Chloé Zhao may have rewritten the script when she signed on to direct, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Eternals comes with four different names being credited on the screenplay.
The story was conceived by Kaz and Ryan Firpo, who penned the earliest drafts with Patrick Burleigh, before two-time Academy Award-winning Nomadland filmmaker Zhao came on board and gave it the once-over. Too many cooks can often spoil the broth, but that’s not to suggest that any of the scriptwriting quartet are directly to blame for the middling reviews that have seen Eternals become the worst-reviewed entry in MCU history.
There’s a lot going on in the movie, though, with a dozen major characters being introduced for the first time in a narrative that spans thousands of years, without even mentioning the shadows of both Avengers: Endgame and the multiverse lurking in the background.
In a new interview with Deadline, Kaz Firpo explained how the notion of alternate realities and their impending introduction into the mythology had a huge bearing on where the story of Eternals ended up heading.
“What I will say is the multiverse is the logical conclusion of where we wanted to go with all these incredible stories. Eternals is really launching us off into the atmosphere, into the cosmos. That’s a whole door. Guardians touched on it. Thor touched on it. How many planets? How many stories? There’s so many things we can go and see and explore. With the multiverse, that’s just intrinsic in the MCU.
If you are in the Marvel Universe, if you’ve been reading Earth-616 or Earth-613, there’s all these different planets. A big inspiration that we read a lot when we were reading the comics for Eternals was Earth-X. Earth-X was like Jim Krueger and the incredible team who made that story. If you want to be taken on a trip through the history and the who’s who of the Marvel Universe, that’s a great run. Even the Neil Gaiman run of Eternals is an incredible read.”
Eternals will need to do a serious turn at the box office to justify a sequel, and it would be viewed as an internal embarrassment on Marvel’s part were it not to get one, especially when the multiversal and cosmic elements of the shared superhero saga are being brought increasingly to the fore throughout Phase Four.