Eternals Will Take Us To The Earliest Days Of The MCU, 'Before Thanos Was Born'

"Eternals" director Chloé Zhao is a fan of world-building, and her upcoming tentpole film, which covers a time period of 7,000 years, is just the latest in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the MCU continues to build out its world — which has already become a multiverse, not just a universe (call it the MCM) — there arise certain inevitable continuity questions. Every time an Avenger saves the world in one of their solo movies, for instance, you have to wonder where the other Avengers were and why they weren't around to help.

Some of the movies have either retroactively or preemptively addressed such questions. "Eternals" will flesh out a new cosmic corner of the MCU, and it's well ahead of the game, anticipating the inescapable question of why the Eternals — these powerful cosmic beings — didn't step in to lend some much-needed aid when Thanos was about to (successfully) wipe half of all life out of existence in "Avengers: Infinity War."

The Audience "Will Understand Why"

The September 16 issue of Total Film features "Eternals" on the cover, and in it, Zhao touches on the question of why the Eternals were absent from the conflict with Thanos, when the fate of the universe was on the line. She said:

"[The audience] will understand why. Not only why, but how complicated not interfering made them feel. We explore that. You'll see that in the film. The Eternals were instructed not to interfere with any human conflict unless Deviants are involved. There's a reason why that's the case. And that was the instruction from the prime Celestial Arishem."

If that's not enough to assuage your curiosity, the final trailer for "Eternals" also addresses the Thanos question head-on. It begins with Salma Hayek recapping what happened in "Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" and becomes almost preoccupied with the question, insofar as it spends its whole first half referring to Thanos. Gemma Chan's character, Sersi, echoes Zhao word-for-word, saying the Eternals "were instructed not to interfere in any human conflicts unless Deviants were involved."

In addition, some of "Eternals" will be set in the deep past, before Thanos was even born. Zhao continued:

"What excited me is the idea of going back in time, and exploring [the time] before Thanos was born, before anyone was born. Where does the MCU go back in time? And that brings us to the mythology of the Celestials. Anything involving the Celestials is going to be at a huge scale level of complication, let's put it that way."

"Eternals" also stars Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan, and Kit Harington, among others. It hits theaters on November 5, 2021.