Why Angelina Jolie Chose To Join Marvel’s Eternals After Rejecting Superhero Roles In The Past

Angelina Jolie as Thena using her powers in Marvel's Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel)

When the current golden age of comic book movies began, you’d think Angelina Jolie would be one of the first actresses Hollywood would have called. And yet, she is entering the MCU almost fifteen years after it began. Oh, and she’s not even playing the most iconic heroes like Wonder Woman or Black Widow. Jolie will play Thena in Eternals next month, and ahead of its release, she’s sharing why now was the right time to step into the genre. 

Angelina Jolie plays an all-powerful Eternal who has been alive for thousands of years alongside others of her kind, set to be played by Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, Brian Tyree Henry and so forth. While speaking to Empire Magazine (via The Direct), Jolie shared what drew her to the role of Thena: 

I don't usually lean towards superhero or sci-fi films. It's not usually what I'm looking to do. It felt like something else was happening in this film, though. It was very character-driven.

Eternals is co-written and directed by Chloé Zhao, following her Best Picture and Best Director Oscar wins for Nomadland. Especially through that film, Zhao has proved herself to be a filmmaker to watch, and we’re especially interested in what she’ll bring to the MCU during the universe’s Phase Four. Jolie continued with these words: 

It's not one of us in front and other characters behind. It's this really equal family. And I wanted to be a part of this family.

It sounds like Eternals was the right fit for Angelina Jolie even if she doesn’t necessarily gravitate toward genre films like this as of late. Early in the actress’ career, she starred in action films like Lara Croft, Wanted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but as of late, she’s focused on more dramatic projects alongside raising her six children with ex-husband Brad Pitt

Angelina Jolie did memorably take on the role of the famed Sleeping Beauty villain for Disney’s Maleficent in 2014, which later spawned a 2019 sequel. So despite the actress only just joining the MCU, she’s had a lot on her plate. During the Empire interview, Jolie also shared that she’s passed on a superhero role before Eternals, but decided against naming which one out of respect for the actress who landed the role. 

Perhaps it was Wonder Woman? Captain Marvel? An X-Men hero like Jean Grey? Angelina Jolie could embody a great many famous superheroes, but it’ll definitely be exciting to see what the actress brings to Eternals. It has Jolie among a massive ensemble cast and a sector of the Marvel comics that a lot of people have not heard of yet. Given Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ major success, there's a good chance Eternals will be a big hit when it hits theaters on November 5. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.