Eternals, scheduled for release later this year, features the titular group of immortal superheroes, who – as explained in the movie’s trailer – have refrained for years from interfering with events on Earth.
In the film, however, a series of events prompts them to revise this policy and get involved in terrestrial matters.
“We have watched and guided, we have helped them progress, and seen them accomplish wonders,” Salma Hayek’s Ajak narrates in the trailer. “Throughout the years, we have never interfered – until now.”
In reality, the delay in introducing Eternals in Marvel’s line-up is due simply to the fact that the movie didn’t go into production until now.
But as far as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is concerned, it begs the question of why the Eternals – extremely powerful beings – didn’t step in earlier to help the Avengers when they were trying to prevent, then reverse Thanos’s snap, which wiped out half of humanity in Avengers: Infinity War, or even during the destructive Battle of New York in 2012’sThe Avengers.
According to a theory outlined by ComicBook.com, this could be explained by the fact that the Eternals helped humans create Captain America (the first Avenger) and, comforted by that knowledge, took a step back from earthly matters after that.
The theory is supported by what could be references to Captain America’s shield in the trailer – similar round shields can be seen in the background of a couple of scenes, one featuring Angelina Jolie’s Thena and another featuring Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo.
It’s also echoed by the narration, which makes explicit mention of the Eternals watching and guiding humans and “[seeing] them accomplish wonders” without intervening.
To top it all off, Lia McHugh’s Sprite asks at the end of the trailer: “So now that Captain Rogers and Iron Man are both gone, who do you think is going to lead the Avengers?” – which seems to hint that Captain America and his role on Earth have been on the Eternals’ minds.
All should be revealed when Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao, is released on 5 November 2021, both in the UK and in the US.