While there are various Eternals in the Marvel comics but Eternals only introduces us to a few of these characters. Each of these characters will play a significant role in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The characters that we got to witness have some essential details attached to them. These characters have a godlike influence in the world considering they helped mankind in the various aspects of their lives. This must be the reason why these characters seem to have names that are attached to the various characters associated with mythology and folklore. Let’s take a look at the inspirations behind all Eternals characters.
How Eternals Characters are Influenced from Various Mythologies
Richard Madden’s Ikaris was compared with Superman when the character’s powers were first introduced in one of the promotional clips released from the movie. He tries to take over the team’s leadership in the movie after they discover Ajak is dead. Marvel mentioned him as the “moral, charismatic tactician” of the group of Eternals. His powers include super-strength, flight and he can also shoot cosmic energy beams out of his eyes.
Fans could clearly see that his name is similar to that of Icarus from Greek mythology, the character of Icarus isn’t a god but a figure of myth who is popularly known for flying too close to the sun which is somewhat similar to what Ikaris ends up doing around the end of Eternals. Icarus had wings made of wax and as he flew close to the sun they were melted off. This is treated as a morality tale to not be as cocky and that actually is something we see in the character of Ikaris who was amongst the Eternals who wanted to continue with the Emergence.
Sersi has one of the most essential powers in the movie and another major plot point about her has to be her relationship Ikaris. Gemma Chan’s character’s essential power is matter transmutation, which means that she can convert a matter into anything she wants to. That’s not all considering she also has the ability to fly and possesses a near-immortality with super strength and healing factor. She becomes the leader of the group after Ajak’s death as she wants to save the humans and prevent the Emergence from coming to fruition.
Sersi’s character was influenced by Circe in Greek Mythology. The character has some major differences from the Greek sorceress considering Sersi loves the humans and wants to protect them from the very beginning of the movie. This is not the same as Circe as she used a combination of magic and drugs to transform humans into animals. But one thing that does stand similar is the idea of love as the character does fall in love with another hero Odysseus who comes to her island when she turned his men into swine.
Ajak, played by Salma Hayek, was the leader of the group of Eternals for the various years they were on Earth and she was the only one amongst them who was aware of the true purpose of the Eternals. Her abilities included the power of healing both humans and Eternals alike. Not only that she is also the only one in the group who is able to telepathically communicate with the Celestials, a power that is passed on to Sersi when Ajak is killed.
Ajak is a clear inspiration from Ajax from Greek Mythology. Similar to Icarus, Ajax is not a god but rather considered to be an absolutely exceptional human being. There are various tales of Ajax’s strength and bravery that make the rounds in various Greek tales. In the comics, Ajak was male and thus we can see the intention of the inspiration comes from that. There have also been relations of Ajak with the chief Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl as the character takes on the role of this figure in the Marvel comics. The mixture of these two mythological figures makes the character consist of both braveries and at the same time brains.
Don Lee’s character Gilgamesh is a fierce warrior and has major renown throughout history for his various accomplishments. According to Marvel, Gilgamesh can “utilize golden, cosmic energy-enhanced exoskeleton shields to protect his arms and fists.” In the movie, he takes Thena along with him so that he can help her as she succumbs to her memory issues which cause her to launch attacks on the other Eternals.
Gilgamesh is a straight inspiration from “The Epic of Gilgamesh” which is set in an ancient poem from Mesopotamia that is set in Sumerian mythology. The piece of literature is the oldest in history and it is based on a hot-headed king character who tends to tamper with time. He is popularly known for his quests for immortality throughout his life but never being able to find it. This does not seem to match much with the character from Eternals but there is a mention of the relationship between the tale of Gilgamesh and Enkidu to the humans which proves the inspiration. While we don’t get to see someone Enkidu, who is Gilgamesh’s friend in the movie but it would be fun to see something like that.
Thena, played by Angelina Jolie is the warrior of the group of Eternals and she guides them through the ways of battle. She has the power of conjuring any possible handheld weapon with cosmic energy and at the same time, she has some superhuman strength, agility, and advanced reflexes. Her character is the only one who still holds memories from their past missions as Eternals and this impacts her as she succumbs to Mahd W’yry which causes her to attack the Eternals with sudden bursts.
Like most of the other characters, she is also inspired by the Greek Mythology’s Athena. While there is an Athena in the comics world but still major parallels are drawn between Thena and her father Zuras with Athena and her father Zeus. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and war and she can be quite aggressive if provoked. This is quite similar to Thena’s bursts of anger due to the sickness.
Makkari is the fastest woman in the entire universe and this has allowed her to see all of Earth over the years and it seems that she has gotten quite bored with it. Lauren Ridloff’s character in the comics is a man and other than speed he possesses the usual Eternals traits that prevent her from aging or dying. She can also think very fast and this allows her to read and generate her views very fast. Unlike the rest of the Eternals, Makkari stays back on their ship, Domo.
Like many of the other speedsters we have seen in the comics and superhero world, Makkari’s character is also inspired by Mercury from Roman mythology. One of the most iconic features of this god includes his winged sandals. The character is associated with Greek Mythology’s Hermes who is popularly known for being a fleet of foot. Mercury is the god of travelers and merchants and has often served as a mediator between gods and mortals. There is a chance that we might get to see in the future Eternals projects as she might end up being the link between the Eternals and the mortal heroes of Earth, Avengers.
Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos is one of the most essential amongst the group of Eternals as he a genius and a technopath. The character introduces humankind with some of the greatest innovations of time and we even get to see him face the wrath of the ills of innovation. He can create any invention or weapon using cosmic energy but he also requires the raw materials for doing so.
The character of Phastos is clearly based on the Hephaestus from Greek mythology and the latter is the god of the forge. This is in direct link with the character as the character is also an inventor. Hephaestus is known for having sculpted the first woman and has also made some of the greatest weapons in the various mythical tales. The god is also the husband of the goddess of love, Aphrodite and this also puts the character in connection as he is also the only character who has a peaceful life and a family with a husband and a son.
Sprite, played by Lia McHugh, appears to be the youngest of the group of heroes. She has the ability to cast lifelike illusions. Another one of her characteristics involves storytelling as she has entertained humanity for many years with her stories but then she was dismissed because of her 11-year old childlike appearance as she can’t grow. This plays a major role in her character through the narrative of the movie.
The inspiration for Sprite has to be the most diffused considering there have been many sprites in European mythology. In folklore, Sprites often act in a childish manner which is quite similar to the character of Sprite as she is stuck in the body of a child and often behaves like one too. Another inspiration could be the Spriggans, who are tree spirits in Celtic lore and are the guardians of nature. They are popularly known for taking the shape of female humanoids and are even considered to be somewhat hostile to humans. This is quite similar to the character of Sprite in the movie as she takes Ikaris’ side during the Emergence. But fans might notice that there is a very strong parallel to her narrative and that of Pinocchio as she also wants to be a real human being and grow.
Barry Keoghan’s Druig has a rather interesting narrative throughout the movie even though he is one of the characters that is not given much to explore through the movie. Druig can use his abilities to control the human minds with cosmic energy. Like the rest of the Eternals, he also has near-immortality. While the rest of the Eternals head to civilization he goes on to create his own tribe and this was what made everyone wonder that he might be portraying a villain in the movie.
While Druig does not seem to have a mythological counterpart his name is quite similar to that of the Russian word for friend. There might be some other links with the Druids as he might have mythological origins there considering there is some similarity with the name. Druids are peaceful but also considered to be sorcerers and their personas math that of Druig as the latter formed his own peaceful society on Earth.
Kingo, played by Kumail Nanjiani, is one of the most interesting characters in the movie as we even see a rather colorful Bollywood dance sequence with him. His powers mainly include the ability to shoot projectiles from his hands and emit cosmic energy explosions. In the comics, he is more self-aware and doesn’t prefer to utilize his powers unless he deems it to be required.
Similar to Druig, there is no clear inspiration for him but there was a Babylonian god called Kingu, and considering the Eternals had a major influence in that era Kingo could be based on him. But there were no particular powers associated with his character which could be a kind of a joke in the movie as he might be a bit insecure about his lesser powers compared to the rest of the Eternals. Another similarity that both the characters feature has to be associated with fighting and a craving for power.
So these were all the mythological influences and inspirations behind all Eternals characters.