Lauren Ridloff recently shared her reaction to playing Makkari, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first deaf superhero, in Eternals. The upcoming film will be a departure for Marvel by leaning into the mystical side of the MCU. It will focus on the title Eternals, a group of immortal beings originally created by the Celestials. They'll work together to protect others from the Deviants, their evil counterparts. In addition to its characters, Eternals will stand apart from the rest of the MCU by spanning 7,000 years, a much longer period of time than most modern superhero movies.
At one point, Eternals was supposed to come out this month. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced Marvel to change virtually its entire slate for the next two years. As of now, Eternals is set to release November 5, 2021. Ridloff has revealed reshoots on the film have already taken place, which is good news for fans. The Eternals movie features a star-studded cast made up of Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, and several others. Ridloff's Makkari is notable for a few reasons. One, the character is male in the comics, with Ridloff playing an exciting gender bent version. Makkari also has super-speed and will be the MCU's first deaf superhero.
In an interview with Scott Davis on the HeyUGuys YouTube channel (via MovieWeb), Ridloff revealed her excitement over playing Makkari, particularly in regards to representation for deaf people:
I am more thrilled than overwhelmed about being given the opportunity to represent the deaf community. I'm very thrilled about that - just to bring in that storyline within the MCU. I think there's plenty of room for more stories like that.
Ridloff makes a great point about telling more inclusive stories in the MCU going forward. Considering the sheer number of Marvel projects currently in the works, there's no excuse not to include new, exciting characters with diverse backgrounds. Luckily, after many years of movies starring mostly straight, white men, Marvel is making important strides toward representation, including in the Eternals. It features a far more diverse cast than what's been seen in the past. It will also finally show the MCU's first gay superhero in Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos.
Marvel's push for inclusion is two-fold. For one, it's essential to see characters onscreen who accurately represent the world today. Additionally, increasing representation takes the pressure off actors like Ridloff, as they no longer have to be the only ones representing a certain community. It's great to hear Ridloff is more excited than nervous about the magnitude of her role, but it would be understandable for her to feel a little overwhelmed. Hopefully, Eternals, as well as movies like Black Panther and Captain Marvel, are only the start of Marvel's work toward representation for all individuals.