As the name suggests, the Eternals have been protecting Earth and those who dwell on her practically forever. They have been in hiding for thousands of years now, which I guess explains why they didn’t help out in the Infinity War. In 5000 BC, ten of them were sent by the Celestial called Arishem (voice of David Kaye) on their starship, the Domo, to exterminate the demonic Deviants who had invaded Earth. They were Ajak (Salma Hayak), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), and Thena (Angelina Jolie). The Deviants were apparently wiped out in 1521, and then the Eternals separated to wait for Arishem’s orders.
The Eternals have given their names to humanity’s gods and goddesses and other mythological beings throughout human history. The speedster Makkari became Mercury, the warrior Thena became Athena, the inventive Phastos became Hephaestus or Vulcan, Gilgamesh the strongman of that name in Babylonian mythology, Sprite is a water sprite and eternally childlike, Sersei is like Circe, the witch who changed Ulysses’ crew to swine, and Ikaris flew into the sun like Icarus. Recalling these myths as the characters converse in the movie might help you keep them straight. Ten is a lot of characters to deal with, especially when they’re all wearing spandex. It makes you appreciate the incredibly varied sizes, shapes and backstories of the Avengers.
Now, Sersi and little Sprite are living together in London. Sersi’s partner Ikaris left her centuries ago and now she is in a relationship with a nice human called Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), who works at the Natural History Museum where she does. When the three of them are attacked by a deviant called Kro (voice of Bill Skarsgaard), Ikaris arrives and the Deviant flees. The three Eternals travel to South Dakota to reunite with Ajak, only to find her dead, which means that Sersi is now leader and can communicate with Arishem.
She learns that the mission of the Eternals was to prepare Earth for The Emergence. Arishem has been planting seeds of Celestials in planets with large populations, which can allow new Celestials to be born. The Deviants were created to destroy the apex predators to ensure the development of intelligent life, but the Deviants evolved and began hunting that life, so Arishem created the Eternals to fight them. Earth now has the necessary population for the birth of the Celestial Tiamut, which will destroy Earth. The Eternals don’t agree with that.
The Eternals convene to delay the Emergence. At Druigi’s residence in the Amazon rainforest, they are attacked by the Deviants. All the Deviants are killed but Kro, who kills Gilgamesh and flees. Phastos suggests the Uni-Mind, in which all the Eternals link their minds and give Druig enough power to put Tiamat to sleep, but Ikaris reveals that Ajak warned him of the Emergence ages ago. When she tried to stop the Emergence, he led her to the Deviants who killed her. Sprite joins Ikaris and Kingo leaves. The Eternals are now fighting amongst themselves.
Makkari finds the place of Emergence, a volcano in the Indian Ocean, but Ikaris and Sprite try to stop it. Druig knocks out Sprite and Phastos holds Ikaris back. The Deviant Kro arrives and is killed by Thena. Druig cannot put Tiamat to sleep and so Sersi turns him into marble. Consumed with guilt, Ikaris flies into the sun. Sersi uses the energy of the Uni-Mind to turn Sprite human so she can grow. Thena, Druig, and Makkari leave on the Domo ship to find Eternals on other planets and warn them of the Emergence. Sersi, Phastos, and Kingo remain on Earth. Dane professes his love for Sersi and is about to reveal a secret about his family when she, Phastos, and Kingo are lifted into space by Arishem, who will spare humanity if the Eternals can show that they are worthy.
The Eternals were created by Jack Kirby in Marvel comics in 1976. In 2018, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige decided to create a film about them. It was directed by Chloé Zhao, who wrote the screenplay with Patrick Burleigh, and Ryan and Kaz Firpo. It received mixed reviews from critics. A number of changes to the characters in the comics were made, genders, sexualities, and ethnicities swapped. It was announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. Much of it was filmed in the Canary Islands. ILM did much of the special effects, and Ramin Djawadi composed the score, as he had done for Iron Man. It was censored or not shown by China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, largely because of the gay couple. Marvel pretty much gave them all the finger.
In the comics, Sprite is said to have met J.M. Barrie and inspired the character of Peter Pan. The cast and crew of the movie were evacuated from the Canary Islands film site when some bomb remnants were found at a nearby military shooting-range. Angelina Jolie had expected only a cameo, but she dove into the role and created a movement and fighting style for Thena that was unique. Makkari, portrayed by deaf actress Lauren Ridloff, is the first deaf superhero in the MCU. The end credits were inspired by the book History of the World in 1000 Objects. In the comics, the leader of the Eternals is not Ajak but Zuras, or Zeus, but Zeus is in Thor: Love and Thunder and was dropped entirely in Eternals.