Don’t know who The Eternals are? Not to worry, neither do most comic fans! I would consider myself a “committed-casual” comic reader and, in reality, had very little information about the property before the film was announced. Now, despite the comic not being a big hitter amongst readers, it certainly is involved in some weird S*** these days. How so? Let’s take a look!
1: Who Are The Eternals: First and foremost, let’s clarify, in an abridged version, just who the Eternals are! They are an immortal (pretty self-explanatory) group of humans that were created in the early stages of mankind’s development by beings known as the Celestials. You might recall a little cameo of the Celestials in the first Guardians of the Galaxy, and you may also recall that Peter Quill is in fact HALF Celestial!
This small branch of humanity, unlike inhumans and mutants, tend to possess a uniform power-set though exceptions have been seen. Eternals have super-strength, flight, forcefield abilities, telepathy, illusion casting, and teleportation. All these powers come from their ability to absorb and utilize cosmic energy.
Will all these powers be featured in the upcoming film? The thing is- we don’t know! Not just because we haven’t heard any announcements regarding details, but, once again, this is not that popular of an IP for Marvel.
Therefore, it feels as if Feige will have liberty to take and recreate what he wants with the group of immortals as he sees fit! Example? With the internet so ready to scream bloody murder when it comes to gender and race swapping, everyone seemed to not notice that a good chunk of the cast are playing swapped characters! (Salma Hayek, Lauren Ridloff, and Lia McHugh).
2: DC’s the New Gods: Now, why bring in the New Gods into this conversation? You see, some might not know that decades ago, Jack Kirby (yes, the man who built Marvel with Stan Lee) LEFT Marvel to go work for DC Comics. There, he didn’t want to make more of the same, but rather create something fresh. Thus, the New Gods were born.
Coming from the premise that the gods of old had since died off (not sure how) two new planets were forged to house their replacements; New Genesis, a utopia of sorts and Apokolips a technological fire planet of absolute f***. Yes, they embodied representations of heaven and hell themselves and these two planets would be at war with each other for eons! What are the powers of these gods? Well, super-human strength, immortality provided be cosmic energy… sound familiar?
You see, Jack Kirby’s The New Gods would be cancelled by DC Comics after issue #11 and he would ultimately return to Marvel Comics to create their bootleg-yup- THE ETERNALS!
2: Cut From the Same Cloth: Take a minute to recover from that soap opera-level reveal. Better? ok.
So not only were the New Gods and Eternals similar in feel but they were literally created by the same guy for two different companies! One might think this doesn’t matter since only an Eternals movie is on the way and not one for the New Gods. Awkward…
DC is VERY MUCH in pre-production on getting a New Gods movie up and running! Therefore, we have or first REAL showdown between Marvel Studios and Warner. I rule out previous hero films since so many of the characters have been unique and haven’t truly paralleled aesthetic and tones. The question now becomes, is it better to go first or second?
We might think a mishap like this one hasn’t happened in film yet but, oh, it has!
Remember those big Dark Phoenix reshoots? Well it turns out they weren’t just because of the Disney acquisition of Fox, but rather the fact that their movie had overwhelming similarities to another blockbuster- Captain Marvel; alien shape-shifters, female lead, powers she doesn’t know how to control, a mission into space on a jet not made for that kind of travel, a climax with a super powered woman taking out invaders… S-should I keep going?
For two properties so similar to one another it creates the anxiety for the two possible outcomes- Eternals does such an amazing job at bringing the “Feige creative freedom” team to the big screen that a New Gods movie will come across as cheap copy, lesser, and the Myspace to The Eternals Facebook OR Eternals does just alright at the box office and with fans alike leaving DC creative teams to study the delivery and create a unique and excellent film experience! Does DC actually have the tools to pull it off?
3: The New Gods; Bigger but Late?: Yes, DC VERY much has the upper hand here despite what some might think. For one, as we stated at the beginning, no one knows nor CARES who the Eternals are. The publicity for this project, trailers, rotten tomatoes score, and word of mouth are going to have to knock it out of the park! Yes, that is something Marvel Studios has gotten down to a science, but it is still a mountain to climb nonetheless.
Where Feige has chosen to gender-swap a good chunk of the Eternals cast, you might think it’s just to continue to build into the age of representation but oh no, not so fast. I suspect Feige was WELL aware that the New Gods possess some fan favorite female badasses and wanted to ensure the Eternals could keep up with the Joneses.
To no surprise, it has been revealed that Big Barda and the Female Furies will indeed be making an appearance in the New Gods film! Casual hero fans might not know who these characters are, but comic fans DO! Not only that, but Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, will also be featured! At this point I am confident we will be getting Mister Miracle and Orion as well. YES!
A New Gods film has a much stronger roster than that of the Eternals, and, will introduce key players for the DCEU moving forward.
LASTLY, not trying to pit directors against each other, but The New Gods will be directed by THE Ava Duvernay! Who is she? (takes a polite sip of tea) she brought us 13th, A Wrinkle in Time, Selma, and the mini-series When They See Us. This woman has a POWER for story telling and I have no doubt that she will be able to bring these characters, good gods and evil, to an allegorical reality.