In spite of a decade of immense mainstream success, Marvel Studios‘ commitment to odder cinematic experiments has, thankfully, actually paid off. The company has so far managed to introduce fringe characters among their roster of popular favorites. The result? A wonderful marriage of divergent factions like the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy in order to tell a richly interlaced superhero narrative of cosmic proportions.
The more we dig into any Marvel Cinematic Universe property these days, the more we are likely to find riveting questions left unanswered, storytelling possibilities that need unpacking and warrant potential spinoffs. Thus, although the game-changing mega-event that is Avengers: Endgame is right around the corner and on every fan’s mind, fascinating mysteries already await us in the next phase of the MCU.
Because beyond the (presumably) eventual return of established favorites like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Black Widow in Phase Four, fresh players are coming into play as well. The Eternals — a group of superpowered, immortal beings created by cosmic gods called the Celestials — are among them, and they’re getting their own eponymous movie.
We’ve known for a while that Marvel isn’t pulling any punches with The Eternals‘ creative team. As FSR previously covered, Matthew and Ryan Firpo (Ruin) are penning The Eternals screenplay, while illustrious indie filmmaker Chloé Zhao (The Rider) will serve as director. Now, the Hollywood Reporter has announced that Angelina Jolie could be landing a key role in the film, shining an even brighter spotlight on a project filled with fairly obscure characters.
Jolie is apparently negotiating to star in The Eternals but, as per typical Marvel protocol, for now we have absolutely no idea who she’d be playing. Notably, though, a rumored love story between two Eternals could feature as a prominent arc in the film. The characters in question are Ikaris and Sersi, both of whom are Eternals of Earth (as opposed to the ones created on Skrull or Kree homeworlds).
Despite the fact that the MCU will likely take plenty of liberties with this IP, a few introductions are in order. Enhanced by cosmic energy, Ikaris is virtually immortal and invulnerable. He has the ability to withstand physical extremes, levitate, and expel cosmic beams from his eyes or hands. In the comics, his skills are further amplified by his subsequent status as a Prime Eternal, a leader among those residing on Earth.
In comparison, Sersi has similar Eternal abilities. She exhibits superhuman strength, durability, immortality, and flight — among other powers. However, Sersi has a particular knack for atom and molecule manipulation, being the only Eternal who has reached Fifth-Level adeptness in the skill (on a scale of one to five).
Sersi’s general demeanor allows her to stand out from the crowd a little more, too, due to her ease and willingness to live among humans. She develops this connection from an early age, and as a result, she repeatedly appears to be a part of several historically significant events in Ancient Greece, Rome, and Camelot.
Many years later, Sersi’s modern-day exploits continue to highlight her loyalty to the Eternals. She even becomes an Avenger for a period of time, replacing a fellow Eternal who was gravely injured.
Tell me that’s not the kind of role that Jolie would knock out of the park. There’s a sense of individualism and empathy in Sersi’s characterization that requires the intense compassion that we know the actress possesses. On screen, this quiet ache for understanding humanity has been a signature in many of Jolie’s character-driven productions, such as By the Sea and even — when considering its darker themes — Disney’s Maleficent.
Still, it is important to point out that Sersi isn’t exactly untroubled as a character, either; her stint with the Avengers in the comics makes this particularly noticeable. When it comes to Jolie possibly depicting that side of her, that would be a no-brainer, too. Look no further than at her dark, gritty Hollywood beginnings (in Gia and Girl, Interrupted, for example) that easily complement a penchant for close character study.
Sersi wouldn’t be the only Eternal that Jolie would suit. Sadly, there aren’t very many prominent women in this comic offshoot as it is, but the warrior and scholar Thena is another possible part for her to play. Like Sersi and Ikaris, Thena possesses a plethora of unbeatable superpowers ranging from energy manipulation, telepathy, and physical prowess. The character has admirable power and stature due to her being the daughter of Zuras, a leader of the Eternals of Earth.
Lineage ends up being a vital factor in Thena’s overarching storyline. Apart from her relationship with her father, a bulk of her arc circles a forbidden romance. Thena and the villain Kro — a being who is part of the Deviant subgroup of evolved superpowered humanoids that were also established by the Celestials — have come face-to-face in combat many times in the past. Ultimately, they realize a mutual attraction to one another. Eventually, Thena and Kro’s union not only results in a complicated murky alliance; the couple conceives twin children, as well, who are often endangered.
Perhaps iterations of more minor characters, such as the engineered Titan Eternal Elysius, may find its way into The Eternals, too. As far as Jolie is concerned, the meatier parts are obviously a better fit. She hasn’t appeared in a live-action feature since 2015’s By the Sea. Of course, a few other projects tease an impending comeback on screen.
Nevertheless, Jolie’s perpetual selectiveness of recent years leads me to believe that she would — or at least should — aim for substantial roles like Sersi and Thena. They would make for the most epic Marvel debut.