Marvel’s Eternals movie introduced a group of immortal aliens to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but what powers do they all have? Directed by Chloe Zhao, Eternals hit theaters in November 2021 and brought with it some of Marvel’s most obscure heroes into the MCU. Through Ikaris (Richard Madden), Thena (Angelina Jolie), Sersi (Gemma Chan), and many more, audiences glimpsed the history of the Marvel universe like never before. Though the main narrative is set in the present day, portions of Eternals explore ancient time periods and civilizations, such as Babylon and Tenochtitlan, which show the eras spanning the Eternals’ 7,000 years after arriving on Earth.
The titular Eternals are based on characters created by legendary comic book writer and artist Jack Kirby. In the late 1970s, Kirby wrote “The Eternals” – a comic book series based around immortal, super-powered beings who have secretly shared the Earth with humans for thousands of years. The MCU Eternals adaptation pits these immortal heroes against another Jack Kirby creation, the Deviants.
In the comics, Deviants are sworn enemies of Marvel’s Eternals. Deviants were designed to be hell-bent on consuming humanity’s lives and resources, meaning the Eternals must boast a formidable set of powers to defeat them. Here are all the Marvel Eternals characters’ powers explained.
The Eternals Have A Shared Set Of Powers
What separates Eternals from other Marvel races like the X-Men and Inhumans is how the Eternals don’t rely on just one or two powers. As Marvel’s Eternals are fueled by cosmic energy, they have access to a multitude of abilities possessed by every Eternal. All Eternals are capable of super strength, teleportation, telepathy, telekinesis, matter manipulation, flight through levitation, creating illusions, and the ability to shoot cosmic rays out of their eyes and hands. Eternals are also nearly impossible to kill because they have complete mental control over their molecules, restoring themselves at will when their bodies are destroyed.
Also, Marvel Comics’ Eternals are capable of channeling their cosmic energy to enhance certain abilities, which has also been adapted into the MCU. That’s why some Eternals have unique powers of their own, and why some are stronger in specific areas than their fellow Eternals. In contrast, however, Marvel’s Eternals team in the comics are far more flawed, with no single Eternals character retaining their full complement of comic book powers for the movie. Instead, director Chloé Zhao emphasized the diversity of their respective abilities, with each Eternal harnessing their shared gift of golden cosmic energy in unique ways.
Richard Madden’s Ikaris is described as “all-powerful” in the official Eternals synopsis, which lines up with the comics. Instead of focusing on one ability, comic Ikaris has channeled his energy to make him adept with all his powers, making him better than average — but not the best — in each area. Ikaris is also the second strongest Eternal on Earth, and he demonstrates this in the film. Among Marvel’s Eternals, Madden’s character is the only one capable of true flight and also the only one firing energy blasts from his eyes throughout Eternals.
Sersi can manipulate matter on such a grand scale that she outshines all Eternals in this category. She can take the molecules in an object and reshape them into whatever she pleases. Sersi (Gemma Chan), who has more fun with her powers than most Eternals, also harbors great potential for destruction. She once went through a period of instability in the pages of The Avengers, becoming a threat in the mold of Jean Grey. Eternals offers many such instances of Gemma Chan using her powers, such as when she irrigates barren soil with water or transforming an overturned bus into harmless rose petals to save Sprite. Unlike the comics, however, Gemma Chan’s MCU Sersi can only initially transmute non-living matter prior to realizing her true destiny as savior of Earth towards the end of Eternals.
Kingo has a limited number of appearances in Marvel Comics, so the exact extent of his power as an Eternal are not known in this medium. In the comics, what distinguishes him from the others is his skill with a sword, but the MCU’s Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) is completely reimagined from the top-down as a Bollywood star. Although Nanjiani’s Kingo does not share his comic book counterpart’s interest in swordsmanship, Kingo can instead harness his cosmic energy through projectile blasts. Nanjiani’s character is shown many times firing off powerful bolts from his finger straight into nearby Deviants, in most cases taking them down instantly. Though no Marvel Comics character has powers like the MCU’s Kingo, the way he channels cosmic energy is highly reminiscent of Yusuke’s spirit gun in Yu Yu Hakusho.
The only Earth-based Eternal stronger than Ikaris is Gilgamesh, played by the legendary Don Lee. To that end, Gilgamesh is considered the strongest of the group, which tracks with the comics considering that he ranks near the top of the Marvel comic universe when it comes to strength and is on the same level as Thor and Hercules. Gilgamesh’s raw strength, combined with his other Eternal abilities, would have made Gilgamesh a contender for the MCU’s most powerful character if not for his untimely demise. Beyond his impressive skills in the kitchen, Eternals finds Gilgamesh using cosmic energy to enhance his physical hand-to-hand strikes. Don Lee trained boxing fundamentals for his Eternals gig, which means the MCU’s Gilgamesh makes his strikes more powerful by literally connecting them to the Earth. Gilgamesh was the closest the MCU had to a version of One-Punch Man.
Phastos brings to the table a talent for creating technology and weapons, which he can produce with his mind and energy powers. The official Eternals synopsis in 2019 prematurely revealed that Brian Tyree Henry’s take on Phastos was an inventor just like the hero in the comic books. Phastos’ mercurial inventions are light-years ahead of their time introduced to Earth, which causes humanity to excel and grow at a rapid rate beyond any of the Eternals’ stewardship capabilities. Phastos’ creative powers are also shown to be more than competent in combat, with the inventor singularly able to subdue Ikaris longer than any other Eternal in the film’s climactic battle scene.
Angelina Jolie’s Thena is touted as a “fierce warrior,” which is an accurate description of the daughter of Zuras and one-time leader of the Eternals from the comics. Thena, who has spent centuries training her powers, is also an expert in creating and wielding various forms of weaponry, with her favorites being a powerful, golden spear and a crossbow that fires bolts of energy. Eternals heavily leans into the goddess of war’s combat skills, with Thena able to slice through Kro and go toe to toe with Ikaris despite being afflicted with Mahd Wy’ry.
Lia McHugh’s Sprite is one of three male characters from the comics to be gender-swapped for the Eternals film, with the other two being Makkari and Ajak. In the original comics, Sprite’s powers are average except in matter manipulation (though it’s not as good as Sersi), and she often uses this skill in a trickster fashion not dissimilar to Loki. In the MCU, Sprite’s powers are similarly sneaky, but revolve around illusions instead. She is shown creating fireworks for a captive human audience, creating clones during Eternals‘ Camden bus scene, and materializing silhouettes from thin air in the desert to trick Sersi as she tries in vain to steal away Ikaris’ eternal affections. By dealing in illusions instead of actually changing the nature of matter, Sprite makes highly efficient use of her control over cosmic energy.
Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari is stated to be “super-fast” in Eternals. In the comics, Makkari spends most of his time channeling cosmic energy to improve his speed, as Makkari’s highest ambition is to become the fastest person in the entire universe. In the past, he has even managed to outrun Quicksilver himself. For obvious reasons, this ambition will likely go unrealized within the MCU despite Makkari’s blistering pace. As well as speed-reading and gathering a collection of trinkets to make even Evan Peters’ Quicksilver jealous, Makkari uses her speed to great effect, hurting Ikaris far more than any other Eternal in their prolonged respective duels. While Makkari is running, golden energy can be seen enveloping her body, which mirrors the other MCU Eternals’ displays of golden runic power.
For the most part, Druig’s powers are comparable to his fellow Eternals, yet his advanced telepathy sets him apart as a singularly powerful entity. Druig, who tortured people for the KGB in Marvel’s comic books, has a great deal of experience reading people’s minds and manipulating their thoughts, and it is this same mind control that proves dangerous in the MCU’s Eternals. Druig’s mastery over this power even allows him to telepathically force people into doing his bidding, with his cult-like group lurking in Druig’s forest retreat shown to be hypnotized for hundreds of years. Druig is even capable of putting the young Celestial Tiamut to sleep, although his display of power is cut short by Ikaris’ surprise attack.
Ajak has all the powers of the average Eternal in the comics but can also do one thing that the others can’t: communicate with their creators, the Celestials. This makes Ajak essential to the group since the Celestials visit Earth periodically to pass judgment on the planet. This ability is why Salma Hayek’s Ajak is selected to be the leader of the MCU’s Eternals team. Ajak also channels her gifts and expertise into herbal and generational medicine, making her the master healer of the group and, by extension, Ikaris’ first target in Eternals.
Dane Whitman (a.k.a. Black Knight)
Although entirely human, Whitman’s main comic attribute is his genius-level intellect (especially in the field of physics and genetics). Upon taking ownership of the MCU’s Ebony Blade, however, Dane inherits the mantle of Black Knight, with which he is gifted magical senses, as well as enhanced strength, speed, and more, to go with his already considerable swordsmanship and potent Ebony Blade. In the comics, Black Knight went on to become a member of The Avengers in his own right. Kit Harrington’s Whitman looks set to utilize the Ebony Blade and its spiritual potency in his next MCU outing, with his magical blade capable of slicing any magical and physical barrier at the cost of infecting its wielder with an unquenchable and permanent bloodlust. Though Black Knight is undoubtedly Avengers material, his Marvel Comics background suggests that he is just as likely to become an Avengers-level threat himself.
It is Mahershala Ali’s Blade who speaks the final words in Eternals‘ post-credits scene, asking Dane, “are you sure you’re ready for that, Mr. Whitman?” While Blade is exercising caution regarding wielding the Ebony Blade, he boasts his own set of ferocious powers within the Marvel Comics canon. Blade possesses superhuman strength, speed, agility, and rapid regeneration, which essentially gives him all of a typical vampire’s traits minus the lethal aversion to sunlight, which is why Blade is also known as the Daywalker. While the MCU’s Blade is yet to appear onscreen, it seems highly likely he will follow similar potency and physiology traits associated with Wesley Snipes’ iconic take on the character.
Pip The Troll
Eternals reveals very little about Patton Oswalt’s Pip The Troll, who briefly appears in a post-credits scene. Marvel Comics’ Pip The Troll started out with no powers, but frequent exposure to the Infinity Stones – particularly the Space Stone – eventually resulted in Pip gaining superhuman strength. More importantly, the Space Stone’s radiation gave Pip the ability to teleport himself, others, and even massive objects through space, which is glimpsed in Pip’s Eternals debut. What’s even more impressive is Pip’s cosmic awareness, which gives him the ability to locate any person in the universe and either teleport them to his location or instantly arrive at theirs. Despite the questionable CGI work that brought Pip The Troll to life onscreen, Pip’s range of abilities and his connection to Starfox imply that Pip will be getting more appearances in future MCU projects.
Meanwhile, Harry Styles’ Starfox is arguably the biggest Eternals’ post-credits reveal, although he is also yet to display any on-screen powers to date. In Marvel Comics, however, Starfox is a force to be reckoned with, possessing the super-strength, speed, and longevity of a typical Eternal. Starfox also being Thanos’ brother imbues him with a more specific power set, the most famous of which is his ability to stimulate the pleasure centers in people’s brains, which grants him complete agency over any person without psychic abilities of their own. Starfox’s MCU entrance at the end of Eternals sets up many new potential storylines for the franchise, which, in turn, is bound to increase the power level within the MCU exponentially. This was set in stone when Harry Styles signed a 5-movie deal with Marvel to the tune of $100 million, though it’s unclear which movies the deal includes. Nonetheless, Starfox is bound to return in MCU Phase 6.
How The MCU Eternals’ Powers Are Different Than The Comics
While Marvel’s Eternals comic books revealed that they were created by the Celestials through experiments with early humans, in the MCU, they are synthetic constructs designed by the Eternals to protect sentient life. This may explain why the MCU Eternals have limited but varying powers but their comic book counterparts all possessed the same roster of abilities. Though this creative decision hasn’t exactly garnered praise from Marvel viewers, it goes some way toward maintaining the balance of power levels within the MCU, placing the Eternals alongside the ranks of Captain Marvel, Thor, and Doctor Strange. However, like these other MCU main characters, the surviving Eternals are only going to get more powerful with each new MCU appearance. By the time MCU Phase 6 comes around, the Eternals could become as powerful as they were in the source material, ready to make another dent in the timeline of gods in the MCU.