Warning: SPOILERS for Eternals ahead.
Marvel’s latest movie, Eternals, is absolutely packed with Easter eggs – and rewrites the history of the entire MCU. Stan Lee may be Marvel’s most famous creator, but he worked with talented figures such as Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby, who haven’t always received the credit they deserve. In 1976, Kirby returned to Marvel Comics to introduce a group of ancient aliens known as the Eternals, although he didn’t originally intend to weave them into the Marvel Universe’s overarching narrative. Now, in 2021, they’ve finally been brought to life on the big screen in a movie that also includes dozens of Easter eggs about the larger MCU.
Eternals is unlike any other Marvel movie to date, a blend of Marvel Studios’ bombastic house style with the naturalistic bent of celebrated filmmaker Chloe Zhao. Eternals rewrites the history of the MCU, embedding the Eternals in the history of Earth and its mythology, but it also carefully positions this unique franchise as part of a wider universe – an approach very different to the one employed by Kirby back in the 1970s, who only reluctantly began making nods to other Marvel characters in their comics.
Attentive viewers will spot Easter eggs and subtle comic book nods throughout Eternals, as well as some smart references that help embed these ancient aliens in the evolution of human society. Some are ties to what has come before while others are nods to what MCU Phase 4 and beyond holds. Here are all the MCU Easter eggs in Eternals.
“Before the Six Singularities…”
Eternals is a record-breaker for the MCU as it features an Easter egg in its first few seconds. The opening text crawl, which starts with a Biblical “In the beginning…“, reveals that Arishem predates “the six Singularities.” This is a reference to the Infinity Stones. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Collector revealed the Infinity Stones were six singularities that predated the universe and were forged into their most famous form of what he called “concentrated ingots.” There’s been some speculation the Celestials were the ones who forged them; certainly, the Collector showed footage of one Celestial wielding the Power Stone.
The Eternals’ ship is called the Domo, and the name in itself is an Easter egg to comic book lore. There, Domo is the name of an Eternal who serves as an administrator on the Eternals’ planet Olympia. He’s an analog for the New Gods character Metron, right down to traveling in a hoverchair. Clearly, Marvel Studios has no intention of introducing Domo as a character, so they’ve simply applied the name to the spaceship instead.
The Black Knight’s Ring
Sersi gives Dane Whitman the gift of an old ring bearing his family crest, which she claims she bought on eBay. In reality, given this is an ancient historical artifact, it’s entirely possible she has had it since the Middle Ages. Although it’s not clear in the Eternals movie itself, merchandise has confirmed the crest on the ring is the symbol of the Black Knight, which hails back to the days of King Arthur. The original Black Knight was created by Stan Lee and artist Joe Maneely back in 1955, in a sword-and-sorcery comic set in the days of Camelot, and he wielded the enchanted (and cursed) Ebony Blade. The mantle of the Black Knight has been passed down the generations through his bloodline – and Dane is indeed the current Black Knight in the comics.
Multiple References To The Blip
The Blip – a five-year period that began when Thanos snapped his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War and ended when Hulk reversed the process in Avengers: Endgame – is the biggest event in the MCU’s lore to date. It’s referenced twice in Eternals, with news footage suggesting human scientists speculated the tremors affecting the Earth were associated with the Blip. A further flashback scene revealed the Blip left Ajak particularly impressed with humanity’s resourcefulness.
At one point, the Eternals tune in to watch WHiH World News. A longtime staple in the MCU, the fictional media network WHiH Newsfront has appeared in multiple Marvel films and TV shows over the last decade. They first appeared in The Incredible Hulk, and by Captain America: Civil War Marvel had set up a YouTube channel and Twitter account in their name to launch fictional news reports from the MCU that acted as promotional content for the film. WHiH Newsfront has already appeared in MCU Phase 4 as well, cropping up in The Falcon & the Winter Soldier and WandaVision.
Dane Whitman References Doctor Strange
The Masters of the Mystic Arts had been a secret for millennia until Avengers: Endgame. As seen in WandaVision, the whole world seem to have had pretty much a blow-by-blow account of the final battle against Thanos (although there’s some evidence the Avengers quietly left out the time travel). That means Doctor Strange and the Masters of the Mystic Arts are now public knowledge, confirmed when Dane Whitman’s point of reference for Sersi’s powers is to assume she’s a sorceress like Doctor Strange and to ask if she can turn him into a giraffe.
The Eternals’ Ties To Babylon
Given the Eternals landed in Mesopotamia, it’s perfectly appropriate for them to settle around Babylon. The Eternals are associated with Babylon in the comics as well, with Gilgamesh ruling there for a time, and the Eternals Ajak, Zuras, Ikaris, and Thena battling Deviants over the city in Eternals: The Herod Factor #1. The Deviant leader Kro had an opportunity to kill Thena in battle but chose to spare her, which was the beginning of a longstanding (and heretical) relationship between the two.
Sprite Also Inspired Peter Pan
In the modern era, a book cover for J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan suggests Sprite – the girl who never ages – was also the inspiration for J.M. Barrie’s fictional hero, the boy who can never grow old. It’s an amusing touch and raises the question of whether Disney exists in the MCU to make an animated adaptation. This idea is lifted straight from the comics, where the similarities between Sprite and Peter Pan are even more obvious given the Eternal is traditionally male.
The Eternals Knew Thor
The “Eternals Saga” was one of the most important stories featuring the Eternals in the comics, and it was told in the pages of The Mighty Thor; this marked the beginning of Marvel’s attempts to integrate Jack Kirby’s space gods into their wider comic book universe. Appropriately enough, dialogue in Eternals reveals they have a history with Thor and the Asgardians in the MCU as well. They participated in the Battle of Tønsberg in around 1,000 AD, helping the Asgardians battle against the armies of the Frost Giants. Apparently, on another occasion, Thor visited Midgard and was deeply impressed by the Eternals.
Ikaris Compared To Superman
Eternals features the MCU’s first overt nods to DC Comics, with an amusing one explicitly comparing Ikaris to Superman. The comparison makes sense, given both are super-strong and can fly, and both project energy beams of some form from their eyes – heat vision in Superman’s case, cosmic energy in Ikaris’. The parallels become rather darkly amusing by the end, though, because Ikaris is gradually transformed into another embodiment of the “Dark Superman” trope – one that’s incredibly popular in the comics, featured in Zack Snyder’s Knightmare visions in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, and has inspired characters such as Homelander.
Sersi & Ikaris Are Introduced As Isaac & Sylvia
When Sersi and Ikaris arrive at Phastos’ home, he introduces them as “Isaac” and “Sylvie.” These are indeed aliases the two Eternals have used in the comics in order to fit in with human society, with Ikaris having also gone by a shortened version of the name as “Ike Harris” in the comics.
Ikaris Assumes Phastos Has Access To Vibranium
One amusing gag in Eternals sees Ikaris try to prove to Phastos he can’t simply have an ordinary life by pointing to the security features the Eternal has added to his house. Further demonstrating the point, Ikaris pounds the table, expecting it to be made of something like vibranium – an amusing nod to the rare fictional metal found in Black Panther‘s Wakanda. Had the table been made of vibranium, it would simply have absorbed the impact; it’s actually a normal table bought from Ikea, and Ikaris breaks it.
Phastos’ Valet Is “Like Alfred”
In another unusual DC Comics reference, Kingo’s valet is compared to Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred. Eternals inverts the metaphor, however, because it ultimately reveals Kingo isn’t the hero he (and his valet) think he is; he’s unable to reconcile his philosophical views with killing a Celestial and chooses to sit the final battle out, with his valet accompanying him.
Captain America’s Shield Is On Kingo’s Plane
A shot in the Eternals trailer revealed Captain America’s shield displayed on Kingo’s plane, but – although it’s clearly there in the final theatrical cut – Eternals doesn’t explain it. The shield is the one Steve Rogers used back when he was a showman for the U.S. military, before he acquired his more famous vibranium shield, so it’s possible Kingo has bought it as a memento. This raises the question of whether Kingo and Captain America ever met during Cap’s showman days before he became the First Avenger.
Thena’s Mahd Wy’ry
In Eternals, Thena is suffering from a psychological illness called Mahd Wy’ry that the Eternals believe is caused by an overabundance of memories. In reality, the last time her mind was wiped by the Celestials it was imperfect, and repressed memories of the destruction of another world are resurfacing. Mahd Wy’ry is a fairly deep cut in comic book lore, only appearing in a handful of comics; it was first mentioned in Avengers #361, when Sersi began to act unpredictably. In the comics, Mahd Wy’ry is the secret curse of the Eternals; although their bodies have been transformed by the Celestials, their minds are still human, and they are not designed to deal with millennia of memories. “How much experience could a being absorb,” Ikaris asked. “How much living before the weight of years proved too much and crushed the soul? How long before the mind wearies of living and can do it no more?“
Makkari’s Room Is Packed With Curious Artifacts
Makkari has been hoarding treasures over the millennia, and as a result, her room on the Domo is absolutely packed with Easter eggs. Attentive viewers will spot:
- A suit of armor reminiscent of some costumes worn by Moon Knight. In the comics, the Egyptian god Khonshu has chosen avatars – Moon Knights – for over 1,000,000 years, and it’s possible this armor was worn by a historical avatar the Eternals encountered. It’s accompanied by an Egyptian Ankh.
- The Emerald Tablet, known as the Smaragdine Tablet or the Tabula Smaragdina, which has become popular with 19th- and 20th-century occultists. It’s most famous for introducing the concept of “as above, so below,” which is central to many aspects of Marvel’s mystical lore – especially the lore surrounding Otherworld, a magical dimension connected to the United Kingdom.
- There’s also the coveted Holy Grail of Arthurian legend, which has ties to the Black Knight.
Excalibur & Nods to Camelot
It seems some of the Eternals actually lived around Camelot for a time, with King Arthur becoming somewhat enamored of Thena. Given she wound up in possession of Excalibur, it’s reasonable to assume Thena may have been the Lady of the Lake of Arthurian legend. Interestingly, Marvel Comics has indeed recently retconned a connection between Camelot and the Eternals. According to Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #2, Camelot was “a city rich in marvels. A castle as like to have grown as been built, ‘pon roots of no mortal ken. And borne on Celestial engines.” The legends of King Arthur lie at the heart of many of Marvel’s British characters and concepts, including Captain Britain, Black Knight, and the mystical realm of Otherworld where Arthur now resides.
Sersi Tells Dane Whitman To Reconcile With His Uncle
Fearing the world is about to come to an end, Sersi tells Dane Whitman that now is the time to reconcile with his uncle – wanting him to die at peace, with no regrets. It’s quite a touching scene, giving a sense of how well Sersi truly understands human nature, but it’s also a smart Easter egg in its own right. In the comics, Dane’s uncle is John Garrett, a criminal who used the Ebony Blade to bring disgrace to the name of the Black Knight. Dane inherited the Ebony Blade from his uncle in the comics.
A Celestial Seed Inside The Earth
Eternals reveals Celestials implant a seed within a planet, which feeds off the world’s life energy until the Celestial matures and emerges, shattering the planet apart. This idea is lifted from the classic Earth X miniseries by Alex Ross and Jim Kreuger, which is set in a dystopian future timeline where the heroes learn the Celestials impregnated Earth by placing their seed within it. In the comics, this Celestial fed off the planet’s natural resources; in the MCU, it fed off the life energy. The potential for superhumans was seeded within humanity’s genes so they could serve as guardians and protectors for the Celestial seed, but in the MCU this role belongs to the Eternals themselves.
Tiamut is the Dreaming Celestial
The Celestial inside the Earth is named Tiamut. In the comics, Tiamut was a Celestial who rebelled against Arishem and was imprisoned in the Earth. Known as the Dreaming Celestial, Tiamut slept for millennia, while humanity developed, and awoke in modern times. Surprisingly, Tiamut developed a conscience, and he could not destroy humanity as he originally intended. Instead, he elected to judge the human race by his own inscrutable criteria and chose Makkari as his own Prime Eternal, communicating through him. For a time, the Dreaming Celestial stood over the city of San Francisco, which became home to the X-Men; he was destroyed during a multiversal X-Men adventure.
Ikaris Strikes A Pose
Phastos does a surprisingly good job of restraining Ikaris during Eternals‘ final act, but Ikaris breaks free in a spectacular moment in which his energy beams blast to the heavens. The shot almost perfectly recreates a stunning cover from Eternals #6 by Daniel Acuna, published in 2009. It’s one of the most famous images associated with the Eternals, so no doubt comic book lovers will be delighted to see it brought to life on the big screen.
Ikaris Flies Into The Sun
Devastated after Tiamut’s defeat, Richard Madden’s Ikaris chooses to commit suicide by flying into the sun. It’s an appropriate death for the man who inspired the Greek legend of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and was killed when his wings melted. Tragically, in Eternals, the story of Icarus was actually told by Sprite, probably as something of a joke on the man she loved. Sprite’s tale unwittingly became a prophecy – probably a self-fulfilling one, because she will have planted the idea in his mind. The tragedy of Ikaris also unfolds in the comics in a slightly different way. In the comics, Ikaris is the one who fashions a pair of wings for his half-mortal son, but his son flies too close to the sun while Ikaris is going and ends up burning up his wings, falling into the sea.
Pip the Troll
Eternals‘ post-credits scene introduces the character of Pip the Troll, voiced by Patton Oswalt. An important figure in Marvel Comics’ cosmic lore, Pip claims to be a former member of a planet’s royalty who feasted with trolls and drank enchanted drink – transformed into a troll himself. He’s typically associated with Adam Warlock in the comics, frequently caught up in the feud between Warlock and Thanos, and even served as guardian of the Space Stone for a time. The MCU’s version of Pip seems to be tied to a very different character, although he possesses the same teleportation powers; Pip gained those from ownership of the Space Stone in the comics, so it’s impossible to say how he acquired them in the MCU right now.
Eternals introduces Harry Styles as Eros of Titan, better known to comic book readers as Starfox, brother of Thanos. Starfox was a hedonist who only began to take life seriously when Thanos launched an attack on their homeworld. Starfox has the power to manipulate the emotions of others, stimulating the pleasure centers in a person’s brain and making them susceptible to his control. Unfortunately he has often used these abilities for more morally dubious purposes, as explored in one She-Hulk story where he faced accusations of manipulating women into sleeping with him.
The Ebony Blade
Name-dropped earlier in Eternals, the Ebony Blade is finally seen in the film’s post-credits scene when Dane decides to claim its power in the hopes it will help him rescue Sersi. Dialogue seems to suggest he did indeed reconcile with his uncle as Sersi suggested. This reconciliation led to Dane’ learning his family history and lineage, and presumably, he had the Ebony Blade shipped out to his home in London. Dane Whitman may not have been the Black Knight in Eternals, but he’s sure to take up the role soon.
Blade in Eternals’ Post-Credits
Eternals‘ post-credits scene may set up Dane Whitman’s transformation into the Black Knight – but he’s interrupted before he can pick up the Ebony Blade. The mysterious voice speaking out of the shadows has been confirmed to be Mahershala Ali’s Blade, meaning this post-credits scene is technically Blade’s MCU debut – even if the costume presumably wasn’t ready when this was shot, explaining why he isn’t seen. In the comics, both Dane Whitman’s Black Knight and Blade were members of Britain’s MI-13 superhero team, the British equivalent to the Avengers, so it’s possible this is setup for a team-up of some sort.
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