The superhero genre continues to get bigger in terms of scope, scale and spectacle, with $200 million budgets and running times way over two hours now the norm. Eternals is rumored to be the longest non-Avengers movie in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, but director Chloé Zhao says it could have been even longer.
You can understand where the filmmaker is coming from; not only does the principal cast feature a dozen names audiences have never seen before that need to have their backstory, motivation and connection established, but we’re talking about a cosmic comic book adaptation that spans 7000 years and covers almost the entirety of human history.
A miniseries probably wouldn’t be enough time to cover the story from each angle, which is why Zhao admitted in a new interview with Fandango that it could have easily exceeded two and a half hours.
“It could be longer! You know, it’s ten characters, the Celestials and 7,000 years. There’s a lot going on.”
Not every movie that runs for a long time justifies such a butt-numbing number of minutes, so it’ll be interesting to see how much fat Zhao has managed to strip away from the bones of Eternals‘ plot. There’s going to be an awful lot going on, without even considering how it plans to sow the seeds for the MCU’s future in Phase Four and beyond, but if it lives up to expectations then audiences will be left asking for more.