Who are the Eternals? Get to know the Marvel Cinematic Universe's newest heroes

UniqueThis 8 Nov 3

There are 10 new heroes coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in "Eternals." Here's what you need to know about them.

Brace yourselves, fatigued fans, because the Marvel Cinematic Universe is adding at least 10 more new superheroes and villains this month in "Eternals," the new film by Academy Award-winning director Chloé Zhao. You'll have a bit over a month to commit their names and stories to memory before Marvel unloads "Spider-Man: No Way Home" onto audiences (and a few weeks after that, yet another hero is getting their own Disney+ show -- rest while you can).
Lucky for you, we've created an "Eternals" cheat sheet of sorts so diehard and casual fans alike can keep things straight. Here's what you need to know about the Eternals before the film's release on November 5. (This writer has not seen the film yet, but light spoilers from the comics follow.)
Ikaris (Richard Madden) and Sersi (Gemma Chan) have a superheroic romance in "Eternals."
The Eternals are not quite people, not quite gods (though humans often mistake them for gods, which annoys the space deities who created them and the Greek gods for which a few of the Eternals are named). Though they each have unique powers, they're all skilled warriors with super-strength, speed and agility.
The heroes are mostly immortal -- even if their bodies are destroyed, they can live on in other ways. But they keep their powers secret since they live among humans.
They were sent to Earth by the Celestials, an ancient group of godlike beings, some 7,000 years before the events of the film to defend humankind against the Deviants, mutant monsters also created by the Celestials when some tests on early Earth-dwellers went awry. The Eternals are advised against interfering in non-Deviant business, instead acting as mere spectators to human conflict unless Deviants are involved.
'Eternals' expands the Marvel universe with a messy, history-spanning origin saga
While the Eternals have obeyed the Celestials until now, they're finally starting to question their mission and the beings who created them.
Like most protagonists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe who have gotten their own origin stories, the Eternals probably don't fancy themselves superheroes. But by the film's end, after they've undergone various transformations and vanquish various foes, they'll likely be among the most powerful heroes in the MCU, and maybe, the MCM -- the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse.
Ikaris (Richard Madden) ignores farmers.
Played by: Richard Madden
In the comics, the Eternals are often led by Ikaris, usually portrayed as a blond-haired, blue-eyed muscleman reminiscent of He-Man but with laser eyes. In some comics appearances, he's been named the Prime Eternal, or the Eternal who rules over the rest.
Powers: Laser-beam eyes. You name it, Ikaris can probably do it. He can fly at speeds up to 850 miles per hour, creates convincing illusions and shoots laser beams out of his eyes, among many other abilities.
Who knew? In the comics, when he's in disguise as a human, he goes by the name "Ike Harris." Ikaris is definitely one of the brawniest Eternals, but creative, he is not.
Sersi (Gemma Chan) is dating a human but has a romantic history with Ikaris.
If it's Ikaris who typically runs the Eternals in the comics sphere, Sersi is its heart. She's something of a historian of humankind, having had a first-row seat to events like the fall of Rome and the French Revolution, per Marvel. You'll often find Sersi in green, a nod, perhaps, to her deep love and appreciation of the Earth and its inhabitants. She's also had a centuries-long, on-and-off relationship with fellow Eternal, Ikaris.
Powers: Matter transmutation. Basically, she can alter matter into any form she chooses (remember in the "Eternals" trailer, when she appears to dissolve a double decker bus into a parade of petals?).
Who knew? In the comics, Sersi joined the Avengers for a spell. Though she later quit the group full-time, she sometimes still helps them out when they need a hand from a godlike hero.
Sprite (Lia McHugh) will always look like a young person. It's not always fun.
Sprite is as mischievous as her name suggests. Though she's just as old as her counterparts, she has the appearance of a perpetual preteen, which she uses to her advantage -- one comics run saw her starring in her own teen sitcom. Her naivety can also be disastrous, though: In one series, the Sprite "altered reality on a cosmic scale," according to Marvel. Sprite has also been written as male in the comics for much of the character's run.
Powers: Illusions. The group's "grandiose storyteller," Sprite casts lifelike mirages and can teleport herself if needed.
Who knew? She was once, according to Marvel, a thorn in the side of William Shakespeare, inspiring the Bard's character "Puck" in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) has no interest in violence.
Played by: Brian Tyree Henry
The inventor of the group and a sworn pacifist, Phastos is also the first out, gay superhero in the MCU. (While Marvel comics feature a number of queer characters, only a few other characters -- including Valkyrie and Loki -- have been suggested, though not confirmed, to be queer onscreen.) Based on the film's trailers, he's also a frugal home decorator with a penchant for Ikea and sarcasm.
Powers: Invention and "technopathy." If Phastos can see something in his mind's eye, he can make it real -- he has the ability to conjure up weapons and other inventions with little more than a thought.
Who knew? At one point in the comics, he took the codename "Ceasefire" -- a nod to his stance against war. (No one tell him he's a superhero created to wage war against monsters!)