Why Was Kumail Nanjiani’s Kingo Not in the ‘Eternals’ Finale Battle?
If you haven’t yet seen the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) blockbuster, Eternals, you’re in for a treat. The film adds another layer of complexity to the rich tapestry of the MCU, and it’s a pretty fun ride to boot.
One of the most entertaining characters is Kingo, an Eternal whose storyline provides quite a few moments of levity. But despite his important role (spoiler alert), he does not participate in the movie’s final climactic battle. It’s an intriguing omission that hopefully helps set up the character for a more central role in the MCU film’s inevitable sequels.
What is ‘Eternals’ about?
Eternals is an MCU movie that introduces Marvel fans to a group of powerful alien beings known as Eternals sent to Earth by Arishem the Judge, a member of an even more powerful alien beings known as Celestials. As they understand it, their mission is to protect the Earth from a group of fairly monstrous aliens known as the Deviants. Led by the Eternal Ajak (played by Salma Hayek), the protagonists of this movie came to Earth roughly 7,000 years ago to stop the Deviants from wiping out humanity. Using their superhuman abilities, they were able to kill all of the Deviants on Earth in short order. They then awaited permission from Arishem to return home.
Sadly, that order never came. The Eternals split up and lived amongst humanity for centuries. In the present day, they are reunited as they’ve found that not all of the Deviants are dead. As the Eternals battled the Deviants, they learned that they were ultimately sent to Earth to help usher in the birth of a new Celestial. However, as this Celestial has been growing inside the planet, the Earth will be destroyed once it is born. After the deaths of two Eternals and a betrayal from within, the remaining Eternals must unite to stop the Celestial birth and the end of the planet Earth.
Kingo was an Eternal who possessed the ability to emit cosmic energy as projectiles from his hands. Portrayed as a lighthearted and courageous, though extremely vain, Eternal, he spent his centuries amongst humanity becoming a Bollywood star. While he did not shy away from a battle with the Deviants, as soon as he realized he’d have to choose between facing another Eternal or the destruction of the planet Earth, he left, leaving the planet’s fate up for grabs.
Why didn’t Kingo participate in the final battle?
In the movie, Ajak, leader of the Eternals, is killed and leaves Sersi (Gemma Chan) to take her place. Many of the Eternals are conflicted about what to do. While the Earth will be destroyed, each Celestial creates many new worlds. Stopping the Celestial’s birth means those new worlds will never be. And the Eternals are deferential to the Celestials as they are recognized as gods. Despite Sersi’s new leadership role, most of the remaining Eternals instinctively defer to Ikaris (Richard Madden), the most powerful Eternal.
In fact, as Sersi is considering a course of action, Kingo pulls Ikaris aside and asks him what to do, noting that he’ll always follow Ikaris. Early in the film, viewers learn that Kingo has even made a Bollywood film as a homage to Ikaris, whom he admires. However, it’s revealed that Ikaris killed Ajak and framed the Deviants for it to prevent her from trying to stop the Celestial birth. As most of the Eternals prepared to stop the birth, Kingo left. He, to some extent, agreed with Ikaris in that the sacrifice of one world to spawn thousands was worth it, though he was not willing to go to the lengths that Ikaris had to ensure it. Further, he did not wish to fight his teammates nor join them for fear of the consequences of defying Arishem.
As per Screen Rant, Kingo’s absence from the final scene is a matter of his characterization, not the actor’s unavailability. He is not a leader but a follower who practically begs for direction at points. Every Eternal who participated in the final battle took a stand, one way or the other, and not all for the same reasons. But Kingo’s fear of doing so kept him from the battlefield when his teammates, on both sides, needed him most.
Where does Kingo go from here?
We later see Kingo with the rest of the Eternals after the Earth has been saved. Alongside Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Sersi, he is abducted by Arishem, who is incensed that they have defied him. While it is unclear exactly where they are going, Arishem indicates he will study their memories to determine whether Earth’s preservation was worth the sacrifice of a Celestial. He notes that if he is displeased, he will return to “judge” the planet, which presumably is not good for humanity.
While Kingo provided moments of fun as he transitioned from his cushy Bollywood lifestyle back into his role as a protector of the planet, now that he is in Arishem’s custody, it will likely be harder for him to do so in the next film. In fact, assuming he survives, it’s more likely that the next movie or two will see Kingo begin to develop as a more decisive and independent leader in his own right.
After all, with Ikaris gone and no Bollywood mansion to return to, Kingo’s very survival will likely depend on his choice to stand with his fellow Eternals or side with Arishem. He very well may default to the protective care of Arishem and leave Sersi and Phastos to their fate. But hopefully, he’ll choose otherwise, help the Eternals make their escape, and help them face down whatever evils may be in store in the MCU.