Eternals: More Jack Kirby or Neil Gaiman?

There seems to be some confusion online as to what version of Marvel’s Eternals the upcoming movie on November 6, 2020 will be based on. The two big versions of the characters are from the initial Jack Kirby run, as well as a semi-reboot done by Neil Gaiman about a decade ago. While the movie will likely pull elements from both, there’s one where the inspiration is pulled from and there’s evidence for that.

Following the success of Thor Ragnarok, which was something of a Kirby test run, it was always the intention to go more in the Jack Kirby direction with Eternals, and Kevin Feige confirmed that in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con this summer when he introduced Eternals:

“A group of immortals who’ve been on Earth for 35,000 years. They’ve been there amongst the MCU, we haven’t met them before. This film is full Jack Kirby.”

Jack Kirby’s run of Eternals dealt with the ancient past which is something Kevin Feige wants to address with the MCU version of the characters. He told Screenrant last June:

“Well, one of the cool things about that property and what Jack Kirby did with it and what’s been done with it in recent years is it does tie into they’re called Eternals, they’ve been around for a long time. You know? There’s this notion of all of these myths and legends that we know from ancient times, were they inspired by the Eternals?”

Beyond the words of the president of Marvel Studios, there’s physical evidence that now shows that they are pulling from the Jack Kirby original. Star Wars instagram scooper Bespin Bulletin took photos of an Incan temple set that matches the Tomb of the Space Gods from Kirby’s first issue of Eternals.

Even though the majority of the movie’s inspiration is coming from Kirby, there are elements from the Gaiman version that could make their way into the movie. One big theme of that version was a human on Earth who discovered that they were an Eternal. It’s always possible that the character of “Karen” could start out as a human archeologist on Earth, only to learn that she is really Sersi (who hasn’t been cast yet).

That means we could see themes and ideas that Gaiman introduced worked together with the “full Jack Kirby” movie that Kevin Feige announced in Hall H just a couple of weeks ago.

Embracing Kirby fully with Eternals (and the Celestials) is also a way to setup a whole bunch of cool things for the future of the MCU. The Celestials is path to showing the true version of Galactus on the screen (not a cloud), and the story beginning 35,000 years ago also ties in with the sinking of Atlantis and provides a back-story for Namor. Going “full Jack Kirby” with this movie means exciting things for the future.