Richard Madden Joins “The Eternals”

vanityfair.com

The cast for Marvel’s upcoming film The Eternals continues to take shape – and continues to nab big-name actors, with Richard Madden of Game of Thrones being the latest addition to the team roster. While Marvel has not yet released an official statement on the casting, Madden is believed to be playing the Eternal Ikaris, one of the film’s three male lead characters. So let’s take a brief look into the character of Ikaris, and what we might expect to see from him in the film.

Ikaris is one of the major Eternals, possessing the ability to fly, manipulate energies through molecular distortion, and teleport. He is immortal and invulnerable to most weapons (who isn’t, in the MCU?). He was born thousands of years ago, in Siberia, and inspired the ancient Greek legend of Icarus – well, technically his son did that, but I’m trying to keep this simple. Ikaris is the cousin and arch-nemesis of one of the Eternals’ greatest villains, Druig, who is also expected to show up in The Eternals. I have a theory we might see Druig even earlier, in the Black Widow prequel, and Ikaris’ Russian origin might suggest another connection, however tenuous. In the comics, Druig hunts Ikaris, searching for the location of the Pyramid of the Winds, located in the Arctic Circle – if Druig does appear in Black Widow, he might be looking for Ikaris, following a trail that could lead him to the sacred Pyramid in The Eternals.

In another comic run, Ikaris and the Eternal Thena defeat Druig in the fictional Russian state of Vorozheika, where Druig is attempting to win the allegiance of other Eternals. Ikaris and Thena have a long-standing conflict that could add another dimension to his character. But it is Ikaris’ relationship with another Eternal, the sorceress Sersi, that has frequently been rumored to be a crucial aspect of the Eternals film: it could make The Eternals the first MCU film to actually focus on a romantic storyline. Previous attempts to make love stories fit into Marvel films have all fallen a bit flat, with the designated “love interest” characters feeling one-dimensional and boring – for instance, Sharon Carter, who fell in love with her aunt’s ex-boyfriend; or Doctor Strange’s ex-girlfriend Christine Palmer, who was just…there; or Jane Foster, Thor’s girlfriend, a character that did not deserve to be gifted the incredible talents of actress Natalie Portman – and apparently Portman agreed, since she stepped out of the role after Thor: The Dark World and wouldn’t even return for a cameo in Avengers: Endgame – the filmmakers had to use old deleted footage of her instead.

So having a love story be the possible focus of a Marvel film could be one of two things: one the one hand, it could go down like the Fosters, Carters and Palmers of previous films – or, with a decent amount of screentime lavished on it, it could actually be pretty decent. In my opinion, the greatest comic-book movie romance of all time has to be that of Diana Prince and Steve Trevor in DC’s 2017 hit Wonder Woman, but maybe a similarly adorable couple could replace them – or at least try to come close. Richard Madden seems likely to be starring alongside Angelina Jolie as Sersi, so that dynamic should be interesting, if nothing else.

“The Eternals” Casting Announcements!

Just as news on Marvel’s upcoming The Eternals movie was slowing down, two big announcements got dropped today. First, we got a report that Marvel is seeking to cast an openly gay or bisexual Asian actor in a lead male role. Soon after, news dropped that South Korean actor Ma Dong-seok has been cast in The Eternals, in an unknown role. Even though the two stories would seem to be connected, Ma Dong-seok does not appear to be playing the gay male lead: he is not openly gay or bisexual (as far as I can tell), and the initial report stated that Marvel is specifically looking at Conrad Ricamora for the gay lead – whose codename, by the way, is “James”, which is how I will refer to this character: “James” is said to be “intellectual, emotional, and has a strong sense of family”. And he’s also supposed to be in his 20’s, apparently, which would rule out Ma Dong-seok, who is forty-eight.

These reports follow news that broke not long ago concerning another casting announcement: Kumail Nanjiani will be joining The Eternals in an unknown role – though speculation has been rampant that he’ll be playing the super-speedy Makkari.

So let’s break it down. First, we have this news that the gay male lead will be played by an Asian actor – so far, the cast is looking really diverse, and that’s fantastic, but who is the gay male lead? Hercules has never been depicted as Asian in the comics, and is not exactly “intellectual”, so he seems an unlikely option at this point – not to mention the fact that Marvel’s go-to option is apparently Conrad Ricamora, whose slim physique doesn’t seem very Herculean (also, isn’t it somewhat paradoxical that the article states that Marvel is looking at actors in their 20’s for the role of “James”, yet Ricamora is 40?). No, at this point, I’m beginning to think Hercules will not be appearing in The Eternals, or, if he does, he won’t be the gay lead. But who else could “James” be? There are no gay characters in The Eternals comics, so it could be pretty much anybody. Perhaps Starfox, the brother of Thanos (very complicated situation: don’t ask), or perhaps he’s actually Makkari, and Nanjiani is playing somebody else? It’s all very confusing.

Then there’s Ma Dong-seok, a name probably unfamiliar to American audiences – this will be his first American film, in fact. My guess is that he will be portraying Zuras, leader of the Eternals, as the actor shares the same sort of large muscular build as the comics character. I suppose it’s possible, though to my mind unlikely, that he could be Hercules. It’s entirely plausible that he’ll also be playing some character we don’t even know yet. The film has been rumored to have five female leads and three male leads – a dauntingly large ensemble cast. It remains to be seen if indie director Chloe Zhao can pull off so huge a project, but I have faith. At the very least, it looks to be quite a diverse film already.

Angelina Jolie To Join Marvel’s “The Eternals”

variety.com

Unexpectedly, we received news tonight that Academy Award winning actress and director Angelina Jolie is in talks to join The Eternals, a Phase 4 Marvel movie that will focus on a group of godlike beings thousands of years before the modern MCU. The movie is still in the early stages of development, though a director, Chloe Zhao, is onboard, and there have been multiple casting rumors circulating: including one that suggests The Eternals will feature Marvel’s first openly gay male superhero.

This bit of news is interesting, then, because it comes so early: Jolie would become the first cast member attached to The Eternals, which is set to begin filming in late Summer. Who could she be playing? There are a few female characters we know will be part of the movie’s ensemble cast:

“Karen”: the female lead, who has been rumored to be an archaeologist, possibly inspired by the character Margo Damian from The Eternals comics. The character description for this character had suggested that Marvel was looking for a woman of Asian, Middle-Eastern, African or Native American descent to fill the role, but it is possible they’ve expanded the search.

digitalspy.com

Sersi: arguably the most well-known of the Eternals, Sersi is a fun-loving sorceress who enjoys the company of humans, and has even been a member of the Avengers. While “Karen” is still being called the female lead, it seems likely that Sersi will end up being more important in the long run. The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the Angelina Jolie news, also noted that a romance between Sersi and another Eternal, Ikaris, is likely to be one of the main aspects of the film.

Thena: a scholar and warrior often mistaken with the Greek goddess Athena, Thena is an important person in The Eternals lineup. In the comics, she has been the leader of the Eternals, and is possessed of superhuman strength, agility and stamina, as well as the ability to fly, and she is armed with multiple deadly weapons.

Elysius: the other option for Jolie is this mysterious and very obscure character whose presence in this movie’s lineup is quite intriguing: Elysius is a telepath and artificial intelligence modeled on the Eternals, who was the lover of Mar-Vell in the comics (of course, in the MCU, Mar-Vell has been changed into a woman, played by Annette Bening: this doesn’t necessarily exclude the possibility of a romance, however, especially since The Eternals is already rumored to include one openly gay character).

So who do you think Angelina Jolie will end up playing – one of these characters, or someone we don’t know about yet: a villain, perhaps, or another Eternal? Having some substantial casting developments on the project is quite exciting, and Jolie’s MCU debut will certainly be fun to watch. This is just more proof that Marvel is committed to getting talent for their movies, and that actors and actresses of the highest caliber are willing to put time and effort into movies that were once considered lowly forms of entertainment.

Marvel’s “The Eternals” casting FIRST GAY SUPERHERO?

Some big news broke recently concerning Marvel’s The Eternals, a movie set to begin filming in August, which should be released next year. We had been getting some small teases as to what this film might be about, and which characters might be in it – for instance, we had received news that Margo Damian might be in the film, though this is unconfirmed and the female lead is still going under the alias “Karen”, while her character description is vague and says Marvel is looking for an actress in her early 30s, of any ethnicity (but especially African, Native American or Middle Eastern). Meanwhile, other character descriptions had also been revealed, which seemed to suggest that classic Eternals characters like Ikaris, Makkari, Sersi, Starfox, Thena, Zuras, Druig and Gilgamesh were being considered for roles in the movie: there were also surprising additions to the line-up like Elysius and “Piper”, who seems to be a take on the Eternals character Sprite. But one of the most interesting by far was the male lead, which didn’t even get so much as an alias, and was described merely as a Greek God. Now, thanks to a new report, we may have a clue as to who that character might be – and it bodes well for the future of LGBTQ superheroes onscreen.

Because, yes, the news that broke March 1st – and appeared to be given additional credence first by Marvel production chief Victoria Alonso, and then by Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige himself – was that Marvel is seeking to cast an openly gay male actor to play the male lead: who is set to become their first openly gay superhero. Combine that with the fact that this male lead is described as a Greek God, and what do you get?

Hercules, that’s what.

pinterest.com

The character, a Greek God who is somewhat similar to Thor (well, Thor post Thor: Ragnarok that is), has been bisexual in the comics – but it didn’t end very well, and attracted some backlash after the character was suddenly made straight again. Bringing Herc back, and making him definitively gay or bisexual in the MCU would be a great way to settle that issue. The character description, it seems, has been updated so that now Marvel is looking for an openly gay male actor age 30-49, who “physically looks like a superhero”. That last note is interesting: other actors have been able to bulk up for roles in Marvel movies, but Hercules is massively muscled, and would probably require an actor who is already at least similar in size.

So, considering all that we know so far, I’d say that Hercules is, if not a sure bet, than at least a definite possibility. It could be that Marvel is choosing to make Ikaris or another male character gay instead, and that Hercules won’t show up at all, but fans have definitely been looking forward to seeing him in the MCU, and having him be the first gay male superhero in their impressive roster would be pretty cool. But either way, this news is most interesting because it means Marvel will finally be delivering its first gay lead – scratch that, its first gay character, period. Another Marvel character, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) has been confirmed to be bisexual, but this was never even hinted at in the films, and in fact a scene with some lesbian overtones was cut from Black Panther. This is a step in the right direction for the MCU, and I can’t wait to see where we’ll end up.