If you understand who ‘The Eternals’ are, you see what I did there.
In only a few weeks (seriously?!), nerds around the globe will be sitting with their legs firmly crossed clutching their reclining theater seat as three long-not-able-to-pee-a-drop hours go by watching the culmination of the Infinity War.
As Marvel ends the chapter on Phase 3 of their master-planned universe, Kevin Feige and his band of acolytes pry open another book with Phase 4. So far, we know this will involve a slew of sequels (i.e., Doctor Strange 2, Black Panther 2, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) and a couple of origins (i.e., Black Widow, Shang Chi).
It all leads up to The Eternals
See that guy? No, not the guy who looks like Barney in a street fight. The other guy. That’s Ikaris. He’s the leader of the pack in a near-immortal evolutionary offshoot of humanity created by the Celestials. Oh yeah, he was born apparently 20,000 years ago.
Anywho, he has most of the powers this other bespectacled reporter cat from Krypton has, only Ikaris’ powers are used against his sworn enemies ‘The Deviants.’ The ironic thing is the Celestials created them too. Although saturated among many allusions and metaphors to biblical truth and dogma you have heard in Sunday School, Ikaris is very strategic in Marvel’s grand scheme.
Why? Back to the purple people eater in the “snappy” golden threads above. Earth 616 tells us the Mad Titan is part Deviant and part Eternal. Did you know that? And that is what we in the movie-blogging business call one hell of a connection and some sweet foreshadowing.
Jack Kirby’s pet project was given air to become a CBM in 2017. At that time, it was unclear who would direct this futuristic, time-spanning concoction. Marvel wanted to make a splash but needed some diversity. After all, The Eternals’ counterpart in DC (and also created by Jack Kirby so let’s watch the namecalling), New Gods, was already given to Ava Duvernay and all that hype came with it.
So, Feige thought more independently and found a Chinese director with a nova-like star on the rise in Chloe Zhao. Many nerds had question marks circling above their heads, but this is a sage pick. Equipped with a script from Matthew and Ryan Firpo, two ingenious scribes who made a big splash on the 2017 Black List with their spec script Ruin, and we have a great beginning to a mysterious movie concept.
Speaking of lists, Zhao was on a short one to helm the Phase 4 origin Black Widow, but that went to Cate Shortland. Nonetheless, Feige liked Zhao and wanted to stretch her abilities to the intergalactic level.
That news was followed up by someone on The Eternals — Ikaris, Sersi, Ajak, Thena (who knows) — will become the first openly gay superhero in a CBM. Of course, not the first overall (take a bow, you awesome woman Ruby Rose of Batwoman fame), but that’s a good reach for inclusion.
No one has been considered for any roles. It’s difficult to fancast for a comic few CBM watchers understand or even know. That is, until this week (at the time of this post).
News broke everywhere that Marvel was eyeing Angelina Jolie to have a leading role in The Eternals. Jolie–no stranger to the world of fantasy as seen in Wanted, Maleficient, Beowulf, Lara Croft, and her marriage to Brad Pitt–is an obvious choice here given Marvel’s parents at Disney.
She’s a comfortable pick, and if you watch any Disney films, you know they love the cornucopia in their movies of screen A-Listers, up-and-comers, and even a couple of who-the-hellers. A movie with this potential to be even more of a head trip than the lovechild of The Matrix and Black Mirror needs some guaranteed star power to bring in the wayfair fan…
Aside from the nerd who doubles as a dirty old man, does she do anything for you as Sersi or another leading role in this movie? It’s like casting Tom Cruise as Green Lantern (you know who you are). That movie doesn’t need him. Just because he has a massive name and considerable chops doesn’t mean he is right as Hal Jordan. Not one bit.
Again, Angelina Jolie is comfortable. She is a good actress with spanning range. She has undeniable talent and can use her imagination both in front and behind the camera. She is easy on the eyes. She can probably help Chloe guide this story.
Yet, it doesn’t mean she is right for this role.
This movie needs excitement and life breathed into it immediately. After all, it’s not too difficult to see why Feige is guiding his superpowers of consternation and prophecy to the next great culmination here.
Sersi is at the heart of The Eternals, these cosmic beings living into perpetuity. Her storyline and her presence is paramount in Jack Kirby’s mind-meld comic and will be one of the motivating forces in this movie.
This woman is a major player who possesses “total conscious control over their molecular structures, which are reinforced by cosmic energy.” In other words, unless she goes all ‘Dr. Manhattan,’ girl is immortal.
That begs the question — who do you want to see in this story who won’t die and is guaranteed to be there for the entire cosmic war between the Eternals and Thanos’ clan?
For The Eternals to strike gold (like Avengers: Endgame is about to do) we need someone who can clearly command a screen (i.e., Maggie Cheung, Zoe Bell, Rhona Mitra) but who can handle her business too (i.e., Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, Jessica Henwick, Gina Carano).
Disney is all about sticking their neck out for the future. This concept should be no different. The present has been good to Jolie but this movie–literally and figuratively–is about the future.
So should your first leading role, Mr. Feige.