After a decade of box office success, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is taking another leap of faith for Phase 4. Despite the failure of The Inhumans on TV, the MCU is betting godlike immortal superhero characters can connect with audiences if introduced properly. The Eternals will be the first team of characters the MCU will add to the pantheon since the Guardians of the Galaxy. But if Kumail Nanjiani's Eternals character is any indication, these could be some of the most fun additions since a foul-mouthed raccoon and his monolexical tree BFF broke out of prison.
Unlike Batman and Superman, who spend their lives attempting to hide their "true identities" from society, Marvel heroes usually don't bother. Thor and Hulk aren't exactly easy to hide. Everyone knows Steve Rogers is Captain America, and Tony Stark held an entire press conference to announce he was Iron Man. But the Eternals are different. They've spent thousands of years living on Earth. Their immortal status would frighten people in a way that cannot be soothed by a jolly green giant act the way Bruce Banner does.
But while a solo immortal can slip off, disappear, fake their own death, reappear, etc., and keep a facade to cover their immortality, an entire family is different and far more noticeable. The Inhumans solved this by moving to the moon. But the Eternals have stayed here, interacting with humans the whole time, and have to keep creating plausible cover stories.
But if fans think this means the Eternals are all trying to keep their lives low-key, with little social media and less personality, Kumail Nanjiani says that's not how it works. His character, Kingo, goes entirely in the other direction with it, hiding by becoming one of the most famous people in the world.
Speaking to The Deadline Podcast, he revealed Kingo's day job is going to make for some fun sequences:
I become a Bollywood movie star; that’s my secret identity. We’re supposed to keep quiet, and I’ve become the biggest Bollywood movie star.
That's not entirely off from the comics either. On the page, Kingo is stars in action movies, big-budget samurai films, to be exact. Nanjiani's Pakistani heritage gave director Chloé Zhao a way to include that comic book storyline but tweaked to honor the actor's background. Nanjiani promised the film would, at one point, include "a massive Bollywood-inspired dance sequence" as well.
Now that sounds like the kind of new and fun energy that the MCU will need to keep things fresh for Phase 4.
The Eternals arrives in theaters on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.