On paper, Eternals is the biggest risk the Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken since James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, and there are more than a couple of superficial similarities between the projects. Both are intergalactic epics based on popular comic book characters that are far from household names, but there are a couple of reasons why the November release faces an altogether different set of circumstances.
For one thing, the MCU has become so popular that it’s too big to fail, and anything slapped with the studio’s logo is guaranteed to be a smash hit regardless of how much of a gamble it initially appears to be. Then there’s the presence of director and co-writer Chloe Zhao, and you can bet that Marvel deliberately held off on releasing the first trailer for Eternals until after the filmmaker was crowned Best Director at the recent Academy Awards, as well as picking up Best Picture for producing Nomadland.
That makes Zhao the first Oscar-winning director to tackle an MCU blockbuster, and just the third recipient of any prize from the Academy to take the reins on one of Kevin Feige’s big budget epics after Joe Johnston and Taika Waititi, who previously picked up trophies for Best Visual Effects and Best Adapted Screenplay respectively. And while it’s still unclear when we’ll get the first full-length preview for the movie, we do now have some footage from it thanks to the Phase 4 promo above, teasing many of Marvel’s upcoming heavy hitters.
Eternals is nothing if not ambitious, telling a sprawling saga that spans thousands of years and establishes that the titular team have always been keeping a close eye on what’s been unfolding on Earth. Take the biggest franchise in the business, add an award-winning director, a star-studded ensemble cast and a massive sprinkling of science fiction, and it looks like the end result is going to be yet another unqualified success.