If 'Eternals' Were 10 Times Shorter And 100 Times More Honest
What do you get when you mix the newest winner of the Best Director Oscar with the most critically successful film franchise of all time? Probably something pretty great if not for also mixing in a huge helping of Jack Kirby's insane nonsense from the comics that nobody has ever cared about. So instead, we got Eternals, a movie rated so low on Rotten Tomatoes that Zack Snyder wants to release a 4-hour cut of it. We sent The Editing Room to fetch the abridged script for the film, having done so many times for us in the past, and this is what they found ...
EXT. PLAIN BLACK SCREEN
Instead of opening on the MARVEL STUDIOS LOGO like everyone's expecting, fans are presented with a drab, knock-off STAR WARS CRAWL, and what in the fresh hell is this?! They expect us to READ?? #notmymarvelmovie
Just go with it, okay? We're not even gonna pretend people
know what the hell our deal is, and this story's already
gonna be long enough.
After the first (of many) exposition dumps, all the ETERNALS get dressed for work, and RICHARD MADDEN shoots his shot.
(gazing at Planet Earth)
It's a real shithole.
Totally ... wait, what?
Oh, whoops, wrong movie.
It's beautiful, isn't it?
EXT. MESOPOTAMIA - A VERY BIG NUMBER B.C.
Wow, life in this era sucks so hard I can barely muster the
energy to warn my child of this huge rampaging beastie about
to chomp my entire
DEVIANTS ATTACK! But swooping in to the rescue are the ETERNALS!
(pause for applause)
Let's quickly demonstrate all our powers. I can summon cool
shiny energy weapons!
I can punch stuff real good because the MCU was really
lacking for heroes with that power.
I create energy balls and then fire them at people, and yes
I got totally swole for no reason.
I run really, really fast!
I turn stuff into other stuff!
I make illusions! Also, I'm a perpetual child while the rest
of my family gets to be super hot, so that blows.
I can fly and have super-strength and laser vision and
invulnerability and enhanced speed, so screw all you
Yeah, well, maybe I can't affect sentient beings (yet), but I
could still turn your outfit into acid, and the air around
you to solid lead, so let's not get TOO high and mighty.
Also, I love you?
They team obliterates all the DEVIANT then get into their SPLASH PAGE FORMATION to finish introducing themselves.
Aaaand just a quick shot of mind control to make these
humans trust us. I gotta say, that is SO much easier than
having to learn diplomacy or any people skills whatsoever.
Greetings, people of Earth! We are the Eternals, sent to
protect you from the Deviants and guide your evolutionary
BRIAN TYREE HENRY
I shall use my invention powers to boost your technology!
And many thousands of years from now, give a slight,
long-overdue nudge to your social progress as well.
JOE RUSSO (O.S.)
You mean my Endgame cameo didn't count?
But to start things off, allow me to fashion you a bitchin'
decorative dagger. And thus begins our long-term mission,
one that will span centuries. Hm, what musical cue would
match well with the expanse of years we're about to
experience... something that evokes the passage of something
quite vast, a fundamental dimension of our reality-
CUE: "TIME" BY PINK FLOYD
Well, that's a bit on the nose, but okay.
EXT. LONDON - VAGUELY "PRESENT DAY" BY MCU STANDARDS
Modern-day GEMMA has been alive for millennia but still can't be on time for basic adult responsibilities, so good thing her totally regular human boyfriend, KIT HARINGTON, is here to pick up the slack.
I'm openly flirting with you in front of all these pupils
because I'm a PROFESSIONAL.
There's a random earthquake that they deal with real quick, no big deal, and then it's straight to the PARTYING.
Kit, let's go out tonight and celebrate your birthday just
to make it super clear that Lia totally got the short end of
the stick with this whole 'eternal life' thing.
EXT. LONDON - NIGHT - AND YOU BETTER HOPE YOUR THEATRE BOTHERED TO REPLACE THEIR WORN-OUT PROJECTOR BULBS FROM 2019 OR GOOD LUCK, A-HOLES
KIT, GEMMA, and LIA go out for a night of clubbing where an unknown actress gets her first MCU CREDIT as "GROWN-UP ILLUSION OF ETERNAL BEING TRAPPED IN CHILD'S BODY HAVING A NIGHT ON THE TOWN" and let's hope she has OTHER CREDITS.
Look, Kit, I got you an antique ancestral ring! It really
boosted my dating game when I started collecting ancient
relics connected to every hot young bachelor in town.
Oh, thanks! I just hope this doesn't awaken anything in me.
Just then a WRITHING CGI GLOBULE emerges from the river and ATTACKS!!
(channeling CHRIS PRATT in "INFINITY WAR")
How the hell is this dude still alive?
And this Deviant seems to have Salma's healing power on top
of being a Yesterday's Spaghetti monster. But all your
illusions and my transmuting everything in sight are,
strangely enough, useless against it! How can-
HEY THERE ROPEY-DOPE, NOW CAN I ASK, DO YOU BLEED?
(zaps, pummels the DEVIANT)
DON'T WORRY, LONDONERS, NOTHING TO SEE HERE
(flies, lasers, wrecks stuff)
WERE WE STILL BEING ALL SECRETIVE? I FORGET.
Eventually, the DEVIANT is driven off, allowing us to switch from DOZENS OF INNOCENT LIVES IN PERIL back to GEMMA'S AWKWARD DATING LIFE.
So this must be Big Mister I'll Still Be Alive And Hot Long
After Puny Human Kit is Long Dead, huh? Doesn't seem all
I don't understand, our Deviant-detectors assured us all the
Deviants were dead ages ago! I know those detectors can't
penetrate like two feet of ice, but still, what happened?!
Somehow, the Deviants returned.
Wow, imagine if we just left it at that? What assholes would
WE be, but don't worry, we do actually explain it later.
We must track down the others and warn them! Well, when I say
"track down", we know exactly where everyone is, just not
their phone numbers or emails, thus requiring a huge global
trek to actually talk to everyone face-to-face.
Told you we needed a Discord channel, but NOOOOOOO
Aanndd that's my cue. Awkwafina already did the whole 'fish
out of water' thing earlier this year, so see you guys in
the next movie.
No, wait, you can't leave; you have audience surrogate
questions to ask! At least come back in the last five
minutes plus for a super quick post-credits scene?
Deal, as long as I get to be completely cryptic about my
lineage for literally no reason.
EXT. FLASHBACK - STILL VERY ANCIENT TIMES BUT LESS ANCIENT THAN THE OPENING SCENE
The ETERNALS are merrily advancing society, like you do.
We have less than zero chemistry, Gemma, but since we're
both perfect physical specimens, how about we ...
(wiggles his eyebrows)
Bow chicka wow wow?
Okay! But since this is the MCU's first actual sex scene,
we're only allowed "brief sexuality," so let's keep it
Well, we are missionaries. We're on a mission.
AW YEAH, HOT BUT NOT BRIGHT THAT'S MY JAM C'MERE YOU
EXT. SALMA'S SOUTH DAKOTA CRAPHOLE - PRESENT DAY
GEMMA, already sick of this whole leading lady business, convinces the trio that they should start at SALMA HAYEK'S FARM, only to find out that she has BOUGHT THE FARM!
Noooo! I could have sworn they signed her to at
least two more movies! And what about those trailer lines
she hasn't said yet?
Well, she's totes dead. Obviously, the Deviants got her,
right? We all agree that's the only possible explanation,
right? Looks like case closed to me.
(puts dossier in "SOLVED CASES" filing cabinet, locks
cabinet, throws down a hole)
As everyone grieves, SALMA'S THROATBUD leaves her body and wedges itself into GEMMA! Instantly she finds herself addressing the BIG BOI CELESTIAL!
Yoiks! So, ah, I guess I should get fully briefed on our
BIG BOI CELESTIAL
INDEED, MY CHILD. BRACE YOURSELF FOR THE DEVASTATING TRUTH
OH, ACTUALLY, THE DOG JUST GRABBED MY POT ROAST OFF THE TABLE
GOTTA GO BYEEE
EXT. FLASHBACK - SLIGHTLY LESS ANCIENT TIMES THAN BEFORE
Our heroes are busy not interfering in a WAR by STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO IT instead of being HOURS AWAY or whatever.
Pretty sure that whole 'not interfering' business started
Pssh, you're just from a puny animated show that's not even
Or is it?...
I'll never tell.
It sucks that we can't interfere in human conflict, but
after all, it's not like our goal is to keep the maximum
number of humans alive so they can reach a certain
population threshold or something.
Ha ha it's true, if THAT were our only goal, we'd be better
off breeding them like docile sheep! Ha ha ha. I bet Barry
could help with that.
Well, I don't have my own storyline yet, so screw it, I'm
going mad! Blargh blorgh yarbity blarb!
The others eventually subdue ANGELINA after a bit of that sweet sweet HERO-ON-HERO FIGHT ACTION.
I'm afraid Angelina has got Mudhoney syndrome. Sadly, however,
there is no cure for the Muad'dibby. And if her Mozzarella
progresses, it will destroy her brain entirely, and Angie's
too high billed for a one-off cameo. We gotta figure this
It's a bit drastic, but I can stop her Mulaney by rebooting
her entire charac-
NO NO NO THIS IS THE MCU NOT DC WE'RE NOT REBOOTING EVERY
CHARACTER EVERY TEN MINUTES, OKAY?!
I agree. No reboots. I'll keep watch over Angelina through
the eras and make sure she's never rebooted, not even by
I still don't get why I have these god-level mind control
powers and can't really use them. I know Phase One leaned a
bit hard on mind control, but c'mon, when was the last time
a Marvel movie built everything around mind-
SCARLETT JOHANSSON AND FLORENCE PUGH
Whatever, I don't care. I'm taking these two armies, and
ONLY them, and marching off to have an epic, centuries-long
(makes "heart fluttering" gestures)
I guess this is a good time as any for ALL of us to pursue
our solo projects. Was gonna wait until Brian finished that
ice-penetration modification on the Deviant Detector, but
hell with it. Mission accomplished, everyone!
INT. BOLLYWOOD MOVIE SET - PRESENT DAY
To prevent the MARVEL JOKE METER from becoming precariously low, the group heads to Mumbai to reunite with KUMAIL the COMEDIAN, so he's gotta be funny, right?
You can't tell I had barely any time to prep for this dance
... Don't quit your day job.
Hey Kumail, Salma's dead.
Damn, and to think I was gonna invite her to my next movie
premiere. Hey Richard, you wanna come instead?
Well, this was pointless. Who's next on the shortlist?
Sir, did you tell them about the private plane?
Forget what I said before. Kumail, you're imperative to this
EXT. DOWN UNDER
The growing posse heads to Australia to find ANGIE and DON, who are living in possibly platonic(?) domestic bliss, aside from whenever ANGIE suffers a violent episode of MAHOGANY.
Oh, hey guys, was that an earthquake, or am I just a closeted
alcoholic using the bottle to cope with my centuries-old
decision to be a caregiver for a woman who'll never let me
escape the friendzone?
Uh, you doing okay down here, buddy? Is Angie still cuckoo
for Cocoa Puffs?
Apparently, I've been busy making beer out of my own spit, so
I guess at least one of us is.
(staring into the middle distance)
Sadly I still suffer from the Mind Wedgie. On the plus side,
I feel confident that my condition is well controlled and
won't get anyone I care about killed. Well, not directly.
Listen up, Don, I can't get Salma's orb thing to work, the
one that lets me listen to the Big Boi Celestial. Oh if only
I could listen to its guidance! Any ideas?
Have you tried ... listening?
You're a genius!
GEMMA activates the CELESTIAL ZOOM! The connection is definitely still spotty, but it'll have to do.
BIG BOI CELESTIAL
HEY THERE, GEMMA, I GUESS WE'RE FAR ENOUGH INTO THE MOVIE FOR
A BIG RUG-PULLING TWIST. SO BASICALLY, Y'ALL ARE LIKE
WESTWORLD ROBOTS, BUT THE HBO VERSION, NOT THE OLD MOVIE
Our homeworld is a lie? Did you create the Deviants, too?
BIG BOI CELESTIAL
YEAH, ON EACH WORLD, WE PICK A FUZZY SQUISHY MAMMAL AND SEND
DEVIANTS TO KILL THEIR PREDATORS. BUT THEN DEVIANTS
EVENTUALLY EVOLVE TO KILL THE MAMMALS. THIS HAS BACKFIRED
EVERY TIME FOR A BILLION YEARS — WHEN WILL WE LEARN,
So you have us kill the Deviants and advance the squishy
BIG BOI CELESTIAL
ONCE THERE ARE ENOUGH PEOPLE, THEIR ENERGY RELEASES THE
CELESTIAL HIDDEN INSIDE THE PLANET, CRACKING IT OPEN LIKE A
BIG KINDER SURPRISE. THIS IS THE EMERGENCE, THOUGH THE REAL
VERSION WILL GO MUCH SLOWER THAN THIS ILLUSTRATION I'M
SHOWING YOU NOW — PLENTY OF TIME FOR HEROICS TO INTERRUPT
THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS.
There's a giant-ass Celestial inside the Earth? How has
nobody noticed this?
BIG BOI CELESTIAL
BECAUSE SHUT UP, THAT'S HOW. ANYWAY, ONCE THE NEW CELESTIAL
EMERGES, THEY WILL CREATE TONS OF NEW WORLDS FULL OF NEW
LIFE SO IT'S TOTES WORTH IT, AT LEAST FOR THE WORLDS WE
DON'T LATER DESTROY TO MAKE NEW CELESTIALS BUT DON'T WORRY
GEMMA ends the call and tells the others the HORRIBLE NEWS!
Damn, maybe I shouldn't have told you to listen after all ...
Well, I think we should save Earth; it's pretty cool. And I
really wanna see how The Expanse ends, so we need to delay
things another few months at least.
But none of our powers mean squat against a new Celestial!
Mentally overpowering a giant nebulous foe totally worked
for Tom and Sophia a few months ago. Safe to assume, for some
reason, it'll work for us, too.
We need Barry.
Oh right, that guy.
EXT. AMAZONIAN CULT
The ever-expanding entourage makes their way to the AMAZON to find BARRY and exploit him for his mind control powers. Upon arriving, they discover that BARRY, to no one's surprise, has mind-controlled a bunch of folks and TAKEN AN ENTIRE TOWN HOSTAGE!
Suureeeee, when I do it, it's "morally wrong," but when Barry
controls everyone, it's considered strangely sexy.
Can't believe I get to use my real accent for once. Also, I
hate all of you, and I couldn't care less about your dumb
plan. Please screw off.
While in the midst of waiting for BARRY to come around, another horrendously-lit DEVIANT fight sequence breaks out!
Pretty sure Don just got killed by the same Deviant that
offed Salma, but honestly, it's so dark that it could have
The DEVIANT evolves to gain the power of DAN STEVENS IMPERSONATION.
I TOLD you guys I wasn't in this movie, but no one believed
me! The press just wouldn't let it go.
Tell me about it!
You're not fooling anyone, Andrew.
Umm, can we get back on track? Spider-Man doesn't come out
for another six weeks, and I'm trying to grieve Don over
People suck, Angie. This shouldn't be news to you after 7000
In another part of the forest, RICHARD battles in a tight t-shirt, and GEMMA levels up.
Oh, wow, I somehow transmuted the Deviant into wood! I guess
I CAN affect sentient beings after all, all by myself!
Don't you mean you can only do that if you're connected to
everyone else, plus a Celestial, in an incredibly rare
No, I just did it without-
(checks the last few pages of the script)
Oh, right, what you said.
Anyway, we clearly now need Brian and Lauren because the big
finale can't happen until we've visited everyone.
EXT. FLASHBACK - HIROSHIMA (NOT A TIME FOR JOKES)
BRIAN TYREE HENRY is rightfully devastated at the WWII aftermath of his technological advancements, and even more rightfully finished with the idea of ever helping crappy humans again, a sentiment a lot of folks can relate to these days.
EXT. CHICAGO? THAT'S IT? OKAY... - PRESENT DAY
After several decades, BRIAN TYREE HENRY has recovered from his justifiably nihilistic worldview and moved on to become the most stable family man in the entire MCU, which is where GEMMA and RICHARD find him.
BRIAN TYREE HENRY
My off-screen romance with the lovely Haaz Sleiman is the
only thing that saved me from the knowledge that you guys
totally abandoned me for most of this movie's runtime.
Brian, didn't you hear? This is Marvel's "mature" movie.
BRIAN TYREE HENRY
Wait, you mean I actually get to unambiguously interact with
my same-sex life partner onscreen?
DISNEY CEO BOB CHAPEK
Buddy, you even get to kiss each other — and right smack in
the center of the screen, too, so it'll be extra hard for us
to cut it out of the footage for objecting countries.
BRIAN TYREE HENRY
Wow, really? That's uncharacteristically big of you.
DISNEY CEO BOB CHAPEK
Eh, those countries aren't even a drop in the bucket for our
global box office haul.
BRIAN TYREE HENRY
Aaannnddd, there it is.
EXT. IRAQ ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
BARRY manipulates innocent archaeologists to abandon their work so that he can flirt with his girlfriend LAUREN in the privacy of the ETERNALS' GIANT SPACESHIP, where she's lived underground for centuries waiting for those last few KICKSTARTER GAMES to finally arrive.
Hey guys! Finally! I've been waiting to announce that I'm
gonna be the only speedster to survive their first MCU
Lauren, quick catch-up time. Salma & Don are done like
dinner, our boss totally lied to us (what else is new?), and
the world is gonna end in like 12 hours or so.
Shouldn't y'all have just come to me first? I'm already in
the home base and could have recruited everyone else in like
12 seconds flat.
...We don't have time for your good ideas! Can you find the
point of emergen-
It's an island volcano in the Indian Ocean, which is sure to
delight all the "extinction volcano" conspiracy theorists in
the audience. Anything else you need me to solve instantly?
BRIAN TYREE HENRY
I'm beginning to see why the speedsters usually get killed
EXT. FLASHBACK - SOUTH DAKOTA, SIX DAYS AGO
RICHARD and a still-breathing SALMA reenact their conversation from the trailer.
Humanity is wonderful and worth saving, even though we've
hardly shown any evidence to actually support this claim. So
I've changed my mind about killing everyone.
How dare you defy Big Boi Celestial, Salma?! Blind obedience
to a higher authority has NEVER proven problematic in ANY of
the thousands of years of history we've personally
Also, Richard, you've never been my favorite. It's high time
you knew the truth.
RICHARD, the jealous bitch that he is, flies them to ALASKA and then immediately tosses SALMA to the wolves- I mean WOLF-SHAPED DEVIANTS.
They were under ... the ice! How did we not realize-
INT. THE ETERNALSMOBILE - PRESENT DAY
RICHARD has been silent for most of this act, but now it's his turn to SPEAK UP.
There's enough of us that I figured we could kill off a few
and still have room left over for me to become a villain.
BTW, y'all can consider yourselves dead if you don't agree
with Big Boi Celestial's original plan that you were kept in
the dark about until yesterday but that I've had thousands
of years to come to terms with.
Wow, an 11th-hour villain twist. Shocker.
I gotta say, everyone thought it'd be me, based on the
trailers and the source material and my overall broody
Richard, I'm coming with you. And no, it's not exceptionally
weird that I've been pining for you for millennia.
Rather than make quick work of killing everyone right then and there, RICHARD and LIA peace out to go to the POINT OF EMERGENCE, presumably to set the stage for a more flashy third-act finale.
I just wanna say that I called that. Also, I happen to think
Richard is right, but I can't bring myself to fight any of
you. Therefore, I'm just gonna hang back and then provide
comic relief to whoever wins, cool?
EXT. ISLAND VOLCANO SOON TO BE THE SITE OF THE BIGGEST ISLAND DISASTER SINCE FYRE FESTIVAL
You don't stand a chance against the combined power of me
and Lia! Granted, most of that is my power, but still —
you're all screwed! HAHAHAHA
RICHARD is clearly a tactician, though, because he immediately takes out BARRY, the linchpin of their whole plan, instead of faffing around with everyone else as most MCU fights would do. But then!
(pummels Richard with 5000 blows in 5 seconds)
BRIAN TYREE HENRY
Oh, hey, look, I brought my defeat-Richard machine.
I may have been a tad overconfident.
Meanwhile ANGELINA faces off against BILL SKARSGÅRD, aka NOT DAN STEVENS, who's back for no comprehensible reason!
You can't defeat me, Angie, especially when you're still
afflicted with the Marscapone. Soon I shall have your powers
as well, and maybe evolve the ability to understand NFTs
because seriously, what is UP with that nonsense-
(snapping out of trance)
C'MON DUDE, IT'S SUCH AN OBVIOUS SCAM!
(slices up SKARSGÅRD)
Meanwhile, over on the HATCHLING CELESTIAL'S volcano shell, GEMMA makes her way towards the emergence point.
Hey cool, between flashbacks and illusions, turns out I can
still be in quite a bit of this movie.
Sure enough, it's just a TRICK, enabling LIA to distract GEMMA enough to literally STAB HER IN THE BACK!
Sorry to go full Loki on you — it's all I could think of.
That's okay; you gave me one of those special MCU torso
wounds that's both super dramatic but also totally
(turns blade to water, sprints towards Celestial)
GEMMA gets into position just as RICHARD breaks free from BRIAN and confronts her!
Damn, I can't hurt you, Gemma. I guess I'll join forces with
you after all, and perhaps with all our essences combined
you can pull this off!
(running up bar tab on the mainland)
Well, I still think Earth should die, so whatevs.
(slurps his mocktail)
Everyone links hands to grab the POWER STONE just kidding FORM A UNI-MIND, giving GEMMA the power to turn the new CELESTIAL into STONE, YAAAY!!! EARTH IS SAVED!
Plus, I conveniently have JUUUUST enough residual energy
thingie stuff to turn Lia into a regular human character,
which we should probably do since you're going to age in
real-life anyway, right?
Meanwhile, RICHARD, consumed with regret, YEETS HIMSELF INTO THE SUN just to provide one last example of SOMETHING STUPID KIT HARINGTON CAN'T DO.,
Ah, how poetic, to perish in a fashion similar to the human
myth I inspired. Which now that I think of it, I'm sure glad
Icarus didn't die from gorging on ice cream or crushed by a
falling piano or autoerotic asphyxiation or whatever because
this would be FAR less poignant
EXT. VARIOUS EARTH LOCATIONS
GEMMA, KUMAIL, BRIAN, and LIA return to their normal lives, with a new perspective on their daily struggles and-
BIG BOI CELESTIAL
UM, EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU SERIOUS, DID YOU SERIOUSLY NOT THINK
I'D BE PRETTY PISSED ABOUT ALL THIS?!
I suppose this is something we should have prepared
(whisked into space!)
BIG BOI CELESTIAL
(grabbing Gemma, Kumail, and Brian)
YOU SHALL COME WITH ME, AND I SHALL JUDGE WHETHER YOU SHALL
SURVIVE. THE JUDGING PROCESS WILL TAKE THREE TO FOUR YEARS
AND SHALL CONSIDER SUCH DELICATE MORAL QUESTIONS AS COMBINED
BOX OFFICE GROSS AND STREAMING NUMBERS
Oh, no! Only someone with a deep personal connection to
Arthurian legend could possibly solve THIS dilemma!
(looks around wildly)
EXT. MID-CREDITS SCENE
As the REMAINING ETERNALS set to work creating a reason to NOT APPEAR IN OTHER CURRENT MCU PROJECTS, the screen cuts to a close-up of a tweet from a soon-to-be-banned-from-Marvel-screenings Variety reporter.
MATT DONNELLY'S TWITTER ACCOUNT
(stuck on caps lock)
HEY, GUYS, CHECK IT OUT; HARRY STYLES IS ACTING AGAIN! EVERYONE
FOLLOW ME THIS IS TOTALLY THE BIGGEST SCOOP EVER!
MARVEL FANS ON TWITTER
Yeah, mate, not cool.
EXT. POST-CREDITS SCENE
KIT HARINGTON wakes up from his 2.5-hour nap in a laundromat to go and dramatically open a SWORD-SHAPED BOX in some swanky office somewhere.
Did everyone know that I have a super-secret and convoluted
family history? Kevin Feige, are you listening? Sounds like
perfect fodder for a Disney+ series, methinks.
(apprehensively reaches for the EBONY BLADE like a total
MAHERSHALA ALI (O.S.)
Have fun overanalyzing my one spoken line of dialogue here,
Top Image: Marvel Studios