When Marvel chose to set the Endgame events five years in the future, it killed two birds with one stone. First of all, with the help of three simple words — “Five. Years. Later.” — Marvel made it clear to everyone in the audience that the snap at the end of Infinity War had permanent, devastating effects. The fallen heroes were dead for good since the survivors had no way of fixing things. Second, Marvel gave itself time to tell all sorts of stories and introduce new heroes, including the kind of characters that were not available to Marvel Studios in the past. Think about it, Marvel could set plenty of movies during that 2018-2023 period to introduce the next generation of Avengers, heroes like X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four that were all over at Fox while Avengers 3 and 4 were shooting. After all, we’ve already had a few prequels so far like Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain Marvel, and Black Widow will also be a prequel of sorts.
But of all the new movies Marvel will release in the coming years, there is already one that stands out because it might have some sort of time travel in it. not the kind of time travel we saw in Endgame, though. It’s also the most important film to follow the events of Endgame, considering the new heroes this particular movie is going to introduce.
Packing the kind of amazing cast that we’d be more likely to see in an Avengers sequel rather than a standalone MCU film, The Eternals might give us a different perspective of the entire MCU so far, including the events of Infinity War and Endgame. And that’s because the Eternals have been protecting the planet for thousands of years, hidden from sight, well before Tony Stark proclaimed that he was, in fact, Iron Man.
Announced back in July with a release date of November 6th, 2020, The Eternals will introduce us to a number of different heroes that will likely appear in other MCU adventures down the road — the cast, again, is quite impressive: Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Angelina Jolie will appear in this one. Also, Kit Harington, the latest addition to the cast, will play one of the key characters. He’s Black Knight, who isn’t an Eternal but is still a notable hero who might have a bright MCU future ahead.
But as you can see in the image above, the actress let it slip that part of the action will take place on Earth in Babylon, 800 BC. That’s nearly 3,000 years before the events of Endgame and likely just one of the key moments that the movie will explore.
This is the kind of time travel I was referring to before, allowing the audience to take a trip to the past to see what the Eternals have been up to. We’ll get to see what the Eternals did on the planet, including when and how they influenced pivotal moments in human history. After all, they’ve kept the world safe all these years, well before Nick Fury started his Avengers initiative. The movie should also show more modern times, where the Eternals must have witnessed the rise of Earth’s mightiest heroes, from Captain America all the way to Iron Man and everyone else who joined the Avengers in recent years.
The film should explain why the Eternals haven’t helped the Avengers so far, though fans of the comics probably have a pretty good answer to that. Still, the fact that Marvel will visit several time periods during the movie is an exciting spoiler because we might be treated to all sorts of clever cameos while we get to meet this race of superhuman creatures tasked with the defense of the planet.
Since we’ll soon measure time in thousands of years on Earth, I’ll remind you of a mysterious Easter egg that Marvel hid so well in Endgame that it was discovered only once the digital version of the film was released in August. There’s a blink-and-you-miss-it scene when bad Nebula prepares the time machine so 2014 Thanos can storm Earth in this dimension, and it shows the following user interface:
In it, Redditors observed a strange year, 2988, and some noticed that it might be 2988 BC rather than 2988 AD. That’s one place in the past where the Avengers could have found the Aether. It’s unclear if anyone on the team actually went there because Pym particles weren’t exactly in high supply. And if anyone could have jumped as far back, that would be Thor, though 2023 Thor might not be the best choice to send back in time more than 5000 years. If anyone went back there, well, the Eternals would have been around at the same time, although they might not have necessarily met any travelers from the future
There’s no telling whether The Eternals and Endgame will mesh like that. Still, Marvel will certainly have to explain the absence of these particular heroes during the last decade of nasty events on Earth, and especially during Thanos’s 2018 attack. Thanos, by the way, is of Eternal lineage himself. And given that The Eternals will explore 800 BC, it’ll also have to deal with 2018-2023 AD in one way or another.