The Worst Marvel Movie Has A Much Darker Original Ending

The original ending to Eternals saw the heroes with their minds wiped and en route to another planet.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

eternals 2 chloe zhao

Eternals, the 2021 Marvel Cinematic Universe film deemed the worst in the franchise due to its Rotten Tomatoes score, originally had a much darker ending than audiences saw in theaters. According to an interview with director Chloe Zhao in Empire, the original ending to her cosmic comic book movie saw its central group of immortal heroes having their minds erased by the Celestials that created them and en route to another planet, completely unaware of what had happened to them in their lives on Earth. 

As Chloe Zhao put it, the original ending to Eternals was reminiscent of an episode of The Twilight Zone, the frequently bleak and disturbing speculative television series created by Rod Serling. However, the director noted that audiences didn’t “know what to do” when the film cut to black, which is probably not the vibe that you really want in a superhero movie looking for box office magic. She also noted that with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences always want to be excited for what is coming next, a sensation that the original ending to Eternals definitely did not prompt.

celestial eternals
A Celestial in Eternals

Eternals was released in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic after several related delays, which has been theorized to have affected its comparatively middling box office grosses. However, that did not seem to be the case with other superhero movies like Matt ReevesThe Batman and fellow MCU movie Spider-Man: No Way Home. While that can be at least partly explained by the fact that Batman and Spider-Man are two of the most famous comic book properties in history and the Eternals are an obscure and confusing Jack Kirby product, it does not explain away its negative reviews.

Currently, Eternals holds a 47 percent Critics Score on Rotten Tomatoes, being primarily criticized for its pacing, 156-minute run time, and attempts to explain the convoluted Marvel Comics lore of the title characters. Until recently, it was the undisputed nadir of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (according to the popular review aggregator, anyway), but it has since been challenged by Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which also holds 47 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

However, the third Ant-Man movie was released a mere four days ago in the United States and has at least the potential for its critical ranking to rise above Eternals in the weeks to come (though that also means it could drop even further). More importantly, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is killing it at the box office, already grossing $241 million, more than half of what Eternals did in its entire theatrical run. 

Marvel Studios has not released any announcements of how and/or when it intends to bring the Eternals back into action, with several of the stars themselves expressing uncertainty about whether it will ever happen. Given the general lukewarm attitude to the film (and a post-credits cameo by a certain pop star in an icky role), it is entirely possible that Eternals will join Inhumans in Marvel’s memory hole. Maybe Chloe Zhao should have just used that ending anyway.

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