Marvel's official stance is that they're waiting for the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home on Tuesday before they start talking about what exactly "phase four" of the MCU will be, but just about everyone knows that The Eternals, based on a somewhat obscure comic book title and to be directed by Chloé Zhao, will be a major part of what comes next. Taking some loose inspiration from Greek and Roman mythology, the titular Eternals are an ancient human-like race who were protectors of the Earth who fought against "The Deviants," and, then, their own bad seed member Thanos.
Of course, this characters don't have nearly as much pop culture caché as the likes of Captain America and Hulk (which hasn't necessarily proven to be a problem for Marvel, see: Guardians of the Galaxy), so a lot of the buzz leading up to the movie isn't so much what characters will appear, but rather what actors will sign up for the MCU next.
Angelina Jolie is still said to be circling a major role, while rumors broke just yesterday that Salma Hayek is also in talks. Marvel bosses say they've reached out to Keanu Reeves too, but with the caveat that they've supposedly reached out to Reeves for almost every other Marvel movie as well. More obscure internet rumors have also linked Millie Bobby Brown to the project. Everyone jokes that half of Hollywood has either been swallowed up by the MCU (that is if they're not entangled in the DC movies already), but clearly the rumor mill alone proves there's still plenty of A-Listers left who haven't suited up in Marvel latex.
Though, the casting situation remains somewhat unclear. On one hand, you have news coming out of the traditional Hollywood trade press (your Varities, your Hollywood Reporters, your Deadlines), which tend to be a bit more careful and journalistic about what they report. On the other, you also have rumors coming out of comic book and movie fansites, some of which tend to play a bit faster and looser with rumors. Here, we break the rumored cast list down for you.
Actors Who Have Reportedly Been In Talks or Are Already on Board:
Angelina Jolie: News broke that Jolie was first in discussion for the movie back in March, but so far there's been no official confirmation other than that she's still "circling" the role. This seems to be Jolie's M.O. to some extent. She was long attatched to play the Bride of Frankenstein in Universal's now spectacularly failed Monsters franchise (the one with Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, et.al.), but at no point ever signed on. She takes her time, obviously to her benefit and career protection. Fan sites, however, have linked Jolie to the role of Sersi, apparently the main character who has a whole hot of superpowers.
Richard Madden: Having fully reestablished himself post-Game of Thrones with The Bodyguard and Rocketman, Madden is now ready to rejoin a major franchise, albeit this time on the big screen and (hopefully?) lasting all the way to the end. Madden's deal appears to be done, and he's been linked to the role of Ikaris, the film's male lead.
Kumail Nanjiani: The trades indicate that Nanjiani, the comedian best known for The Big Sick, is a done deal, but no one seems to have any strong indication of who he'll play.
Salma Hayek: According to The Wrap, Hayek is now in early talks for a role in the film, but details about the character "are being kept under wraps."
Ma Dong-seok: Also according to The Wrap, the popular Korean-American actor will make his American screen debut in the film. In Korea, he became widely known for starring in the 2016 zombie flick Train to Busan.
Conrad Zicamora: The Eternals will reportedly feature the MCU's first major openly gay superhero, and it's been rumored that the studio auditioned of openly LGBT Asian actors to play the part. Zicamora, best known for ABC's How To Get Away With Murder, was as of the last rumor cycle, the front runner.
Millie Bobby Brown and Donnie Yee: The Stranger Things star and the Hong Kong martial artists and movie superstar don't have much in common other than that they've both been rumored to show up somewhere in Phase Four of the MCU, possibly in The Eternals. Though, as best we can tell, those rumors apparently started on 4Chan of all places. However, MCU chief Kevin Feige gave something of a non-answer when asked at a recent even for Spider-man: Far From Home:
"Both good actors that would be fun to see in the MCU," he said. " But nothing specific, or nothing to talk about. "We're still, as I've said for the better part of a year or two, we're waiting for Endgame and Far from Home to come out before we talk about what's next, officially. We're almost there."
Brown also shut down the rumor herself during a red carpet interview at the premier of Godzilla: King of the Monster.
Keanu Reeves: Reeves name has also been thrown about, possibly for the villain role. Feige, however, also managed to sidestep the specifics when asked about the rumor.
"We talk to him for almost every film we make," he told Comicbook.com. "I don't know when, if, or ever he’ll join the MCU, but we very much want to figure out the right way to do it."