The screenwriter of “Eternal” confirms why they Don’t work in the Marvel universe

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Kieron Gillen, the mastermind behind the latest relaunch of Marvel’s “Eternals,” believes that the group of immortal demigods had a fundamental flaw explaining their unsustainable success in the Marvel universe, which he was trying to fix.

The Eternals were created by Marvel godfather Jack Kirby in 1976, and they perfectly reflect Kirby’s style and imagination, which often mixed science fiction and mythology. Created as a result of the experiments of the almighty Celestials from the primitive life forms of the Earth, the Eternals, as the name implies, are immortal beings with incredible abilities who are tasked with observing the planet and protecting humanity. Over the years, the myths about the Eternals have expanded significantly, as have their relationships with the Earth and the Celestials. However, the characters have struggled to find sustained success in terms of sales, and this trend is confirmed by the low performance of their debut in the MCU in 2021. Kieron Gillen has been assigned to direct the newest Eternals series (which also began in 2021). together with the artist Esad Ribich, and they made it one of the most popular Marvel books on the market. According to the writer, the secret ingredient of this success lies in a simple but fundamental change that he implemented.

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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gillen talks about his approach to the Eternals ahead of the upcoming launch of Marvel’s big summer event, Doomsday, where the Eternals will declare war on the X-Men and the Avengers are stuck in the middle. . According to Gillen, “the main reason the Eternals didn’t work in the Marvel universe is because they didn’t have a fundamental tragedy. Spider-Man didn’t become Spider-Man when he was bitten by a spider; Spider-Man became Spider-Man.” The man when Uncle Ben died.” That is why the writer immediately changed the rules of immortality of the Eternal. They are constantly reborn after death, recreated by a Machine (a powerful Celestial technology that regulates the Earth), but every time they do, a person dies. The disclosure of this terrible secret at the beginning of the current Eternals series completely changed the outlook and point of view of the group.

Gillen’s observation is right on point. Marvel heroes have always been notable for losses: “superheroes with super—challenges” is the formula that set Marvel apart from rival DC Comics in the 1960s, and it still works today. However, the Eternals fell very far from this tree. They are often compared to angels for their seclusion and their mission to look after humanity. This makes them much more like Superman or Wonder Woman, characters who inspire humanity by being almost unattainable ideals of perfection, rather than the Hulk or Daredevil, who are distinguished by their ability to overcome their shortcomings and failures. Gillen realized that “to make them feel more Marvel-like,” the Eternals had to pay a price for their immortality, and it’s terrible.

The success of the series proves that Gillen was able to make these characters closer, but he also managed not to lose that original mix of mythology and science fiction in the style of Jack Kirby, which distinguishes the Eternals. Of course, there isn’t a single good way to write Marvel characters. Neil Gaiman’s small run on The Eternals was also very successful, and he used a completely different approach than Gillen. However, Kieron Gillen managed to make the Eternals much more suitable for the Marvel universe, which allowed them to take part in major crossover events such as Judgment Day.