The creators of Marvel Studios’ Eternals, Kaz and Ryan Firpo; claim that Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) was supposed to appear in the film’s end-credit sequence.
Overall, the Chloé Zhao-directed film was one of the more isolated entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe mythos; mainly avoiding famous names and events from earlier films. The film’s two end-credit sequences do relate to other parts of the Marvel universe; albeit they are forward-looking in that they introduce entirely new characters like Thanos’ brother; Starfox (Harry Styles), and the MCU’s version of the vampire hunter, Blade (Mahershala Ali).
In Eternals, no Avengers appear, which is an unusually daring choice for the franchise. Prior to Eternals, each of Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 projects had some connection to the overall Avengers storyline. The three initial Disney+ MCU programmes, as well as Black Widow; all focused on characters that had previously been introduced in the Avengers films.
Shang-Chi followed a completely new group of characters; yet it eventually connected to events and characters from prior films such as Iron Man 3 and Doctor Strange. The Eternals and their Celestial overlords are mostly isolated within the lore of the Eternals; and their Celestial overlords, which is a sharp departure from convention. While the absence of legacy characters is one of Zhao’s most distinctive features, it was not originally the intention.
Eternals authors Kaz and Ryan Firpo revealed their abandoned ideas for the film’s end-credit sequences in a recent interview with Screen Rant. Early versions of the film included an appearance by “Sam [Wilson] […] at the very, very end, in one of the post-credits”. The writers, however, scrapped this notion in order to postpone the satisfaction of seeing the Eternals link up with their Avengers-affiliated counterparts. Here’s the rest of the excerpt:
“I think we’re happening more or less concurrently with Falcon and Winter Soldier…”
“There was a version where Sam [Wilson] turned up at the very, very end, in one of the post-credits, but I think it was something that… You’re going to see these worlds collide, but it’s gonna take a little bit longer than people are gonna expect.
Plus, I think in terms of the timeline, we just lost Tony, we just lost Cap, Natasha’s gone; Hulk is currently working on himself I think to make himself human rather than smart Hulk; so I think that all the Avengers were just pretty busy.
I think we’re happening more or less concurrently with Falcon and Winter Soldier; so everyone’s got their hands full; and I think you’re gonna start to see the groundwork has been laid for something that’s gonna happen in a very big way soon.”
The other Avengers were unable to appear because they “were just pretty busy,” they continue. And the question of “where was X hero during this movie?” will always be asked, given the interrelated nature of expanding superhero cinematic universes. The rush of post-Endgame storylines in the last year; courtesy to Marvel Studios’ extraordinary ability to juggle their various projects, makes the Firpos’ argument pretty credible.
The decision by the authors to leave out Avengers cameos from Eternals will surely pay off in the future. Despite the film’s extended runtime and a large cast of characters; the first meeting between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy became one of the most famous scenes. The first meeting between the Eternals and the Avengers, hopefully; will be as remarkable.