'Eternals' cast: A guide to who’s playing whom

'Eternals' cast: A guide to who’s playing whom


The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe features a less well-known ensemble of costumed superheroes who made their comic book debut in 1976. Now the Eternals are hitting the big screen for the very first time with an all-star lineup. Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao — fresh off her breakthrough feature “Nomadland” — helmed the big-budget action flick about an immortal alien race that emerges from hiding after thousands of years to protect Earth from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. To mark the release of the 26th film in the MCU on Nov. 5, 2021, join Wonderwall.com as we run through the cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan and more to fill you in on who’s playing whom in “Eternals”…

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Angelina Jolie leads the intergalactic crew as Thena, an elite warrior who’s lived for thousands of years and can form any weapon out of cosmic energy. In the comics, Thena was born in ancient Greece and the city of Athens was named after her. She also harnesses the super-strength and ageless longevity that comes with being an Eternal.

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Angelina Jolie made her screen debut opposite her movie star father Jon Voight as a child in 1982’s “Lookin’ to Get Out” but didn’t pursue acting full time until the ’90s. She delivered a Golden Globe-winning performance in the 1998 TV film “Gia” and had an Academy Award-winning turn in the 1999 drama “Girl, Interrupted.” Soon after, her starring role as the titular video game heroine in 2001’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” established her as a leading Hollywood actress. Throughout the ’00s, the Los Angeles native starred in blockbusters like “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” “Wanted,” “Salt” and “The Tourist” and received critical acclaim for her work in the dramas “A Mighty Heart” and “Changeling.” Her successful track record has continued with the “Kung Fu Panda” and “Maleficent” franchises, but Angelina also took a step back from acting to focus on her extensive humanitarian work. She received a Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for promoting causes like conservation, education and women’s rights. She was also made an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George and is most noted for her advocacy as a Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In recent months, she’s made a bit of a cinematic comeback with leads roles in “Those Who Wish Me Dead” and now “Eternals.” The work is a welcome distraction from her high-profile personal life, which includes an ongoing contentious custody battle with ex-husband Brad Pitt, with whom she shares six children.

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Salma Hayek plays Ajak, the wise and spiritual leader of the Eternals who has the ability to heal and acts as a bridge between the Eternals and an ancient race of entities known as the Celestials. The character has been gender-swapped from the comics. Beyond her power to teleport, Ajak is the one who feels a change in energy after Hulk brought back half of Earth’s population in “Avengers: Endgame” and warns the group about the forthcoming arrival of the evil Deviants. Her origins are linked to the Incas and she took part in the Trojan War.

Salma Hayek got her start in the ’80s telenovela “Teresa” before moving into film in the ’90s with star-making performances in the Robert Rodriguez hits “Desperado” and “From Dusk till Dawn.” She soon found herself in high-profile releases like “Wild Wild West,” “Dogma” and “Frida,” the latter of which earned her an Academy Award nomination for best actress (she was the first Mexican actress ever nominated in that category). She parlayed her popularity into hit films like the “Grown Ups” and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” franchises as well as 2011’s Puss in Boots, 2016’s “Sausage Party” and 2020’s “Like a Boss.” Salma has also had notable TV appearances on shows like “30 Rock” and “Ugly Betty,” which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. In 2004, she won a Daytime Emmy for the children’s special “The Maldonado Miracle.” The star has a packed fall 2021 with roles in “Eternals” as well as the highly anticipated drama “House of Gucci.” She’s been married to French business magnate François-Henri Pinault since 2009; the pair have a daughter.

Gemma Chan plays Sersi, an empathetic Eternal with a strong connection to humans and Earth. She’s able to alter molecular and atomic structures and change matter including that of living things. The hero also has superhuman strength, telepathy and telekinesis and can manifest cosmic energy. Despite her powers, Sersi chooses to live casually among humans, posing as a museum curator in New York City, and finds herself in a love triangle with a human (played by Kit Harington) and another Eternal (played by Richard Madden).

Gemma Chan got her start as a contestant on the first season of the British reality series “Project Catwalk” in 2006 before moving into acting full time by pursuing theater in her native London and scoring U.K. television parts on shows like “Doctor Who,” “Sherlock” and “Secret Diary of a Call Girl.” Next came the indie films “Exam” in 2009, “Submarine” in 2010 and “Belles Familles” in 2015. After scoring minor roles in the hit films “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Transformers: The Last Knight,” she nabbed her first lead part as a servile anthropomorph on the popular AMC sci-fi series “Humans.” The actress’s major breakthrough came in the beloved 2018 romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” which earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. She followed it with parts in “Mary Queen of Scots” and her first foray in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Minn-Erva in “Captain Marvel.” Earlier in 2021, she was heard in the Disney animated hit “Raya and the Last Dragon.”

Richard Madden portrays Ikaris, one of the most powerful Eternals who can fly and project cosmic energy beams from his eyes. He takes pride in keeping the other Eternals safe and has a complicated romantic relationship with Sersi that has lasted for generations. In the comics, Ikaris is the father of Icarus, who — in Greek Mythology — dies after flying too close to the sun. The heroic figure is tactical and powerful but also kind and charismatic and determined to protect the human race at any cost.

Richard Madden made his screen debut as a teen in the 2000 indie film “Complicity” before taking on a series of British stage roles while attending theater school. In 2007, he toured with Shakespeare’s Globe company as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet,” a role he later reprised in London’s West End. His big break came in 2011 when he was cast in the hit HBO series “Game of Thrones” as Robb Stark, the character responsible for inadvertently setting up the show’s infamous Red Wedding. After being killed off on the drama in 2013, the Scottish actor landed the role of Prince Kit in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Cinderella” in 2015 as well as a big part on the first season of the historical fiction series “Medici.” He scored massive acclaim for his performance as a war veteran and principal protection officer on the 2018 thriller series “Bodyguard,” which also won him a Golden Globe Award. Next came notable roles in the hit 2019 films “Rocketman” and “1917.” That same year, Richard was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He will next star on the Amazon Prime series “Citadel” in 2022.

Kumail Nanjiani stars as Kingo, an Eternal who can shoot cosmic energy projectiles from his hands. Enamored with fame, the character becomes a popular Bollywood film star to blend in on Earth. He stands out from the rest of the team, who prefer to keep a low profile while on Earth. In the comics, Kingo is considered one of the most skillful swordsmen on Earth, having spent years training as a Samurai in Japan.

Kumail Nanjiani got his start on podcasts, both scripted and unscripted, before making brief appearances in films like “Life As We Know It,” “The Five-Year Engagement” and “Sex Tape.” Supporting roles on shows like “Portlandia” and “Franklin & Bash” soon followed, as well as his breakout starring turn on the Emmy-winning HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley,” which ran for six seasons. The success of that program led to larger parts in the movies “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” “Goosebumps” and “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.” In 2017, he reached new levels of acclaim with a lead role in the romantic comedy “The Big Sick,” which he co-wrote with wife Emily V. Gordon. The pair even received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world the following year. Next came starring parts in the studio features “Stuber” and “The Lovebirds” as well as an Emmy-nominated guest turn on Jordan Peele’s “The Twilight Zone” reboot. After “Eternals,” the Pakistan native will be seen on the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series for Disney+.

Kit Harington appears in the film as Dane Whitman, a human and genius physicist who works at the Natural History Museum alongside Sersi in London. The pair are embroiled in a love triangle with Ikaris. Many fans are wondering if the character will be revealed as his comic book alter ego: Black Knight. In the comics, Dane inherits the mantle from his father and wields a mystical sword called the Ebony Blade. While he isn’t an Eternal, he is known for his great hand-to-hand combat skills and for excelling in strategy.

Kit Harington started out on London’s West End after completing drama school, making his professional acting debut with a lead role in the critically acclaimed play “War Horse.” Shortly after, he landed his big break as Jon Snow on the epic HBO series “Game of Thrones” for eight seasons. The role earned him international recognition and several accolades including a Golden Globe Award nomination and two Primetime Emmy Award nods. The London-born star’s other projects include developing, producing and starring on the 2017 BBC drama series “Gunpowder.” He also appeared in the HBO comedy “7 Days in Hell,” the British period drama “Testament of Youth” and the big-screen action flick “Pompeii” and lent his voice to the blockbuster “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise. Kit married “Game of Thrones” co-star Rose Leslie in 2018; the pair share a son.

Lia McHugh is the actress behind Sprite, an Eternal who has the physical appearance of a 12-year-old child and can project lifelike illusions. Despite her unassuming appearance, Sprite is both ancient and dangerous, often getting punished in the comics for questionable and destructive behavior. Sprite also appears ignorant to the consequences for humans. The trickster, who’s been gender-swapped for the film, happens to excel at using Celestial powers of manipulation.

Lia McHugh made her acting debut at 10 in the 2017 indie film “Hot Summer Nights” opposite Timothée Chalamet. In the few years since then, she’s become well known for her work in horror projects like “A Haunting,” “Totem,” “Along Came the Devil,” “The Lodge” and “Into the Dark.” She also had a main role on the 2018 TV series “American Woman” as one of star Alicia Silverstone’s daughters. The Pittsburgh native was most recently seen opposite KJ Apa and Sofia Carson in the 2020 pandemic-set thriller “Songbird.” “Eternals” looks to be a massive break for the teen actress.

Brian Tyree Henry plays Phastos, an Eternal who’s also an intelligent weapons and technology inventor. The engineer is known in the comics for creating some of the team’s most iconic weaponry and shares the ability to self-heal and project cosmic energy. The character is often identified by his customized hammer and is known to create illusions. Marvel has also hinted that Phastos will be the first openly gay character in the MCU.

Brian Tyree Henry began his career on the stage with roles in numerous plays and musicals like Shakespeare in the Park’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” and as part of the original 2011 cast of the musical “The Book of Mormon.” He made guest appearances on TV shows like “Law & Order,” “The Good Wife” and “Boardwalk Empire” before landing his breakthrough role as Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles in the acclaimed FX dramedy “Atlanta” in 2016. His performance earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and further roles on “How To Get Away With Murder” and “This Is Us.” The North Carolina-born star then returned to the stage for the 2018 Broadway revival of “Lobby Hero,” which garnered a Tony Award nomination. That same year, he had his big-screen break with parts in the well-received films “Widows,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Brian has remained busy since in movies like “Child’s Play,” “Joker,” “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “The Woman In The Window.” He will next be seen in the thriller “Bullet Train” opposite Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock in 2022.

Barry Keoghan plays Druig, an aloof Eternal who can manipulate the minds of others. He’s the cousin of Ikaris and is known in the comics for his superhuman speed and strength. Druig is withdrawn from the other Eternals and doesn’t share their investment in humanity. His penchant for inflicting pain on others leaves him constantly searching and scheming for power. He’s previously turned on his teammates in the comics, so many are curious to see if he ends up being the film’s main villain.

Barry Keoghan started acting as a teen in Ireland when he responded to a casting notice in a local shop window for an indie feature. He then studied drama before making appearances on the Irish television shows “Fair City” and “Love/Hate.” The Dublin native built a solid run of indie films and shorts before enjoying a breakthrough year in 2017 with roles in the acclaimed features “Dunkirk” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” the latter of which earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Next came parts in the hit HBO miniseries “Chernobyl” and the 2021 medieval-fantasy film “The Green Knight.” His heroics won’t stop with “Eternals,” as he’ll next star in 2022’s “The Batman” as an officer in the Gotham City Police Department.

Rounding out the immortal team is Don Lee as Gilgamesh, the strongest Eternal who’s often mistaken for mythological figures in the comics. He roamed the planet in ancient times defending humanity by overthrowing tyrants and fighting off dangerous beasts. Gilgamesh, who’s often referred to as “The Forgotten One,” can levitate and specializes in hand-to-hand combat.

Ma Dong-seok — aka Don Lee — is one of the most successful actors in South Korea, rising to fame with supporting roles in the films “The Neighbor,” “Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time” and “The Unjust.” He immediately followed those up with leading parts in the features “Norigae,” “Murderer” and “One on One.” Don reached international popularity with the hit 2016 zombie film “Train to Busan,” which received rave reviews and earned him numerous accolades. It led to subsequent Korean box office standouts like “Derailed,” “The Bros” and “The Outlaws.” The former martial arts personal trainer was named Gallup Korea’s Film Actor of the Year in 2018. He makes his splashy Hollywood debut with “Eternals.”

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