Summary

  • Eternals possess various cosmic powers due to Celestial gifts, enhancing abilities like strength, telepathy, flight, and healing.
  • Ikaris can fly and fire optic blasts; Sersi alters matter; Kingo fires blasts; Gilgamesh is super strong; Phastos invents advanced tech.
  • Thena is skilled in combat; Sprite creates illusions; Makkari is super fast; Druig controls minds; Ajak leads; Dane Whitman wields the Ebony Blade; Eros has controversial mind control powers.

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Marvel Studios’ Eternals introduced the eponymous superhero team to the MCU, each imbued with remarkable and otherworldly abilities. Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals hit theaters in November 2021, bringing some of Marvel Comics’ most obscure heroes to the MCU. With an ensemble cast featuring all-star talent including Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Angelina Jolie, Lauren Ridloff, Don Lee, Barry Keoghan, Brian Tyree Henry, and Lia McHugh, Eternals explored the history of humanity in the MCU, with the team arriving on Earth around 7000 years ago.

Originally created by Jack Kirby, the Eternals debuted in Marvel Comics’ 1976 The Eternals #1 as an offshoot of humanity who had gained godlike powers through experimentation by the Celestials. Solo comics featuring the Eternals found it difficult to gain traction, but the heroes were included in various crossovers, making their way into stories featuring the likes of Thor, the Avengers, and the X-Men. In Marvel Comics, the Eternals’ most notorious enemies are the Deviants, another offshoot of humanity from the same round of experiments that created them, and to defeat them, the Eternals boast a formidable set of powers.

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The Eternals’ Cosmic Energy Grants Them Incredible Gifts

eternals team in the mcu

The Eternals share similarities with other super-powered beings, but what sets them apart is that they exhibit several abilities. The Eternals are imbued with cosmic energy, gifted to them by their Celestial creators, which they can use to enhance their abilities. In Marvel Comics, every Eternal harbors potential abilities, including enhanced strength, telepathy, telekinesis, flight, illusion creation, and more. However, they often specialize in only one, using cosmic energy to boost its potential. Their control over their molecules also means they can restore any injury, making them practically immortal.

Phase 4’s Eternals showed off all of these powers, with each one attributed to a specific member of the Eternals in an effort to emphasize the diversity of the team and their respective gifts. The MCU’s Eternals don’t demonstrate the capacity to branch out and use the others’ gifts but are shown to have remarkable control over their specific powers. Though the Eternals’ origins had been changed for their MCU debut, the beings are still fueled by cosmic energy, that allows them to form weaponry, advance technology, create beautiful illusions, and transform matter from one state to another.

Ikaris

A Jack Of All Trades

At face value, Richard Madden’s Ikaris is perhaps the most powerful of the Eternals, as he has used his cosmic energy to become adept at several talents, unlike his Eternal family. This has made him better than average – but not the best – at expressing each power, as he hasn’t used the full force of his energy to enhance only one gift. Ikaris’ two primary powers included flight and the ability to fire optic blasts of cosmic energy, though he also proved himself to have some enhanced speed and reflexes.

If he’s able to take on Phastos, Thena, and Makkari in the final battle of Eternals, Ikaris is one of – if not the – strongest of his peers. However, Ikaris’ fate in the MCU is uncertain. He seemingly flew into the Sun to end his life, but since Eternals are mechanical in the MCU, another version of the same chassis could return if Eternals gets a sequel.

Sersi

Sersi Can Transform Matter From One State To Another

Sersi’s ability to manipulate matter secretly makes her the most powerful of all the Eternals on Earth, as she can quite literally reshape molecules into any form she pleases. Gemma Chan’s portrayal of the empathetic Sersi proves that she doesn’t take her potentially-dangerous ability for granted but uses it only when necessary. Initially, this power didn’t apply to living matter, but after transforming a Deviant into a tree, Sersi unlocked her full potential, and was able to save the Earth by turning the emerging Celestial Tiamut into marble.

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Given her growth in Eternals, it seems as though she’ll continue to get even stronger in a potential sequel. The ability to transmute living matter opens up new doors entirely and makes her even more dangerous in combat. Whether she could scale it up to threaten Celestials and other beings of incredible power is yet to be seen.

Kingo

Fires Projectiles From His Hands

Kingo, played brilliantly by Kumail Nanjiani, has taken advantage of his Eternal physiology to become a Bollywood star, performing as Kingo over several generations. What the unwitting public doesn’t know, however, is that Kingo’s cosmic energy allows him to fire projectile blasts from his hands and fingers. Moreover, he can manipulate their size, meaning he could fire bullet-like shots from his fingers or gather the energy into a huge blast with both hands.

These blasts are strong enough to obliterate attacking Deviants in one fell swoop, making Kingo an incredibly valuable ally to have on the team. While energy blasts don’t seem rare for a superhero, it’s clear that these are particularly powerful and devastating in strength. However, Kingo’s absence from Eternals‘ final fight means it’s unclear how well they work on other Eternals.

Gilgamesh

Incredible Strength

The Eternals are inherently strong, but Don Lee’s Gilgamesh puts them all to shame, especially when taken into consideration that his Marvel Comics counterpart has been said to be as strong as Thor and Hercules. Beyond his impressive skills in the kitchen, Gilgamesh uses his cosmic energy to enhance his physical strength, gathering the energy into fist-shapes around his hands. Prior to starring in Eternals, Lee was a martial arts trainer and amateur arm-wrestler, but the actor trained in boxing fundamentals for his role of Gilgamesh, making his supremely powerful punches even more realistic.

However, what makes Gilgamesh interesting is that he’s also an incredibly gentle soul. Though he’s a bruiser on the battlefield, he seems to enjoy a life of quiet cooking as he takes care of Thena. Unfortunately, Gilgamesh dies in Eternals, so he likely wouldn’t return for a sequel.

Phastos

Incredible Inventions

Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos uses his cosmic energy to create advanced technology and weaponry, subtly advancing the human race step-by-step. Just like in Marvel Comics, Phastos is an inventor, though his mercurial inventions are light-years ahead of their time when introduced to the early humans of Earth. This unwittingly boosts the population of the planet much faster than any of the Eternals’ stewardship capabilities.

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The drawback of this is that more life moves the Celestial emergence’s due date forward rapidly. While working best behind the scenes, Phastos’ powers are also more than competent in combat, as he was shown to be able to hold Ikaris still with one of his inventions. It’s shown that Phastos has inspired human invention as well, meaning his creations have a wide ranging ripple effect.

Thena

A Skilled Combatant

Angelina Jolie’s Thena is touted as a fierce warrior and the basis for the Ancient Greek goddess Athena, who is associated with wisdom, warfare, and handicraft. Thena spends most of her free time training her powers, which grant her the ability to forge incredible weapons from the cosmic energy within her. Her favorites are a powerful golden spear and a crossbow that fires bolts of energy like arrows.

Eternals shows off Thena’s skill in hand-to-hand combat and weaponry in spades, particularly when battling other members of her team after she becomes afflicted with Mahd Wy’ry. It’s likely that Thena would have been able to tip the scales in the movie’s final fight had she had her full mental faculties. Unfortunately, her death means she’ll likely never be on screen at full strength again.

Sprite

Elaborate Illusions

Sprite’s MCU powers were changed from their Marvel Comics roots, which sees the forever-young Eternal being adept at matter manipulation (though not as good as Sersi). In Eternals, Lia McHugh’s Sprite was able to create illusions of anything she desired, including transforming herself into an adult until she’s touched, making several copies of herself and Sersi to confuse a Deviant, making herself invisible, or projecting an image of the late Ajak to stall Sersi’s Eternals plan. By dealing in illusions instead of actually changing the nature of matter, Sprite is perhaps the sneakiest and most efficient member of the team.

Makkari

Incredible Super Speed

In Marvel Comics, Makkari’s goal is to become the fastest being in the universe. As such, the Eternal channels all of her cosmic energy into enhancing her speed. This translates into Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari in the MCU being reminiscent of DC’s Flash.

Makkari isn’t the first speedster seen in the MCU, as Aaron Taylor-Johnson portrayed Pietro Maximoff, a.k.a. Quicksilver, in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Makkari’s speed is far superior. The Eternal is able to circumnavigate the globe in a matter of moments, quickly finding the point of the Celestial Tiamut’s emergence, and is able to put up a strong fight against Ikaris, who can barely even see her coming.

Druig

Mental Manipulation

Druig’s powers are perhaps the most subtle, as his telepathy allows him to enter the minds of other beings, read their thoughts, and manipulate their actions. It’s this ability that makes Barry Keoghan’s Druig the first to lose faith in their mission in Eternals, as he turns his back on the team after realizing what humans really think of each other. This doesn’t stop him from using his power, however, as he subsequently takes control of an entire community

The formation of a cult-like group that had been hypnotized for hundreds of years is terrifying. Eventually rejoining the team, Druig’s power was even strong enough to put the Celestial Tiamut to sleep for a few moments. However, despite the clear potential for villainy, Druig does remain a hero.

Ajak

The Former Leader Of The Eternals

Ajak begins Eternals as the Prime Eternal, the leader of the team with a direct connection to their Celestial benefactor Arishem. She is also the only one who remembers their previous missions together. Salma Hayek’s portrayal of the steadfast but compassionate leader is fantastic, and this is translated beautifully into her power-set.

Ajak is able to use her cosmic energy to heal any wound in a matter of seconds. It’s these abilities that make her Ikaris’ first target when he decides to proceed with the Celestial emergence, as once Ajak is dead, nobody can be healed, and the secret of their mission can stay hidden. It’s an unfortunate loss, as such a hero would be useful in every single MCU fight moving forward.

Dane Whitman, A.K.A. The Black Knight, Hasn’t Been Developed Much

Although Kit Harrington doesn’t suit up as the Black Knight in Eternals, Dane Whitman is the Marvel Comics alter-ego of the horse-riding Avenger Black Knight. The character also who wields the Ebony Blade, which debuted in Eternals’ post-credits scene. Dane’s genius-level intellect, specifically in the fields of physics and genetics, and wielding of the Ebony Blade make him a formidable opponent to any villain.

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However, the Ebony Blade’s power comes at the cost of infecting its user with a thirst for blood. It was speculated that Dane Whitman would have a major role in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Blade project, but this has since been thrown into question. Dane isn’t an Eternal, but he’s still an incredibly strong hero in his own right – at least in Marvel Comics.

Pip The Troll Is The Strangest Eternals Character

pip the troll in eternals

Eternals reveals very little about Patton Oswalt’s Pip the Troll, who briefly appears in the film’s post-credits scene. Marvel Comics’ Pip started out with no powers, but frequent exposure to the Infinity Stones – particularly the Space Stone – eventually resulted in Pip gaining superhuman strength. More importantly, the Space Stone’s radiation gave Pip the ability to teleport himself, others, and even massive objects through space.

This power is glimpsed in Pip’s Eternals debut. What’s even more impressive is Pip’s cosmic awareness, which gives him the ability to locate any person in the universe. He hasn’t been seen again in the MCU after his brief debut, so only time will tell if his story is revisited.

Eros, A.K.A. Starfox, Is One Of Marvel’s Most Problematic Characters

eros in eternals smiling

Although Harry Styles’ debut as Eros, a.k.a. Starfox, in Eternals’ post-credits scene came as a shock to audiences, the character has yet to display any powers on-screen and hasn’t been seen or mentioned since Eternals2021 release. In Marvel Comics, Starfox possesses enhanced strength, speed, and the longevity of any other Eternal, but he also carries a far more controversial power. He is able to stimulate the pleasure centers of individuals’ brains, effectively allowing him to control their minds and their actions.

This often makes the womanizer a hated character in Marvel Comics, so it will be interesting to see where the MCU takes him next. However it’s his position as the brother of Thanos that may be more important. The MCU has largely moved on from the Mad Titan, but keeping a subtle connection could lead to some interesting stories.

How The MCU Eternals’ Powers Are Different From The Comics

eternals in marvel comics

In Marvel Comics, a group of Celestials came to Earth a million years ago and experimented on early humans, leading to the creation of mutants, Deviants, and Eternals. In the MCU, the Eternals are revealed to be synthetic beings created to protect life and battle the Deviants. This might explain why the MCU’s Eternals are mostly only limited to one ability, whereas their comic counterparts can express several. The decision to change the Eternals’ origins in the MCU was controversial, but it’s possible that their future appearances in the MCU following Eternals could retcon or expand on this even further.

Eternals Movie Poster

Eternals

Director
Chloé Zhao

Runtime
157 minutes

Key Release Dates

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