Eternals: Brian Tyree Henry on Individuality And Representation In Upcoming Blockbuster Epic

Eternals star Brian Tyree Henry explains his connection to superheroes and the unique process of becoming one in the new movie.
Eternals Phastos Brian Tyree Henry

During the Eternals Virtual Press Conference; Brian Tyree Henry, was asked about his character; Phastos, the inventor, the one who can create anything. He was asked how he saw his character when dealing with the knowledge that lies in the beauty of creation and the burden of knowing the ugliness that lies in its inevitable destruction. 

Eternals Brian Tyree Henry

Brian Tyree Henry on His Connection To Eternals

“The thing that really attracted me to this part was that I thought about all the images of Black men, and how we are portrayed. The thing about Phastos is that one: he’s an ancestor. So he predates everything. And had to probably go through everything which can make someone lose faith in humanity quickly.

I myself had lost faith when I came to this project, by simply looking at all the things we have been through and are still experiencing. Then just looking at the images of how Black men were and how we are being treated. I could see the power was taken from us, the lack of power. And relating it to Phastos and what I loved about him is having to go through all of that and being Eternal, he still chose love. He still decided to have a family, even though he might have to watch them perish. He still tried to find a way to bring heart and love to everything he did, even though his genius was used against him.” 

Brian Tyree Henry
Eternals Brian Tyree Henry

Brian Tyree Henry delved into how that translates to where we find him in the film and how his life informed the evolution of his character beyond the page.

“It really resonated with me and how I felt my place in society was. Like how we can be kings and queens and at the same time they will take our pedestal and take our super powers from us. I love how in Eternals Chloe and Nate instilled that power back in us.

For example, they approached me and said they want to make me a superhero, and I agreed and asked how much weight I had to lose and they said, ‘none we want you the way you are’. And again, to be a Black man, to have someone look at you and say we want you the way you are is unlike anything I have ever felt or experienced.”

Brian Tyree Henry


Eternals Phastos Brian Tyree Henry
(L-R): Sprite (Lia McHugh), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Karun (Harish Patel), Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris (Richard Madden) in Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

Brian Tyree Henry explained how representation mattered as a child and still rings true even now.

“So it just triggered me to being that eleven year old kid, watching the super hero movies and not seeing anyone like me being reflected. So I would just put the pictures and posters in my locker and hope that one day there would be somebody representing me and how I am. I got that feeling when I sat down with Chloe, and to work with this beautiful palette of people and make a family, because this is what families look like. If not than this is how they should be. I hope that this is what people take away from this movie. That the heart of humanity is still worth saving and we can still bind and mend and do whatever we need to, to produce love because it is what we need.”

Eternals Brian Tyree Henry

Marvel’s Eternals will be in theaters nationwide, November 5th. Give us your thoughts on all things Brian Tyree Henry and Eternals in the comment section below or over on our social media!



Picture of Daniel Jerome

Daniel Jerome

Freelance Journalist Content Producer, Onscreen Talent, Moderator, Host, and Resident Blovian (Black-Whovian) for the Illuminerdi. Carefully written fact-checked essay in the streets, and irresponsibly unmoderated comments section in the sheets. Tweet it, repeat it, you can delete it; don't give a flub, 'cause we will all see it.