‘Eternals’ Actor Gemma Chan Starred in ‘Captain Marvel’ First in a Totally Different Role — Here’s Why

Marvel is fairly strict about tying actors and characters together. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark; Chris Hemsworth is Thor. The actors don’t pop up as totally different characters. However, that is exactly what happened with Gemma Chan, who played Sersi in Eternals and Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel. Marvel Cinematic Universe fans caught this and wondered whether the characters have a connection or it was just a coincidence.

'Captain Marvel' actor Gemma Chan attends the 'Eternals' U.K. premiere.
Gemma Chan from ‘Eternals’ | Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty Images

Why is Gemma Chan in ‘Eternals’ and ‘Captain Marvel’?

Marvel execs brought back Gemma Chan for Eternals after Captain Marvel simply because they valued her skills as an actor.

In Captain Marvel, Chan played Kree sniper Minn-Erva. She did not have an excessive amount of screentime in the Marvel movie. She served as more of a henchman to Jude Law’s Yon-Rogg. Minn-Erva died when Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) shot down her ship.

This seemingly meant the end of Chan’s run in the MCU. However, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had other plans for Chan. Feige approached Gemma Chan after Captain Marvel.

“I had bumped into Kevin Feige on the awards circuit [when] I was promoting Crazy Rich Asians,” Chan told Entertainment Weekly. “He very kindly came up to me and said, ‘I loved your work, and we would really love to work with you again.’ I just thought, ‘Oh, well, that might mean sometime in the future, who knows when? Maybe he’s just being nice.’ I was really not expecting to be back so soon!”

Eternals director Chloé Zhao and Feige cast her in Eternals as one of the most important figures in the movie.

Kevin Feige defended the decision to use Gemma Chan for 2 Marvel characters

Feige had learned from his early days with Marvel.

When it came time to cast Captain America, some pushed back on the idea of Chris Evans because he had already played Johnny Storm/Human Torch in 2005’s Fantastic Four. But fans still were able to accept him as Steve Rogers.

“It would have been shooting ourselves in the foot,” Feige said about casting Chan in Eternals. “I can go back to Chris Evans being on the list for Captain America, and some people said, ‘Oh, well, he played the Human Torch. Maybe we shouldn’t consider him.’ And we said, ‘No, that’s okay,’ and the rest is history.”

Chan liked 1 aspect of Sersi more than Minn-Erva

Gemma Chan’s characters in Eternals and Captain Marvel were quite different in both looks and attitude. And Chan said there was one major perk about playing Sersi: She required far less makeup than the blue Minn-Erva.

She had “to spend four hours every day in a makeup chair” to become the blue Kree sniper, she told Entertainment Weekly. The process for Sersi felt quicker than Eternals speedster Makkari.

“I have to say that was somewhat of a relief,” she laughed. “It was nice not finding blue paint in my crevices weeks later.”

So while Minn-Erva and Sersi share an actor, that marks the only link between them.

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