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Eternals Director Chloé Zhao Shares What Happened In The Marvel Movie’s Original ‘Bleak’ Ending

Kit Harrington and Gemma Chan in Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Warning: SPOILERS are ahead for Eternals!

As Eternals’ main story was wrapping up, it looked like the surviving protagonists would simply be going their separate ways, with Sersi, Phastos, Kingo, and the now-human Sprite remaining on Earth, and Thena, Druig, and Makkari heading out to space to find other Eternals. Then the Celestial known as Arisehm had to rain on Sersi, Phastos and Kingo’s parades by dragging them into space to have their memories studied to determine if humanity is worthy of living. If you thought that was a bit of a bummer, director Chloé Zhao has revealed that Eternals originally ended on a much more “bleak” note.

While speaking with Empire, Chloé Zhao talked about how she’s never directed a movie where the ending she wrote in the script is how things actually conclude in the final product. It’s through the editing process that she finds the true ending, and in the case of Eternals, what she originally had planned left the title characters in a place that the filmmaker felt didn’t go “down well with audiences.” As Zhao explained:

It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like The Twilight Zone. I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, ‘I don't know what to do.’ And also, it's the MCU, and you want to be excited for what's next.

Evidently this Eternals ending was shown to test audiences and they weren’t too jazzed about it. As such, Chloé Zhao and her team decided that erasing the starring characters’ memories wasn’t the right call and instead ended the main story in a way that made viewers more excited about what’s up next for the Eternals. Granted, Sersi, Phastos and Kingo are still in a precarious situation with the fate of humanity hinging on their collectives experiences on Earth, but at least they still remember spending thousands of years among our kind.

As for Thena, Druig, and Makkari, the mid-credits scene showed them meeting fellow Eternal Eros, a.k.a. Starfox, and Pip the Troll, played by Harry Styles and Patton Oswalt, respectively. Having learned what happened to Sersi, Phastos and Kingo, Eros offered his help to the space bound Eternals track them down. Finally, Eternals’ post-credits scene saw Sersi’s boyfriend, Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman, open an old chest containing the Ebony Blade, teasing his future as the Black Knight. However, before he touched the sword, Mahershala Ali’s Blade asked Dane if he was truly ready to do that.

So there was definitely enough Eternals-related narrative seeds planted to bloom in future MCU movies, including the possibility that Dane Whitman could show up in the Blade reboot. As things stand now, an Eternals sequel hasn’t been greenlit yet, though even on the off chance such a project doesn’t move forward, Marvel has promised that these characters will return. Eternals was one of four Marvel movies to be released in 2021, preceded by Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and followed by Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Eternals is set to hit digital and Disney+ on January 12, with the Blu-ray, 4K and DVD copies arriving on February 15. Keep track of what’s lined up on the MCU film slate by reading through our upcoming Marvel movies guide.

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.