Hollywood can be a cruel mistress. Sometimes, no matter how great you’ve been in the past, you are only as good as your last movie. That could be the case with Chloe Zhao who might see a shorter-than-expected run in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Giant Freakin Robot has the exclusive from our trusted and proven source that Chloe Zhao might not be around for Eternals 2 with the possibility the studio replaces her for the sequel. Life can come at you fast in this industry.
The word that Chloe Zhao might not be there to helm Eternals 2 comes before the first movie has even hit the big screen in wide release. This all stems, in part, from the early reviews for the next big Marvel production. Right now, Eternals is sitting at just 61% on Rotten Tomatoes through its first 105 reviews. These were all early screeners for the movie in anticipation of its wide release next week. The Rotten Tomatoes score would represent the lowest-rated Marvel movie to date, a stunning blow for a movie with massive expectations coming in.
Now, in the end, there is typically just one number that counts, and that’s what happens at the box office. Dollar signs end up winning the day over critical reviews and if fans turn out in droves for Eternals then there would be a good chance we’d see Chloe Zhao back for Eternals 2. But out of the gate, if the reception is lukewarm, it could be a troubling sign for the movie.
Critics levied a number of different criticisms about the flick that could also have Marvel hesitant to bring Chloe Zhao back for Eternals 2. It doesn’t appear just one thing that’s putting the movie more into the middle of the critical pack. Where other Marvel movies have tended to choose a lane and stick with it, this one, from early reviews, appears a bit all over the map. Critics had issues with the tempo and pacing, the disinterested fight scenes, lack of urgency, long runtime, and overdone exposition among some other things. Again, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where things might have gone off the rails here.
Other Marvel movies that featured massive, star-studded casts typically worked up to them through solo movies about each character only to bring them together in epic fashion. Eternals takes the opposite path, introducing us all at once to a completely new group of heroes. There’s a chance the movie just suffers under the weight of this and other expectations. If so, we could see Chloe Zhao replaced for Eternals 2, though it would simultaneously be tough to blame her for this flick. It was Marvel’s choice to take a new strategy this time around.
And remember, this is a tough industry. After all, Chloe Zhao is less than a year removed from winning the freaking Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director with Nomadland. In terms of critical praise, this is basically the mountain top. To think she would be replaced for Eternals 2 would feel nuts, but that’s the nature of the industry folks. What have you done for me lately? Eternals will hit theaters on November 5th.