Eternals Writers Defend Controversial Hiroshima Bombing Scene

Eternals writers Ryan and Kaz Firpo defend the film's controversial Hiroshima bombing scene. The latest MCU movie's script is originally from the minds of the Firpo cousins, who then passed it off to Patrick Burleigh (Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway). The film's Academy Award-winning director, Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), also had a say in crafting the screenplay. Eternals introduces the titular superhero team to the MCU portrayed by Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie.

These ten Eternals - Sersi, Ikaris, Kingo, Sprite, Phastos, Makkari, Druig, Gilgamesh, Ajak, and Thena - originally arrive on Earth in 5,000 B.C., sent by their creator, the Celestial Arishem, to exterminate the invasive threat known as the Deviants. During their extended stay on Earth, the Eternals play a major role in shaping the course of humanity, especially Phastos (Henry), who is the team's weapons and technology guru, which he sometimes gives to humanity to help speed up their development. During one brief scene, Phastos is seen kneeling within the ruins of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945, blaming himself for creating the technology to allow this tragedy to happen.

Related: Eternals' Cliffhanger Ending Explained

Now, in an interview with Inverse, Eternals writers Ryan and Kaz Firpo are defending this scene which has garnered criticism ever since the film's premiere. Kaz began by saying that since the Eternals are immortal, they've seen all of "humanity’s greatest hits and their greatest failures," which they couldn't avoid in the film. He went on to say the scene is not meant to cheapen the tragedy, but to force audiences to reckon with it. Ryan also chimed in, saying that the scene is supposed to represent one of "humanity’s greatest failures" and a time in which humanity went past the breaking point. Read what they had to say below:

KF: This is a movie about the human experiment. If you’re immortal, you have seen humanity’s greatest hits and their greatest failures. This was always in the original draft of the movie and in every version. It’s something Chloe fought really hard to include. We are the first Disney movie I know that talks about genocide.

The bombing of Hiroshima is one of those things that, if you went to California public school, the class is divided. Half the class defends this horrific thing, and the other has to explain why it should never happen again. “Is it a good thing? Was it a bad thing? Did it save more lives because this bomb was dropped?”

As somebody who is Japanese-American and has family in Japan, this is a big part of my life and my history. You don’t want to avoid human tragedy. We want to make people think and talk about it so these things don’t happen again. It’s not cheapening tragedies. It’s about forcing audiences of all ages, races, and places to reckon with the things we’ve done.

RF: This movie was structured around the present-day storyline, but the flashbacks are about the Eternals’ evolution and dissolution as a family. We wanted to pick moments that were [humanity’s] greatest failures. We're looking for the ultimate breaking point where a group of immortal space gods would say, “Humanity has gone too far. We can't help them.” That's where we went. It was an important paradigm shift for humanity. Through the lens of the Eternals, it was a time they felt humanity had gone beyond their help or control.

This isn't the first time Marvel has retconned an historic event with a scene similar to this one. Episode 1 of Loki established that Tom Hiddleston's God of Mischief was actually D.B. Cooper, an identified man who hijacked and robbed a plane in 1971. While that scene was mostly included for fun, Eternals' retconning of a real-world event like the Hiroshima bombing has proven to be much more controversial.

Many who have been criticizing the scene take issue with the optics of Marvel's first gay Black superhero taking responsibility for the atomic bomb, a specific criticism that the Firpos didn't address. However, they did make a compelling argument for the inclusion of the scene, despite the optics of it. With Eternals now playing in theaters, audiences can go and make up their minds about its Hiroshima bombing scene for themselves.

Next: Eternals' After-Credits Scenes Introduce 4 Massive MCU Phase 4 Characters

Source: Inverse

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