- Eternals set up four major MCU storylines: Arishem’s return, the aftermath of Tiamut’s birth, Eros’ arrival, and Dane Whitman’s team-up with Blade.
- The only Eternals set-up that may be paid off soon is the potential conflict over Tiamut’s birth, which could involve Captain America and the Thunderbolts dealing with an international fight for adamantium.
- Eternals‘ mixed reception has reduced the likelihood of a sequel, and the MCU’s multiversal focus makes it unlikely for the Eternals and their cliffhangers to have a big role in the near future.
Out of the four storylines Eternals set up back in Phase 4, the MCU might only be addressing one in the near future. The Eternals are usually a very distant and self-contained group of characters in the Marvel Comics universe. They influence the world in silence and rarely interact with teams like the Avengers. Likewise, the MCU’s Eternals have secretly pulled the strings behind human history for centuries, yet their actions have been attributed to other mythological or historical figures throughout the years.
It’s only until the Eternals fight Ikaris and the Deviants in the present day that their presence begins to be felt in the MCU. The events of Chloé Zhao’s Eternals tease a few future changes not only for the team but also for the rest of the world. More specifically, Eternals‘ cliffhanger ending and post-credits scenes set up multiple MCU stories that seem crucial for future movies and shows. However, almost two full years after Eternals‘ release, the MCU is yet to acknowledge any of these loose ends.
Eternals Set Up 4 Massive MCU Stories
The Eternals’ battle against Ikaris and the Deviants ultimately resulted in the Tiamut’s sabotaged birth and Arishem’s sudden appearance above Earth. Such massive events are joined by Eternals‘ two post-credits scenes — one where Blade advises Black Knight not to wield the Ebony Blade, and one where Thanos’ brother Eros a.k.a. Starfox reveals himself. The latter two haven’t been acknowledged because the MCU’s current slate doesn’t have any releases where it makes sense for Dane Whitman, Blade, and Eros to appear. However, Arishem’s birth and Tiamut’s appearances should be massive events that capture the entire world’s attention, yet only She-Hulk: Attorney At Law addressed Tiamut in a blink-and-you-miss-it easter egg.
Only One Eternals Tease Looks Like Being Paid Off In The MCU
Apart from Tiamut’s small reference in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, it’s possible for Captain America: Brave New World and Thunderbolts to revisit the Celestial’s birth. Fan theories suggest that Tiamut could be the MCU’s first source of adamantium, which could become a highly coveted material for shady MCU individuals and organizations. In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine supported these theories by revealing her interest in providing the U.S. government with its own version of vibranium. Naturally, Captain America and the Thunderbolts seem like ideal characters to deal with international conflicts over Tiamut.
Otherwise, the rest of storylines set up by Eternals don’t seem to be moving anywhere anytime soon. Arishem’s promise of future judgment is a storyline too big to resume in an MCU title that isn’t Eternals 2 — a project unlikely to be developed in the next few years due to the MCU’s already crowded slate and the first movie’s mixed reception. Blade has gone through various scripts, but none of them seem to feature Kit Harington’s Black Knight or the Ebony Blade. And apart from Harry Styles’ faltering acting career, Eros’ arrival doesn’t seem likely to influence any part of the MCU outside a limited group of Eternals.
Why The MCU Is Ignoring Eternals
Eternals‘ mixed reception reduced the likelihood of the titular heroes’ return in upcoming MCU movies and shows, and Eternals 2 isn’t a project Marvel Studios seems to be interested in for the next few years. But the fact that Chloé Zhao’s Eternals teased so many ambitious storylines is surprising by itself, as the Eternals aren’t particularly known for influencing the Marvel Universe too much in the source material. These two factors, combined with the large number of new and returning MCU characters taking center stage during the Multiverse Saga, have sidelined the Eternals and their Phase 4 cliffhangers.
The MCU’s focus has also shifted to multiversal stories, and titles such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Loki, and Deadpool 3 offer the added value of nostalgia and fanfare with the return of beloved actors and the introduction of exciting alternate realities. So, even though cliffhangers as big as Tiamut’s birth and Arishem’s appearance promise big changes for the MCU, they don’t have the same priority as set-ups like Loki‘s Sacred Timeline destruction and characters like Kang the Conqueror. Eventually, Eternals‘ various set-ups may be revisited, but they might not end up being as transcendental as the 2021 movie suggested they would be.