Eternals has set itself up to be what I consider the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” film of Phase 4. What I mean by that analogy is that the movie managed to essentially become the movie that will foreshadow the future events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Director Chloe Zhao was not kidding when she mentioned that the film would significantly impact the MCU as we know it. Not only did she manage to expand the MCU’s past, preluding the events of Captain America: The First Avenger during the Second World War, but she also managed to make a good set of references for the future of the MCU that lies ahead. Vampires, Tenochtitlan, the Black Knight, and his Ebony Sword are all excellent examples of this.
This theory delves into some spoilers for Eternals and some possible spoilers for the future of the MCU. So take this as your spoiler warning.
SPOILER WARNING FOR ETERNALS
Perhaps the most exciting foreshadowing of the film took place at the end. Arishem The Judge appears on Earth, his gigantic form taking up most of the sky. He kidnaps the three Eternals who remained on Earth; Sersi, Kingo, and Phastos, while leaving behind an ominous message to them.
You have chosen to sacrifice a Celestial for the people of this planet. I will spare them, but your memories will show if they are worthy to live. And I will return for judgment.
So, right now, the timetable is as follows. Avengers: Endgame takes place in the Summer of 2023. We know from Eternals that thanks to the events of the second Snap (I refuse to call it “The Blip”), the energy needed for the Celestial, Tiamut, to rise from the Earth’s core reached its max levels. So we can assume that the events of Eternals and Endgame occur reasonably close to each other and that Arishem would have appeared on Earth in the year 2023.
Currently, Marvel Studios is aiming to complete “smaller-scale story arcs” for their upcoming Phases rather than have another 23-film overarching story like the Infinity Saga. We have the Multiverse/Timelines story arc with WandaVision, Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, & Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. We also have the stories set on Earth with a bit of a supernatural twist coming along with Moon Knight, Blade, & Werewolf by Night.
But now, there appears to be a cosmic storyline behind these other stories with WandaVision, Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Marvels & Secret Invasion. A theme that a couple of these projects poses is the foreshadowing of something coming from the stars. We see it in the post-credit scene of WandaVision with Monica being asked to go to space, presumably to aid Fury.
We also have the Shang-Chi post-credit scene with the rings acting as a beacon to “something” potentially out in the stars. And now, with the ominous message from Arishem in Eternals, it’s clear that the cosmic side of the MCU is something that we Marvel fans will want to be paying attention to as we delve deeper into Phase 4.
But what exactly could it be? Arishem? Another Celestial? Perhaps a World Destroyer? Only time will tell. What do you think they could be hinting at as the next cosmic threat in the MCU? Let us know in the comments or on social media!