Eternals Director Chloe Zhao Pitched Marvel's Kevin Feige With A William Blake Poem

At a press conference for "Eternals," director Chloé Zhao revealed that she pitched her idea for the movie to Marvel president Kevin Feige with a photograph and a William Blake poem. That's definitely a new way to share your ideas for a comic book movie, but it speaks to Zhao's singular vision for the movie. 

Using Poetry to Pitch

We already knew that Zhao was the one who approached Marvel about directing "Eternals," but she shared the exact details of the pitch meeting during the press conference:

"Well, it started with me showing [Feige] a macro photo of sand and then quoting a poem from William Blake. So I still was allowed to stay in the room, so it was really nice. But in that poem, Blake was trying to convey that you can see the endless beauty and the meanings of the cosmos within the smallest things you can find on Earth. So the vision of film was to set out to capture that scale — something as large as the creation of the sun, and as intimate as whispers of lovers. So I think, you know, going on location and doing this kind of immersive shoot and having the support of understanding of this amazing cast was kind of how we got here today."

"Eternals" is a sprawling epic of mythological proportions, both in its ambitions and production. The movie spans 7000 years and tells the origin of some of the MCU's most powerful beings, so using poetry about the cosmos is rather apt. 

But Which Poem?

Marvel fans looking for clues into Zhao's inspiration for "The Eternals" might want to pore over the poem, but she didn't reveal exactly which Blake poem she used. Using my handy-dandy English degree and the power of Al Gore's internet, I narrowed it down to Blake's poem "Auguries of Innocence," published from one of Blake's notebooks posthumously. The poem tries to explain the incredible nature of the cosmos, which can be as simple as a grain of sand or as complex as an entire universe.

The opening lines of the poem read:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour

A Robin Red breast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage

The movie is called "Eternals," and the greatest powers in the Marvel Universe are contained within the Infinity Stones, which can definitely be held in the palm of your hand... I'm going to say this is it. You can read the rest of the poem online at the Poetry Foundation.

"Eternals" hits theaters on November 5, 2021.