What Each Team Member Can Do
Marvel Studios’ Eternals introduced the eponymous superhero team to the MCU, each imbued with remarkable and otherworldly abilities. Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals hit theaters in November 2021, bringing some of Marvel Comics’ most obscure heroes to the MCU. With an ensemble cast featuring all-star talent including Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee, Barry Keoghan, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lia McHugh, Eternals explored the history of humanity in the MCU, with the team arriving on Earth around 7000 years ago.
Originally created by Jack Kirby, the Eternals debuted in Marvel Comics’ 1976 series, The Eternals #1, introduced as an offshoot of humanity who had gained godlike powers through experimentation by the Celestials. Solo comics featuring the Eternals found it difficult to gain traction, but the heroes were included in various crossovers, making their way into stories featuring the likes of Thor, the Avengers, and the X-Men. In Marvel Comics, the Eternals’ most notorious enemies are the Deviants, another offshoot of humanity from the same round of experiments that created them, and to defeat them, the Eternals boast a formidable set of powers, which translated beautifully into the MCU’s Phase 4.
The Eternals’ Cosmic Energy Grants Them Incredible Gifts
The Eternals share similarities with other super-powered beings like mutants or Inhumans, but what sets them apart is that they don’t exhibit just one power, but several. The Eternals are imbued with cosmic energy, gifted to them by their Celestial creators, which they can use to enhance their abilities. In Marvel Comics, every Eternal harbors potential abilities including enhanced strength, telepathy, telekinesis, flight, illusion creation, and the ability to fire cosmic beams from their eyes and hands, among others, but they often specialize in only one, using the cosmic energy to boost its potential. Their control over their molecules also means they can restore any injury, making them practically immortal.
Phase 4’s Eternals showed off all of these powers, with each one attributed to a specific member of the Eternals in an effort to emphasize the diversity of the team and their respective gifts. The MCU’s Eternals don’t demonstrate the capacity to branch out and use the others’ gifts, but are shown to have remarkable control over their specific powers. Though the Eternals’ origins had been changed for their MCU debut, the beings are still fueled by cosmic energy, that allows them to form weaponry, advance technology, create beautiful illusions, and transform matter from one state to another.
Ikaris Is Basically Marvel’s Superman
At face value, Richard Madden’s Ikaris is perhaps the most powerful of the Eternals, as he has used his cosmic energy to become adept at several talents, unlike his Eternal family. This has made him better than average – but not the best – at expressing each power, as he hasn’t used the full force of his energy to enhance only one gift. Ikaris’ two primary powers included flight and the ability to fire optic blasts of cosmic energy, though he also proved himself to have some enhanced speed and reflexes, as he took on Phastos, Thena, and Makkari in the final battle of Eternals.
Sersi Can Transform Matter From One State To Another
Sersi’s ability to manipulate matter secretly makes her the most powerful of all the Eternals on Earth, as she can quite literally reshape molecules into any form she pleases. Gemma Chan’s portrayal of the empathetic Sersi proves that she doesn’t take her potentially-dangerous ability for granted, but uses it only when necessary, such as when she irrigates barren soil with water, or transforms an overturned bus into harmless rose petals. Initially, this power didn’t apply to living matter, but after transforming a Deviant into a tree, Sersi unlocked her full potential, and was able to save the Earth by turning the emerging Celestial Tiamut into marble.
Kingo Is The Most Charismatic Eternal
Kingo, played brilliantly by Kumail Nanjiani, has taken advantage of his Eternal physiology to become a Bollywood star, performing as Kingo over several generations. What the unwitting public don’t know, however, is that Kingo’s cosmic energy allows him to fire projectile blasts from his hands and fingers, of which he is capable of manipulating the size, meaning he could fire bullet-like shots from his fingers, or gather the energy into a huge blast with both hands. These blasts are strong enough to obliterate attacking Deviants in one fell swoop, making Kingo an incredibly valuable ally to have on the team.
Gilgamesh Is One Of The Most Powerful Characters In The MCU
The Eternals are inherently strong, but Don Lee’s Gilgamesh puts them all to shame, especially when taken into consideration that his Marvel Comics counterpart has been said to be as strong as Thor and Hercules. Beyond his impressive skills in the kitchen, Gilgamesh uses his cosmic energy to enhance his physical strength, gathering the energy into fist-shapes around his hands. Prior to starring in Eternals, Lee was a martial arts trainer and amateur arm-wrestler, but the actor trained in boxing fundamentals for his role of Gilgamesh, making his supremely powerful punches even more realistic.
Phastos’ Incredible Mind Might Have Doomed Humanity
Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos uses his cosmic energy to create advanced technology and weaponry, subtly advancing the human race step-by-step. Just like in Marvel Comics, Phastos is an inventor, though his mercurial inventions are light-years ahead of their time when introduced to the early humans of Earth. This unwittingly boosts the population of the planet much faster than any of the Eternals’ stewardship capabilities, effectively bringing the Celestial emergence’s due date forward rapidly. While working best behind the scenes, Phastos’ powers are also more than competent in combat, as he was shown to be able to hold Ikaris still with one of his inventions.
Thena Is The Most Skilled Fighter Of The Eternals
Angelina Jolie’s Thena is touted as a fierce warrior, and the basis for the Ancient Greek goddess Athena, who is associated with wisdom, warfare, and handicraft. Thena spends most of her free time training her powers, which grant her the ability to forge incredible weapons from the cosmic energy within her, her favorites being a powerful, golden spear, and a crossbow that fires bolts of energy like arrows. Eternals shows off Thena’s skill in hand-to-hand combat and weaponry in spades, particularly when battling other members of her team after she becomes afflicted with Mahd Wy’ry.
Sprite’s Illusions Tricked The Eternals Several Times
Sprite’s MCU powers were changed from their Marvel Comics roots, which sees the forever-young Eternal being adept at matter manipulation (though not as good as Sersi). In Eternals, Lia McHugh’s Sprite was able to create illusions of anything she desired, including transforming herself into an adult until she’s touched, making several copies of herself and Sersi to confuse a Deviant, making herself invisible, or projecting an image of the late Ajak to stall Sersi’s Eternals plan. By dealing in illusions instead of actually changing the nature of matter, Sprite is perhaps the sneakiest and most efficient member of the team.
Makkari Is Much Faster Than The MCU’s Quicksilver
In Marvel Comics, Makkari’s goal is to become the fastest being in the universe, so the Eternals channels all of their cosmic energy into enhancing their speed. This translates into Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari in the MCU being reminiscent of DC’s Flash. Makkari isn’t the first speedster seen in the MCU, as Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrayed Pietro Maximoff, a.k.a. Quicksilver, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Makkari’s speed is far superior. The Eternal is able to circumnavigate the globe in a matter of moments, quickly finding the point of the Celestial Tiamut’s emergence, and is able to put up a strong fight against Ikaris who can barely even see her coming.
Druig’s Quiet Ability Is The Scariest Of The Eternals
Druig’s powers are perhaps the most subtle, as his telepathy allows him to enter the minds of other beings, read their thoughts, and manipulate their actions. It’s this ability that makes Barry Keoghan’s Druig the first to lose faith in their mission in Eternals, as he turns his back on the team after realizing what humans really think of each other. This doesn’t stop him using his power, however, as he subsequently took control of any entire community, forming a cult-like group that had been hypnotized for hundreds of years. Rejoining the team, Druig’s power was even strong enough to put the Celestial Tiamut to sleep for a few moments.
Ajak Was The Leader Of The MCU’s Eternals
Ajak begins Eternals as the Prime Eternal, the leader of the team with a direct connection to their Celestial benefactor Arishem. She is also the only one who remembers their previous missions together. Salma Hayek’s portrayal of the steadfast but compassionate leader is fantastic, and this is translated beautifully into her power-set, as Ajak is able to use her cosmic energy to heal any wound in a matter of seconds. It’s these abilities that make her Ikaris’ first target when he decides to proceed with the Celestial emergence, as once Ajak was dead, nobody could be healed, and the secret of their mission could stay hidden.
Dane Whitman, A.K.A. The Black Knight, Hasn’t Been Developed Much
Although Kit Harrington doesn’t suit up as the Black Knight in Eternals, Dane Whitman is the Marvel Comics alter-ego of the horse-riding Avenger, a hero who wields the Ebony Blade, which debuted in Eternals’ post-credits scene. Dane’s genius-level intellect, specifically in the fields of physics and genetics, and wielding of the Ebony Blade make him a formidable opponent to any villain, though the Ebony Blade’s power comes at the cost of infecting its user with a thirst for blood. It was speculated that Dane Whitman would have a major role in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Blade project, but this has since been thrown into question.
Blade Will Return In The MCU’s Phase 5
Mahershala Ali’s Eric Brooks, a.k.a. Blade, hasn’t yet had a proper introduction into the MCU, but Eternals’ post-credits scene marked the first voice cameo for the character. He seemed to be advising Dane Whitman against picking up the Ebony Blade, and his words might need heeding, as Blade himself boasts some remarkable powers. In Marvel Comics, Blade is a dhampir, half-human and half-vampire, which grants him abilities such as enhanced strength, speed, and agility, as well as rapid regeneration, practically every power a vampire exhibits without the aversion to sunlight, earning him his “Daywalker” title.
Pip The Troll Is The Strangest Eternals Character
Eternals reveals very little about Patton Oswalt’s Pip the Troll, who briefly appears in the film’s post-credits scene. Marvel Comics’ Pip started out with no powers, but frequent exposure to the Infinity Stones – particularly the Space Stone – eventually resulted in Pip gaining superhuman strength. More importantly, the Space Stone’s radiation gave Pip the ability to teleport himself, others, and even massive objects through space, which is glimpsed in Pip’s Eternals debut. What’s even more impressive is Pip’s cosmic awareness, which gives him the ability to locate any person in the universe.
Eros, A.K.A. Starfox, Is One Of Marvel’s Most Problematic Characters
Although Harry Styles’ debut as Eros, a.k.a. Starfox, in Eternals’ post-credits scene came as a shock to audiences, the character has yet to display any powers on-screen, and hasn’t been seen or mentioned since Eternals‘ 2021 release. In Marvel Comics, Starfox possesses enhanced strength, speed, and the longevity of any other Eternal, but he also carries a far more controversial power, as he is able to stimulate the pleasure centers of individuals’ brains, effectively allowing him to control their minds and their actions. This often makes the womanizer a hated character in Marvel Comics, so it will be interesting to see where the MCU takes him next.
How The MCU Eternals’ Powers Are Different From The Comics
In Marvel Comics, a group of Celestials came to Earth a million years ago and experimented on early humans, with these experiments leading to the creation of mutants, Deviants, and Eternals. In the MCU, however, the Eternals are revealed to be synthetic beings created to protect life and battle the Deviants. This might explain why the MCU’s Eternals are mostly only limited to one ability, whereas their comic counterparts can express several. The decision to change the Eternals’ origins in the MCU was controversial, but it’s possible that their future appearances in the MCU following Eternals could retcon or expand on this even further.