‘Eternals’ Can Be Watched as a Standalone Movie, Reveals Director Chloé Zhao

Marvel’s Eternals is the studio’s 26th feature film, and a lot has happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe prior to its arrival. Fortunately, casual fans won’t need to see every Marvel movie ahead of Eternals‘ release — at least, not according to director Chloé Zhao.

What is Marvel’s ‘Eternals’ about?

(L-R) Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie, and Barry Keoghan of 'The Eternals,' which has a new trailer. They're standing on-stage and a logo for the film is behind them.
(L-R) Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie, and Barry Keoghan | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Marvel’s Eternals is shaping up to be unlike any other movie the studio has put out. Not only does Zhao’s directorial style stand out from other MCU projects, but the film follows a group of characters called Celestials. They aren’t the MCU’s typical heroes, and that’s what makes them so interesting.

The group is tasked with protecting humanity from beings called Deviants. And whatever the Deviants are up to in the upcoming film, it appears the Eternals team might need to break their vow and intervene in human matters. What pushes them to that point remains to be seen. However, it’s likely the Marvel Comics villain Kro will play a role in it.

Eternals takes place after Avengers: Endgame, but it looks like it will avoid dwelling on the previous chapters of the MCU. Like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it will pave the way for Marvel’s future. Because of that, fans won’t need to be caught up before watching it.

Viewers won’t need to watch the rest of the MCU before seeing the movie

Those wondering if they need to catch up on other MCU movies before watching Eternals can rest easy. Despite coming out after releases like Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals doesn’t heavily tie into the previous Phase 4 projects — or even earlier films.

During an interview with Fandango, Zhao confirmed that Eternals can be watched entirely as a standalone. Those who haven’t seen some of the more recent Marvel movies won’t be lost watching it. However, she suggested it will tie into the franchise’s future projects:

“The film completely stands alone. If you know half the universe disappeared and it came back, that’s all you need to know to watch this film. But what happens in this film will have huge implications on the future.”

‘Eternals’ is required viewing for future Marvel movies

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If Eternals shakes things up for future Marvel movies, it will become required viewing for consistent fans. So, while casual moviegoers might be capable of watching the film as a standalone, it doesn’t sound like they can skip this one and move on to later projects like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Although Zhao didn’t delve into specifics about those “huge implications” on the MCU, it’s possible the heroes and villains from Eternals could show up down the line. The director also told Fandango that the film has two post-credits scenes — both of which may tease what’s next.

Fans will have to wait to see how things play out in the upcoming movie, but fortunately, they won’t need to wait long. Marvel’s Eternals hits theaters on Nov. 5, 2021.