A longstanding Marvel mystery has finally been solved. John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, American Crime) has finally revealed what he was developing for Marvel several years back. The award-winning filmmaker recently shared that he was working on an Eternals TV series. This was years before Marvel Studios would eventually turn the property into a feature film.
“What are they going to do, fire me for the work I’m not doing?” Ridley recently said on the Comic Book Club podcast. He confirmed that the show was in development for ABC back in 2015. But it is “not in the works anymore.” Speaking further, Ridley seemed to believe his version of the project would have been good. At the same time, he didn’t seem to care for the 2021 movie version we got.
“There was my version, a good version, which is good to me…. which doesn’t mean anything. There was the version that [Marvel] ended up doing which… I don’t think that version was particularly good — I’ll be honest — and for all kinds of reasons.”
Director Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) ended up making an Eternals movie for Marvel Studios. Released in 2021, the film was met with very mixed reviews. It ended its theatrical run with just over $400 million worldwide. That’s not much by MCU standards. However, the pandemic was a much larger factor at that time.
Here is the synopsis for Marvel’s Eternals.
“Marvel Studios’ Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants.”
The film had a very large ensemble cast including Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee and Kit Harrington. They were all playing new characters, meaning there were a lot of unfamiliar faces that needed to be introduced. It’s a lot to manage in a single movie. It’s not hard to see why a TV show could have served the characters better in some ways. At the same time, after what happened with the much maligned Inhumans TV show on ABC, it’s not hard to see why Marvel Studios did what they did.