When Marvel’s Eternals hits theaters later this year, it sounds like it will be fully writer/director Chloe Zhao’s vision – that’s right, writer/director Chloe Zhao. The acclaimed filmmaker behind The Rider is currently in the heat of the awards race for another intimate drama, the brilliant Nomadland, and she recently revealed that she’s the writer on the upcoming Marvel film as well.
Previously, it was announced that Kaz Firpo and Ryan Firpo were writing Marvel’s cosmic superhero feature, but in a new interview with Margaret Gardiner (via ScreenRant), Zhao revealed that she’s the writer on Eternals and added that the credits haven’t been updated yet. This is extremely exciting news, as it’s yet another sign that this unique filmmaker was given the chance to make something wholly her own inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
During the interview, she also talked about being given the freedom to push the boundaries of blending scope with intimacy within the confines of the MCU:
“I am the writer on Eternals, the credits just aren’t updated yet. I don’t know what it would be like if I didn’t write the film that I… if I wasn’t at least a huge part of the writing process. So yeah I haven’t experienced that in my career, I’m scared of that if that happens one day (laughs). In the writing process, that’s where I bring my sensibility in, that’s a huge part of it. And creating situations that will allow certain kinds of cinematic language to come in, that is something that I’ve learned from my last three films. I think what Marvel has been so incredible at – Kevin [Feige] and Nate [Moore] and the whole team – they knew from the moment I pitched the film that I really wanted the scope and scale at the same time as the intimacy, they knew I wanted both. They have been so incredible holding my hand through the entire process of allowing me to go as far as possible and as small as possible, and how that fit into the MCU. It’s been a pretty incredible process. You’ll have to wait and see.”
Eternals revolves around characters who have hidden themselves for thousands of years and find themselves forced to intervene on Earth’s behalf to save it from destruction. Zhao assembled a truly diverse ensemble cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Gemma Chan, Barry Keoghan, and Kit Harington, and it’s proving to be one of the most exciting Marvel movies in the pipeline.
Zhao was an unlikely choice to helm Eternals, but it makes even more sense now that we know she was also tasked with working on the screenplay. She’s gained immense acclaim for her first three features and could very well win the Best Director Oscar this year, but while none of her previous films come close to the scope of a Marvel movie, they are each immense in their intimacy and emotional impact. I can’t wait to see how that translates to a story set within the MCU, especially if Zhao was given the same creative freedom that allowed Ryan Coogler to make Black Panther so special, or Thor: Ragnarok so unmistakably Taika Waititi’s.
Eternals is slated for release in theaters on November 5, 2021.