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Salma Hayek in The Hitman's Bodyguard

Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con this past Saturday was chock full of big reveals, the first of which was the official unveiling of the cast for next year’s The Eternals. Among the actors participating in this latest cosmic Marvel Cinematic Universe entry is Salma Hayek, who playing a gender-swapped version of Ajak, leader of the Eternals.

Now that her and the other main Eternals cast members have been confirmed, Salma Hayek took to social media to express her excitement at obtaining this role, with Ajak getting to be another empowering woman in this continually-expanding franchise. The actress said on Instagram, to both English and Spanish speakers:

I’m so excited to join the Marvel family as Ajak, the mother of all Eternals. It used to be the father of all Eternals, but girls... this is OUR time!!!! Estoy muy emocionada de añadirme a la familia Marvel como Ajak la madre de todos los Eternos. Antes era el padre de todos los Eternos, pero chicas... ESTE es nuestro momento!!!!

With The Eternals a little under a year and a half away from release, we’ll have to wait a while before we see how Salma Hayek’s Ajak looks, but I imagine she’ll retain some resemblance to the male version of Ajak from the comics, seen below.

Ajak Eternal from Marvel Comics

Ajak isn’t the first Marvel character to be gender-swapped for the MCU. Within the past year, we’ve seen women versions of Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Mar-Vell in Captain Marvel, and over in the Netflix realm, Jeri Hogarth, a retooled version of Jeryn Hogarth, was one of Jessica Jones’ main characters.

In the comics, Ajak was born in Siberia millennia ago and became an archaeologist. Along with being able to manipulate cosmic energy and control his cellular makeup like all the other Eternals can do, Ajak is also capable of communicating with the Celestials (if they’re nearby), the beings that created the Eternals and their sworn enemies, the Deviants, millions of years ago.

Joining Salma Hayek’s Ajak in The Eternals are Richard Madden’s Ikaris, Angelina Jolie’s Thena, Kumai Nanjiani’s Kingo, Bryan Tyree Henry’s Phastos, Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari, Lia McHugh’s Sprite and Don Lee’s Gilgamesh. Chloe Zhao is directing the movie, and Matthew and Ryan Firpo wrote the script.

Specific plot details for The Eternals are still being kept under wraps. Earlier this year, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige suggested that the story could stretch tens of thousands of years, just like the original Jack Kirby Eternals stories.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Kevin Feige noted that the MCU’s version of the Eternals have been around for 35,000 years, but it remains to be seen if The Eternals will be set solely in the past or if there will be a present day narrative. I guess if a human is cast in the movie, we’ll have our answer.

The Eternals opens in theaters on November 6, 2020, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more coverage. In the meantime, be sure to look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what other movies are coming down the MCU pipeline.

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