Marvel’s Eternals didn’t exactly have a happy ending, but it was almost a whole lot bleaker, according to director Chloé Zhao. In a recent interview with Empire magazine, the MCU director revealed the original ending to the movie, and why they decided it had to be changed to something a little bit more uplifting.
[Ed. note: This post contains for Eternals’ including the post-credits scene.]
The theatrical ending of Eternals involves many of the Eternals — the ones who survive anyway — being teleported away from Earth, now that their mission is more or less over. However, they still keep with them the experience and memories they have of Earth. But according to Zhao, she originally had a much more “bleak” ending in mind.
“It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like Twilight Zone,” she explained to Empire. For her part, Zhao said she didn’t mind that darker ending. “I didn’t hate it, because I’m used to films that are more melancholy. But I don’t think it went down well with audiences. [...] I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’”
Of course, this is an MCU movie we’re talking about, so ending things on a melancholy, cyclical note, as if nothing that just happened had any real cosmic significance and would all happen again, was never really going to fly. “It’s the MCU, and you want to be excited for what’s next,” said Zhao.
This ending also would have meant a slight alteration for the movie’s post-credits stinger as well. In the original version, the introduction of Harry Styles as Eros was going to be a bit more low-key, it seems, with the pop star simply showing up on the new ship as an additional member of the Eternals crew. But based on fan reaction, it seems like giving Styles his own reveal was definitely worthwhile.
In traditional MCU fashion, Zhao even leaves the Empire interview with a teaser. After answering a question about the movie’s other post-credits scene — which features Kit Harrington opening a sword and the voice of Mahershala Ali’s Blade — Zhao mentions that, “in the little time I spent with Mahershala, I can’t wait for the Blade movie to come out. It’s gonna be epic.”