Marvel’s Eternals Is Another Step Toward Inclusivity

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The latest Marvel movie, Eternals, came out in the beginning of November 2021. With a stellar cast (Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, and Salma Hayek, to name just a few), Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao, and the trademark stunning sets and costumes of an MCU film, I was beyond excited to see it. Once I did, it did not disappoint.

Unsurprisingly, it isn’t perfect—I had some issues with a few of the characters and their development. But overall, I loved the film. It introduced plenty of exciting new characters, expanded on old ones, and further fleshed out the MCU world. What I love most about this movie and what makes me appreciate it so much is its diversity.

Eternals features the MCU’s first on-screen deaf superhero, Makkari, who uses sign language and is easily one of my favorite characters in the movie. It also has its first gay superhero, Phastos, who is delightfully funny and tender-hearted. The main character, Sersi, is a woman, and her powers are non-violent—most MCU main characters are men with aggressive abilities, and even the few female main characters are generally violent. The cast encompasses a wide range of races and accents instead of the typical white English male. On top of all of that, the movie was directed by a woman.

It’s disappointing that it took so long to get here, but we’re finally making progress in diversifying the media we consume. With so many people watching these films—especially young children from many different backgrounds who long to see someone they can identify with onscreen—it is important to include all kinds of different characters. Inclusivity is essential in fostering welcoming societies around the world, and the media plays an important role in creating that. I am so grateful that Marvel is starting to understand this and do better.

I hope Marvel continues to portray real, diverse characters and stories. The MCU is easily one of the most influential media empires of our time, and it has a responsibility to use that influence positively. Black Panther (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Black Widow (2021), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) are all steps in the right direction, and Eternals is just the latest. With a long line of future projects, hopefully, Marvel will continue this trend.