Eternals, according to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, is a love letter to the original comic’s author, Jack Kirby. Many people praised Eternals for its astounding graphics, epic scope, and emotional depth during its world debut in Los Angeles.
The film tells the story of an immortal alien race, known as Eternals; who reunite after thousands of years in hiding on Earth in order to battle an evil force known as Deviants. The film is based on Jack Kirby’s The Eternals comic book; which was initially published in 1976.
Kirby, along with Stan Lee, is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in comic book history; with works such as The Fantastic Four, Thor, Black Panther, and Silver Surfer among his many accomplishments. Kirby passed away in 1996, but The Eternals comic has continued and is currently in its fifth volume.
Directed by Chloe Zhao, the MCU’s Eternals stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Barry Keoghan, Lauren Ridloff, Kumail Nanjiani, Don Lee, Lia McHugh, and Bryan Tyree Henry. Feige talks about how the film pays homage to Kirby and the debt the film owes to the iconic comic creator in an interview with THR.
The Marvel President also laments the fact that Kirby was never alive to see how successful and influential his stories would become a part of the MCU. Eternals, like much of the MCU as a whole, began with one man’s ideas and his implementation of those concepts in comic book form, according to Feige. Read the rest of Feige’s statement below:
“…Jack Kirby Passed Away Before He Got to See Any of This.”
“The whole movie is a love letter to what one man was able to do with a pencil, sitting at a little desk on the East Coast. The other day I was like, ‘How cool that I live in the timeline where William Shatner went to space in real life?’ One of the bummers, you could argue there are many, of the current timeline that we live in, is that Jack Kirby passed before he got to see any of this.”
Early reviews say that Eternals stands out visually from many other Marvel films; and that Zhao’s gentle touch elevates the film above and beyond; what is typically anticipated of superhero fiction. These initial replies support the theory that Eternals is a love letter to Kirby; as well as the premise that a single man with a pencil and an idea can transform the world.
Films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are sometimes chastised for feeling too similar to one another; but Feige’s comments and early reviews suggest that Eternals will be a more singular and unique vision than prior instalments.
It’s unfortunate, as Feige points out, that Kirby never saw the true potential of his creations like Stan Lee did. It’s possible that, if he’d still been alive; Jack Kirby would have made cameo appearances in MCU films; much as he did with Lee.
Given that the MCU is currently in its fourth phase; it would be fantastic to see the studio actually allow individual filmmakers to imprint their mark on films; as Zhao appears to have done with Eternals. While the film has yet to be seen by the general public, it is hoped that when it is released on November 5th; it will seem like a love letter to a truly influential and game-changing figure.