The studio behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been successful in striking gold with relatively obscure properties like Guardians of the Galaxy, and the studio is taking another one head-on with The Eternals. And just like with previous films, Marvel Studios is looking at independent directors, this time with Chinese director Chloe Zhao.
Zhao made a name for herself directing film festival hits Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider, which told stories set in a Native American reservation and the South Dakotan badlands, respectively. Previously, Zhao was considered by Marvel Studios to direct the Black Widow film, though the studio ultimately picked Cate Shortland. The director is now taking her experience from these intimate character films and applying them to a story with an epic and cosmic backdrop.
For the movie-going audiences unfamiliar with the source material, the basic premise of the Eternals characters is that they are creations of the Celestials, all-powerful beings that we’ve briefly seen in the cosmic MCU films before. Remember our big, purple, sad dad Thanos? In the comics, he’s an Eternal. According to THR, the film will focus heavily on a romance between the characters of Ikaris and Sersi, and as previously announced, the film project has Matthew and Ryan Firpo writing the screenplay.
It’s always exciting to see Marvel trying out new properties, but I question what the tone of the film will be. Cosmic MCU appears to be based on comedy and absurdity, as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor: Ragnarok demonstrated—Zhao seems like anything but a comedian. Get too serious, and you end up being dull like Marvel Television’s Inhumans. Regardless of tone, Zhao is a well-proven filmmaker, and Marvel hiring an Asian woman to lead a blockbuster is a big step for the industry.