Eternals ending explained (2022)

Eternals sets itself up for a sequel with a dramatic ending, and now that the MCU epic is on Disney+, you can relive it again – or watch the twists unfold for the first time.

The movie sees the titular group reunite after centuries apart when their oldest enemies – monstrous creatures known as the Deviants – mysteriously return ahead of an event known as the Emergence.

Facing the biggest challenge of their 7,000-year existence, the Eternals attempt to defend humanity and along their way, there are major sacrifices to be made and revelations to be dealt with.

It all ends with a major cliffhanger that sets up a potential Eternals 2, so if you have questions, we're here to help. In order to do so, we need to delve into some major spoilers though, so look away now if you haven't seen Eternals yet.

Eternals ending explained (1)

Marvel Studios

Given that the movie cuts back and forth between the history of the Eternals and the present-day threat, let's get their history out of the way (even if things don't exactly happen in this order in the movie).

The Eternals hail from the planet Olympia and were created by the Celestials to protect intelligent life against the Deviants, who were also created by the Celestials. The Deviants were meant to just hunt predators, but decided to hunt everything, which led to the need for the Eternals.

Led by Ajak (Salma Hayek), we see them arrive on Earth in Mesopotamia in 5,000 BC in their first battle against the Deviants, and follow them throughout the millennia as they defend humanity against the monsters. Along the way, Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris (Richard Madden) fall in love and get married in 400 AD.

In 1519 AD at Tenochtitlan, the Deviants are wiped from the Earth once and for all, and the Eternals take the decision to split up after two major events.

Thena (Angelina Jolie) falls victim to the Mahd Wy'ry, a disease caused by the Eternals' long lifespan that drives them mad due to the amount of memories they retain. Ajak says the only cure is to reset Thena's mind, but Gilgamesh (Don Lee) stops her and volunteers to protect Thena.

Eternals ending explained (2)

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As they debate what to do with Thena, Druig (Barry Keoghan) clashes with Ajak over her orders for the Eternals not to get involved in human issues, such as war. He leaves and Ajak takes the opportunity to let the rest of them go their own way and live their own lives.

That's how the situation remained until the present day which, in MCU terms is either 2023 or 2024. Eternals is definitely set post-Endgame, but there's nothing to specify exactly how much time has passed since the Avengers brought back half of humanity.

Mysterious earthquakes are felt around the world which is put down to the after-effects of the Blip. However, when a Deviant attacks Sersi, Ikaris, Sprite (Lia McHugh) and Dane Whitman (Kit Harington) in Camden, they believe something else is going on, especially as the Deviant has the power to heal itself which they never have before.

Leaving Dane behind (because he's just a human... at this point), the trio go to visit Ajak in South Dakota, only to find she's been killed. Ikaris believes it's the same Deviant that attacked them in Camden and when Sersi leans over Ajak's body, a yellow orb leaves their former leader and goes into Sersi.

Eternals ending explained (3)

Sophie MutevelianMarvel Studios

So begins a worldwide reunion of every other Eternal to face the new Deviant threat, starting in Mumbai with Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) and then Australia where Thena and Gilgamesh are living. Gilgamesh has already killed a Deviant, so it seems as though they're hunting down all the living Eternals.

Thena is still living with the Mahd Wy'ry and talks of a planet called Centurion 6 which got destroyed. It only becomes clear what she is really seeing when Sersi talks to Celestial leader Arishem, thanks to the yellow orb in her body.

Now that she's the leader of the Eternals (as chosen by Ajak), it's time for Sersi to learn the truth. The Eternals are synthetic beings and they've all existed for millions of years, not just the 7,000 years we've been following them for. Every planet is seeded with a Celestial egg that feeds on the intelligent life on the planet.

The real reason the Eternals fight off the Deviants is to allow the population to grow to a big enough number for the egg to 'hatch', birthing a new Celestial and destroying the planet in the process. Because the Avengers brought back half of the population, Tiamut (the Celestial inside the Earth) is ready to emerge.

Sersi and co have been through this process numerous times and are rebooted each time, so they never know what happened. Something went wrong with Thena's reset though, which is why she can remember the destruction of Centurion 6. The justification for the cycle is that every time a Celestial is born, they give life to a new galaxy.

Eternals ending explained (4)

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Unlike Ajak, Sersi isn't happy with this and continues with their rounding-up of the rest of the Eternals in order to find a way to stop it. They go to Druig in the Amazon where he's created his own peaceful cult to recruit him, only for the Deviants to attack.

The lead Deviant named Kro (voiced by Bill Skarsgård) kills Gilgamesh and absorbs his super strength, in the same way he absorbed Ajak's power of regeneration. Kro escapes before the rest of the Eternals can kill him, but they manage to kill every other Deviant.

With Druig on board, the group heads to Chicago to pick up Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and they end up in Iraq where Phastos lifts their ship, the Domo, out of the desert. Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) has been living on board and with the team completed, Sersi lays out her plan to put Tiamut to sleep by using Druig's mind control power.

Ikaris doesn't agree with the idea though and it's revealed that he's responsible for Ajak's death. He's known about their true purpose for centuries and six days earlier, he visited Ajak with the Emergence coming.

Ajak wanted to stop it, so Ikaris led her to where he had already discovered the Deviants. They had defrosted out of the ice due to global warming and when Kro takes Ajak's power, he juices up the other Deviants. Ikaris hoped to use the Deviants to distract the rest of the Eternals until Tiamut was 'born'.

Eternals ending explained (5)

Marvel Studios

Back on the Domo, Sprite leaves with Ikaris and while Kingo doesn't go with them, he doesn't agree with Sersi's plan and leaves. Phastos links up the remaining Eternals with the Uni-Mind, allowing Druig to use their energy to put Tiamut to sleep.

So begins the epic final battle of the movie as Ikaris and Sprite attempt to stop Sersi and co putting Tiamut to sleep. This initial plan fails when Ikaris crashes their ship and launches Druig away, but luckily for Earth, Sersi has managed to turn her power of manipulating mass from inanimate objects to sentient beings.

Kro shows up to mess things up, but Thena quickly deals with him, and they keep Ikaris busy long enough for Phastos to link everybody up with the Uni-Mind. Sersi uses this new juice to turn Tiamut into marbleised rock just as the Celestial starts to emerge, with Ikaris finding himself unable to kill her.

After apologising to Sersi, Ikaris flies off into the sun and after the movie's release, co-writer Kaz Firpo confirmed that he is a goner. "He can't bear to face his family after what he's done, which he realises," he explained.

"It's sort of saying, 'I can't serve the Eternals. If I can't serve the Celestials, and I can't be with my family, then I choose this third option,' which – for him – really is oblivion. So yeah, he dead."

Sersi then uses the remaining Uni-Mind juice to turn Sprite into a human. Sersi reveals that Tiamut joined their Uni-Mind as the Celestial emerged, giving her the final burst of power needed to save the world.

Eternals ending explained (6)

Marvel Studios

Two weeks later, Thena, Druig and Makkari leave in the Domo to seek out other Eternals and tell them their true purpose. Just as Sersi reunites with Dane who has discovered his "complicated" family history, Arishem transports Sersi, Kingo and Phastos off Earth.

The Celestial is understandably not happy about them interfering with their plans and warns that he'll return to judge humanity using the Eternals' memories as evidence. If humanity isn't judged worthy, we don't think it'll mean good things for Earth, but that's something for Eternals 2 to explore.

And if you thought that was bleak, Zhao has revealed that there was an alternate ending that sounds even darker. "It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like The Twilight Zone," she revealed.

"I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, 'I don't know what to do.' And also, it's the MCU, and you want to be excited for what's next."

Of course, that's not really the ending as the mid-credits scene sees the arrival of Harry Styles in the MCU as Eros, aka Thanos' brother. The post-credits scene then teases Dane's transformation into the Black Knight, as well as marking the MCU debut of Mahershala Ali's Blade – well, his voice anyway.

We go into more detail on those scenes with our explainer here, but long story short, it looks like the Eternals will have the help of Eros and the Black Knight to call on in the sequel.

That's lucky since we imagine Arishem is a hard Celestial to please...

Eternals is available to watch now on Disney+.

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