Eternals Director Praises Gemma Chan as Sersi in New Marvel Movie

Gemma Chan returns in her second Marvel Cinematic Universe role in Eternals later this year. After playing Minn-Erva in 2019's Captain Marvel, Chan is Sersi in Eternals. Sersi is one of the titular immortal beings. The film, directed by Chloe Zhao, sees her falling in love with the mortal Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), also known as the Avenger called Black Knight in the comics. It isn't often that an actor gets to play two roles in a massive franchise like the MCU, but it may have been worth bending the norms for Chan. Speaking to Vogue, Zhao raved about Chan's performance as Seri in Eternals.

"It has always been a passion for me to create a nuanced female superhero that is rarely seen in this genre," Zhao told the magazine in an email. "Gemma was very interested in this idea as well and took on the challenge. She is a great actress. Very intelligent and brave. She brought a beautiful sense of gentleness, compassion and vulnerability to Sersi that I believe will invite viewers to rethink what it means to be heroic."

Chans seems as surprised to be returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as anyone else. "First of all, I never expected to be back in the MCU," Chan tells Vogue. "So that was a surprise. And then to be working with an East Asian female director – I would never have dreamt of that, even just a few years ago."

As for who Sersi is, Chan says, "Sersi is not your typical superhero: she's not necessarily the best fighter, she doesn't have the most obviously impressive powers. The main thing is she's an empath. She has a connection with humans, and with the world and the earth. That is her strength, so I leant into that."

Marvel Studios first scheduled Eternals to premiere in November 2020. The studio delayed the film's release an entire year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The film's first trailer suggests it will have a different look and tone than the average Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Kit Harington backed up that notion with comments during a recent interview.

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"I'm a big fan of the MCU. So when they come knocking it's very exciting," Harington said during an interview on SiriusXM. "The character, I won't go into why he interests me, because it's more than my life is worth to tell you. But what did interest me about that piece was that it as Chloe Zhao directing. I met her and spoke with her and was so impressed by her. The cast was sort of phenomenal and wide-ranging and diverse. It just looked like they were doing something really different with this movie. I can't tell you much about it but we filmed it pre-pandemic. And it's coming out finally, it was sort of frustrating that it got pushed back so much. But now I'll be going on and doing some press for that soon and it's really exciting."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Eternals opens in theaters on November 5th.