Chloé Zhao, the director of Eternals; says the upcoming MCU film was inspired by her love of sci-fi, manga, and fantasy films. Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, and Brian Cox star in the film. The third theatrical release in MCU Phase 4 will star Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh. Also Don Lee, Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, and Barry Keoghan. The release date for Eternals is currently set for November 5.

The Eternals plot, created by comics legend Jack Kirby; is epic in scale and mythical in style. Evoking in some ways Kirby’s New Gods comics with DC, which gave birth to the character Darkseid. The comics follow the eponymous superpowered alien race, which was developed by the Celestials through ancient experiments on humanity. The same experiments have created a second species, the villainous Deviants. The Eternals have persisted in the Marvel comics canon through the decades. Featuring in a variety of popular stories despite never being a mainline series like Spider-Man or Captain America.

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Bringing such a diverse cast of characters into the MCU is a difficult job. But director Chloé Zhao has accepted the challenge by drawing inspiration from a variety of sources. Zhao addressed her various stylistic inspirations for the film in a recent interview with Variety. Also, citing her love of both manga and fantasy films. She also praised Kirby’s original work, claiming that it is the film’s “core.” Read the rest of Zhao’s quote below.

“Jack Kirby and his imagination, his incredible work, is really the foundation of it. On top of that, there is what Marvel Studios has built, this incredible journey they have going on. And then on top of that is me as a fan of the MCU. Then, I as a fan of the genre, but also growing up with sci-fi and manga, and fantasy films. And how can we have this big melting pot; and cook up something that may just taste a little bit different? It was just an exciting thing; all of us went in wanting to do that. We’ll see.”

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Zhao made history by becoming the first woman of color to win Best Director at the 93rd Academy Awards. And just the second woman to do so after Kathryn Bigelow’s win for The Hurt Locker in 2010. Nomadland, Zhao’s film, also won Best Picture. Though the work to establish a more inclusive Hollywood atmosphere still has a long way to go.

Zhao’s Oscar win is still a big deal. And it could make Marvel fans even more eager for her MCU debut. Eternals is a curious comics story, and in the hands of such a talented director. It has the potential to be a highly unique and convincing entry into the franchise. Standing alongside other critically acclaimed MCU films including Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy. With WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+; Phase 4 has gotten off to a good start, and Eternals is set to continue the trend.

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