The second Eternals trailer finally showed off the villains the titular characters will face off against. Directed by Academy Award-winner Chloé Zhao and starring an ensemble cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry and Angelina Jolie, the movie will bring Jack Kirby’s near-immortal superhero squad to live-action for the first time. Eternals is set to release in theaters on November 5, 2021.
Though they aren’t Marvel’s best-known characters by any means, the Eternals have featured in some of the biggest events in the lore of the comics. Having been created by the godlike Celestials via genetic experiments on early humans, the Eternals have existed on Earth through all of recorded history in the comics, living in secret amongst humans or in hiding in cities of their own. Through the years, the Eternals have helped defend humanity from various threats, most frequently from their rival race, the Deviants.
Disney has confirmed that the Deviants will feature as antagonists in the Eternals film, but details surrounding their specific role have yet to be released. It’s possible that they may not be the primary villain of the story, and there are a few other likely picks for the primary bad guy. Here’s what’s known so far about the villains of Eternals.
In the comics, the Deviants are the main antagonists to the Eternals. They, too, were created by genetic experiments conducted on early humans by the Celestials, though the result was quite different. The Deviants vary in shape, size, and power, but they are generally seen as violent and monstrous beings, often resembling classic mythical creatures like goblins and trolls. Despite their grizzly appearances, the Deviants are still highly intelligent, and as such, they were able to construct empires and devise advanced technology far earlier than ordinary humans, all in the hopes of conquering Earth. It’s already been confirmed that the Deviants will be antagonists in the movie. Per an official release from Disney, Eternals will tell the story of “a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, The Deviants.” That suggests the Deviants are up to their same old nefarious schemes from the comics, but it doesn’t confirm that they will be the main villains of the movie. They could simply be the reason for the Eternals to return, kicking off a different storyline later on. After all, Marvel movies are no strangers to major villain twists.
Eternals’ first trailer was epic in scale and visually stunning, but it barely showed any of the movie’s actual story or villains. The second trailer provides a much clearer perspective as to who the Eternals will be up against. The dialogue suggests the events of Avengers: Endgame — particularly, Iron Man snapping half of the world’s population back into existence — provided the “necessary energy for the emergence to begin.” While the first trailer hinted that Barry Koeghan’s Druig could be one of the antagonists of the film, the second Eternals trailer actually shows the villains this time: the Deviants. The Eternals trailer specifically highlights Kro, one of the most important Deviants. He is a general and often acts as the leader of the Deviants. In the trailer, he is shown speaking with Thena, which is worth noting because the pair have an on-and-off romantic relationship in the comics. The Deviants are the primary reason why the Eternals never got involved in humanity’s problems over the course of 7,000 years. Their sole purpose was to protect humanity from the Deviants and the Eternals is when fans will get to see them do that at last.
The second Eternals trailer also reveals a couple of the Celestials — namely, Arishem the Judge and Nezarr the Calculator. After watching over humanity for 7,000 years, the Eternals have grown to love them and be protective of them. The Celestials, despite having created the Eternals, seem strict, but it’s possible the powerful heroes will band together to not only defeat the Deviants, but break the Celestials’ rules by getting involved with humanity outside of their scope. If the Celestials are coming to judge the people, the Eternals may step in to interfere to stop humanity’s demise.
Arishem is the leader of the Celestials and, as his title suggests, a judge. Who he gets to judge is humanity itself and whether or not they would die, so his presence in Eternals suggests he will do the same in the movie and that isn’t good news for Earthlings. As for Nezzar the Calculator, he is an ally of Arishem and another Celestial who visits Earth. Eternals could do a bait and switch by having the team unite to battle the Deviants before attempting to stop the Celestials from destroying Earth entirely.
Another likely choice for Eternals’ villain is Druig, played in the movie by Barry Keoghan. Though he’s an Eternal himself, Druig has a complicated history in the comics. Known as a selfish schemer constantly on the hunt for power, he’s been the cause of some of the Eternal’s bigger problems through the years. At different points, Druig has been a KGB operative, a torture specialist, a tyrannical leader, and occasionally a self-serving ally to his kin.
Because of Druig’s aforementioned conspicuous placement in the trailer (and his near absence in the second), there’s a good chance he’ll be, at the very least, a troublesome force for the other Eternals to deal with. At most, he could be the film’s true main villain, even briefly aligning with or taking advantage of the Deviants. Such a storyline would fit with Druig’s comic book self, and he could be a great mastermind for the movie’s overall plot. Along with all the powers wielded by the Eternals, Druig has particular influence over the thoughts of others – even to the point of brainwashing and mental control. He could easily use those powers to influence the actions of the Deviants from the shadows, all in the interest of some grander scheme for power.
In addition to Druig and the Deviants, there are other classic Marvel characters who could show up as villains in Eternals. Since the Celestials haven’t done much in the MCU so far, and since what they have done is largely villainous, they could be spun out into more direct antagonists in the movie, pulling strings from the background. That would be especially interesting if Marvel intends to have the cosmic beings play a big role in later phases of the franchise.
Another possibility is that Eternals will bring in the Titanians and Uranians – exiled groups of Eternals who split from the Earth clan thousands of years in the past. In the comics, the Titanians and Uranians have their own storylines filled with civil wars and betrayals, and altered versions of those stories could feature in Eternals. Including even more new characters might be too tall of a task for one movie to handle, but it’s definitely a possibility.
Lastly, Eternals could set up some larger MCU villains for the rest of Phase 4 and beyond. Names like Nightmare, Mephisto, and Chthon have been tossed around a lot in fan speculation circles recently, and any of those characters could make their MCU debut in Eternals. Or maybe the time-travelling Kang the Conqueror, who’s set to appear later in Phase 4, could even be involved. Fans will be able to unravel the mystery when Eternals finally releases.
Next: Marvel’s Eternals Movie Cast & Character Guide