Not only is the upcoming Eternals going to change how we look at the on-screen history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this point, but it will also mark the biggest debuting roster of heroes in the franchise's history. 10 brand new heroes are coming to the MCU with the arrival of Eternals this weekend, not to mention the arrival of Dane Whitman, who could be taking up the mantle of Black Knight in the future. Even without Dane becoming a hero in this movie, 10 super-powered beings in one film is a lot, but there was actually a version of the script that had even more.
Director Chloe Zhao's initial plan was to introduce not 10, but 12 new heroes with Eternals, all of them belonging to the ancient race of Earth's protectors. While speaking to Fandom, Zhao explained that there were a dozen main characters in Eternals originally, but they ended up getting rid of two as development went on.
"There was 12 characters when I first read it; 12 Eternals," Zhao explained. "We had to let two go along the way."
A dozen new heroes in one movie is a daunting task, but 10 is no joke either. It takes a lot of balance not only to give all of those characters meaningful time on-screen, but to also introduce their backstories and develop their motives.
For Zhao, it wasn't about making sure each character was in front of the camera for the exact same amount of time, but making sure each of them could do the most with the time that they were given.
"Some characters don't need the most screen time, it's about what they do with the screen time," Zhao explained. "They have to be memorable. And when we looked at these 10 unique individuals, we thought about how they represent 10 aspects of human nature. They've been here for so long, who they become today is a big part of who we are. And so it was actually equally important that they remain memorable. All 10 of them had the same weight; not necessarily screen time, but the weight."
With the Eternals characters becoming established as a part of the MCU moving forward, nothing says those two characters that had to be removed won't pop back up down the line.
Eternals arrives in theaters on November 5th.