Having already contributed to one corner of the Disney media empire by playing the live action version of Maleficent, Angelina Jolie is now heading to another area of the Mouse House: the Marvel Cinematic Universe (she’s still waiting for that Star Wars call). It was confirmed at San Diego Comic-Con this past summer that Jolie will play Thena in The Eternals, and the actress’ preparation for the role involves her attending the martial arts classes two of her kids go to. As Jolie put it:
My son Knox does some weapons classes and Viv does karate, so I’ve been jumping into all their classes.
If you’re playing a superhero or super villain, then chances are you’ll need to physically train in order to properly portray that character. That’s what Angelina Jolie will be doing for The Eternals, but she’s going beyond the call of duty by also joining in on the combat training her 11-year-old twins go through. Jolie described herself as the “mum that keeps showing up,” adding that it’s been “fun” and “really good” going to the gym together.
The Eternals has already begun filming, although it’s unclear if Angelia Jolie has shot any of her scenes or not. Regardless, as the actress mentioned later during her conversation with Metro, she’s going the extra mile with her training because she wants to ensure that the MCU’s version of Thena closely resembles her comic book counterpart, describing the character as “very aggressive” and a “real fighter.” As Jolie put it:
Right now for Thena I’m having to do so much training because she’s so positive and healthy. I often feel like it’s not going to work but you’ve got to push yourself.
Fortunately for Angelina Jolie, she loves fighting and “doing action,” as demonstrated by past movies like the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider duology, Mr & Mrs. Smith, Wanted and Salt. That said, Jolie also feels that it won’t be until she puts on her costume that she’ll feel “really ready” and empowered in the role.
While Angelina Jolie is definitely one of the biggest names attached to The Eternals, she’s just one part of the large ensemble. The movie’s cast also includes Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Lauren Ridloff, Lia McHugh, Done Lee, Barry Keoghan and Kat Harington, and there are more names forthcoming. Chloé Zhao is directing the movie, and Matthew and Ryan Firpo wrote the script.
For those unfamiliar with Thena, she has all the standard abilities that Eternals are born with, including super human strength, enhanced speed, cosmic energy manipulation and a ridiculously long life span. She is also incredibly intelligent, a skilled hand-to-hand combatant and wields weapons like a bow that fires ‘cold energy’ arrows and an energy spear.
So far no official plot details for The Eternals have been revealed yet other than it will explore events that happened tens of thousands of years ago in the MCU and, just like their comic book counterparts, they will be protecting Earth from the malevolent Deviants. Given that Kit Harington has been cast to play Dane Whitman, a human, this presumably means that some of The Eternals will be set in the present day, although if Harington’s Whitman will be/become the Black Knight, perhaps our visits to the past will also include seeing some of his ancestors rocking that mantle.
The Eternals will be released in theaters on November 6, 2020. If you’re curious about what other movies Marvel has coming in Phase 4 and beyond, look through our comprehensive guide.