Marvel's Eternals will reveal an ancient race of god-like beings that have been influencing humanity since ancient times, while potentially also offering explanations about the fantastical powers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Indeed, the most interesting thing about Eternals right now are the multitude of fans theories about what other Marvel properties and heroes the film will open the door for. One theory looks at how Eternals will be connected to Captain America's mythos, but the other popular theory is that the movie version of Eternals will also introduce mutants to the MCU, as a way of setting up Marvel Studios' X-Men franchise.
Earth's Evolution In The MCU
There's been a notable change to the Eternals in their MCU movie adaptation, which has been made abundantly clear in the opening of the teaser trailer: the Eternals are aliens. As the synopsis for Eternals tells it:
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), an unexpected tragedy forces the Eternals, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years, out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's most ancient enemy, the Deviants.
In the comics, the Eternals were one of two ancient races created on Earth by the Celestials, the other being the Deviants. A lot of Marvel fan theories have pinpointed this change to the lore as being purposeful; it's thought that Marvel Studios wants to leave a wide-open lane for mutants to be the race of Earthlings that developed superpowers through evolution. However, the explanation for how mutants appear on Earth (and why they've stayed hidden) could come from Eternals' explanation of the god-like alien's "guidance" of humanity's evolution and development - but more importantly, the introduction of Eternals villains, the Deviants.
While the cavemen that became the Eternals developed into god-like and often gorgeous super-humanoids able to channel cosmic power, the Celestials Ziran and Gammenon engineered the Deviants to have unstable DNA. This destabilized DNA manifested in the Deviant species through wildly variating mutations, which often altered their human appearance. The Deviants had brutal rituals of culling the most monstrous mutations (named mutates) from the main tribe, as well as those who did not mutate enough.
Deviants' mutations resulted in a society far ahead of humanity's evolution, and for a time, the Deviants ruled all of Earth (save Atlantis) from their capital of Lemuria. The Deviants were nearly wiped out when the Celestials returned to check on their creations, releasing a bomb that wiped out Lemuria and sank Atlantis. The surviving Deviants built a society beneath the Earth, eventually striking a truce with the Eternals - one they eventually broke, when the Celestials returned to judge humanity in modern times.
There's a lot in the Deviants' history that seems like it will both form the storyline of Eternals and set up a lot of MCU characters and properties to come. The Fourth Host storyline of the Celestials coming to Earth in modern times seems like the potential crux of the Eternals movie conflict - namely, the Eternals "waking up" from erased memories to take on the Deviants and stop the Celestials from wiping out Earth. There's an obvious opportunity to introduce Atlantis and its history in Eternals, which would introduce the undersea kingdom's anti-hero ruler, Namor. Namor is often credited with being Marvel's first mutant, but there's also another who holds that title (chronologically speaking): Apocalypse.
The First Mutant
Apocalypse (aka En Sabah Nuir) was born in ancient Egypt, and was is the oldest mutant on record. Apocalypse's powers go beyond that of a typical mutant: he's immortal, he can manipulate every molecule of his physical body, absorb and project energy, he can use various psychic powers, and has enhanced speed, strength, and durability. At a certain point, Apocalypse discovered a Celestial ship and used its technology to upgrade his armor and weaponry, becoming even more powerful of a being and adding even further longevity to his existence.
To be clear, in the comics there is no established connection that says Apocalypse is connected to the Eternals and/or Deviants; however, a lot of fans think the MCU will take a different path. It's speculated that Eternals will reveal some backstory about the Deviants' path through history, and one offshoot will be a reference to the time of ancient Egypt and a strain of Deviant DNA that made it out into the world, thereby creating En Saba Nuir/Apocalypse, and the eventual evolution of mutants as we know them in modern times.
Theory: MCU Mutants Are Descendants of Eternals + Deviants
Some fan theories are going even deeper about the origin of mutants in the MCU. Given the combination of powers that Apocalypse has, he (and subsequently mutants as a species) could be explained in the MCU as being the result of an unlikely union between the Eternal and Deviant species!
That kind of reveal has precedent in Marvel Comics: the Eternal Thena (Angelina Jolie's character) fell in love with a Deviant named Kro and had a set of twins, who could combine into a superpowered being. That being ("Dark Angel") is a throwaway character in the comics; the MCU could retcon the story so that Eternal/Deviant hybrids develop into mutants.
The Eternals movie's version of mutants' origin would actually explain a lot about Apocalypse that the comics don't. It would arguably be a more logical foundation for Apocalypse's cosmic powers and immortality, as well as his savage "Survival of the Fittest" doctrine being handed down from the practices of ancient Deviants.
Where Have Mutants Been Hiding?
More importantly, a connection between the origin of mutants and the conflict between Eternals and Deviants would be all the backstory viewers need to understand how mutants exist in the MCU. It would also give Marvel Studios any number of excuses for why mutants have kept their existence a secret.
If the Eternals and Deviants hid from humanity, it would be understandable if their mutant descendants did the same - either because they were taught to, or naturally came to the same conclusion about interacting with humanity. Other theories predict that the re-awakening of the Eternals, and their conflict with the Deviants in the film, could end up being the catalyst that also awakens the power of the X-Gene in unwitting humans all over the world. Marvel's X-Men would then deal with the mutantkind scrambling to defend and protect itself from a world that is suddenly hostile to those with emerging powers.
What do you think about Marvel's Eternals introducing mutants to the MCU and setting up Marvel's X-Men reboot. Let us know in the comments!
Marvel's Eternals hits theaters on November 5th.