The MCU Never Planned The Celestials Importance, Despite Eternals

The Celestials have been around in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a while now, and even though they will be key in Eternals, their importance in this universe was never planned. For over a decade and through more than 20 movies, the MCU has brought a variety of characters from Marvel Comics to the big screen (heroes, villains, and allies), and even though its Infinity Saga is now over, this universe keeps expanding. As part of its highly-anticipated Phase 4, the MCU will introduce a new team of superheroes whose role in this universe has been kept a secret until now: the Eternals.

Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame and introduces the title team, who are an immortal alien race created by the Celestials. The Eternals arrived on Earth centuries ago and have guided humanity ever since but without intervening in the biggest conflicts and battles that humankind has gone through. The Eternals will now have to reteam after spending years apart to protect humanity from the Deviants, their evil counterparts. Although this will be the first appearance of the Eternals in the MCU and their story will be explored, it won’t be the first time the MCU addresses the existence of the Celestials.

Related: Eternals Explains Why The MCU Dropped Thanos' Origin Story

The Celestials are an ancient race who possess vast matter and energy manipulation abilities, and are even older than the Asgardians. Their origin is a mystery, and the little information there is about them is known by few, such as Taneleer Tivan a.k.a. The Collector (played by Benicio del Toro), who revealed to the Guardians of the Galaxy that the Celestials used the Infinity Stones as a means of power against lesser life forms – for example, Eson the Searcher used the Power Stone to destroy an entire planet, and the mining colony now known as Knowhere is the severed head of a Celestial. Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father was later revealed to be Ego (Russell Crowe), a Celestial who tried to create another one to fulfill his plans. Now, even though the Celestials are already part of the MCU’s history, their importance in this universe was never planned.

During a Q&A session on Twitter during the peak of quarantine in 2020, James Gunn was asked if adding the Celestials to the Guardians of the Galaxy movies was his idea or something Marvel asked him to do, as a way to set up their future role in Eternals. Gunn replied that the only thing Marvel asked him to include was a Thanos cameo and “maybe he could create an origin for the Infinity Stones”. The Celestials’ importance in the MCU, then, has been the result of what previous movies (especially those from the “comic side” of this universe) have been building, and it wasn’t planned from the beginning to be set up in Guardians of the Galaxy and paid off years later in Eternals. The Celestials’ bigger role in this universe would have had to happen anyway with the arrival of the Eternals, but Gunn adding them as part of the origin story of the Infinity Stones has surely made their future in the MCU a bit easier.

There’s still a lot to learn about the Celestials’ history and role in the MCU, and while Eternals will surely explain part of it, the focus of the movie is ultimately the title team and their role on Earth, so there’s only much it can tell about the Celestials. It’s also to be seen what their impact in future movies will be, and if their presence will be felt in other movies aside from Eternals and possibly Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Next: Eternals Theory: Hulk's Endgame Snap Brought Back The Celestials (Not Deviants)

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