With its upcoming theatrical release on July 6, Thor: Love and Thunder will add a new chapter to the already crowded fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only that, it will also introduce viewers to many new characters, some of which could have important repercussions on the future of the saga. In fact we will see not only the Mighty Thor played by Natalie Portman but the film by Taika Waititi will also present for the first time the lineage of Olympus gods. In fact, according to the Marvel comics, these deities are nothing more than extraterrestrials from one parallel dimension known as Olympus, which in the film adaptation is a real planet. In the film we will see, for example, Russell Crowe playing Zeus, but the most attentive fans have already asked themselves a fundamental question: but the human deities were not a direct consequence of ‘arrival of the Eternals on Earth?
As explained in EternalsChloé Zhao’s film released in 2021, the Eternals are celestial creatures responsible for the creation of worlds, arrived on our planet in 5000 BC to defeat the evil Deviants and allow humanity to develop their own civilization: their impact on human destiny was so evident that ancient populations began to worship them and to model the their own deities. So here’s what Thena gave rise to the cult of Athena, Makari to that of Mercury, Phastos to that of Hephaestus and so on. How is it possible then, that in the MCU but also in the comics, can coexist on the one hand the gods of ancient Greece who are actually aliens and as many of the classics which, however, originated from the cult of the Eternals?
The explanation of this inconsistency is soon said: the legendary cartoonist Jack Kirby created the Eternals starting from 1976 however one story unrelated to the rest of the Marvel universe, although the limited initial success of the series prompted the publisher to incorporate it all into the larger superhero arc; in the meantime, however, starting in 1965 Kirby himself had already begun to represent the gods of Olympus right in the comics of Thor. How to solve the catch? With a beautiful retcon, which is an a posteriori narrative correction practiced in comics by Kirby’s successors. The thing is quite complex: the Eternals, and in particular Zuras (the inspirer of Zeus, not present in Zhao’s film), inhabited Mount Olympus, right next to a gateway to the dimension inhabited by the alien-gods; this meant that the Greeks were confusingstarting to call the Eternals with the same names that instead characterized the extraterrestrial deities, a kind of problem of branding ante litteram.
In short, on paper Eternals and the Greeks continue to be two bloodlines which, although coexisting in some way, have nothing to do with each other except for a few cases of fortuitous homonymy. It is not clear how this overlap will be treated in Thor: Love and Thunder, but it is likely that – knowing Waititi – there will be a laugh about it. It is also interesting that a character like Zurasdespite being one of the principal Eternals, did not appear in Eternalsperhaps to make room for Crowe’s Zeus and do not create duplicates. In short, the mystery is still open but a highly calibrated mechanism like the MCU will surely find a way to unravel it.