The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a place that has helped to make movie stars like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt, but it's also turned some directors into household names. While some, like Thor director Kenneth Branaugh, were already well known before becoming part of the MCU, others, like the Russo Brothers or Taika Waititi have used the MCU to make the leap from smaller independent films to massive blockbusters. The latest name to be added to that list is Eternals director Chloé Zhao.
Chloé Zhao's first feature film, Songs my Brothers Taught Me was nominated for an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, and in early 2021 we'll see Eternals, a brand new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, debut in theaters. It's quite a massive shift in a pretty short period of time, especially considering Zhao's latest film Nomadland, is expected to open in theaters before the end of the year. It's an obvious question to ask why the director would make the decision to jump into something so different as a Marvel movie. Of course, the answer she gave Indiewire is perhaps not all that unexpected. She did it because she's a fan. Zhao explains...
I’ve been a fan of the MCU for over a decade, so it makes sense for me to jump into a Marvel movie. I want to make films that last, that have a timeless feel to them, that aren’t just a flash in the pan with whatever topic is trending on Twitter right now. I’m not interested in that stuff.
Like so many people, Chloé Zhao is a fan of the MCU, so it's not as surprising as it might initially appear that she'd want to become part of it. In the same way that we'd expect most actors to jump at the chance to play their favorite superhero on screen, Zhao took the opportunity offered her to create her own Marvel movie.
Chloé Zhao says she wants to make movies that last and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having made it more than 10 years, shows that it's not a flash in the pan. But beyond that, by taking on Eternals, Zhao gets to build a brand new piece of the MCU. By not being a sequel to an existing part of the franchise, and potentially not even specifically connected to any previous MCU story, the movie will be able to stand on its own a bit more, which may help the movie stand the test of time the way Zhao hopes her movies will.
The last time we saw a collection of lesser-known Marvel heroes from space get their own movie it was Guardians of the Galaxy, and that was truly a movie that was unique even within the MCU, so hopefully, Eternals will be something new once again. Originally set to release in November, Eternals will now hit theaters in February 2021.