Yesterday when the news arrived confirming the long speculation that Sersi and Black Knight would be the lead characters in November’s Eternals, many people didn’t want to believe it because they had it set in their heads that big names like Ikaris or Thena would be the leads. While some of this comes from fan accounts who just want to push whoever they “stan”, others questioned why a human would be the lead character in a movie about immortal superheroes. But that’s precisely why Marvel has been so successful.
Even going back the the comic source material, Marvel’s success can be greatly attributed to having characters that the audience could identify with. Stan Lee understood this when he created his characters in the 60s, making them normal people thrust into amazing and spectacular situations. And that philosophy continued when Marvel Studios began producing the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Throughout the twenty-three films of the MCU, there’s always a human perspective on even the most epic and cosmic events. Even Thor: Ragnarok, which focuses on Asgardians in space on an alien planet, has that in the form of puny Bruce Banner. Prior to that, the Thor movies had Jane Foster to give a human perspective for people to identify with.
Much like the Jack Kirby run of The Eternals, Dan Whitman is filling the Margo Damian role in the story. Where Margo fell in love with Ikaris in that version, Dane falls in love with Sersi and their story is the forefront of the epic that spans thousands of years of MCU history.
That’s how you give audiences something to identify with; with a human who falls in love with one of these immortal superheroes. And that’s something that Marvel is very good at doing. and they’ve been doing it for over a decade now.