The Internet reacted with excitement to the revelation this week that A-list Hollywood celebrity Angelina Jolie is in talks to take a leading role in Marvel's forthcoming Z-list superhero movie The Eternals. Created by Jack Kirby in 1976, The Eternals are nearly-immortal beings who are the byproduct of an evolutionary divergence in the race that created humanity millennia ago. The characters are tied into several of the concepts that Marvel has introduced in their "cosmic" movies, from Celestials (you saw the heroes hanging out in a Celestial head in Guardians of the Galaxy) to Thanos himself, whose mother was one of his victims.
Jolie is a performer with a lot of range, so there are any number of roles she could perceivably be playing in The Eternals, even if the synopsis suggested by The Hollywood Reporter -- that it "involves the love story between Ikaris, a man fueled by cosmic energy, and Sersi, who relishes moving amongst humans" -- suggests that a star of her caliber might be Sersi, who seems to nominally be the female lead. Even with that said, there are a lot of interesting characters in the mythology-influences and deeply textured world of The Eternals, created by New Gods and Inhumans mastermind Jack Kirby.
With a little help from the internet, we've run down the most obvious choices for Jolie to play in The Eternals -- assuming that she doesn't get a totally new part or something like that. You can check out our ideas below.
Assuming they hew fairly close to the comics canon, it would be difficult to imagine Jolie signing on to play anyone other than Sersi. She is far and away the most significant female member of the Eternals, and the one whose name shows up prominently in any plot synopsis that runs down the key themes of the series.
Here is her rundown from Wikipedia, which we will include for each candidate:
Manipulates molecules and atoms. Daughter of Helios and Perse. Sersi is the only Eternal who is a fifth-level adept at matter manipulation. Became famous in Greek Mythology through her encounter with Odysseus. Prefers to live among humans and likes to throw parties. Became an Avenger after Captain America asked her to transmute him so that he could go undercover as a teenager. Put herself into exile, but has since returned. Lover of Makkari.prevnext
Thena is the daughter of Zuras and Cybele, tying her to some of the biggest names in Greek mythology, so if you are going to be a big star in a movie like The Eternals, this may be oe of the more inviting character descriptions.
In the comics, she was originally named Azura, so don't be too surprised if that name comes up in any prospective film adaptation. The official reason for the change is that Zuras changed it to seal bond with Olympian gods. Often mistaken for Athena, Athens was built for her. At one point, Thena had twin children in affair with Kro and hid them, and only much later reconnected with those children after Dr. Daniel Damian tried to kill them (she also has another son who is fully human). Over the years, she has sought sanctuary with Heroes for Hire and the High Evolutionary.prevnext
Mother of Thena and the wife of Zuras, Cybele is a solid choice for an actress whose last two major Disney gigs were playing Maleficent, the stepmother to Sleeping Beauty.
Cybele usually lives in a secluded forest in Colorado, and does not usually take part in the affairs of her people, even though she was technically their queen while Zuras was alive. Throughout human history, Cybele has been mistaken for Gaea, Dyndymae, Rhea, and Agdistis. While she generally steers clear of such things, Cybele aided the Eternals in battle against Ghaur, when he gained the power of the Dreaming Celestial.prevnext
This one feels somewhat unlikely, if only because Jolie has a long history of playing overtly tough characters, so giving her a name like Pixie would seem like a weird choice for a casting director to make -- especially if it was the first piece of casting for the whole movie. Still, here's the rundown: Pixie is a member of the First Line, who uses her powers to turn people to stone while disguising it as an effect of her "pixie dust."prevnext
This is a solid candidate if they hew close to the comics, if only because she is a largely blank slate who died in battle ages ago. One of the original Eternals, this could theoretically be a way to get an actor like Jolie if she does not want to be locked down to a multi-picture deal, by setting her up for a heroic sacrifice at some point in the film.
In the comics, Shastra has only figured into three issues -- and they were all What If...? comics. She had a fourth appearance, but it was in the old Marvel Handbook, and basically just gave a summary of what little was known about her up to then and presumably confirmed that outside of the world of What If...?, she is still a character who existed in the Marvel Universe.prevnext
This is another solid candidate, in part because of her very explicit ties to Thanos and the potential to give her a story that would feel at home in the MCU. In the comics, Sui-San is a descendant of Uranos's followers on Titan, and the only survivor of the war on the surface of Titan. She was found by A'lars, who with her, founded the new Eternals of Titan -- something that certainly sounds like the makings of an origin movie to me. Sui-San's children included Eros and Thanos -- the latter of whom killed her during his attack on Titan, when he dissected her with a medical kit in the hopes of learning why he was different from other children.
It has been said that Avengers: Infinity War was really a movie about Thanos. Well, if you want a prequel to a movie like that, it seems like the life and death of his mother (whom he killed in what could arguably be called the moment he became truly irredeemable) is a solid place to start.prevnext
Overmind or Uni-Mind
These artificial structures that present as Eternals could be an interesting use of Jolie, essentially shunting her into a role not dissimilar to the one filled by Annette Bening in Captain Marvel.
Because the Uni-Mind -- a gestalt entity created by "collective energy of participants in the Ritual of the Uni-Mind" -- has long been a part of the Eternals mythology, similar entities have cropped up in various groups attached to the concept. Per the description on Wikipedia, "Eternals, Humans, Deviants and Brethren have been a part of Uni-Minds."
Zuras was the first Eternal to form a Uni-Mind, used it to determine who should become Prime Eternal -- and since then, the Prime Eternal alone has the power initiate a Uni-Mind. Following Zuras' death, a Uni-Mind left Earth, containing most of the Eternals' population. The Uni-Mind apparently still exists, though Ajak, and possibly others, have left it behind.
The Overmind, similarly, is the collected mind of the Eternals of Eyung. This one, strangely, has a kind of arch-nemesis: The former Eternals of Gigantus who were the mortal enemies of the Eternals of Eyung. All the Eternals of Gigantus are now deceased. They had placed their minds into a gestalt being much in the same way the Eternals from Eyung did with the Overmind. This creature was accidentally killed by The Stranger, who later claimed to be the composite Gigantian Eternal during an encounter with the Overmind.prevnext
A figure from classical myth
One of the recurring themes you will see with the Earth Eternals is that they are often either mistaken for or acting in cahoots with members of the Greek pantheon and other figures from classical mythology. It would not be any more farfetched, for instance, for Jolie to be cast as Athena as it is for her to be cast as Thena (who, as mentioned, has ties to Athena's mythology and has sometimes been mistaken for her).prev