Angelina Jolie's Eternals Character Has A Tragic Superhero Weakness

Marvel's "Eternals" is weeks away from arriving in theaters, which means we're finally getting some details about Earth's first superheroes. Though this group of immortal protectors have apparently walked the Earth for over 7,000 years, their introduction comes four phases into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the planet faces the kind of threat that they cannot ignore. But before dealing with the mysterious "emergence," they'll have to get the band back together and round up the scattered members of their family.

This is where the star power of "Eternals" comes in — the cast is bursting with big names. Filing out the team of immortals are Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Ajak (Salma Hayek), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee) and Thena (Angelina Jolie).  The trailers and the original comics have given us some insight into the many "Eternals" characters, but there's no telling how they've been changed for the upcoming film ... Unless the cast and crew are willing to let some details slip.

The Truth Behind Thena

In a round table interview with Screen Rant, producer Nate Moore revealed some fascinating facts about Angelina Jolie's fierce warrior, Thena. Until now, we've only gotten glimpses of the Athena-esque figure: trailers have shown off her ability to manifest weapons, while also hinting at a complicated relationship with Marvel villain Kro. But according to Moore, Thena's most pressing battle might be internal. The centuries old, god-like figure suffers from memory loss, not unlike dementia, that has caused her to isolate from humanity. Moore said:  

"She has a tragic story in our film in that she comes down with something called Mahd Wy'ry. If you guys are fans of comics, Mahd Wy'ry is something that can beset an Eternal. It's a version of dementia. Because of the amount of memories they have, they become unstuck in their own mind, so she starts to forget exactly when she is."

Mahd Wy'ry is known to comic readers as "Eternal madness." Just as Moore describes, it's a sickness caused by the overwhelming longevity of their existence. Persisting through centuries and living through so much time comes with its own set of drawbacks: while their bodies are near-indestructible, they still possess human-like minds. Years of storing knowledge and memories can have destructive effects, comparable to old age senility. When we catch up with Thena in "Eternals," she's having difficulty distinguishing reality from the many memories clouding her head. According to Moore, this also makes her dangerous:

"Through the course of the movie, Gilgamesh becomes her protector. And when we find them in the modern day, they're living off the grid in a cabin in Australia because she's too dangerous to have around humans, so it's a fun arc for Angelina to play." 

In the comics, Mahd Wy'ry has a complex cure that involves killing the affected Eternal, then resurrecting them. And resurrection, of course, has its own set of complications. Whether or not Thena's existence will rely on such drastic measures remains to be seen but as Moore said, this certainly gives Jolie much to explore in the upcoming film. Earlier trailers have hinted at Thena's resistance to rejoin her family — this may be an effort to protect them from her sickness. If Mahd Wy'ry makes her a danger to humanity, it could also impact the way she uses her powers and ultimately, fares in battle. And given her shared history with the presumed villain and leader of the Deviants, Kro, the danger could be greater than they realize. But with a world-altering threat looming over them, Thena may not have a choice. 

"Eternals" arrives in theaters on November 5, 2021.