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The ending of Marvel’s Eternals requires some explanation

That’s certainly one way to set up an Eternals 2

LtR: Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Gemma Chan as Sersi, and Lia McHugh as Sprite in Eternals (2021). Image: Marvel Studios

Eternals is a strange installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s based on obscure characters with one of the weirdest backstories in comics, and features a race of creator gods who look like massive bulky robot toys.

So in some ways, it makes sense that Eternals would have maybe the weirdest ending of any Marvel movie yet — it’s got a post-credits scene for a final scene, and a clear path toward an Eternals 2 (or maybe even a bigger Avengers 5-ish crossover event). Even still, the ending to the film might leave even the biggest MCU fans scratching their heads. Here’s how to begin to parse out what happened at the end of the Eternals, based on the movie continuity and a bit of comics lore.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Eternals.]

What happens at the end of Eternals?

Sersi (Gemma Chan) in Eternals. Image: Marvel Studios

The final scenes of Eternals play out as usual for an ensemble blockbuster. The big threat (the birth of Tiamut and the destruction of Earth) has been avoided, and our heroes are left to sort out the effects of that battle on their relationships.

In self-imposed penance for turning against Arishem, Ikaris hurls himself into the sun. Kingo, who sat out the final battle, adopts Sprite — who is now just a mortal human kid with the memories of an Eternal and has to attend normal human school with a normal human cellphone. And Sersi goes on a walk in the park with her normal human boyfriend, Dane Whitman.

Dane is just about to drop some shocking news on Sersi about his own dark secret when all of a sudden things stop being so happily ever after.

The Celestial Arishem towers in the void of space in Marvel’s Eternals. Image: Marvel Studios

Arishem, the Eternals’ robot dad, scoops Sersi and several other characters out into space with him — some who participated in killing Tiamut, and some who didn’t, like Kingo and Sprite. They were all very naughty, and they are so, so grounded. Arishem is taking them away for a while, but says that he will return to Earth at some point in the future, to judge whether or not they were right, and if humanity’s potential was truly worth more than the potential of the worlds and galaxies Tiamut might have created.

And then the movie ends.

But what does that mean for Eternals 2?

Evaluating the potential worth or ethical mettle of an entire planet of sentients is among the things that Celestials are most known for in Marvel Comics. In a way, the ending of Eternals is more like how most Marvel Comics superheroes first encounter Celestials: As humongous and ineffable cosmic judges.

One of Eternals’ post credits scenes further indicates that the next time we see the Eternals, they’ll be concerned with whatever Arishem has planned, as Druig, Thena, and Makkari meet a couple of unusual allies who say they can help them locate their missing friends. That could be in a sequel to Eternals, or it could potentially be something more.

After all, what’s a bigger threat than Thanos, the outcast Eternal? Well, there’s always the nigh-omnipotent Celestials who created the Eternals in the first place. And certainly Marvel writers have found ways to bring the superheroic universe together with the more cosmic elements over the years.

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