Eternals is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next film, directed by Chloe Zhao and arriving in theaters on November 5th, 2021. Though the film has yet to premiere, it features a sex-scene that is already infamous within the fandom. Join The Illuminerdi as we explore just why Marvel fans are so intrigued by Eternals under the covers.
When news of this spoilery plot-point hit the internet, many headlines deemed it “The MCU’s First Sex Scene”. The very first Marvel Studios film, 2008’s Iron Man featured a PG-13 sex scene. While there was no softcore PG-13 intercourse presented onscreen, Tony Stark and Christine Everheart passionately make out in his bed, the scene cuts, and she wakes up to a 7 AM greeting from Jarvis. Not sure what one would call that, if not a sex scene.
ETERNALS: SPOILER WARNING REGARDING THE ETERNALS WHO “MAKE LOVE”
Having not yet seen the film, there are two big differences I am aware of that separate Iron Man and Eternals birds and the bees scenes. Further spoilers for Eternals lie ahead, so consider yourself warned…
In Iron Man, Christine Everheart is a reporter who Tony has sex with on a whim, because that’s what he wants in the moment. He’s not worried about emotions, or how it could make Pepper feel, or how it works out in the end. This is an act of lust, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, this fling ultimately does Tony no favors.
In Eternals, apparently Ikaris (Richard Madden) and Sersi (Gemma Chan) get married. Having not seen the film yet, I should point out that Slashfilm stated that they “technically get married”, which implies something strange about their marital bonds. One must also consider rumors that Sersi and Dane Whitman (Kit Harrington) have some sort of romantic involvement, and the source material’s stories featuring their shared love.
Regardless, the point seems to be that Ikaris and Sersi are married and in love when they F*^$, therefore making it acceptable in a family-friendly Disney offering. The MCU has largely turned it’s back on the Marvel’s darker, TV-MA shows, like Helstrom, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, shows which featured more than a couple graphic sex scenes. Even Frank Castle, The Punisher, gets some steamy scenes throughout his self-titled Netflix series. In spite of frustrating political maneuvering Disney does with sexuality and their brand image, it sounds like Chloe Zhao’s creation of the Eternals sex scene came from her heart, and Disney was simply on board.
ETERNALS: CHLOE ZHAO EXPLAINS WHY SHOWING THIS INTIMATE MOMENT WAS SO IMPORTANT
Well, as you know in the filmmaking process from the day you write something on the page to showing it to an audience, people come in with ideas and accidents, good and bad. I think for this specific idea it was in the treatment, it was in the script, we planned on shooting it and then once we shot it, we edited it, we showed it to Disney, we showed it to Marvel and everyone said, “Oh, this is beautiful,” and that’s the end of the conversation. So it’s actually a very smooth process.
Also, if you have seen the film you know the love between these two in a way defines the fate of humanity, of our planet. So I like to show them not just loving each other intellectually, emotionally, but also physically. And to show a sexual encounter in a compassionate, loving way, I think it’s a very positive thing to do.Chloe Zhao, speaking with Slashfilm
There has been a lot of talk about the level of creative freedom afford to directors and other creative talent throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the case of Chloe Zhao and Eternals, it sounds like the Disney overlords stayed out of the kitchen and just let the creative team cook. Whether or not this was for the best remains to be seen, but the deeply mixed reviews of the film aren’t a great indicator of quality. Even if Eternals doesn’t turn out to be a top tier MCU film, it’s nice to know that Chloe Zhao was able to tell her story her way, without the studio interference that has plagued so many superhero projects.
Hopefully this infamous intimate moment between Ikaris and Sersi is the beautiful, compassionate, positive moment Chloe Zhao makes it out to be. It can be a bit difficult for PG-13 films to capture the intimacy and closeness of a sexual encounter, and I have to wonder how much will actually be shown. It certainly won’t feature the intensity and length of sex scenes in The Defenders universe, but it may go further than Stark and Everheart did back in 2008.
With Eternals just around the corner, arriving in theaters on November 5th, 2021, all of our questions about Ikaris and Sersi’s romance will be answered soon. What do you think about Chloe Zhao’s comments on Eternals‘ sex scene? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.