The first trailer for Marvel’s Eternals is here, and it’s full of quick looks at all of our…favorite characters is probably a stretch, but there sure are a bunch of Eternals in there. Ajak narrates, Ikaris and Sersi get stuff to do, we even get Kit Harrington’s Dane Whitman/Black Knight looking at the sky and knowing nothing. But there’s one thing missing that one might expect from the first introduction to an otherwise obscure set of characters. The most famous Eternal is missing.
Yes, the very same Thanos who snapped half the universe into oblivion in Infinity Gauntlet (and more memorably on screen in Avengers: Infinity War) is actually a member of the Eternal race. And a member of their opposing force, the Deviants. It’s very complicated.
Spoilers for Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic’s The Eternals follow.
The Eternals were created by the Celestials to protect themselves and their experiments on Earth. One of the groups they were designed to protect against is the Deviants, a product of the same experimentation that the Celestials used to create the Eternals. However, unlike Eternals, Deviants evolve. They evolve quickly, unpredictably, and most importantly, very frequently – there are only a couple hundred Eternals alive in the galaxy, while there are millions of Deviants. And the Deviants are also frequently deformed, powerful, and often violent.
Like the Deviants, Eternals are extremely long-lived. But unlike the Deviants, Eternals’ reproduction is heavily regulated in mainstream Eternal society. This has led to several splits between groups who support that law and groups who believe that Eternals need to grow and expand, to better protect “The Machine.” One of those schisms led to the establishment of an Eternal colony on Saturn’s moon, Titan.
This experimental colony, initially permitted by the main faction of Earth Eternals, is a success at first, leading to some wavering of belief among the Earth faction. Then, Titan’s leader A’Lars (who took the name Mentor when he founded the colony) and his wife Sui-San, experimented with mixing Deviant and Eternal DNA and produced a child. That child was Thanos, the Mad Titan, who, following a brief flirtation with pacifism in his youth, would go on to become the greatest mass-murderer this cycle of the multiverse had ever seen.
How Thanos Could Return in Eternals
Unfortunately for the film version of The Eternals, Thanos is moderately to severely dead at the moment, after his beheading at the hands of Thor and later Iron Man’s own Snappening at the beginning and end (respectively) of Avengers: Endgame. Fortunately, though, there’s no shortage of ways to bring him back. The only reason there were two of him to kill in Endgame was through time travel shenaniganry, something we know the Marvel Cinematic Universe is gearing up to play with more in Loki.
The movies haven’t been shy about pulling from even the most recent Marvel comic releases, so pulling in tidbits from Gillen and Ribic’s The Eternals – where the Eternals are constantly resurrected by The Machine to continue serving their unchanging purpose – isn’t out of the question. And even though Thanos, as a later model Eternal with impure blood tainting him, isn’t eligible for Eternal resurrection protocols, it wouldn’t take much for the movies to just apply it to him.
We’ll find out more when Marvel’s Eternals opens on Nov. 5.
Should Thanos return to the MCU in Eternals? Let us know in the comments!