Marvel's Eternals almost borrowed one of Dune's most iconic staples. Speaking to CBR, Eternals screenwriters Kaz and Ryan Firpo revealed they included a sandworm attack in an early draft on the script, but later changed the scene to feature another form of Deviant at Marvel's behest.
"We had sandworms in the original Eternals!" Kaz Firpo told CBR. "In Babylon, it was a sandworm that attacked, and they changed it because they were like, 'Well, we think Dune may come out sometime around this.' They weren't supposed to go head-to-head, obviously; that just happened because of this pandemic we just had, that you may have heard of. Yeah, they weren't supposed to go head-to-head, so --"
"Funny little factoid: we had actually a friends and family screening over the weekend at the Chinese [Theater], and just by coincidence, Denis [Villeneuve] was actually in the audience," Ryan Firpo added. "He just slipped in to see it, I guess, with --"
"At the Chinese Theater in the back row with his partners and they were just watching Marvel's Eternals!" Kaz Firpo pitched in. "Chloe [Zhao] has got a lot of love for Denis and vice versa. They're very talented filmmakers. So, yeah, he was out there. He was supporting us on opening weekend. If Denis can do it, so can you!"
The scene in question takes place about midway through the film, during a flashback to Babylon in 525 BC. In it, the Eternals defend the city against a Deviant attack just outside the Ishtar Gate, an iconic structure that leads into the inner city. Although the Firpos originally intended this Deviant to appear as a sandworm, it ended up looking a bit more like a big cat -- say, a panther or a leopard -- instead. As such, Gilgamesh was able to put it down with a few well-placed punches and some help from his friends Ikaris, Thena, Kingo and Makkari.
As revealed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film, the Deviants were originally created by Arishem to serve the same purpose as the Eternals: to allow life to thrive on a planet, which would generate the necessary energy that allows the next Celestial to be born. However, unlike the Eternals, the Deviants have the ability to evolve -- and evolve they did, becoming so proficient at killing that they began to undo Arishem's great purpose. In their evolution, the Deviants took on the forms of the host planet's lifeforms, which would explain the Firpos' vision for a worm-like Deviant.
Marvel's Eternals is now in theaters.
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