Marvel's Eternals trailer left a lot of Marvel Cinematic Universe with one big, glaring, question: where were the Eternals when the Avengers had to battle Thanos? The Eternals trailer has a lot of hints about that answer, and those clues have led us to theory: Steve Rogers/Captain America is the reason why the Eternals have been absent in the MCU through Phases 1-3 - including the Battle of New York and Thanos' Snap with the Infinity Gauntlet. The theory is a bit more involved than that (as you can see below), but there are already too many connections between Captain America and the Eternals to ignore.
Eternals' Captain AmericaEaster Eggs
One of the major Easter eggs in the Eternals trailer is the appearance of multiple shields that look to be very much in the same style as Captain America's shield. One appears in a scene of Angelina Jolie's Thena doing battle, other shields can be seen in the background of Kingo's (Kumail Nanjiani) Bollywood dance number. A much more obvious connection is made when the Eternals actually name-drop "Captain Rogers" being "gone" in a scene included at the end of the trailer.
Who Created The First Superhero?
The Captain America references in the Eternals trailer have led to a popular fan theory: the Eternals had a hand in creating the world's first Super-Soldier and thereby kicked off a new Age of Heroes in the Marvel Universe.
A major part of Eternals story will clearly show how the immortal race helped humanity grow and achieve wonders - be they spiritual, medical, or technological. Fans have already started to surmise that things like Wakanda's Vibranium were able to mined and developed with guidance from the Eternals - and it's not hard to imagine that Brian Tyree Henry's character Phastos had a hand in that.
Phastos'character description reveals the cosmic inventor has secretly helped humanity progress technologically, and he would be the one MCU character best suited to know how to utilize the alien metal that is Vibranium. With the Eternals clearly being familiar with shields as weapons, it's not hard to imagine some of Phastos' designs eventually landing in the hands and/or inspiring someone like Howard Stark.
The same kind of theory can be applied to Abraham Erskine Super Soldier Serum. When you begin to look at the Eternals race and become aware of their role in Earth's history, it seems like a clear line of connection between their enhanced powers and the effects of the Super Soldier Serum. Agents of SHIELD revealed that there is indeed a "key ingredient" that makes Erskine's serum do its wonders - but what that ingredient is, and where it comes from, seems like an answer that could be traced back to The Eternals.
Why The Eternals Have Been Missing
So, let's assume all these connections between Captain America's creation, his shield, and the Eternals are true. In that kind of framework, the rise of Captain America would be a clear sign to the Eternals race that humanity was capable of spawning what we now call superheroes - and therefore didn't need the Eternals to guide and protect them, anymore. So they simply "retired."
Other clues within the Eternals trailer definitely seem to hint at writer Neil Gaiman's version of the Eternals lore, in which the immortal beings attempt to live normal mortal lives, with all memory of their true nature and powers wiped away by Sprite. It would make sense if the pivotal event of WWII and Captain America's role in ending it was the turning point that made the Eternals believe that humanity was ready to take the reins of defending itself.
It's an idea that was explored in The Avengers: Thor warns Nick Fury and the Avengers heroes that SHIELD's work with the Tesseract was a signal that Earth was ready for a higher form of war. And yet, the formation of The Avengers and their stand during the Battle of New York, also proved that Earth's superpowered beings were ready for that war. Again, Captain America and Hulk (created from a Super Soldier Serum variant) were key in winning that battle. They are ostensibly walking proof that the Eternals' guidance of humanity indeed led to the right kind of evolution of human potential.
If the rise of the world's first superhero (Captain America) gave the Eternals reason to retire as Earth's benevolent gods, it makes even more sense why they would be back now. After Avengers: Endgame both "Captain Rogers and Iron Man" are indeed gone; two figures that arguably represented the pinnacle of The Eternals' physical and technological gifts to humanity. In short: the Age of Heroes that Cap and Iron Man started is seemingly now at an end. And with that era over, it would make sense that the Eternals would have to 'come out of retirement to once again offer humanity a guiding hand.
What do you think of our Eternals and Captain America connection theory? Let us know in the comments.
Marvel's Eternals will be in theaters on November 5th.