‘Eternals’ Post-Credits Scene Nearly Involved Anthony Mackie’s Captain America

Co-writers Ryan Firpo and Kaz Firpo tell TheWrap about alternate versions that were considered for that stinger

Photo: Marvel Studios

One of the aspects of Marvel Studios’ just-released “Eternals” that everybody is talking about has to do with the post-credits sequence — the one that introduces a certain character (and performer) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Not that one.) So when we jumped on a Zoom call with Ryan Firpo and Kaz Firpo, the co-screenwriters of the movie, we had to ask them about who that was and whether or not any other Marvel character could have popped up in their place.

Warning: Major spoilers for “Eternals” follow.

At the end of the movie’s post-credits sequence, you hear a voice at once familiar and altogether new for the MCU. It’s Mahershala Ali, two-time Oscar winner, as the voice of vampire hunter Blade. He was introduced as the character at San Diego Comic Con back in 2019, and his feature film is set to start shooting next year. And the Firpos confirmed that it’s the daywalker himself you hear at the end of the post-credits tag.

“I mean, there’s no question. It’s Blade,” Kaz clarified.

He continued: “There was about, I would say half a dozen solid versions of those end credit sequences that we explored. I think so much of that process is about leaving doors open. That’s really what it’s about. As much as everyone would like there to believe that there’s a master whiteboard that hasn’t been touched in generations and sits in Kevin’s office that has everything that’s happening for the next 40 years, really it’s a process of what do people want to see? What’s fun in that moment? What door can we leave open that will become satisfying later on?”

Among the ideas that Kaz and Ryan explored along with Marvel Studios management was the idea of the Eternals joining a new lineup of Avengers, or having Kang (played by Jonathan Majors in the “Loki” finale and soon to be the big bad in “Ant-Man and The Wasp in Quantumania”) “come hang out and have a little conversation with these guys,” according to Kaz. Ultimately, those ideas were ruled out, instead focusing on the character of Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) and his magic sword, with some dialogue provided by an unseen presence.

And in fact, there was some discussion about who would deliver that off-screen dialogue. We had heard that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a contender for the sequence, which the Firpos could “neither confirm nor deny.” But they did offer a tantalizing “what if” — to borrow a phrase from Marvel Studios’ recent animated series.

“I think that once upon a time it may even been Sam [Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie], our new Cap,” Kaz said.

Mackie’s Wilson took on the mantle of Captain America in the closing moments of the Disney+ original series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” earlier this year. And while there is supposedly a fourth “Captain America” film in the works, with Mackie throwing the trademark shield, this would have served as his first big-screen appearance as the character. Ah, what could have been.