Most of the hubbub surrounding the end of Eternals came from the credits scenes, which was understandable when the two stingers set some very interesting things in motion for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s short and long term future, while also giving us the very poorly-rendered Pip the Troll into the bargain.
Harry Styles made his franchise debut as Eros, brother of Thanos, who looks set to factor into either a direct sequel to Chloe Zhao’s intergalactic extravaganza, or whatever comes next for the plucky band of immortal aliens. On top of that, Mahershala Ali’s Blade made his first offscreen MCU appearance to intone an ominous warning in the direction of Kit Harington’s Black Knight, which could set the latter up for a role in the Daywalker’s reboot.
However, as for the actual ending itself, Zhao revealed in a recent interview with Empire that she was initially toying with an altogether more dark and dour finale, one she openly admits audiences would have hated.
“I don’t think I’ve made a single film where the opening and ending stay the same as the script, just because the scenes are fluid as we shoot. And we actually had another ending that is really bleak. Bleak. I didn’t hate it, because I’m used to films that are more melancholy. But I don’t think it went down well with audiences. It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like The Twilight Zone. I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ And also, it’s the MCU, and you want to be excited for what’s next.”
As Avengers: Infinity War showed, there’s no obligation for the MCU to send people home happy every time, but Eternals‘ alternate ending does seem like a bit of a bummer compared to what we ended up with, so it was definitely the right call in the end.