With the largest cast of brand new superheroes to hit Marvel since Guardians of the Galaxy, The Eternals marks a new generation in the MCU
With the largest cast of brand new superheroes to hit Marvel since Guardians of the Galaxy, The Eternals marks a new generation in the MCU. Coming this month, the movie tells the story of ten immortal aliens that have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, protecting humanity from creatures called Deviants.
While the original comic had a small following (only five volumes were published), Guardians of the Galaxy had a similar history of obscurity before James Gunn turned them into one of the most popular superhero teams on the silver screen. Marvel is hoping to work that same movie magic with The Eternals. Pulling out all the stops, Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao leads Marvel’s most diverse cast to date, not to mention one of its most famous. With so many heavyweights joining the MCU, it’s time to figure out where you’ve seen these heroes before.
Salma Hayek as Ajak
Leading the band of immortal fighters is Hayek. Originally a man in the comics, Hayek’s Ajak leans into femininity in her healing powers and leadership. This may be her first superhero movie, but Hayek’s resume is filled with many varied characters. It’s no surprise the actor can rock gauntlets and a bodysuit too. Hayek got her start on Mexican telenovelas, then moved into dramas and comedies like Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard with Ryan Reynolds. This year, along with The Eternals, Hayek will also appear in the long-awaited House of Gucci series.
Angelina Jolie as Thena
Jolie has been a pillar of the box office for over two decades, and action films are basically just her bread and butter. The actor has starred in major movies across a spectrum of genres, from Girl, Interrupted to the animated Kung Fu Panda. Her role in Maleficent showed her skill in playing an unwilling hero, but also a control of world-bending powers like those she demonstrates as Thena.
Gemma Chan as Sersi
Working double-time as the heart of the Eternals team, Sersi embodies the very essence of ‘hero’ with a strong love of humanity and empathy for all people. The actor has taken to the role like a fish to water, but this isn’t Chan’s first time dipping her toes into the MCU. Back in 2017, you can find Chan decked out in blue body paint playing Kree sniper Minn-erva in Captain Marvel. Though, you may know her better from her heart-breaking portrayal as scorned-wife Astrid in Crazy Rich Asians.
Richard Madden as Ikaris
Taking on the role of Sersi’s on-again-off-again partner, Madden may as well be Superman based on his powers. Like the myth Greek of Icarus, the character can fly, but add on the power to shoot a light beam out of his eyes and the hero starts to look a lot more like a certain alien defender of Earth. Madden has previously dabbled in playing Mr Perfect as the Prince in Disney’s live-action Cinderella. However, his role as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones showed that he also has some experience in the grey areas of morality.
Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo
Nanjiani broke the internet back in 2019 when the first photos of his workout progress for The Eternals were released. It seems to be Marvel’s favourite pastime to plaster a six-pack on laidback comedians. Though Nanjiani expressly tried to teach people about the unrealistic standards of a ‘superhero body’ in his post. His insightfulness is to be expected from the writer and star of the romantic comedy The Big Sick.
Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos
A total badass, Phastos boasts both brains and brawn as the weapons specialist of the team. The character can figure out any machine and that skill will likely come in handy quite a few times in the film. Henry isn’t as mechanically inclined as his comic book counterpart, but he is definitely a talented actor. Along with voicing Miles Morales’ dad in Into the Spiderverse and playing a pivotal role in If Beale Street Could Talk, Henry stars as Alfred (aka Paper Boi) in Donald Glover’s FX series Atlanta.
Don Lee as Gilgamesh
Ok, remember how Phastos is brains and brawn? Yeah, Gilgamesh is kind of just brawn. Most of his power comes from hand-to-hand combat and physical strength. Though Lee isn’t as fight-focused as Gilgamesh, he has a lot of experience in on-screen battles. In South Korea, Lee never seems to stop filming action scenes, with new movies coming out every year. You probably remember him best as Sang-Hwa in Train to Busan or Ma Seok-do in The Outlaws.
Lia McHugh as Sprite
While McHugh may be the youngest cast member, Sprite is the same age as the rest of the Eternals. This gives McHugh the interesting task of playing an immortal alien, despite only being fifteen in real life. Nevertheless, McHugh is certainly up for the challenge with an amazing acting track record including the horror movie Totem and science fiction thriller Songbird.
Lauren Ridloff as Makkari
Making Makkari the MCU’s first deaf superhero, Ridloff brings a much-needed perspective and representation to the franchise. While Makkari is known as the quickest of the Eternals with her super-speed, Ridloff is used to a slightly slower pace playing Connie in The Walking Dead. If zombies aren’t your thing, you may have seen the actor in 2019’s drumming-drama Sound of Metal, where she plays sign language teacher Diane.
Barry Keoghan as Druig
Master of mind games, Druig is less of a hero in the comics and more of a war profiteer related to a family of do-gooders. With Druig’s anti-hero potential, it will be exciting to see what Keoghan does with the character. Especially after seeing his twisted performance as Martin in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. His role as George in Dunkirk also translates well with the chaotic action sequences that Marvel movies promise.
Kit Harington as Dane Whittman
Every superhero needs the powerless best friend and Harington fills that niche as Sersi’s human boyfriend. While Harrington is not imbued with any fancy CGI powers for The Eternals, he has been known to wield a sword or two in the past. Most famously, Harington starred in HBO’s Game of Thrones as the show’s protagonist Jon Snow.