Director Chloé Zhao recently made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut with Eternals. In an interview with Empire Magazine, Zhao discussed her original ideas for how the movie was going to end and why it was changed.
For those unaware, Eternals comes to a close with many of the heroes of the film being pulled off of Earth by a Celestial, with Kit Harington’s Dane Whitman left confused about what has just happened. According to Zhao, that wasn’t the film’s initial ending, and the original ending the team had was “really bleak” in contrast.
“I have never made a film where the ending is what I wrote,” Zhao said. “You find it in the edit. Editing is a third of the filmmaking process, and when you show it to people, that’s when you find the ending. I don’t think I’ve made a single film where the opening and ending stay the same as the script, just because the scenes are fluid as we shoot. And we actually had another ending that is really bleak. Bleak. I didn’t hate it, because I’m used to films that are more melancholy. But I don’t think it went down well with audiences.”
When asked exactly how bleak the original Eternals ending was, Zhao explained that it initially ended with the Eternals having their minds erased and heading off to another planet.
“It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like The Twilight Zone,” Zhao revealed. “I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ And also, it’s the MCU, and you want to be excited for what’s next.”
Eternals was released on November 5, 2021, and received mixed reviews from both fans and critics. While it remains to be seen whether or not the Eternals will show up in any future Marvel Cinematic Universe properties, the ending that Zhao decided to go with has certainly left the door wide open for them to return, memories intact.