8 Elements Of The Eternals We’ve Never Seen In A Marvel Movie Before

(Image credit: Disney)

With Eternals, we’re 26 movies deep into the MCU. It’s about time the formula was flipped on its head, don’t you think? Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of different kinds of Marvel movies. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy offered up a space opera filled with ‘70s hits, Spider-Man: Homecoming was a Johns Hughes-esque coming-of-age film and Ant-Man was a heist movie ... with ants. With Chloé Zhao’s Eternals, there’s so much about it that feels different than what we’ve seen before from a Marvel comic book adaptation. 

It’s time to break down what elements of Eternals sets it apart from previous entries into the universe. And yes, there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead. Check out Eternals, now playing only in theaters, before reading ahead. 

Salma Hayek as Ajak in Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Learning Ancient History In The MCU

One of the most intriguing elements of Marvel Comics is how its creatives have overlaid elements of history with its all-powerful heroes. Captain America being a symbol of WWII and the X-Men being largely inspired by the Civil Rights movement is kind of awesome. But with Eternals, we go way back to ancient times before really any technology existed. There was something awesome about seeing the MCU tackle it’s own version of history dating back to 5000 B.C. 

We live in a time where ancient epics are no longer really apart of blockbuster movies, but Chloé Zhao totally brought us back to that aspect of cinema with Eternals. The movie only remains in ancient times for a short period of time in the movie, but opening that door is something totally new to the MCU and could bring in even more epic storylines from the past. 

Angelina Jolie Eternals trailer screenshot

(Image credit: Disney)

Direct Connections To Greek Mythology And Arthurian Legend 

Stan Lee has certainly said it before, and it should be plain-old fact at this point: Marvel and DC heroes are the Greek mythos of our modern times. Discussing Superman or Spider-Man is very much the closest thing we have to those gods and epic hero journeys of that time. For the first time in Marvel history, there’s a direct connection to this in a Marvel movie. Angelina Jolie’s Thena says it herself. She was what people referred to as the goddess Athena way back in the day. 

Additionally, with Kit Harrington’s Dane Whitman, who becomes the Black Knight in the comics, we’re also stepping into Arthurian territory for the first time as well. Two major influences to Marvel can now be linked thanks to the Eternals being alive throughout ancient times and it’s a really interesting added element to the MCU that’s yet to be explored prior in such a massive way. 

Richard Madden's Ikaris shooting energy beams from eyes in Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel’s Own Superman (And References To DC) 

Marvel and DC have most certainly have been living side by side for decades upon decades. On the big screen front, they’ve been able to stand apart, even with a number of their characters sharing many similarities. In Eternals, Chloé Zhao not only straight up mentions DC characters, she also carves out the space for Marvel’s own Superman in Richard Madden’s Ikaris. There are so many moments in Eternals where shots of Ikaris are meant to be referencing Kal-El. This, of course, includes when Phastos’ kid asks him if he’s Superman. 

What’s cool about this detail in Eternals is it actually leaves room for a DC hero to fit into the MCU without stepping on any toes. Perhaps in Marvel, Ikaris was at one time spotted using his powers and from there the Superman comics were born. It’s a really cool aspect of the movie that seems to pay tribute to DC whilst also offering its own spin on the character. 

Ikaris and Sersi in Eternals, Richard Madden and Gemma Chan

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Eternals Features A Sex Scene, An MCU First

We’ve seen a lot of PG-13 MCU movies in our day, but the inclusion of a sex scene has never been part of the rating before. Sure there’s been references of it here and there, but Eternals is the first MCU movie to actually go for it with an intimate moment between Ikaris and Sersi. It’s perhaps important to the movie because their love story needs to cut deep once the third act plays out. 

While I don’t expect sex scenes to suddenly run rampant in the MCU, Chloé Zhao’s Eternals can officially say it’s the first movie to do so after over a decade of love stories being told among its heroes on the big screen. Though short, the scene adds a step of maturity to the franchise we had previously never seen play out.

Phastos in Eternals with partner

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

A Truly LGBTQ+ Positive Moment 

Speaking of romance and maturity, finally there’s a truly out and proud same-sex couple moment in the MCU. There’s a ton of Marvel fans who are part of the LGBTQ+ community who’ve been watching straight relationship after straight relationship play out over the years. Phastos and his partner Ben are clearly a couple and share a passionate kiss during the movie that caused my specific theater to erupt in clapping during the showing. 

This storyline comes after Loki came out as bisexual during an episode of his Disney+ series earlier this year. When a large franchise makes a move like this, it can set the tone for the rest of Hollywood. Disney had been wishy-washy about this kind of representation in the past as well, but Eternals marks a step forward. 

Harry Styles in Dunkirk

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Some Major Pop Star Energy Enters The Chat

Sure, this is random but it’s also kind of a big deal if you think about it. In the first end credits sequence for Eternals, Harry Styles of One Direction makes an appearance as Eros, AKA the brother of Thanos, for a teasy moment that we’d imagine may have a role in an upcoming sequel. Yes, Styles has acted before, in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and in Olivia Wilde's upcoming movie, but this would be a step in a more prominent acting direction. 

With Eros, Harry Styles fans could really bring in an additional audience to the MCU. Styles already inspired his fans to go see a Nolan war movie. Eternals could grab One Direction/Harry fans who otherwise would not be tuning into the Phase Four flick. 

So, Eternals broke a lot of ground in the MCU already! We’re excited for some of these firsts to expand as this new era of Marvel continues. Check out what upcoming Marvel movies are coming next after Chloé Zhao’s movie. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.