Marvel's Eternals made its way into theaters earlier this year, introducing an entirely new corner of mythos for the Marvel Cinematic Universe onto the big screen. A lot of elements about the Chloe Zhao-helmed film surprised audiences, from the otherworldly approach to its mythos down to its multiple post-credits sequences. The film's actual ending — which saw several members of the Eternals be abducted from Earth to face off against the Celestial Arishem — was definitely among them, but according to Zhao, it almost got much darker. In a recent interview with Empire, Zhao revealed that the film's ending was changed while in the editing process, and that the original concept was even more "bleak", ending with the surviving members of the Eternals having their memories wiped and being forced to start over on another planet.
"No. I have never made a film where the ending is what I wrote! You find it in the edit," Zhao explained. "Editing is a third of the filmmaking process, and when you show it to people, that's when you find the ending. I don't think I've made a single film where the opening and ending stay the same as the script, just because the scenes are fluid as we shoot. And we actually had another ending that is really bleak. Bleak. I didn't hate it, because I'm used to films that are more melancholy. But I don't think it went down well with audiences."
"It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like The Twilight Zone," Zhao continued. "I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, 'I don't know what to do.' And also, it's the MCU, and you want to be excited for what's next."
It's safe to say that that originally-planned ending would have been even more jarring than what fans ultimately got, and would have added an interesting layer to any of the characters' potential future appearances. As the film's producer, Nate Moore, explained just prior to the film's release, Marvel wasn't necessarily approaching Eternals as if it would require a sequel.
"It's not something that is a must-have," Moore explained to The Toronto Sun. "Obviously, we have ideas of where we could go, but there isn't a hard and fast rule where we have to have three of these things and this is the first."