Easter Eggs You Missed In Eternals
For fans of the Eternals, as the MCU has rolled along, it must have felt like seeing their heroes on the big screen was taking an … eternity (sorry, not sorry). But now, the “Eternals” film is finally here, and it has enough characters, scope and backstory to feel almost like a trilogy, condensed into one feature film.
There is a lot going on in “Eternals,” in terms of world building, MCU expansion, and even some actual plot points for the movie at hand.
With that in mind, below are a few key Easter eggs littered throughout the film. From references to Thanos to a BTS shout-out, jokes about Wakanda and even some possible revelations about Superman and Batman, this is a movie with a lot to unpack. Thankfully, here is your user-friendly (and spoiler heavy!) guide to explaining them.
In playing Sersi, Gemma Chan joins the once rare, now rapidly-growing “Two-Timers Club” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In case you don’t recall, Chan played the evil Kree sniper Minn-Erva in 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” although you could be forgiven for not realizing it — the “Crazy Rich Asians” beauty was unrecognizable under a ton of makeup. Also becoming a Two-Timer with “Eternals,” albeit in voice more than physicality, is Patton Oswalt (the voice of Pip the Troll in the film’s end credit scene, as well as the titular character on Marvel’s “MODOK” series).
These two actors join Chris Evans (Johnny Storm/Steve Rogers), Josh Brolin (Cable in “Deadpool 2,” and of course, Thanos), Idris Elba (Moreau in “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” Heimdall in the “Thor” movies), Ryan Reynolds (Hannibal King in “Blade: Trinity,” Deadpool), Michael B. Jordan (Johnny Storm/Killmonger) and some other big names as Marvel stars so nice they had to act twice. There are also a handful of lesser-known actors including Laura Haddock (who sought out an autograph in “Captain America: The First Avenger” before playing Star-Lord’s mother) and Kenneth Choi (playing grandfather and grandson in “The First Avenger,” “Agents of SHIELD” and “Spider-Man: Homecoming”). Then, of course, there was Stan Lee — the only member (so far) of the “22-Timers Club,” via all his amazing cameos.
This group will soon be joined by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (slated to play Sergei Kravinoff in “Kraven the Hunter,” previously seen as Quick Silver in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) and Mahershala Ali (soon-to-star in “Blade,” previously seen in “Luke Cage”). Of course, many of these distinctions depend on how you define the MCU, particularly as properties like the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man keep re-booting every couple years. But here’s hoping that sooner or later, somebody is going to have to fight themselves.
According to various online sleuthing based largely around the comments of behind-the-scenes Marvel folks, it is believed the “The Eternals” takes place about eight months after “Avengers: Endgame,” somewhat concurrent to “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Half the world population has recently returned, and people are just beginning to move beyond the attack of Thanos — although many are still terrified by the realization that the big three exist and could bring an end to the world in any given battle.
When we first meet Kip Harington’s charming Dane Whitman, he is filling in for his girlfriend Sersi in her school room. Stalling for time, he rambles on about Thanos and “the return of half our population,” before she rescues him and he admits: “I’ve run out of things to say.”
Ajak (Salma Hayek) mentions the horrifying cliffhanger of “Avengers: Infinity War,” telling Ikaris: “Five years ago, Thanos erased half of the population of the universe. But the people of this planet brought everyone back with the snap of a finger. The sudden return of the population provided the necessary energy for the emergence to begin.”
Later, Dane helps answer a big MCU question that fans have been wondering ever since they learned there would be an “Eternals” film about these immensely-powerful, nearly invincible beings who’ve cultivated Earth for thousands of years. “Why didn’t you go fight Thanos?” he asks Sersi upon learning the true nature of her identity.
“If we protected humanity for 7000 years,” she explains of her group’s non-interventionist marching orders, “you’d never have the chance to develop.”
Among other references to recent events, a news broadcast about the suspicious earthquake can be heard speculating that it might have something to do with “The Blip.”
A DC connection?
As best as we can recall, there have only been two instances in the previous 25 MCU films where a character has made a comment that could possibly be an acknowledgement of the existence of the DC Universe, and both of those are very open to interpretation. In 2013’s “Iron Man 3,” Happy Hogan referred to the Avengers as the “super friends” of Iron Man, and in an episode of the Netflix TV supergroup series “The Defenders,” Luke Cage declared that he wasn’t looking for “super friends.” Both instances could, of course, refer to “Super Friends,” the 1973 – 1985 cartoon series that appeared in various incarnations and teamed heroes like Superman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern; they could also simply be those characters using the adjective super (as in, superhero) to describe would-be friends.
Which makes two lines in “The Eternals” so much more seemingly significant. The first comes when most of the Eternals get together for a feast in modern-day Australia, with some of the group catching up for the first time in centuries, and Gilgamesh (Ma Dong-seok) meeting Karun (Harish Patel), the documentarian/valet for Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani). “Oh, a valet?” says Gilgamesh, wearing a “Kiss the Cook” apron. “Like Alfred in Batman?”
The second instance comes later in the film, as Ikaris (Richard Madden) visits Chicago and the new family of Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry). When Ikaris meets the son of Phastos, the boy remarks that he has seen him in TV reports on the Deviants attacks, and says: “That’s Superman!” Ikaris, seemingly a bit offended, shoots back: “I don’t wear a cape.”
What does all this mean? Could we have a movie someday where everyone plays nice and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is teaming up with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man? Don’t hold your breath.
It’s worth noting that in three out of these four instances, the Marvel characters are likely referring to DC superhero entertainment, not actual living people. For starters, “Super Friends” is a term you don’t hear in Warner Bros’ DCEU movies, and typically only refers to old, kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoons. Then, note that Gilgamesh says “Alfred in Batman,” which is how most people refer to a character, as being in a TV show or movie. Plus, if Bruce Wayne is successfully maintaining his secret identity (as he does in most incarnations of the character), how would Gilgamesh have any idea who Alfred is, let alone expect anybody else to pick up the reference?
The Ikaris thing also seems to make a lot more sense — and explain the Eternal’s umbrage over being compared to an actor in a cape — if it is a reference to DC movies/comics/TV rather than an actual person somehow existing in the MCU. So, for now, it seems safe to say that most characters in the MCU know who Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the rest are — if only because they’ve watched many of the same movies and TV shows that we have.
Wakanda (and IKEA) forever!
In such an epic movie where every action seems to have consequences that reach across all space and time, it sure is nice to have a little comic relief here and there. One such moment happens in “Eternals” as Ikaris and Sersi venture to Chicago to visit Phastos, expecting to find a great mind who has made significant achievements in science and technology but instead discovering … a family man?
Remarking “I bet you’ve built the perfect safe house,” Ikaris references the table the three ancient beings are sitting at and asks: “What’s this made of? Vibranium?”
Banging the table, the super-strong Ikaris smashes the family’s dining room table in two. Dryly, an unapproving Phastos responds: “Fall collection. IKEA.”
As anyone with more than a passing knowledge of Marvel Comics knows, vibranium is the fictional, precious metal known for its nearly indestructible properties and ability to absorb and release kinetic energy. It came to Earth via a meteorite before the Eternals even existed, and is an invaluable resource to the people of Wakanda, as seen in the “Black Panther” film and referenced in several others since. As anyone with more than a passing knowledge of dorm room-worthy storage solutions knows, IKEA has delicious meatballs.
Captain America’s shield is made of vibranium, as is the prosthetic arm of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis in multiple MCU films) and, of course, much of the equipment belonging to Black Panther, the Dora Milaje and other factions of the Wakandan military. With so much of it floating around in T’Challa’s homeland, who knows? Perhaps they even used it in their dining room furniture.
Although no one in the MCU has ever mentioned the Eternals before, they have been on Earth for the entirety of the events of the previous 25 films — and clearly, they’ve been keeping a close eye on the Avengers.
When the Eternals get together in Australia to break bread, the topic of conversation at the table turns to current events. “Now that Captain Rogers and Iron Man are gone, who do you think could lead the Avengers?” Sprite asks, as if he’s discussing a managerial vacancy on the New York Mets.
“I could,” relies Ikaris, revealing a glimpse of his hunger for power.
A bit earlier in the film, when Sersi is attempting to come clean to Dane Whitman that she is a supernatural being, he asks: “Are you a wizard? Like Doctor Strange?”
As hard as it might be for Falcon to get a loan, it’s indisputable that all the Avengers have become rock stars at this point. Even if some are having a difficult time monetizing it, they are known all over the world — and being watched in secret not only by the Eternals and the Watcher, but also countless nefarious Marvel beings likely to emerge from the shadows in future movies and films.
Marvel goes K-pop
Sure, lots of teen girls seem likely to squee in delight at theaters nationwide as Harry Styles makes his Marvel debut in an “Eternals” post-credits scene. But they are also quite likely to be pleased by another musical act breaking into the MCU — the worldwide phenomenon known as BTS.
When we first catch up with modern-day Kingo, he seems to be having a blast. The Eternal is a Bollywood star who has convinced the world that his father (secretly him) and grandfather (also secretly him) were Bollywood actors from past generations. Because he never looks any older, Kingo has been starring in Bollywood movies for decades with names like “Shadow Warrior 2: Voyage of Time.”
As he explains his career in front of (and behind) the camera to his “friends from college,” Kingo makes reference to BTS. Within moments, we cut to the next scene — scored by the BTS song “Friends,” which appears on the “Eternals” soundtrack. During a livestream on October 20, the massively-successful band shared their enthusiasm for the movie.
Putting their minds together
As “Eternals” builds to its conclusion, the group — once again reunited — grasp at a desperate straw in an attempt to stop the emergence. Phastos speculates that if the Eternals were to combine their powers, it could be enough to create something he dubs “the Uni-Mind,” allowing them to stop the world’s end.
Of course, if you’re familiar with the Eternals in the comics, you know this is no mere speculation. The Eternals have indeed employed the Uni-Mind, typically in time of extreme need, and it has often manifested itself on the comic book page as a gender-less being of light, mind and pure energy.
Typically, only the Prime Eternal can summon the Uni-Mind, which is why in the film you see Gemma Chan’s Sersi taking the lead. The Uni-Mind never seems to take the form of a being, yet it is clear that the remaining Eternals have indeed come together to support the hypothesis of Phastos, linking their minds and becoming more powerful as a team than the sum of its parts.