Eternals posted an American Sign Language Alphabet for Deaf History Month. Of course, the Marvel Studios movie led to a number of viewers getting interested in ASL. A number of sources reported that there was a 250% spike in search traffic for "learn sign language for beginners" that happened over the last year. Lauren Ridloff's Makkari had a lot to do with that. In addition to her performance, there were increased screenings with captions so that more audiences could enjoy the movie.
This inclusion was so popular that Marvel Studios says that they're going to keep it around for future releases. So, Chloe Zhao's movie ended up making some real difference for fans who wanted to be able to experience Eternals in a way where they could completely enjoy the movie. On the graphic the Disney+ account posted, you can see all the characters hovering next to Makkari. Any students still brushing up on the individual letters probably saved this helpful little post for later.
Marvel Studios knew this would be a big moment for a lot of people. Ridloof understood she would be a trailblazer in this film as the first deaf superhero that Marvel brought to the big screen. Last year, she talked to The New York Times about Eternals and how being a deaf performer inflenced her time on the film's set.
"I got to set believing that I had to show how easy I am to work with as a deaf person," Ridloff said when asked about her comfort level with asking for help on set. "I was concerned about seeming too fragile. But after working with others, I realized everyone has their own unique set of challenges, and that I need to think about what I need to deliver as an actor, and don't apologize for it." She continued, "Hollywood is finally figuring out why it's so important to have representation, and now it's more about how. That's the part that's more tricky. We need to have deaf writers and creative talent involved in the process of planning film projects from the beginning. When you have deaf experts within and on the stage, from the crew to makeup artists, it feels like that naturally leads to more authentic representation onscreen."
"Growing up, I didn't dream about becoming an actor. I didn't see myself on the screen. As a little girl, I thought I was one of only a few deaf people walking on this Earth. Now, as an adult, I'm aware there are at least 466 million deaf people and hard-of-hearing people out there. I'm not the only one. And that's what it means to have a deaf superhero – a lot more people will see a lot more possibility," Ridloff revealed.
Did you look into ASL because of the movie? Let us know down in the comments!