Yesterday we got our first proper look at Chloe Zhao’s Eternals, which seems like a big departure from what we’ve previously seen in the MCU. One of the key plot elements is that the titular heroes have been on Earth for millennia and are subtly guiding humanity’s development from behind the scenes. The footage shows primitive hunter gatherers staring in disbelief at the arrival of their giant craft, followed by a technological blossoming encompassing architecture, agriculture, and religion.
But the big question that the movie needs to answer is that if there’s been a group of super powerful beings hanging around for thousands of years, why haven’t we seen them in the MCU before? As many have pointed out, they might have prevented Thanos from gathering the final Infinity Stones if they’d turned up to the party in Avengers: Infinity War.
Fans have been puzzling this one out for a while, though it’s worth remembering that the events of Infinity War took place surprisingly quickly. It was only at the last minute that the heroes discovered Thanos’ true intentions and in the end, he was present on Earth for a very short period of time. By the time the Eternals realized what was going on, it was probably too late.
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However, there’s an important line of dialogue in the trailer that could give us a clue. At one point, Ajak says “we have never interfered… until now,” indicating that they usually have a strict hands-off policy with mankind and will allow us to make our own mistakes.
It’s possible that Ajak is thinking of the catastrophic impact of Thanos’ snap when she says this, concluding that they must now assist whenever Earth faces a galactic-level threat like Thanos. Presumably, that menace will be provided by the appearance of the Deviants, though as yet we don’t know exactly what their plans for us are.
Eternals hits theaters on November 5th, 2021.