Eternity in the MCU
Thor: Love and Thunder introduces Eternity in the MCU, establishing that he resides at the heart of the universe (presumably somewhere near Vormyr, the home of the Soul Stone – Eternity’s realm even resembles the inside of the Soul Stone).
In Love and Thunder, Eternity is said to have the power to grant a wish to anyone who reaches his domain. Gorr, the film’s villain played by Christian Bale, is on a quest to reach Eternity where he plans to wish for the death of all gods in the Marvel Universe.
We’ll leave you to discover whether Gorr achieves his goal or not when you see the film, but for now, we can look into how Eternity’s presence and introduction could affect the MCU moving forward.
For one thing, there’s the obvious implication that Eternity could meet Doctor Strange at some point, perhaps in the course of fixing the Multiversal Incursion he was warned of by Charlize Theron’s Clea at the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
And then there’s the potential for the introduction of Eternity’s champion, Captain Universe, as well as the artifact known as the Infinity Mask and its bearer.
All that said, Eternity is such a massive concept in the Marvel Universe, the possibilities are, well, infinite.
Gorr is on a quest to find Eternity in Thor: Love and Thunder, an adaptation of one of the best Thor stories of all time.
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