‘Eternals’ Director Chloe Zhao Says Her Film Will Introduce A ‘Nuanced Female Superhero…Rarely Seen In This Genre’

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Just in case the all-star cast, powerhouse director, and entirely new subject matter didn’t put Marvel’s Eternals at the top of your to watch list this winter, director Chloe Zhao says the film — and actress Gemma Chan’s character in particular — will make you “rethink what it means to be heroic.” In an interview with Vogue UK, both Zhao and Chan spoke about the upcoming film and their respective visions for it. According to the pair, Chan’s character Sersi is “not your typical superhero,” which Chan then went on to explain:

“She’s not necessarily the best fighter, she doesn’t have the most obviously impressive powers. The main thing is she’s an empath. She has a connection with humans, and with the world and the earth. That is her strength, so I leant into that.”

In addition to Chan, Zhao also shared her intentions for the upcoming film and character, as well as praised Chan’s portrayal of her. According to Zhao:

“It has always been a passion for me to create a nuanced female superhero that is rarely seen in this genre. Gemma was very interested in this idea as well and took on the challenge. She is a great actress. Very intelligent and brave. She brought a beautiful sense of gentleness, compassion and vulnerability to Sersi that I believe will invite viewers to rethink what it means to be heroic.”

Interestingly enough, for a while it seemed pretty unlikely Chan would be able to bring her talents to Sersi, as she was already cast — and killed off — in a previous Marvel movie: Captain Marvel. Back in 2018, Chan played Minn-Erva in the Brie Larson-led film and ultimately died, leading Chan to believe “there was no chance that [she] would really be coming back,” a thought she was “a bit bummed” about. Luckily for Chan (and us), Zhao cast her in a much bigger role in Eternals and we’re apparently in for a treat.

Eternals hits theaters and Disney on November 5, nearly a year after its originally intended release date. Until then, you can catch Marvel’s What If..? over on Disney starting August 11, and the upcoming phase-four film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on September 3.