In August 2019, word came down from the rumor mill that Gemma Chan was in talks to join the cast of Eternals, and everyone raised a collective eyebrow. Chan had just appeared in a Marvel movie mere months before in Captain Marvel, and her character died. We already knew that Eternals was going to span thousands of years, so maybe it was before her character died, but the report was saying that she was going to play a new character. That rumor turned out to be true, and we found out that Chan will be playing Sersi.
Eternals was supposed to come out this year, but thanks to COVID-19 and the United States failing to get its collective shit together, the movie had to be delayed a full year. It's probably going to work out in the end since they're going to be able to put "Oscar-nominated/winning director Chloé Zhao" into their marketing if the responses to Nomadland are anything to go by. Chan returning to the MCU isn't the first time this has happened, but she has one of the faster turnarounds. Chan said that she ran into Feige during the awards season later in the year, and that was where the conversation about bringing her back happened, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
But then I encountered Kevin Feige during the awards circuit for Crazy Rich Asians and out of the blue, he just came up and said, "We'd love to have you back." I'm going to paraphrase really badly, but I guess he'd seen the film and said, "We'd love to make better use of you. We'd just love for you to come back. We want you to do something else so let's find that project." But, to be honest, I had no idea that it would be so soon. So, yeah, it was just really nice of him to say that.
Chan went on to say that she did need to screen test despite the fact that she had already worked with the studio before. She also believes that she came into the search for Sersi pretty late in the game before the role eventually went to her. She also talked about the shooting process and how there was more natural lighting in Eternals compared to Captain Marvel, which had more blue and green screen.
Oh gosh. What can I say without alerting the Marvel spoiler police? You're right. It felt very different. It's a really epic story. Very ambitious. There are lots of new characters. I feel like it's going to be a superhero movie that is not like a superhero movie. That sounds like a very obvious thing to say, but they're trying to do something different with this film. So we're all crossing our fingers that it works and that people respond to it. We shot a lot on location, using a lot of natural light. Yeah, again, it felt very different. We did some stuff in studio, but a lot of stuff on location. There wasn't that much blue screen stuff, which I did quite a lot of on Captain Marvel.
There isn't much that Chan could tell us about her character, and now that the movie is eleven months away, but she did say that Sersi is "very empathetic and her powers come from an unexpected place."
Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao, stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Kit Harington. It will be released on November 5, 2021.