The very first “Eternals” teaser trailer has finally arrived, and there’s plenty for fans to unpack.
On May 24, 2021, months ahead of the film’s scheduled November 2021 release, Marvel gave fans their first real look at Chloé Zhao’s ambitious new film, centered on a group of immortal humanoid cosmic beings known as the Eternals.
Many of the Eternals actually cosplay as extraordinarily good-looking human beings down on Earth, but when their natural enemies the Deviants threaten the human planet, the Eternals must act quickly to protect Earth.
A recently minted Academy Award winner for Best Director for “Nomadland” — the second woman to ever win Best Director and the first woman of color to do so — Zhao assembled a heavyweight cast to portray this otherworldly group.
Hollywood legend Angelina Jolie returns to the big screen in a big way as Thena, an Eternal warrior who wields powerful cosmic energy. Then there’s Richard Madden’s Ikaris, a massively strong Eternal who can shoot cosmic energy out of his eyes, and his lover Sersi — played by Gemma Chan — an empathetic Eternal.
Kumail Nanjiani underwent a serious physical transformation to play Kingo, an Eternal who earns fame on Earth as a Bollywood star. Meanwhile, Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos is a brilliant inventor and will be the first openly gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Salma Hayek also appears in the film as Ajak, the Eternals’ spiritual leader, as do Barry Keoghan as the emotionally distant Druig, Lia McHugh as the childlike-yet-powerful Sprite, Lauren Ridkoff as Makkari (who can manipulate sound and is the MCU’s first deaf superhero), Don Lee as the insanely strong Gilgamesh, and Madden’s fellow “Game of Thrones” co-star Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, a human with a powerful destiny.
Table of Contents
Here are the small details you missed in the “Eternals” teaser trailer.
A fitting song used in the Eternals teaser trailer
While eager MCU fans haven’t gotten a full plot synopsis of “Eternals” yet, Marvel has given some basic insight on what the film is about. The Eternals are a race of immortal cosmic humanoids created by the alien Celestials who have secretly been living on Earth for centuries.
But when an “unexpected tragedy” befalls Earth, the Eternals are pushed out of hiding, and must band together to defeat the Deviants, “mankind’s most ancient enemy”.
The song featured in the teaser trailer, 1962’s “The End of the World” by Skeeter Davis, gives us some further insight into the calamity the Eternals will be facing. “The End of the World” encapsulates the devastation felt after a breakup, with Davis crooning, “Why does the sun go on shining? / Why does the sea rush to shore? / Don’t they know it’s the end of the world? / ‘Cause you don’t love me anymore.”
Unfortunately, it seems the “end of the world” in the “Eternals” will be a bit more literal. As suggested by Marvel’s brief synopsis, the arrival of the Deviants indicates a potential world-ending event that only the Eternals can stop. But what exactly is the Deviants’ plan? We’ll have to wait to find out.
The aircraft arrival
Near the beginning of the “Eternals” teaser trailer, a strange rectangular aircraft spontaneously materializes in front of a group of humans living on the shore near an ocean.
While it may be just a covert aircraft, its design and function scream “spaceship.” The Eternals, who are soon revealed to be inside the ship, admire the planet, with Sersi talking about it to Ikaris as if she’s bringing him to Earth — or this time period of Earth — for the first time.
While a spaceship descending upon a group of unsuspecting humans is a standard affair for the MCU at this point, its appearance and the behavior of its crew draw many questions about the Eternals’ place within the established Marvel canon.
After all, in the comics, the Eternals are native to Earth, having been created by the Celestials during their proto-humanity experiments that also yielded the Deviants. They do have colonies elsewhere, though.
Another likely option is that this ship is a time machine of some kind. According to the Marvel wiki on Fandom, the Eternals have traveled backward in time to the age of primitive man before.
The Eternal Phaistos, played in the movie by Brian Tyree Henry, even lent some of their advanced technology to the tribal humans — an action that’s possibly alluded to in the teaser trailer when Salma Hayek’s Ajak says in voiceover, “We have watched and guided. We have helped them progress, and seen them accomplish wonders.”
Regardless of the craft’s true nature, however, it is sure to be a critical piece of the Eternals’ backstory.
The symbolism of the dagger-passing
From the 56-second mark to the 58-second mark in the teaser trailer for “Eternals” — as Ajak says, “We have helped them progress” — there’s a shot of an Eternal’s hand cupping a dagger — and a human’s hand nervously reaching out to take it. It’s a close-up shot of the hands with no faces in the frame, set on a dramatic cliff overlooking the sea.
The dagger has obvious symbolic meaning. The shot and Ajak’s voiceover express the idea that the Eternals gave humans technology to help them evolve.
But, after watching this moment in the teaser, fans may be asking, “Should I know about this dagger? Is this dagger important in the comics? Does it have a name?” The answer, as far as we can tell, is that the dagger itself isn’t particularly significant on its own. The important part is that it’s imparting knowledge from the Eternals to humans.
Perhaps the dagger taught humans how to use more advanced weapons. Maybe the passing of this dagger helped humans progress from the Stone Age into the Bronze Age.
The moment is actually reminiscent of the beginning of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” when the sudden appearance of a mysterious monolith inspires apes to start using tools — specifically, bones as weapons. It’s a similar idea of alien intervention inciting human evolution.
Makkari’s artifact room
When Makkari is reading her book at the 1:07 mark in the teaser trailer, she’s surrounded by all sorts of ancient artifacts. One of these is a gold statue that reads “SPQR,” which historians will recognize as the abbreviation for “Senātus Populusque Rōmānus,” or “the Senate and People of Rome.”
SPQR represents the government of the Roman Republic, which is dated from 509 BC to 27 BC. As we know from the film’s teaser trailer, the Eternals have been around for quite some time, with Sersi noting that they have never interfered with the people of Earth — until the threat of the Deviants arrives, of course.
While they might not have been interfering, the Eternals definitely have been looming in the background, gathering artifacts from different civilizations and time periods. Other objects inside the artifact room include a chimera statue, a statue of a gold Sphynx cat, and a medieval knight’s armor.
Makkari is also surrounded by hundreds of other books and mysterious objects, some of which include old paintings. In the comics, Makkari has many adventures in human history and even taught the Egyptians how to write.
Based on what we see of her in the “Eternals” teaser trailer, it looks like she might have taken tokens from different civilizations in the past where she was present.
It may also be worth noting that the artifact room at 1:07 in the teaser looks like the same room shown at the 38-second mark, suggesting that the Eternals have some sort of designated base on Earth where they’ve remained for centuries without moving.