Eternals director Chloé Zhao is very clearly a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Marvel Comics and the films they have inspired. As seen in the interview video above, Zhao is quick to spot a helmet for Nova, one of Marvel's cosmic heroes who has yet to gain any mainstream traction having not been featured in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet. So, it should come as no surprise that Zhao is aware of some rumors surrounding her Eternals movie about characters like Thanos appearing. When it comes to excluding Marvel heroes and villains that audiences have already met in the MCU, it was not such an easy task to stay away from some of Zhao's favorites.
"As a fan girl, I love Thanos. He is one of my favorites," Zhao told ComicBook.com. "I feel bad that I'm kind of with him a lot of times, and I feel really bad when he became the dust in the wind. Of course, I would love to, but it was a discipline of the team, and Marvel, and [Ryan and Kaz Firpo] who created the story with the team, we stand alone as a movie. It's important at this stage of the MCU to take a step back and it's scary and it's very brave for them to have that discipline."
Rumors of Thanos appearing in Eternals have been swirling for quite some time. In fact, they even reached Thanos creator Jim Starlin, who acknowledged them on ComicBook.com's MCU podcast Phase Zero. Thanos, after all, is an Eternal with the Deviant gene in comics and this movie pits its titular immortal hero against Deviants so it was never a wild idea for him to appear in the film which takes place over the course of 7,000 years.
This all does not mean Eternals does not have its teases and ties to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Throughout the film, there are several references to events and characters that the audience has seen or met already. The film's Kingo actor Kumail Nanjiani explained how some of those connections and moments made their way into the film.
"Chloé had it all mapped out, and she had a very specific sense of... Because the thing is, Eternals have sort of been in hiding, right? So they haven't been going around talking to Ironman and Captain America and all those people," Nanjiani told ComicBook.com. "They've been pretending to be normal human beings. But it makes sense that my character would have met another character who's not from earth either. I'm trying to be vague. I don't know what I'm allowed to say or not. So, I think that was all part of the stuff, so that even though Eternals really is a standalone movie, you want to feel the presence and the reality of the rest of the MCU around it. And Chloe is such a nerd with an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel and the MCU. So she was really excited about dropping these references in."
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(Photo by Dominique Charriau/Getty Images For Disney)