Eternals is a different kind of movie. It has attempted to distance itself from the classic MCU formula by making something new and different. This includes talking about things that no other movie is talking about. The Illness of Thena in Eternals is one such thing. Mahd Wy’ry is something that can only affect an Eternal and is almost akin to Dementia. This is the kind of theme that only Zhao can manage properly and from what we have heard, she has done an excellent job.
Thena is the strongest warrior in the galaxy, to handicap her in the movie is a bold choice. But what is this illness and why is it compared to Dementia. Nate Moore went into some detail about this in a previous interview:
“If you guys are fans of comics Mahd Wy’ry is something that can beset an Eternal. It’s a version of dementia. Because of the amount of memories they have, they become unstuck in their own mind, so she starts to forget exactly when she is, so through the course of the movie, Gilgamesh becomes her protector. And when we find them in the modern-day, they’re living off the grid in a cabin in Australia because she’s too dangerous to have around humans.”
Mahd Wy’ry is described as “the secret curse of the Eternals.” in the comics. “How much experience could a being absorb,” Ikaris asked in the comics. He continues, “How much living before the weight of years proved too much and crushed the soul? How long before the mind wearies of living and can do it no more?” This illness is a big part of the Eternals’ comic lore, the only difference being that Sersi is the one affected by it in the comics.
The Mahd Wy’ry Illness of Thena
So we understand that the Illness of Thena is like Dementia for Eternals. It is an illness for immortals beset by their immortality. Sersi was diagnosed with the same illness after she attacked the Avengers in the comics. During an episode of the said disease, an Eternal finds themselves lost in time. They no longer know where they are or what they are doing. The Eternal can no longer differentiate between friend and foe and this leads to them attacking anything they perceive to be bad.
When we encounter Thena in Eternals, her illness is at its peak. The only person who helps her at this point is Gilgamesh, another Eternal. There are only two ways to combat this disease. Either the person suffering from it makes a soul bond with another Eternal so as to ground themselves in reality or they can be resurrected by the Eternal engine. We are not sure whether the Eternal engine is part of the MCU lore or not. If it is then there is a cure for Thena in terms of death and resurrection but if it is not then Thena is going to be stuck with this illness for the rest of her life.
Sersi was cured by the acts of the Eternal engine in the comics. So we wonder if they want to take the same route in the movies. Maybe not, because the existence of an all-powerful resurrection machine will take away any stakes that the movie has. The commentary that Zhao is trying to make is that of the patients with Dementia and the life of their caregivers. Gilgamesh will be the guardian protector of Thena in times of her need. But we still don’t know whether the two will form a soul bond or not.
This illness of Thena is no small matter. It is a serious problem for the Eternals. Thena is their greatest warrior and to have her be handicapped during the emergence means a serious weakness for the Eternals. They are a small army of Gods who have lived here for 7000 years. Moreover, they are capable of things that we could have never imagined. To see these heroes take up an active role in protecting our planet once more is the kind of thing that we have been waiting for.
What do you think of our analysis of the situation? Does it make sense or doe it sound too vague? Do you think Nate Moore is still hiding something about the Mahd Wy’ry illness of Thena? Maybe we will have to watch the movie to find out. Let us know your opinion in the comments below.