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The Disturbing Implications Of Marvel’s ‘Eternals’

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Marvel’s Eternals might not have made much of a splash in pop culture, but the film has made a massive impact on the Marvel universe, laying out the theological structure of the MCU, and revealing some surprisingly dark truths in the process. 

God is Dead, and the Eternals Killed Him

The film adapts the cosmic mythology Jack Kirby created for Marvel, introducing the Celestials to the MCU – gargantuan, all-powerful deities that are responsible for the creation of entire galaxies, and subsequently, all sentient life in the universe.

When you think about it, this completely obliterates the concept of in-universe organized religion (not that faith has ever had much of a role in the MCU, but still). Marvel’s mythology is amusingly bleak, a universe in which gods very much exist, but do not care about humanity, at all; Celestials certainly aren’t listening to prayers or staging divine interventions. 

Even their angels (the Eternals) protect humanity in the way shepherds protect their flock from wolves, ensuring that the Deviants don’t eat more than they should.

In the MCU, our planet and everything that lives on it exists only as an energy source for a birthing Celestial, destined to hatch from Earth’s core; hence, on a cosmic scale, humanity is little more than a clump of egg yolk. 

It’s the kind of reveal that would break the brain of an H.P. Lovecraft protagonist, a strangely nihilistic perspective for a family-friendly film franchise, especially one rooted in power fantasies.

However, humanity’s soul-crushing insignificance is (kind of) reversed during the film’s climax, where the Eternals brutally murder the Celestial infant, halfway out of its womb, under the conviction that Earthlings are superior to the rest of the universe.

By killing the newborn Celestial and saving our planet, the Eternals understand that they are sacrificing future galaxies that will never be conceived by said Celestial. But the film never really explains why Cersei and her fellow Eternals view humankind as special enough to break these sacred rules; most of the team’s encounters with humanity focus on our penchant for war, cruelty, and genocide. 

From what we see in the film, Cersei seems to have only one solid reason to want to save humanity – she has a human boyfriend. Kit Harington barely appeared in the film, and displayed zero character traits beyond being teased as the future Black Knight, but nevertheless, he might just be the most important character in the MCU. 

Without Harington, Marvel’s Earth would surely have been splintered into smithereens and digested by a Celestial, as it was supposed to.