'Eternals' Trailer Breakdown: Marvel Reaches Back Thousands of Years for a Cosmic Comic Book Epic

The final trailer for Marvel’s Eternals arrived this morning, finally giving us a much better idea of the film’s plot and how it fits into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions and details that are not clearly defined. Thankfully, we’ve got a detailed and thorough Eternals trailer breakdown to dig in a little deeper into Marvel’s latest blockbuster, but for those who maybe want to go into the movie with blinders on, beware of potential spoilers.

The trailer opens with this beautiful shot of Salma Hayek riding through an open field. Though Marvel honcho Kevin Feige was previously mocked for being impressed by the kind of shots director Chloe Zhao achieved without visual effects, you can see why this kind of cinematography is so refreshing. It’s genuinely picturesque rather than being manufactured by a VFX company, and it’s not always common to see these kind of settings in blockbuster movies like this.

Salma Hayek plays Ajak, one of the Eternals who have been on Earth for thousands of years. And she’s not just part of the team – she’s their leader. She’s said to have a deeper understanding of the Celestials who tasked them with protecting Earth from predators known as Deviants, who feed on the life of growing planets. On top of the standard strength and cosmic powers that all the Eternals possess, she also has the ability to heal people.

She’s meeting with Ikaris (Richard Madden) in this scene. Initially, it feels like Ajak is coming to Ikaris at this ranch in the middle of nowhere, but she’s the one who looks like she actually belongs in this setting. Plus, there’s something about Ikaris that feels like he’s being set up as someone who may end up betraying the team. But more on that later.

Ajak explains that when all of the life that Thanos snapped out of existence was suddenly brought back, the energy surge caused by such a large return of the universe’s population was enough to bring about something she refers to as “the emergence.” Whatever this is, it doesn’t sound good, and the Eternals only have seven days before something ominous happens to Earth.

As Ajak talks about “the emergence,” a small streak can be seen heading to Earth, and, upon crashing into the planet, creates a tidal wave that surges from the ocean and onto land. Whatever this emergence is bringing, it’s likely to wreak havoc on the planet.

After the Marvel Studios logo, we appear to get a brief glimpse at the origin of the Eternals. Voiceover provided by Gemma Chan (who plays Sersi, a member of the cosmic superhero team) introduces the titular characters through brief exposition. As Chan speaks, we see all of the characters standing around some kind of communication device featuring the image of a Celestial, the cosmic beings who created the Eternals.

We see Ajak receiving a glowing, golden sphere in her body, creating a flicker in her eyes, almost as if the Eternals are being activated for their mission. Are the Eternals nothing more than hollow vessels who harness the power of the Celestials? Why do they appear human? Perhaps the Eternals take the form of whatever planet they’ve been assigned to protect from the Deviants.

A shot reveals the Eternals’ triangular ship as it presumably brings them to Earth, flying past the sun of our own solar system. This is likely all part of the beginning of the movie where we learn all about the purpose of the Eternals and why they’ve been around for so long.

On Earth, another gorgeous, seemingly practical shot sees one of the Eternals floating down to join four other members of the team.

As Sersi explains that the Eternals arrived on Earth over 7,000 years ago to protect humans from the Deviants, a nasty creature emerges from the beach. This is clearly one of the Deviants, however, it would appear that this is a flashback rather than part of the emergence that has followed the undoing of Thanos’ plans.

We then see Richard Madden as Ikaris, blasting at the Deviant with a blast of energy from his eyes, not unlike the laser vision that Superman possesses. He’s wearing the Eternals cosmic wardrobe rather than the more traditional clothing that we see him wearing in more modern day settings.

Ikaris can also be seen flying towards the creature as it spreads its wings and emerges from the ocean in full-on attack mode.

Before this creature rises out of the water, there’s this shot of a boy. He appears to be looking at the Eternals as they stand in the distance in the wide shot above. Though this sequence makes it seem as if this is just before the attack of the Deviant, you’ll notice that the creature already appears to be dispatched with in the background, lying lifeless in the water. The clothing that the boy is wearing shows us that we’re looking at an ancient civilization of humans rather than the modern day attack.

Speaking of modern day, this is when we come into the present day Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we see who Sersi has been talking to. It’s Game of Thrones star Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, a human who Sersi is dating as she currently lives life on Earth as a museum curator, something that would likely be frowned up by the Celestials.

It would appear that Dane Whitman has just learned who Sersi really is, which is why he asks why the Eternals didn’t help deal with Thanos or prevent any of the major disasters that have happened throughout history. After this question is asked, we see this shot of fire burning around pyramids, presumably the result of a war. These appear to be the pyramids of either the Aztecs, Incas, or Mayans.

Another shot shows a massive plume of smoke rising into the sky. This might be the explosion of the first nuclear bomb dropped on Japan during World War II, a devastating moment in history.

In a shot that follows, Ajak embraces Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), who can be seen crying. The background appears to show an environment that has been almost completely destroyed, which makes me think that something devastating has hit the Eternals hard. They’re carrying the burden of all of history’s tragedies and the emotional trauma that comes with not being able to interfere despite having the ability prevent all of this tragedy.

After Sersi explains to Dane Whitman that they instructed to avoid interference with any human conflicts unless Deviants were involved, the human asks who gave them that mandate. She doesn’t answer, but we see this massive, red Celestial in space, and they’re the ones who tasked the Eternals with protecting the planet from the Deviants.

Now that the Deviants appear to be making their way back to Earth, Ikaris has taken up the task of finding the rest of the Eternals. Though they’ve been on Earth for 7,000 years, they didn’t all stay together this entire time. So we run through a quick introduction of those who are scattered across the planet.

First, there’s Druig (Brian Keoghan), who has been said to have lost faith in humanity. That sounds like the makings of a possible secret villain, but I’m willing to bet that’s misdirection and the true villain within actually lies elsewhere.

Then we have Sprite (Lia McHugh). Though she appears to be a feisty child, she’s just as old as the rest of the Eternals. In the comics, she’s been villainous and mischievous from time to time, so there’s another possibility for a villain to emerge.

And here’s Angelina Jolie as Thena, who has isolated herself in the desert. She doesn’t look too pleased to see the rest of the Eternals finding her.

By the time we reunite with Thena, we see that Ikaris has already rounded up Sersi, Sprite, and Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), so perhaps this is the midway point of the film. Thena gives off a vibe that she might be the hardest one to convince to get back into action.

Another shot shows a volcano erupting on an island, perhaps another historical event where the Eternals were present but found themselves unable to interfere due to the instructions of the Celestials. Is it just me or do you think that this mandate by the Celestials might be enough for the Eternals to turn on them for making them party to such devastation?

Even though Eternals promises to be one of the most epic stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the trademark humor is still present. Phastos tells Druig, “You know what’s never saved the planet? Your sarcasm.”

In a quick shot, we get a better look at Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, though we don’t see her much throughout the rest of the footage in this trailer. When does she come back into the fray?

Throughout their time on Earth, the Eternals had to find a place for their ship to remain out of sight. Phastos appears to be the one who dealt with that situation, opting to hide it beneath the ground in the middle of the desert. He uses his cosmic abilities to summon it from under the earth and we get a glimpse at how his powers are visualized, and they look like the mystical powers displayed by Doctor Strange.

The ship rises from the Earth in grand fashion, but what will that ship be like inside after all these years? Is the power of the Eternals sophisticated enough to keep the ship from falling into disarray after 7,000 years of being buried underground?

Here’s that hero shot of all the Eternals. Since they’re still wearing their cosmic wardrobe, this shot likely comes from early in the movie after their initial arrival on Earth, likely after their first encounter with the Deviants thousands of years ago.

In voiceover from Thena, we hear, “We’ve loved these people since the day we arrived.” And a quick succession of shots shows them interacting with humans from thousands of years ago, creating a bond with them, which likely makes watching them perish and destroy themselves over centuries that much harder to endure. Sprite can be seen putting on a display of fireworks here.

Another shot shows Sersi lovingly interacting with some young girls, clearly touched by their humanity, which is perhaps why she ended up dating a human like Dane Whitman. However, as the first trailer showed us, she seemed to have a long-standing romance with Ikaris, which is something else that makes us think he’ll be jaded by the time we catch up with him in Eternals, perhaps fueling a frustration with humanity.

The voiceover continues, “When you love something, you protect it.” We see Sersi stopping a double decker bus from flying towards her and Dane Whitman, turning it into a flurry of flower petals. This is probably where Sersi has to reveal her true self to Dane, likely after an attack by a Deviant.

Here, we get a look at what appears to be the inside of the Eternals ship. Check out those cosmic spirals!

We’re not sure if what follows is something that’s inside the massive ship or not, but we’re treated to this stunning look at these shining crystals that lie within a massive, beautiful structure that appears to be glowing with power.

Sersi stands in front of this gorgeous trove of crystals, and we’re not sure exactly what’s happening here. Is this some kind of source of energy within the ship?

Back to the more traditional superhero fare! Kingo can be seen blasting away at a Deviant with energy shooting out of his fingers. You’ll notice this also appears to be part of the flashback to the Eternals arriving on Earth thousands of years ago.

We get a shot of another Celestial, this time a green one. He appears to be creating something as cosmic dust swirls around his hands. Perhaps this is part of the origin of the Eternals that explains where our titular heroes came from.

Back on Earth, Thena unleashes a shield and spear, utilizing the powers bestowed upon her by the Celestials. It looks like an elegant cross between the abilities of Doctor Strange and Green Lantern, and we see her sliding around and wielding similar weapons as she fights a Deviant alongside Gilgamesh (Don Lee), who is barely seen in this trailer.

Among a few quick shots of action, there’s this flash of Ikaris dramatically screaming as he blasts energy from his eyes off-screen. This appears to be from the same sequence where Ajak informs him of the Deviants returning. What could cause such a drastic reaction from Ikaris? Anyone else think that he kills Ajak here? After all, there are no shots of Ajak with the rest of the team in a contemporary setting. And if Ikaris had a secret agenda to betray the Eternals, wouldn’t getting rid of the one team member with the ability to heal others be a crucial blow?

Back on what appears to be a cavern on Earth, a hulking human-like creature holds Thena in its grasp. A menacing voiceover says, “You can’t protect any of them.”

The source of the voice is revealed to be a humanoid Deviant rather than the snarling creatures we’ve seen before. Could this be the primary Deviant villain? It matches up with leaked concept art that made its away online awhile back, so that seems to be the right assumption.

The trailer closes with a lot more energy blasting action as Ikrais can be seen in his modern clothing, flying through the air and shooting at another winged Deviant.

The fight leads onto the ground of the jungle, where the nasty creature gets ahold of Ikaris as he struggles to bring his energy around to blast the Deviant. If Ikaris really does turn out to be a villain, he’s certainly putting up a hell of a fight against the Deviants. So maybe that speculation is way off base. We’ll have to wait and see.

Finally, we end with an amusing stinger that finds Ikaris assuming that Phastos has secured his dwelling with strong materials, guessing that a simple table in his house is made of vibranium before watching it break under his fist. But let’s be honest, that IKEA furniture probably would have crumbled if it was punched by a normal human.

Eternals is slated to arrive in theaters on November 5, 2021.

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