Why Marvel Is Totally Fine With Audiences Not Knowing Who The Eternals Are

The Eternals Cast
(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios)

In the realm of Marvel Comics, there are household names (Spider-Man, The Hulk, Captain America) and there are fringe characters that comic readers know, but your friend who’s casually interested in the MCU might not. There we find heroes such as Moon Knight, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Ms. Marvel and the Eternals. Marvel hopes that by the end of this year, the entire movie-going audience both knows and loves the Eternals, similar to the way that crowds embraced Simu Liu as the martial arts expert Shang-Chi. But for the moment, Marvel isn’t too worried with the team flying under the radar, and here’s why. 

A long, long time ago, CinemaBlend traveled to London to visit the set of Chloe Zhao’s Eternals, a movie that has been delayed just as many times as the blockbusters that finally are reaching theaters now. Eternals was supposed to be the second film in Marvel’s Phase Four, and the first original swing by the studio after the prequel story Black Widow. Things changed, projects shifted, and Eternals finally is ready to reach multiplexes beginning on November 5. 

When sitting down with Nate Moore, Marvel Studios VP of Production & Development, on the Eternals set, we brought up the idea that audiences don’t really know the team, and he was quick to explain why that anonymity doesn’t really worry the company, as a whole. Moore said:

We had the same questions on Guardians. We had the same questions on Doctor Strange. ‘How are you going to tie in magic? People aren’t going to get that.’ Or the Guardians of the Galaxy -- people legitimately don't know who they are. So for us, it's, ‘Can we make a movie good enough that you're curious enough to buy a ticket?’ Because we do think the movie stands on its own. We don't think you would need to have read the (Jack) Kirby run to understand it. … That's our challenge as filmmakers is because, as you’ve heard, there's quite a bit of mythology in this movie. How do we deliver that in a way that doesn't get in the way of the great characters that you're used to, and the humor and the humanity? We think we've done it.

Nate Moore goes on to use perhaps the most famous actor-character combination in the MCU so far, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, to prove his point. When Marvel kicked off the MCU with Iron Man in 2008, Downey was a struggling actor, and no one knew the Iron Man  character. But Jon Favreau made a good movie, and the pieces all fell into place. Moore’s confident that the MCU model will prop up a new team in Eternals, and that audiences will trust enough in the studio as a brand to take a leap of faith and snag a ticket. 

In addition to Eternals, Marvel and Sony also have Spider-Man: No Way Home arriving in December, and a slew of sequels hitting in 2022. Stay up to date with all of the Upcoming Marvel Movies by using our handy guide.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.