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Kevin Feige: Marvel's Eternals might span thousands of years

The Eternals may be playing the long game.

Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige gave a few details about the forthcoming flick in a recent interview, including the fact that — in keeping with the comic source material — it may span "tens of thousands of years." (via Collider)

This is perhaps the most telling comment Feige has made on the project so far. What we know: the film is being scripted by brothers Matthew and Ryan Firpo, relative newcomers who garnered serious attention from Tinseltown when their original screenplay Ruin — currently in pre-production and set to star Margot Robbie — scored a spot on the 2017 Black List. In the director's chair will be Chloe Zhao, whose 2017 feature The Rider earned her a slew of accolades and likewise put her in the crosshairs of the major studios.

We also have an idea, thanks to a report late last year by That Hashtag Show, which of the gigantic cast of characters from the comics are likely to be featured. Created by the legendary Jack Kirby in the mid-'70s, the Eternals are an ancient race created by the Celestials (which have been referenced in the Guardians of the Galaxy film series), tasked with protecting the Earth from their nefarious counterparts the Deviants. The Eternals comprise far too many characters to reasonably be stuffed into one film, but according to the THS report, the team we'll be introduced to includes Ikaris and Sersi (whose romantic involvement will be a basis for the story), as well as Piper, Elysius, Makkari, Thena, Zuras, and Starfox — who, it should be pointed out, is the brother of Thanos in the source material.

Feige's recent comments clue us in to the fact that with Eternals, Marvel Studios will be attempting to take on a story with the type of epic scale not yet seen in the MCU. While April's Avengers: Endgame will wrap up Phase Three and July's Spider-Man: Far From Home will continue the travails of everyone's favorite wall-crawler, Feige makes it plain that the studio won't necessarily be going back to the well of what's worked previously for future efforts, but will continue to expand its storytelling methods in meaningful ways.

"Everything after Endgame, and after Spider-Man: Far From Home, will be different and be unique, as we try to make every film," he said. "Seeing returning characters is certainly something we're gonna do and want to do. But also introducing characters that the majority of the world has never heard of, much like Guardians, much like [the] Avengers before we made Avengers. And there are lots of them. Eternals are one group, but we like the idea of introducing an ensemble, doing an ensemble movie from the start, as opposed to building up as we did with the first Avengers. More like Guardians, not tonally, but in terms of introducing a new group of people."  

"Jack Kirby did an immense, amazing epic with Eternals that spans tens of thousands of years," he continued, "and that's also something we haven't really done, which is why that among many other things post-Endgame, we find appealing."

This certainly sounds ambitious, especially considering the fact that the Eternals aren't exactly household names. But it's easy to forget that before the MCU began laying out its master plan with Phase One, the entirety of the Avengers were considered to be Marvel's C-list heroes, and before Guardians of the Galaxy dropped in 2014, virtually everyone was positive that this oddball space opera from a quirky director featuring a sentient tree and a gun-toting raccoon was destined to be Marvel's first flop. Kirby imbued the Eternals books with strongly realized characters, a grand sense of scale, and the feel of modern mythology — all qualities which, if translated properly to film, could make the property an excellent one for realizing Feige's epic vision.

Marvel has yet to make a serious misstep with their behind-the-camera talent, so it seems likely that in the Firpo brothers and Zhao, Feige has hired the right people for the job. It shouldn't be too long before we start to see casting news and perhaps a few more solid plot details trickle down from on high, and of course, we'll be here to fill you in when it happens.

The Eternals is expected to hit screens sometime in 2020.