Marvel’s Phase 4 began on Disney+ with a new look at old friends like Falcon and Black Widow. But since returning to theaters, the franchise has introduced new faces. One small problem, though, is continuity. Where have these characters been during the last decade? Shang-Chi made sure to confirm what the characters were up to during the events of the previous few movies. But what about the new film, Eternals? For example, were the Eternals involved in Thanos’ Snap?
Marvel’s The Infinity Saga, aka the first 22 films released between 2008 and 2019, traced the uncovering of six infinity stones and Thanos’ quest to have them all and create a world-ending scenario. That meant introducing all active superheroes functioning in and around Earth ahead of the Snap for fans to know where they all were when it went down. Post-Blip, new heroes have begun to be introduced, like Yelena and Shang-Chi. But the movies have expressly confirmed they were not in the saving-the-world business beforehand and were simply bystanders during the rise of Iron Man and the Battle of New York.
But this doesn’t make sense for the Eternals, whose whole deal is that they are superpowered creatures who have been secretly living on Earth for 7,000 years. The film suggests they were accidentally part of several world-changing events, despite their best efforts to follow orders and stay uninvolved. So, where were they during Thanos’ reign of terror in Wakanda, and why didn’t they step up to help?
The Eternals were first sent to Earth by their creators, the powerful cosmic beings known as the Celestials. The Celestials created Eternals as the perfect beings. But in doing so, they also accidentally spawned their polar opposite, the Deviants. The Eternals' job was to clean up the mess that resulted and protect humanity from these deadly creatures.
Those were their specific orders: Clean up the Deviant mess, save humanity, and then... well, the Eternals assumed the Celestials would come back, pick them up, say "good job," and take them home. But the Celestials never came back.
And so the Eternals were stuck on Earth, year after year, century after century. While they waited, the Eternals followed their orders. If humanity screwed themselves up with nuclear weapons, it wasn't their job to interfere; it wasn't their problem if aliens landed. If a giant purple dude from Titan collected six stones and snapped his fingers, c'est la vie. Unless the Deviants emerged from deep underground where the Eternals had buried them, they weren't to get involved.
On the one hand, one can understand not wanting to get involved. But for the Eternals, it's been a hard job, staying clear of helping humanity, especially since they love humans deeply. It made some of them bitter and angry, while others have simply become resigned. But now that the Blip's energy has woken the Deviants once more, it's about time these folks saddled back up and got to work.
Marvel's Eternals debuts in theaters on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.