The Marvel franchise is no stranger to period films, but while the action of Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain Marvel unfolded against the backdrop of the 20th century, Chloé Zhao’s The Eternals is set to journey several millennia into the past, making it the earliest MCU story by a considerable margin.
Kumail Nanjiani was present at this year’s D23 Expo, where he spoke to Entertainment Tonight about his upcoming MCU debut. After teasing a story that will take us further into the cosmic end of the cinematic universe, the actor confirmed that the film is set long before the events of any other Marvel movie to date:
“It’s really, really exciting. It’s a lot different than the other Marvel movies we’ve seen. It’s a lot more cosmic. It really is about the beginnings of the Marvel universe, so we’re telling a story…he [Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige] says spans thousands of years. Before, you know, Captain America was the oldest member we’ve seen and now, it’s going to be way, way, way back so it really going to be the building blocks of the MCU.”
As it stands, your average filmgoer will know little to nothing about the Eternals and their comic book adventures, so you can imagine that Marvel Studios is going to make a real effort to connect their big screen debut to the wider MCU. This feat may prove a little more challenging if the pic is set in its own isolated period on the franchise timeline, but fans have long speculated that the movie may at least contain some nods to Thanos or the Infinity Stones.
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Of course, the film’s other major selling point is its star-studded cast. While Nanjiani takes on the role of Kingo, Angelina Jolie makes her MCU debut as Thena opposite Salma Hayek as Ajak, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, and as per Marvel’s recent announcement, Kit Harington as Black Knight.
You can see this cast in action when The Eternals hits theaters on November 6th, 2020, though not before Marvel’s Phase 4 officially kicks off with the release of Black Widow on May 1st.