Eternals Writing Credits

This morning, Marvel Studios released the first trailer and poster for the upcoming cosmic superhero movie Eternals. The film is directed by Chloé Zhao, fresh off her Oscar win for Best Director at the 93rd Academy Awards last month for her Best Picture-winning film Nomadland, which she also wrote. However, you may not have noticed that Chloé Zhao received two writing credits for the screenplay on the teaser poster. But why?

UPDATED: The Writers Guild of America has also provided clarification on these credits, which aren’t yet final.

Eagle-eyed fans are always looking for hints and little details in Marvel Studios movies, and this time, they noticed Chloé Zhao getting two separate credits for the film’s screenplay. See for yourself:

Eternals Writing Credits

As you can see, Chloé Zhao is credited as writing the screenplay, but then she’s also listed again with co-writer Patrick Burleigh. Why is it necessary to list her twice in the credits? Didn’t we get it the first time? Are there two different writers named Chloé Zhao? Is one of them a Skrull? No. The reason Zhao is listed in the credits this way is due to rules established by the Writers Guild of America.

When you’re in the WGA, you’re either credited as a singular writer or as part of a team of writers. For example, if several writers each wrote a different draft of the script, they would be credited with “and” between their names. But if a writer worked with anther scribe on a draft of the script together, then there’s an “&” between their names to denote their teamwork on the page.

So this suggests that Chloé Zhao did a considerable amount of work on the script for Eternals by herself. That’s a change from Kaz Firpo and Ryan Firpo being credited as screenwriters before, something we learned would likely change back in January. Zhao must have rewritten a considerable amount of the script if they’re no longer credits as writers. However, in addition to Zhao writing herself, at some point, she also teamed up with Patrick Burleigh, hence the second credit on the poster.

Here’s what Zhao said about the writing process back in January:

“In the writing process, that’s sort of where I bring my sensibility in, that’s a huge part of it. And creating situations that will allow certain kinds of cinematic language to come in, that is something that I’ve learned from my last three films. I think what Marvel has been so incredible at – Kevin [Feige] and Nate [Moore] and the whole team – they knew from the moment I pitched the film, I really wanted the scope and scale at the same time as the intimacy. They knew I wanted both. They have been so incredible holding my hand through the entire process of allowing me to go as far as possible and as small as possible, and how that fits into the whole MCU. It’s been a pretty incredible process. You’ll have to wait and see.”

However, it should be noted that the Writers Guild of America reached out to us to clarify that the credits used in promotional materials are meant to be “good faith” credits that are only proposed for consideration until accurate authorship is confirmed by the WGA. So there’s a chance this could change, but this is something that previously happened with the writing credits for Age of Adaline, where writer J. Mills Goodloe received both an individual writing credit and a team writing credit with Salvador Paskowitz. We’ll have to wait and see what happens when the final credits for the movie roll across the screen.

Marvel’s Eternals is coming to theaters on November 5, 2021.

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