When Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao’s Marvel film “Eternals” hits theaters next month, it’ll stand as one of the longest Marvel Cinematic Universe movies yet.
The “Nomadland” director revealed during an interview with Fandango that “Eternals” is over two and a half hours long, half-jokingly adding, “it could be longer!” She went on to explain that the film follows over 10 characters and spans 7,000 years of time, so there’s a lot of ground to cover.
That runtime puts “Eternals” behind only “Avengers: Infinity War” (149 minutes) and “Avengers: Endgame” (181 minutes) in terms of length, as the majority of Marvel Studios’ films run at a little over two hours in length.
“Eternals” is a key film for the MCU. The story takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame” and follows a group called the Eternals, whom Zhao calls “Earth’s original superheroes.” In the story of the film, the Eternals are a near immortal race of beings who were created by the Celestials and have lived secretly on Earth for over 7,000 years. When their evil counterparts, the Deviants, were wiped out thousands of years ago, the Eternals were instructed to stand on the sidelines and allow humanity to progress on its own until the Deviants returned – hence why they didn’t intervene when Thanos arrived and wiped out half the population. As tends to happen with evil counterparts, “Eternals” finds the Deviants coming back, thus forcing the heroes out of hiding.
During Zhao’s interview with Fandango, she asserted that the film “completely stands alone,” adding, “If you know half the universe disappeared and it came back, that’s all you need to know to watch this film.” So being familiar with the MCU story so far isn’t a prerequisite for understanding or enjoying “Eternals,” though Zhao did add that the events of the film “will have huge implications on the future [of the Marvel Cinematic Universe].”
“Eternals” was written by Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo and Kaz Firpo. The cast includes Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington and Angelina Jolie.
“Eternals” will be released exclusively in theaters on Nov. 5, following its world premiere at the Rome Film Festival on Oct. 24.