Eternals explores the dangers of exceptionalism in society

Throughout their 7,000 years of stewardship, the ten Eternals of Earth each had their own desire for what they wished to accomplish on the primeval world and their own dreams of what they would do once their tour of duty was over. Makkari considered returning to Olympia, the homeworld made by Arishem, the Celestial Prime. Sersi almost immediately fell in love with the people of her adopted home and thought little of what was next, seemingly destined to be their savior. Druig was determined to ensure that humanity did not destroy itself and was willing to break his alliance with the Celestials in order to see this dream come true.


None of them were initially aware of their true purpose, which was to cultivate humanity as a form of cattle whose mental energies would feed the celestial embryo nested within the earth’s core, none of them except for Ajak. She was the First Eternal, a sort of priest who was chosen to carry the word of Arishem to others. She alone was aware of their true nature, their true purpose, and their true lifespan. Although she ultimately decided to betray Arishem and her mission to save Earth and her people, she did so because she thought Earth and her heroes were special and that in itself is a tainted ethical position. .


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The Eternals stand together in the Eternals

575 BC. AD, in the land of Babylon, Ajak communed with Arishem to provide a progress report detailing the development of mankind under their watchful eye. After that, and after being praised for her efforts, she ventured to express some growing apprehensions she had had about their mission. She indicated that she trusted Arishem and his long-term vision, but she believed that in this case, the people of Earth had shown her something “special” that could trump celestial life in the balance. Arishem reminded her of her duty and advised her not to dwell on any emotional ties she might feel to the citizens of this doomed world.


This moment indicates that unlike the other Eternals, Ajak possessed memories of her past missions as she is able to compare Earth to previous planets and observes a distinction on this world that was absent in previous storylines. When discussing her conflict with Ikaris, the only one of her flock with whom she deigned to share the truth about their role, she did not mention having felt this before. She did, however, confirm that she had followed Arishem for millions of years and that was the first time she doubted him. There is no evidence that his troubles were the result of millions of years of service with a number of billions of lives hanging over his shoulders. She seemed to be tied to those past genocides with total peace, and it was only the earthlings’ potential or actualized accomplishments that made her think.


In the discussion with Arishem, she didn’t seem able to put her finger on the elusive quality that she felt separated humanity from the other species she drove to slaughter, but with Ikaris she was slightly more articulate. Ajak told her that her time among these people had changed her, citing their cruelty as well as their capacity for love and their ability to reverse the calamitous damage done by Thanos. She planned to use the last seven days before Emergence to find a way to thwart Arishem and save Earth, but only because she felt it was special.

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Ikaris at Ajak in Eternals

It’s hard to imagine a sensible life that doesn’t embrace laughter, love and community. These traits are common not only to humans but to most intelligent species on the planet, whether among dolphins, whales, primates or canids, they all demonstrate cheerfulness and an enduring connection with each other. . While these are the reasons Ajak refers to, they don’t seem rare enough in the cosmos to justify giving up a dogma that’s been in place for her personally for millions of years. Considering she felt this when Mesopotamian civilization was just beginning to flourish, it’s clear that overthrowing the Mad Titan was merely affirming a prior belief. In the end, it doesn’t matter.

The intergalactic perspectives offered by the guardians of the galaxy the movies suggest these traits are found throughout the universe, but even though Earth is truly exceptional in this regard, Ajak’s position is morally abhorrent. Believing that some people are more special than others and therefore must be protected, or worse, that others must be sacrificed in order to live, has been the motivation for some of the most brutal periods in human history. . The implications of this line of thought are grotesque and in no way diluted by the enormity of celestial genesis.


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Tiamut leaving the Eternals

Sersi learned when she became Prime Eternal that the purpose of the Celestials is to transmute all that energy siphoned from the aggregate intellect and molten core of a world to create the stars that allow all life to thrive. everywhere in the universe. In asking for Earth’s exemption, Ajak condemned the value of previous worlds that had undergone emergence, as his plan calls for an exception to the status quo and not an alternative to celestial procreation or any blasphemous attempt to destroy them. kill. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe stands out for its acknowledgment of portrayal, Ajak’s illumination smacks of deadly ableism.

The Earth in his eyes had earned its place in the universe because of the particularity of its people. Eternals as a movie was unique in its approach to how these kinds of movies relate to Earth. Usually the heroes try to save him from an encroaching fate, but before the final moments of the climactic fight, this was never an option considered by any of them, even those who wanted to see humanity survive, and even this issue was controversial. At best, it looked like the Eternals were going to put Tiamut to sleep while they figured out a way to evacuate the planet. It was only out of last-minute desperation that the planet itself was saved, but the idea that it somehow deserved it when other sentient species didn’t feel the worst that humanity has to offer.



Echo and Makkari in front of the Marvel logo

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