Like any MCU film, it's about setting up the next stories in the ongoing cinematic universe. For Eternals, though, that wasn't always the plan to begin. Director Chloé Zhao has now shared that the film's ending almost went in a much different, more bleak direction.
Speaking with Empire in a new interview, Zhao opened up about her Marvel debut and transitioning over from the indie scene to helming such an enormous blockbuster that generated a lot of talk (not always positive, unfortunately). When addressing some of the story aspects in Eternals, Zhao touched on the film's ending and how she had other plans for it, but like every film she has made so far in her impressive career, it didn't turn out the way she intended it to.
"No. I have never made a film where the ending is what I wrote!," Zhao responded when asked if Eternals' ending was always how it ended for her. "You find it in the edit. Editing is a third of the filmmaking process, and when you show it to people, that's when you find the ending. I don't think I've made a single film where the opening and ending stay the same as the script, just because the scenes are fluid as we shoot."
Zhao would further add that the ending she originally intended for was much more bleak, as Zhao claimed is she is used to films that are more cold and melancholy. "And we actually had another ending that is really bleak. Bleak. I didn't hate it, because I'm used to films that are more melancholy. But I don't think it went down well with audiences," shared Zhao. When asked just went down in that more bleak ending, Zhao responded, "It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like The Twilight Zone. I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, "I don't know what to do." And also, it's the MCU, and you want to be excited for what's next."
Eternals centers on an immortal alien race that was created by the Celestials and has been living secretly on Earth for thousands of years. They finally have to come together to stop their evil counterparts known as the Deviants. While it would've been interesting to Zhao's original vision for the film's ending come to life, as she stated, the ending that was presented to audiences obviously makes sense considering it's a film in a shared universe and that it has to keep audiences looking ahead and talking about how many of these stories or characters will eventually intertwined. Other than showcasing the Eternals group, the film provides other exciting additions like Kit Harington's Dane Whitman who looks like will play a major role in future MCU projects.
Considering the amount of Marvel content that was released in 2021 (especially with the release of Spider-Man: No Way Home which is already being considered one of the best Marvel films by critics and fans), Eternals is no doubt the most divisive out of all of them. While the film does have the lowest score out of any Marvel film on Rotten Tomatoes with a 47%, as much of the criticism has been pointed towards the inconsistent storytelling and troubles balancing the wide array of characters in its 2 hours and 37-minute runtime, Zhao's unique directing style combined with the story's focus on much more complex and weighty themes makes the film feel very fresh from what came before in the MCU.
Eternals will be available for streaming on Disney Plus on January 12, 2022.
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