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What’s the most sci-fi Marvel movie moment you can think of? Is it the master of the mystic arts battling it out against Dormammu in the Dark Dimension at the end of Doctor Strange? What about Star-Lord and the Guardians gang stepping foot onto the lavish, self-propagating world that Ego calls his home in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? Or maybe it’s Captain Marvel, blasting through space to pull off superhuman feats with nothing more than a blue suit — and, of course, Yon-Rogg’s all-important blue Kree blood coursing through her veins?
Whatever you choose, it’s likely not as sci-fi — or as epic — as what we’ll see when The Eternals lands in theaters — at least, according to swole Eternals star Kumail Nanjiani. The crossover Silicon Valley and Men In Black 3 star tells Entertainment Weekly that, whether you’re talking science fiction themes or action and story on a epic scale, Marvel’s upcoming ensemble movie about demi-god-like Celestials protecting humanity eclipses anything we’ve seen on the MCU big screen yet.
“[I]t’s really such a science-fiction story. It’s a superhero story, but in some ways, it’s the most sci-fi of all the Marvel movies and it’s the most epic of all the Marvel movies,” enthused Nanjiani. “And the story spans thousands of years. So it’s really not like any of the other Marvel movies.”But wait, there’s more: when Nanjiani says “epic,” he’s not just throwing the word around. After all, it’s not as if the MCU hasn’t delivered one epic memory after another, from Iron Man’s first suit fire-up to Thanos’ fateful snap to Captain America’s truly grand “Avengers, Assemble!” moment at the end of Avengers: Endgame.
“I don’t mean epic in the internet way, I mean epic in the old-school way,” he explained. “…It doesn’t look like any of the other Marvel movies. I was on set shooting, and the director showed me just a still of all of us together in the scene. And I was like, ‘I mean, look at all of us together.’ We all look so different. It’s me and a huge buff guy from Korea [Ma Dong-seok] and Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie and Gemma Chan and Lauren Ridloff. You don’t ever get to see people like this together in the same room, let alone in awesome superhero costumes.”
It’s obviously too early to speculate on exactly how all that epic-ness will translate from the big screen, but it sounds as though Nanjiani’s “old-school” remark may be hinting at the kind of movie that doesn’t merely rely on adrenal-crushing action and spectacular set pieces; but also one that invests a ton of weight in its characters. In fact, he even says as much.
“…in many important ways [it] still feels like you’re making an independent movie, in the sense that it really feels like a family and it feels like it’s really about characters and relationships and very small moments,” he confessed. “So while you have certain scenes where you’re hanging up on a wire fighting bad guys and you have all these superpowers, the rest of it does feel like you’re making something really small.”
Long praised for nailing key casting decisions for characters that’ve by now become as familiar as a dear family member to hardcore fans, Marvel has definitely sunk a ton of effort into slotting top-shelf actors into The Eternals’ new roles. Starring Nanjiani as Kingo, along with Jolie as Thena, Hayek as Ajak, Chan as Sersi, Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, and Lia McHugh as Sprite, The Eternals will breath new life into the MCU when the movie arrives in theaters on Nov. 6.