Skip to main content

Eternals' Lauren Ridloff Reveals Why Having A Deaf Superhero In The Marvel Cinematic Universe Is So Important

Lauren Ridloff in Makkari in Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Even before Eternals began its theatrical run in November 2021, the movie served as an inspiration for audiences around the world with its large and diverse ensemble cast. This includes the way Marvel Studios gave one of its most ambitious projects to date to Chloé Zhao, a director who had only made independent projects up to that point. But one of the most empowering parts of the movie was Lauren Ridloff’s portrayal of Makkari, the first ever deaf superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is something that makes the Walking Dead star proud.

Almost immediately after Eternals was released, the impact of Lauren Ridloff’s character could be felt throughout the deaf community and beyond, as there was a huge spike in interest for American Sign Language. This is something Ridloff had hoped would happen during the film’s production, as she explained in the behind-the-scenes featurette “Walks of Life” that accompanies the Eternals home release:

Honestly, I'm just excited to think about having deaf kids wearing Halloween costumes that are going to be Makkari-inspired. I think that's the most important thing about having a deaf superhero on the big screen. It shows that there's so much more to every individual regardless of their ability.

Even though there’s still some time before kids in Makkari Halloween costumes go out trick-or-treating, something has to be said about the impact of Lauren Ridloff and other deaf actors have had on deaf representation in the film industry. In the past few of years alone, movies like Sound of Metal and actresses like A Quiet Place’s Millicent Simmonds have made great strides for the community. 

Lauren Ridloff previously stated that her Eternals co-stars, specifically Angelina Jolie, helped her out a great deal during production of the Marvel movie. Jolie’s simple, yet incredibly effective suggestion to have someone use a laser pointer to help cue Ridloff whenever she was facing a wall not only helped out the actress, but is also something that could be used to make future shoots more inclusive for everyone involved.

There are still a lot of unknowns about the future of Eternals, but after those exciting end credits scenes, there are quite a few possibilities. If we get to see Lauren Ridloff take on the role of Makkari once more, it will allow the actress to keep playing the speedster that is close to her heart, as the longtime Marvel Comics fan revealed in the “Walks of Life” featurette:

Stan Lee and Marvel. That whole world has been such a big part of my life growing up. And with my family also. And now, I’m playing a speedster in this movie. It’s incredible!

Lauren Ridloff’s comments are just one part of the treasure trove of bonus content that comes along with with the Eternals home release, which is currently available digitally. You can also watch Eternals streaming on Disney+.

The physical editions of Chloé Zhao’s dazzling superhero spectacle go on sale February 15, at which time you’ll be able to pick up one of the special versions exclusive to various retailers. In the meantime, now’s a good time to get up to speed on the upcoming Marvel movies. And don’t forget to take a glance at our schedule of all the 2022 new DVD and Blu-ray releases.

Philip Sledge

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.