Marvel’s Eternals Director Chloe Zhao Explains Her Boss Kevin Feige’s Reaction To Superman Reference

Marvel’s Eternals will establish a number of firsts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such as featuring the MCU’s first deaf superhero, another superhero who will be openly gay, and the first film in the franchise’s history to depict a full-blown sex scene.

It will also be the first MCU movie to reference rival comic studio DC. And the decision had to get approved through Marvel President Kevin Feige, TheDirect reports.

As Eternals director Chloe Zhao explained in a recent interview, the DC reference in question was to Superman, to help contextualize the hero Ikaris in terms of the cultural significance of earthlings seeing such being for the first time.

“We’re playing on a genre that draws so much from mythology, and Superman, for example, was created in the comics and also by these brilliant filmmakers along the way — they’re modern reinterpretations of mythical characters that exist in different cultures. Ikaris is our interpretation of it. It doesn’t mean we can’t pay tribute to the really iconic version that we’ve all grown to love and has influenced us,” Zhao told Variety.

Zhao went on to say that she is the one who originally came up with referencing the Man of Steel in Eternals. And she was also the one who had had to bring the idea to Feige, which reportedly wasn’t too long of a conversation.

“You write it on the page, show it to Kevin, if he doesn’t say anything, that’s a go. I don’t think there was a conversation. Not really, except, he goes, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’”

The film stars Richard Madden as Ikaris, Gemma Chan as Sersi, Angeline Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Kit Harrington as Dane Whitman, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, and Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, among many others.

The story of Eternals centers around ancient guardians of Earth who must protect it against the insidious Deviants. It will introduce no less than 10 new heroes in a plot that spans 7,000 years. The immortal entities were created by the Celestials, god-like, planet-sized beings of which Peter Quill’s father Ego is one.

You can catch Eternals in theaters on Nov. 5.