‘Marvel owns us!’ Eternals star confirms return to MCU despite first rotten review score
Eternals grossed over $401 million worldwide, securing it as the tenth highest-grossing film of 2021. Regardless, it barely broke even, due to the staggering $200 million production budget. It also pales in comparison to the MCU’s later 2021 success Spider-Man: No Way Home, which just crossed an eye-watering $1.5 billion worldwide. In fact, Spidey has made more than Black Widow, Shang-Chi and Eternals combined, all of which were released last year. It’s made little difference for one Marvel star though, as she gave a resounding “yes” when asked if her Eternals character would make a comeback.
Premiering in November of 2021, Eternals was seen as the black sheep of the MCU. Bringing with it a new team of superheroes post-Avengers: Endgame, fans were left wondering where they had been during the Infinity Saga.
The Marvel mill kept churning though, as the group ended their debut with confidence in setting up a sequel, or several in the MCU’s fashion. Two months after the fact, there has been no confirmation of a continuation from Disney, making Eternals 2 anything but.
Sersi star Gemma Chan is certain there is more from the Deviant destroying demi-gods though, as in a recent W Magazine interview she made no illusions over the fact they will be back.
When asked about Sersi’s return, Chan explained with a laugh: “Yes, Marvel owns us for life.”
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Directed by Chloe Zhao, Eternals came after her historic win at the 2021 Oscars. The Chinese-born director took home the Best Picture award for Nomadland. Yet, she cast doubt on a Marvel sequel even before the premiere, telling JoBlo.com that she “was encouraged to make a good standalone film”.
Zhao explained: “I think now the film belongs to you, not me, and we want to see how this child grows in this scary, wild, and beautiful world. And then we need to watch and listen and learn and then see where we go from there. But I think, maybe I’m wrong about this, but I feel like filmmakers, it doesn’t matter what genre, they tend to make the same movie over and over and over. There’s certain themes, there’s certain things that I would keep pushing, I’m very happy to go back to make films with five people again.”
Eternals producer Nate Moore said similar, telling The Toronto Sun that a sequel is “not something that is a must-have.”
However, Moore added: “Obviously, we have ideas of where we could go, but there isn’t a hard and fast rule where we have to have three of these things and this is the first.”
One of the lynchpin factors in receiving a sequel is the reviews, which were damning for the MCU spin-off. Eternals is the first film to receive a negative green splat on Rotten Tomatoes, clocking in at just 47 per cent positive reviews.
Some of the reviews didn’t hold back either, with the New York Post writing: “Fresh off of winning the Best Director Oscar for “Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao has upchucked one of the MCU’s worst movies in ages.”
The Austin Chronicle added: “There’s been an urge to excuse the director and blame the studio, arguing that Zhao just didn’t fit into the strictures of the MCU. Yet that doesn’t explain how weak the script she co-wrote is, or why it’s so insufferably long, or why it almost completely fails to tackle its own core conceits of blind loyalty, of the perils of immortality, of rebellion against faith.”
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Of course, the film had its defenders, with The Observer writing: “Zhao keeps these far-reaching propositions grounded through the laser-like focus of her vision and the precision of the images dreamed up by her and veteran MCU lensman Ben Davis. For once in a movie like this, ocean waves and cloudscapes carry as much weight as the ultra-choreographed battles between intergalactic interlopers.”
Eternals ends with the call for more of their kind to join them, soon followed by Harry Styles’ Eros teleporting into the ever-expanding universe. In the role of Thanos’ brother, it’s certainly an exciting direction to take the characters next.
Typically, the stars sign multi-film contracts, with Styles reportedly on board for a five-film deal. Chan’s comments have certainly reinstalled hope for more from the robot defenders of Earth, but time will tell how Marvel decides to use them.
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