As the Marvel Cinematic Universe slowly expands on the rest of its comic book-inspired world, we’re going to meet more super groups than just the Avengers. Among them will be the Eternals, who are getting their own self-titled movie in 2021. We’ve already been introduced to one Eternal in the MCU, as grand villain Thanos owes some of his epic abilities to his mutant-Eternal heritage, but he might not be the only Eternal we’ve run into so far.
In the ‘70s comic series of the same name, Marvel introduced three new races, the Celestials, Eternals, and Deviants, each with their own backstory. The Celestials were god-like beings who experimented with human DNA to created the hybrid races, the Eternals and Deviants. The two were polar opposites, with the Eternals characterized as superpowered immortal beings who looked like humans, while the Deviants suffered from unstable genetic mutations, which rendered them looking like monstrous, horrific creatures.
There were later versions of the comics that revealed the Celestials had also experimented with the DNA of other species, including some from the original Skrull homeworld (before they were known as Skrulls). As a result, they ended up creating new types of Eternals and Deviants who had shape-shifting abilities. The Deviants then teamed up to wipe out the Eternals and the Celestials, and eventually came to be known as Skrulls, before expanding their empire.
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According to that history, the Deviants have already made their appearance in Marvel’s cinematic world, being heavily featured in Captain Marvel. As such, there’s the possibility that Marvel will use this same arc in the MCU to explain the Skrulls’ existence through the upcoming film.
As ScreenRant explains:
The origin of the Skrulls could carry over to the MCU in Marvel’s Eternals movie. At some point in the film, Marvel will, of course, go over who the Celestials really are, why they created the Eternals, and where the Deviants came from. It hasn’t been confirmed yet that the MCU’s Deviants are creations of the Celestials, but this important part of their backstory is likely to be kept for the movie. When explaining the Celestials’ experiments on humans, it could be mentioned that Celestials genetically engineered lifeforms on other planets. This makes sense, given that the Celestials are powerful cosmic beings who have traveled all over the universe. Plus, movies like Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy have made it abundantly clear that there is no shortage of planets in the MCU capable of hosting intelligent life.
With this in mind, there’s no reason why Celestials would only create life on just one planet. They could have created Eternals and Deviants all over the cosmos. A history lesson in Eternals could reveal that the Skrulls were a product of their experiments, and that they’re actually a version of the Deviants. Marvel could end up doing something similar with Thanos, since he’s an Eternal in the comics. Considering that the Eternals are a lesser-known property comprised of heroes that most audiences won’t be familiar with, connecting them with major Marvel characters as well as the larger MCU feels like it would be a smart move for the film.
The movie could effectively act as a backstory filler set thousands of years before the current timeline, with the history of the Skrulls – and even Thanos – being used as a connection to the larger world of the MCU. With a Secret Invasion storyline – in which the Skrulls covertly try to take over the Earth – rumored to be a part of future phases as well, The Eternals could be the stepping stone to greater alien involvement and interference.