Eternals: Marvel’s first gay superhero movie is a ‘big risk’ packed with ‘surprises’, teases director

Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, and Salma Hayek on a stage infant of images of them in superhero costume

Eternals director Chloé Zhao thinks Marvel has taken a “big risk” with its upcoming movie, the Marvel Cinematic Universe film to feature an openly gay superhero.

The upcoming film will introduce a new race of ancient alien superheroes to the MCU – the titular Eternals – including Phastos, who is queer.

The film is eagerly awaited by queer and non-queer fans, having been delayed a year due to the pandemic, and now Zhao has sent anticipation to feverish new heights by teasing that Marvel has taken a “very big risk” with its distinct visual style.

Zhao told SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle the film will “feel and look different” because the team experimented with shooting on unique, alien-looking locations.

“I think this is where Marvel really took the risk that we knew we wanted to shoot on location because by shooting wide-angle lenses on locations, it’s going to affect how you do visual effects,” Zhao said.

“It’s going to affect how you do the action. There’s a lot that will feel and look differently.

“We shot mostly on location, but I love being on the stage, learning about the technology, ‘cos I grew up with manga.”

She added: “I think they’re going to surprise you. I hope so.”

Eternals has ‘completely different DNA’ to other Marvel movies

In a previous interview with Variety, Salma Hayek, who plays Ajak in Eternals, said the cinematography for the movie was “incredible” and it was shot in “crazy extraterrestrial-looking locations”.

“It has a completely different DNA from the [other Marvel movies],” Hayek said. “It’s shot different than all the other ones.”

Based on the comic book series of the same name, Eternals follows a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilisations.

The film will take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, in which half of life in the universe was erased by the supervillain Thanos. The Eternals, who have been secretly living on Earth for over 7,000 years, reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.

The film also stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and Kit Harrington, as well as Brian Tyree Henry, as gay superhero Phastos.

Lebanese-American actor Haaz Sleiman has confirmed that he plays Phasto’s husband. Sleiman said fans will “be so proud” of what “Marvel has been able to accomplish”.

The MCU is set to become even more queer with the release of Thor: Love and Thunder, which will explore Valkyrie’s bisexuality (Tessa Thompson).

Marvel recently kicked off its Phase 4 slate with the Disney Plus series WandaVision, which introduced a young version of queer superhero Wiccan.