Eternals Director Chloe Zhao Says Movie Has Manga Roots

Marvel's Eternals is getting some inspiration from an unexpected source: Japenese manga. Eternals director Chloe Zhao left an impression on Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige during her meeting about taking on the Eternals director's chair. That's because Zhao came with an entire visual presentation about how to do Eternals on the big screen - and those visuals were indeed inspired by the work of the manga genre. Zhao's love of manga apparently runs deep, all the way back to her childhood. It's an influence she hopes to bring to a big-budget Hollywood movie, in what she sees as more synthesis of Eastern and Western storytelling styles.

Chloe Zhao was featured in a piece by THR, as her new film Nomadland is gaining attention and acclaim. Here's the full quote of Zhao's explanation of how manga will be influencing Marvel's Eternals:

"I have such deep, strong, manga roots. I brought some of that into Eternals. And I look forward to pushing more of that marriage of East and West."

Marvel's Eternals Manga Anime Style Chloe Zhao

That seems to be just the right kind of goal to have - and one that Marvel Studios clearly seems to be sharing in right now. While Chloe Zhao will be bringing her manga influences to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, director Destin Daniel Cretton will be putting a full spotlight on Asian culture (and characters) in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

The timing couldn't be better: the Asian market is one Hollywood has been courting with greater and greater effort in the last decade. Meanwhile, anime/manga has quickly joined Western comic book superheroes as some of the most popular (and profitable) genre content available. If Chloe Zhao can truly bring a modern manga style to Eternals, it could be a worthy update to the unique Jack Kirby style that made The Eternals characters famous in the first place.

At the moment, Marvel fans are getting antsy to see something, anything, from Eternals. Ironically, the film was originally supposed to arrive in November, before the coronavirus pandemic delayed the entire MCU Phase 4 slate. That means that Eternals would've had a marketing campaign that kicked off with May's Black Widow (if not beforehand), the film that now occupies the November 2020 slot. That's all to say: even with coronavirus delays, it seems like Marvel Studios could've at least put out an Eternals teaser trailer by now, to tide fans over.

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Then again, at the time of writing this, there are rumblings that the first Eternals trailer could be arriving soon.

Marvel'sEternals is set to hit theaters on February 12, 2021.