The dazzling teaser trailer for Nomadland director Chloé Zhao’s upcoming Marvel movie, Eternals, has dropped. Zhao, who thus far has made character-driven indies (with a particular affinity for blending documentary aspects into fictionalized narratives), may seem at first blush an unconventional choice to helm a potential blockbuster. Even stranger: The Rider director began work on Eternals before Nomadland resonated with audiences and won Academy Awards (including Best Director), so this Oscars-to-Marvel pipeline is one of happenstance. Variety reports that Zhao reached out to Marvel herself and crafted a pitch for Eternals that Marvel head Kevin Feige called “spectacular.” Feige described the film as “a very bold and very ambitious, sprawling 7,000-year story of humanity and our place in the cosmos.”
Eternals will feature a diverse ensemble (including Gemma Chan, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, and Kumail Nanjiani) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first gay superhero (Phastos, played by Brian Tyree Henry). Additionally, Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) will be the MCU’s first deaf character. “How can we have this big melting pot and cook up something that may just taste a little bit different?” is how the sci-fi loving Zhao described her m.o. to Variety. With Marvel also clearly aiming to shake things up (see the format-blurring limited series WandaVision), this unexpected teaming may end up making a lot of sense. Early prognosis via the Eternals trailer is very, very good.