Marvel was wrong to cancel Eternals 2

Now that Marvel has reportedly canceled a sequel to 2021's Eternals, it's time to ask whether that was the right decision or not.
(L-R): Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) and Thena (Angelina Jolie) in Marvel Studios' ETERNALS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) and Thena (Angelina Jolie) in Marvel Studios' ETERNALS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

Before the Eternals premiered back in 2021, it was regarded as one of the most anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe projects ever. An all-star cast alongside an Oscar-winning director attempting to bring to life one of the best pitches Kevin Feige had ever heard? Everything indicated Marvel had a guaranteed hit on its hands. But fast-forward three years later and a sequel to the Eternals has reportedly been canceled. So what exactly happened?

After what seemed like a losing streak of projects, Marvel decided there needed to be a shift in strategy going forward. According to Marvel insider Daniel Richtman - who's regarded as one of the most reliable leakers in the industry - three MCU sequels were recently canceled. Ant-Man 4, Captain Marvel 3, and Eternals 2 are reportedly no longer in the works.

This harsh decision was made in an attempt to move on from projects that could potentially be a financial risk and instead focus on the ones guaranteed to be a hit both critically and commercially. Unfortunately, that means there's a really high chance we won't get to see what Sersi will be up to after freezing a Celestial in the ocean. But we have to ask ourselves the question: Is that the right call? Or is Marvel missing out on a high chance of delivering an amazing sequel? Our money is on the latter, and it's time to explain why.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD - Marvel Studios' "Thor: The Dark World" continues the adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of "Thor" and The Avengers," Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos ... but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. To defeat an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor sets upon /

Sequels usually earn more money

Movies introducing a set of new characters typically don't make as much money as the ones featuring heroes that are already known and beloved by fans worldwide. The first Iron Man film earned $ 585.8 million while its sequel - which was arguably worse - grossed $623.9 million. The same can be said for The God of Thunder. Even if Thor: The Dark World is regarded as one of the least memorable MCU projects ever made, it still earned almost $200 million more than its predecessor. That goes on to prove that audiences are more likely to pay for a franchise that's already established than one that's brand new.

While Eternals didn't have a mind-blowing box office as other MCU projects, it was far from being a flop. The Chloé Zhao movie earned $402 million on a budget of $236.2 million. Even accounting for marketing expenses, there was enough margin to make a profit. And if the first entry in the franchise wasn't a flop, then the sequel is likely to be more of a success for Marvel, especially if the budget is smaller than its predecessor. If that's the most probable scenario, then why put a stop to the plan? After all, audiences already know the backstory of the Eternals at this point. Not only that, but they love most of its characters.

Disney Studios Showcase Presentation At D23 Expo, Saturday August 24
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 24: (L-R) Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Angelina Jolie, and Barry Keoghan of 'The Eternals' took part today in the Walt Disney Studios presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 in Anaheim, Calif. 'The Eternals' will be released in U.S. theaters on November 6, 2020. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney) /

Previous problems wouldn't be around for a second go

Introducing ten unknown characters to mainstream audiences was never going to be an easy feat. Getting to know the personality, motivation, and origin of every member of the Eternals was undoubtedly a time-consuming task. As a result, moviegoers couldn't help but feel like Eternals's story unfolded way too slowly and didn't have a clear direction up until its second half. Most critics seemed to agree that there were clear pacing problems in Chloé Zhao's film, and that's a direct consequence of having many new heroes.

Fortunately, Eternals already did all of the heavy lifting. A sequel wouldn't need to go through world-building or a lot of character introductions all over again. The pieces are in place to focus on the fun part: great superhero action - which there was a lot of in the first film - and telling a mesmerizing story that can build upon what's already there. After all, that's exactly what Spider-Man: Homecoming did. Marvel recognized going over the origin story could be a tedious task, so they decided to skip it altogether. And wouldn't you know it, but the Tom Holland movie proved to be a huge success.

Finally, characters such as Thena and Makkari proved to be a hit with fans. We want to see more from them. The latter even has the best display of super-speed we've seen on the big screen. It would be a shame for Marvel to just drop their stories altogether.

Marvel Studios' ETERNALS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2021 Marvel Studios. All Rights Reserved. /

There needs to be a continuation to the story

To this date, we're still wondering what happened to the huge Celestial frozen in the ocean. Why does no project in the MCU acknowledge it? And what about the introduction of Eros - Thanos' brother - in Eternals's post-credits scene? Was setting Black Knight up as a key character all for nothing? Does all of that lead to... nowhere?

Eternals had an ambitious story that wasn't meant to be completed in one single movie. And that's okay. The MCU has been known for setting things up for the future since its inception. However, previous titles did that as a secondary goal and instead dedicated more time to telling a great story first. World-building isn't the problem, but the quality of the projects themselves is. So if Marvel spent its resources trying to create a good Eternals sequel, then it would definitely pay off. I'd say that would be the ideal scenario. Redeeming yourself by creating an unforgettable follow-up to one of your first biggest "failures"? Yeah, that would put the MCU on the map once again.

Come on Kevin. You know it needs to be done.

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