Marvel Studios has announced that they will be featuring two new teams of superheroes in their upcoming movie, The Eternals. With the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War on the way and a third instalment already confirmed, is Marvel setting up an MCU franchise?
The “eternals sequel” is a movie that Marvel has released to set up their next MCU film. The movie takes place in the future, where humans have been living on Earth for centuries.
Warning: There are spoilers for Marvel’s Eternals below! Eternals, like every other new Marvel Cinematic Universe film, contains a lot of build-up for what’s to come. The film not only introduces a new group of heroes who will undoubtedly appear in other Marvel projects despite not having interacted with other Marvel characters in their comics, but it also introduces other heroes who aren’t Eternals, teases even more who aren’t seen, and adds a major wrinkle to the MCU’s cosmic side. We’ll go through everything in detail below.
Let’s start with the Eternals themselves; at the conclusion of the movie, the group is split. Sersi, Phastos, Kingo, and Sprite look to be ready to live on Earth as they have for many years (Sprite now totally human and no longer an Eternal), while Thena, Druig, and Makkari sail out into the universe in their spacecraft The Domo in search of additional Eternals. Their Earth-bound Eternals hopes are quickly crushed, however, when their de facto employer, the heavenly Arishem, plucks them off the planet and takes them with him, dissatisfied with what they’ve done. The three soaring into space, however, are joined by Starfox (aka Eros, Thanos’ brother) and his companion Pip the Troll, who give them assistance on their trip.
Given all of this, it seems like Marvel is planning an Eternals sequel down the road, especially because none of these people are truly connected to the other key protagonists on Earth. Despite the fact that the film’s final title card as the credits roll states that “the Eternals will return,” Marvel hasn’t committed to a direct Eternals sequel just yet.
Perhaps Marvel is laying the groundwork in the deep reaches of space for something that will be teased more more in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Filmmaker James Gunn has said that this is his last chapter with the crew, but after he leaves the galaxy, he will be exploring regions of the MCU that resemble the wild west, complete with a plethora of possible actors and destinations.
The last post-credit sequence, which sees Kit Harington as Dane Whitman pondering taking up his family treasure, the ebony sword, isn’t the only thing the film does to build up a sequel and additional spinoffs. Whitman and this sword will go on to become the Black Knight, a figure who has previously appeared in comic books as an Avenger and a Hero for Hire. The most startling aspect of this scenario, apart from Whitman not really appearing in full Black Knight garb, is that before he can take up the sword, a voice from off camera asks him if he’s sure he’s ready for it.
The fact that this voice belonged to none other than Academy Award winner Mahershela Ali, who had previously been revealed to portray Blade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, was unknown at the time and wasn’t made public until the film’s release. However, the film does not make it plain that this is Blade, thus finding out that it is him is much more surprising than the fact that it isn’t even mentioned.
It may seem strange that Blade, of all people, should be chatting with Whitman as he prepares to assume the mantle, but the two have a history in Marvel Comics. Blade and Black Knight were both members of MI13, or Military Intelligence, Section 13, an official British organization that dealt with paranormal beings and happenings in Marvel comics. Perhaps Marvel is hinting that Blade is forming his own squad out of some of the MCU’s more paranormal characters, such as MI13 (the scenario takes place in the UK after all) or possibly the Midnight Sons.
It’s unclear when we’ll see any of this teasing and set-up on the big screen or on Disney+, as it was with the post-credit sequence and set-up in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. So far, Marvel has announced a schedule of material that will run through 2023, with no formal release dates for Blade, Eternals 2, or anything else that seems to be meaningful.
Marvel Studios released a sizzle reel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 that sets up the upcoming Marvel Phase 4. The Eternals is one of the projects announced in this reel, which sets up an MCU sequel. Reference: marvel phase 4 sizzle reel.
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