Warning! Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Eternals
Marvel Studios’ Eternals ends on a massive cliffhanger that leaves the fates of many characters up in the air, and here’s what it means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s future. Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals is the third film to arrive in Phase 4 and the most ambitious of the bunch so far. The movie focuses on 10 superhuman beings created by Celestials known as the Eternals, with Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris (Richard Madden) taking the main roles in the story. After showing the Eternals’ arrival on Earth over 7,000 years ago, the story builds dramatically to Eternals’ cliffhanger ending.
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The main story of Eternals follows the team regrouping in the present day of the MCU, once they learn the Deviants — predators created by the Celestials — are still on Earth. The Deviants’ return comes when the group becomes aware of an apocalyptic-level event known as The Emergence. Eternals’ ending reveals that The Emergence is part of the Celestials’ overall plan. A new Celestial has been growing inside Earth for multiple millennia, waiting for Earth’s population to become large enough to be a necessary energy source for the Celestial. The Emergence comes as a surprise to most Eternals since Ajak (Salma Hayek) kept their true mission a secret to them all, except Ikaris. As Sersi, Ikaris, and Sprite (Lia McHugh) travel the world, bringing the Eternals together for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, that is when their true purpose, Ikaris killing Ajak, and much more comes to light.
Related: How Thanos Is Connected To The Eternals: Story & Species Explained
All of this allows Marvel to push Eternals towards a massive ending. The team becomes divided as Sersi pleads with them to help her stop The Emergence and save humanity. Still, Ikaris is prepared to let Earth be destroyed since it means the Celestials will create other new planets, civilizations, and billions of lives. While Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) sits out these events and Gilgamesh (Don Lee) died before, this left Sersi, Thena (Angelina Jolie), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Druig (Barry Keoghan), and Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) to try to stop The Emergence and avoid Ikaris and Sprite. Ultimately, Eternals’ ending shows Sersi and the team save humanity, but the fallout of this event results in some big MCU cliffhangers and teases.
Click here to watch Eternals Ending & Post-Credits Scenes Explained.
Is Ikaris Really Dead At The End Of Eternals?
Eternals’ cliffhanger ending includes what appears to be Ikaris’ death, but is Richard Madden’s character really gone? Once he realizes he can’t go through with killing Sersi to stop her from preventing Tiamut’s emergence, Ikaris flies into space and heads straight for the sun. Eternals’ ending cuts away from him before his fiery death is explicitly shown, which leaves his MCU fate ambiguous. For what it’s worth, it seems that the Eternals believe that Ikaris is dead. As Kingo says, it’s a shame what happened to Ikaris. However, it is unclear how they would know of that fact. The other Eternals couldn’t sense Ajak’s death, so they shouldn’t be able to do that for Ikaris. The one caveat that needs to be considered, is that Sersi is now the Prime Eternal, so she might have a stronger connection to the other Eternals and know that Ikaris died.
Ikaris flying into the sun is Marvel’s way of referencing Icarus’ tale from Greek mythology, which Eternals explained was a story Sprite invented. The reference to this story makes sense, but Marvel and Zhao deliberately chose to leave Ikaris’ fate unclear. As the franchise progresses, this gives them greater flexibility with Richard Madden’s MCU character. He could be dead and never seen again, or Ikaris could’ve survived somehow. Perhaps the Eternals are powerful enough to survive the sun’s heat, or Arishem managed to interfere and take Ikaris before he died. For now, it might be best to believe that Ikaris is dead after Eternals’ ending, even though Marvel could bring him back down the road.
Eternals’ Divided Team: Where Each Character Is At The End
Following the Eternals’ decision to go against Arishem’s plan and save humanity, the group is divided by the time of Eternals’ ending. The final few minutes of the movie show Makkari, Druig, and Thena leave Earth on the Domo spaceship to find other Eternals. They are determined to search the galaxy for more of their kind and tell them the truth about the Celestials and the Eternals’ purpose when they go to different worlds. Eternals’ post-credits scene shows that it takes them a few weeks before they encounter anyone new.
Related: Eternals Spaceship, The Domo, Explained
As for the rest of the Eternals, everyone else remains on Earth for the time, or is dead. This initially sees Sersi return to London, Kingo agrees to help raise Sprite, and Phastos and his family move to Ajak’s ranch. However, Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos are then abducted by Arishem when the Celestial makes a surprise trip to Earth. Sprite is not taken because she is no longer an Eternal, meaning she’ll be left with Kingo’s people to grow up on her own. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh and Ajak are still dead after Eternals’ ending, and Ikaris might also be.
Where Arishem Takes The Eternals & Why
Once Arishem appears in Eternals’ ending, he reveals that he’s taking Sersi, Phastos, and Kingo with him. Their destination is likely the World Forge, the cosmic location that Arishem founded to create the Eternals, and new planets. World Forge is also where Arishem stores all of the Eternals’ memories from their previous missions. He decides to take Sersi, Phastos, and Kingo with him to examine their memories. Arishem is angry that they defied his orders and stopped Tiamut’s emergence, so he wants to know why, and if, that was the right decision. He tells them that he will now study their memories from their time on Earth to determine if the Eternals made the right call by letting humanity live. If Arishem doesn’t like what he sees, though, he’ll return to Earth and judge the planet.
Dane Whitman’s Plan, Black Knight Future & Blade’s MCU Introduction Explained
The teases of the MCU’s future in Eternals continued with the film’s post-credits scenes. The last scene confirms that Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) has a bright future in the shared universe. After having only a small role in the movie itself, Eternals’ post-credits scene shows Dane acquiring the Ebony Blade after watching Sersi mysteriously vanish. Dane previously teased his family’s complicated past and was about to tell Sersi all about it before she disappeared. Now, it appears that Dane is planning to use the power of the Ebony Blade to try and find a way to rescue Sersi. What he didn’t expect was to hear the voice of Blade (Mahershala Ali) asking him if he’s ready to pick up the mighty sword to become Black Knight, and live with everything that comes with the title. The sword itself carries the message “Death is his reward,” which links to the blade’s bloody history: it can cut almost anything, but corrupts the user over time, a fate that has happened to many versions of Black Knight over the centuries, though whether that’s what’s in store for Harington’s Dane Whitman remains to be seen.
After such an exciting tease for Kit Harington’s MCU future, it is currently unconfirmed where he will appear next. However, Eternals’ post-credits scene featuring the surprising first tease of Mahershala Ali’s Daywalker could mean that a role in Blade is on the horizon. Marvel rarely features a tease like this that they don’t intend to pay off. So, Black Knight’s return could come in Blade, which is widely believed to hit theaters in either 2023 or 2024. If Blade’s solo movie isn’t where Kit Harington returns, then it’s possible that Black Knight’s next appearance could come in Eternals 2, a spinoff Disney+ show, or even Moon Knight.
Related: MCU’s Black Knight Can Finally Deliver A Great King Arthur Movie
Harry Styles’ Starfox: Thanos’ Brother In Eternals Credits Explained
Eternals’ mid-credits scene also included another significant new MCU character introduction, as Harry Styles appeared as Eros aka Starfox, the brother of Thanos and prince of Titan. His debut comes as the mid-credits scene shows Thena, Druig, and Makkari flying through space on the Domo. Makkari is confused why they haven’t heard from the other Eternals for weeks now. Thena and Makkari then hear a strange noise on the ship as a portal opens up, and Pip the Troll (voiced by Patton Oswalt) comes tumbling out. Pip immediately introduces his powerful partner in fighting cosmic crime and uses his teleporting powers to bring Starfox to the ship. Starfox explains that he knows where the other Eternals are and wants to help Thena, Makkari, and Druig find them.
Although Harry Styles’ MCU debut as Starfox was leaked after Eternals’ premiere, he’s still a massive character to join the MCU at this stage. His first appearance in Marvel Comics came in 1972, and Eros is entirely different in personality from his brother Thanos. Starfox is a charismatic womanizer, who spent much of his younger days traveling the galaxy searching for fun and love. He went on to help the Avengers fight Thanos and even join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which is where the Starfox name originated. Now that Harry Styles is playing Eros in the MCU, he might not get the chance to battle Thanos, but he should have an important role to play as the shared universe continues.
Ebony Blade: The Sword At The End Of Eternals Explained
Eternals’ ending shows the mysterious Ebony Blade, wielded by the Black Knight, Dane Whitman. The sword itself possesses magical powers. Not only can the Ebony Blade cut through just about anything, but it also deflects most magical attacks, provides doorways between dimensions, and has limited teleportation abilities. The sword and its holder have a special bond, and the creator Merlin intended it to be that way. Wielders of the Ebony Blade cannot be damaged by their own weapon. In addition, one in possession of the sword cannot be killed while holding it, only injured. The blade encases its user in powerful black armor that also has shrouded flight capabilities. This connection, however, is a double-edged sword (literally). Anyone using the blade with malicious intent can actually taint the Ebony Blade’s powers. If, for example, someone kills another, the sword will develop a taste for blood. In turn, it will influence its master in a sinister way to keep on killing until the wielder becomes a cold-blooded murderer, seeking only ruin.
The Ebony Blade was forged by Merlin and Sir Percival and made from the Starstone meteorite. The sword was enchanted to cut through any object or substance in its path. The debate around whether the sword is technically good or evil hangs in the balance, as the wielder can corrupt (and be corrupted) through the Ebony Blade. The blade carries a curse that will eventually turn the user into a Berserker if enough blood is shed. It’ll be interesting to see Dane Whitman’s transformation into the Black Knight and how he chooses to use the Ebony Blade throughout.
Related: How Much Eternals Cost To Make (& How Much Box Office To Be A Success)
Are Moon Knight And Eternals Connected?
The latest MCU Disney+ series, Moon Knight, and the movie Eternals might be connected through an important part of Marc Spector/Steven Grant’s backstory in the show. Moon Knight’s Stephen Grant alter is a museum employee with access to countless Egyptian artifacts. When Steven goes to London’s National Gallery, he’s actually within close distance of Sersi’s workplace and the location where Dane Whitman finds the Ebony Sword. As a museum worker, he will likely encounter — or have encountered in the past — Eternals’ Sersi or Dane, as a prospective museum hire would need experience before being employed by London’s National Gallery. And where better to garner that experience than Sersi’s workplace, the National History Museum? Coupled with this, Dane is sure to experience some anomalies in light of the discovery of the Ebony Blade. He might recruit Stephen Grant to help with the artifact. Either way, Eternals’ ending opens up the possibility for Marc/Stephen to appear within their universe. The two also have thematic connections, such as working against the gods’ wishes.
When Will The Eternals Return: MCU Sequel, Avengers 5, Or Spinoffs?
Marvel uses the last moment of Eternals’ ending and credits to confirm that the Eternals will return, but where this will happen isn’t confirmed. Multiple properties could be the answer to when they’ll next appear. Marvel Studios hasn’t announced Eternals 2 yet, and some have even downplayed whether it is necessary. However, Eternals’ ending makes it clear that a sequel is needed to continue the story and payoff these teases. These characters could be held out of the MCU until Avengers 5, as the next team-up movie could deal with Arishem’s return to Earth if Eternals 2 doesn’t happen. Otherwise, Marvel could decide to make multiple spinoffs featuring the Eternals. This could include one centered around Eros and the Eternals on the Domo, and another based around the group Arishem took.
What Eternals’ Ending Really Means
Eternals’ ending also ties together the movie’s overall themes about humanity. Although the Eternals are artificially created beings made by Celestials, many battle human emotions and conflicting feelings about humanity’s overall trajectory and purpose. Druig wanted to use his powers to stop humans from hurting each other, while Phastos gave up hope on humans for a time, before finding the good in them again. Meanwhile, Sersi has always seen the best in them, and Ikaris routinely tried to distance himself from them and their eventual destruction. The varying levels of faith they had in the goodness of humans, and what the Eternals should do with their powers to help or interfere in humanity’s choices, originally is what divided the group.
In the end, even Ikaris managed to show that his feelings for the other Eternals, specifically Sersi, were genuine and that he didn’t hate the human experience as much as he let on. Humans are far from perfect, but the Eternals learned that they too had flaws and could learn from their failures, just like humanity had the right to do. It’s only after coming to such a realization that the entire team could come together in Eternals’ ending and give humanity a longer lifespan.
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About The Author
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Cooper Hood is a news and feature writer for Screen Rant. He joined Screen Rant in late 2016 following a year-long stint with MCU Exchange, which came after first developing an MCU blog of his own. He graduated college in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Media & Public Communication, with a minor in Media Production. Cooper’s love for movies began by watching Toy Story and Lion King on repeat as a child, but it wasn’t until The Avengers that he took an invested interest in movies and the filmmaking process, leading him to discover the world of film journalism. Every year Cooper looks forward to seeing the latest blockbusters from the likes of Marvel, DC, and Star Wars, but also loves the rush to catch up on Oscar films near the end of the year. When he isn’t writing about or watching new releases, Cooper is a fantasy football obsessive and looking to expand his Blu-Ray collection – because physical media is still king! Follow Cooper on Twitter @MovieCooper.
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