‘Eternals’: This is how Chloé Zaho built her Marvel diversity festival

What makes the Eternals, the new generation of superheroes, so special? We explain how and why they created the film that inaugurates a new era in the UCM with the most global message.

When the Mexican actress Salma Hayek was first seen wearing the superhero Ajak costume in Eternals She started to cry.

We all wore that suit. All the women in all of Latin America, in Spain … Because my character in the comic was a man, and they have turned him into a woman and a Latin woman: she is the leader, she is wise, she is the power of matriarchy and he was able to me. At last we are seen and seen as the participants of the most important moments in the history of mankind.

The actress has told it during the promotion of the premiere of Eternals and has thus summed up why the film that the two Oscar winner Chloé Zhao has made for Marvel Studios is so special and has so passionate the fans at the event organized by Disney for its preview.

Eternals, based on the superheroes created for the comics by Jack Kirby, tells the story of a group of aliens who have been on Earth for more than 7,000 years protecting humans from the Deviants, terrifying fantastic creatures. And, although they believed that they had finished with them, half a millennium later they reappear, forcing the 10 Eternals, who had dispersed throughout planet Earth, to meet again to destroy them.

“At last many boys and girls will be represented”

But beyond the fantasy and action adventure, the Marvel movie is a whole commitment to diversity: gender, different capacities, sexual and racial orientation. It might seem that this vocation for diversity is a gesture of the Asian-born director Chloe Zaho, who even Eternals he had bet on a rather independent way of making cinema. However, Zaho herself has recognized in several interviews, such as the one on the Refinery29 site,

All those elements related to diversity were already in the treatment of the film that they made from Marvel. My job has been to ensure that these items were there for a reason, not just to be. And that those mumentos had humanity to such an extent that all audiences from all environments and contexts could feel identified “, explained the director

We analyze for you the keys to this festival of diversity, which is the third film in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (UCM) -after Black widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings- and that has swept the box office around the world in its premiere.

‘Eternals’ raises more than 161 million in its first weekend and becomes the best premiere of Marvel’s Phase 4

1. Five races, 10 Eternals

The group of the 10 Eternals, the largest of Marvel’s superhero groups to date, has a wide racial representation, or at least 5 different racial groups are represented: Ajak (Salma Hajek), the leader of the group, is of origin latino; Gilgamesh (South Korean actor Ma Dong-Seok) and Sersi (Gemma Chan) act as representatives of the breed asian, while the representative of the breed india is Kingo (actor of Pakistani origin Kumail Nanjiani). Also, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) represents the black race and representation Slavic, Saxon or Caucasian It is contributed by Ikaris (Richard Madden), Thena (Angelina Jolie) and Duende (Lia McHugh). And there is even a mestizo representation, since Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) is the daughter of a black mother and a Mexican father.

Producer Nate Moore explains why it should be this way. “The Eternals had to be integrated into the Earth. And the reality is that the inhabitants of the Earth are diverse: there are people whose appearance and race are different. There are people of all ages. And that allowed us to form a cast of talented people who come from diverse origins ”.

All the Eternals led by Salma Hayek

For Hayek, the diversity of the Eternals has a deeper meaning. “The Eternals are very powerful, but they are even more so when they are together,” explains the actress.. “They are very diverse and I think that carries another message: the importance of working together to help conserve the planet and accept our differences,” explains the artist of Mexican origin. And the producer adds: “What differentiates them from other groups of heroes, including Avengers ylGuardians of the Galaxy, is that they can unite their energy and create something called Unimente, which was already in the 1976 Jack Kirby comics. That allows them to amplify the power of any of them. However, all must be connected in some way, tuned in, reunited ”.

Its director, Chloé Zhao, also explains that this diversity of origins was very enriching when building the story:

The actors come from different backgrounds and life experiences. But there is something unique about each of my actors. They all bring something special. And that unites them as a family because the Eternals live on the periphery. So each member of the cast has a little bit of that that ties them together.

2. Five men and five women overcoming gender clichés

The Eternals make up the first group of Marvel superheroes in which there are as many men as women. And furthermore, its two leaders are Ajak and Sersi, capable of rebelling and leading their team with intelligence and wisdom.

But the value of Eternals is that the female leaders of the group overcome the aggressive, violent and masculinized patterns to which the cinema has accustomed us when it casts a woman as a heroine and we see her act the same as a man would but with long hair. In Zhao’s film, women act as a bright and sensitive woman would in the situations before them.

But, in addition, the movie It also shows that another masculinity is possible: the way of understanding the male hero jumps through the air with Gilgamesh: iron fists, brute strength, but affectionate, affectionate, passionate about the kitchen and caretaker of Thena when she passes her worst moments.

Also leading the project on the other side of the screen is a broad representation of women: director and screenwriter Chloé Zhao, the producer of Argentine origin Victoria Alonso and half of the top managers of the technical team are women.

3. The first homosexual superhero

Eternals includes in its plot the first homosexual love story. This one stars Phastos, a thinker and one of the most intelligent people in the universe whose cosmic energy and inventiveness give him the power to help humanity advance. Like Sersi, Phastos He has grown fond of humans and enjoys their company. To the point that she has married a man, of Arab origin, and they have a child together.

Angelina Jolie defends the homosexual relationship of ‘Eternals’ and criticizes its censorship: “It is ignorance”

This aspect has not been liked much in some countries that condemn homosexuality and that even imprison gay people. In fact, in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Kuwait Etenals, it has been removed from the billboards because Marvel refused to remove the content referring to Phastos’ homosexual relationship. Several of the participating actors have been outraged by this, as is the case of Angelina Jolie who plays Thena, said in an interview:

I still don’t understand how we live in a world where there are still people who don’t see the family that Phastos has and the beauty of that relationship and that love. Someone who is angry about it, feels threatened by it, does not approve or despise it, is ignorant “, concludes Jolie’Eternals’: The new Marvel could be banned in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwai

4. The first deaf superhero

The Eternals group also includes the MCU’s first deaf superhero. Super-speed Makkari is played by Lauren Ridloff, an actress known for her regular role on the show. The Walking Dead although until three years ago she was only a teacher at a kindergarten for deaf children and who was also Miss America in the deaf category at the time.

‘Eternals’: Lauren Ridloff, the kindergarten teacher who became Marvel’s Eternal and made sign language fashionable

“I’m excited about the idea of ​​deaf kids wearing Makkari-inspired costumes on Halloween,” he says. “I think the most important thing about having a deaf superhero in a movie like this is that it conveys the message that an individual can offer so much more, regardless of their ability, strengths or weaknesses. I am happy”.

More information at Disney Zone

To build his character, he conducted mythology research with an American Sign Language consultant to help with the translation process and also to develop signs for each character’s names. During this process, Ridloff learned more about the mythology of each character. In addition, during filming, both she and her husband Doug, along with their two American Sign Language translators, taught the actors to sign.

And besides, Ridloff helped make the set more inclusive for deaf people. This made the cast and crew passionate as they all quickly became huge fans of their partner’s energy and playfulness and wanted to communicate with her at all costs.

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