We already know that Marvel Studio’s new superhero movie “Eternals” (which premieres on November 5th in theaters) is one of the longest movies in Marvel history. Most Disney fans or Marvel fans have also probably heard that the film has a diverse star studded cast that’s filled with Disney favorites like Maleficent‘s Angelina Jolie and Cinderella‘s Richard Madden! But who are the Eternals? English actress and Eternals star Gemma Chan is playing Sersi, an immortal who stands out in the group because she possesses a strong tie to humanity and is described by Fandango as a “humankind-loving” character. This bond with humanity and faith in humanity is what often separates Gemma Chan’s character from the other Eternals, since many of them are warriors rather than “thinkers“. Gemma told British Vogue that “Sersi is not your typical superhero: she’s not necessarily the best fighter, she doesn’t have the most obviously impressive powers. The main thing is she’s an empath,” Chan says. “She has a connection with humans, and with the world and the earth. That is her strength, so I leant into that.”
Gemma Chan’s Sersi character is also getting the eternal romance that will most likely be a highlight of this Phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: her character Sersi is in love with Ikaris, “another superpowered immortal” who is also “her long-time friend Richard Madden, better known as Robb Stark from Game of Thrones” and of course Prince Charming / Prince Kit from the Lily James version of Cinderella. “Between us…[Sersi] and Ikaris are kind of immortal soulmates,” Gemma told British Vogue. “That was a fun thing to play. Over a span of a thousand years, how do you play a normal relationship? The good thing is, Richard and I have known each other for over 10 years.”
We love when friends get to act together, and Richard is also very close with Lily James from their time together on “Cinderella“. As Richard put it, “What’s good about me and Lily is you know we’re really good friends. I still see her like on a weekly basis”. Gemma acknowledged that close bonds between British actors might possibly be easier to make or maintain than others in the industry, since she, Richard, and Lily are all not only English but also “firm friends” (she and Lily worked together on The Secret Diary of A Call Girl). “It’s quite a small world, the British acting community, and when you’ve been doing it for as long as I have, I think you meet pretty much everybody,” she explained. Gemma worked as an actress for years in the United Kingdom (and struggled through years of “bit parts, one line parts, anything” after she turned down a prestigious law firm job to try acting) before rising to fame, so we trust her judgment! Gemma also expressed happiness about getting to work on a big Marvel movie that actually had an East Asian female director. “I never expected to be back in the MCU,” the actress said (she had “played the Kree sniper Minn-Erva in 2019’s Captain Marvel”). “So that was a surprise. And then to be working with an East Asian female director – I would never have dreamt of that, even just a few years ago.” We already know from Oscar winning director Chloe Zhao’s interview with Fandango that she’s bringing a whole new level of artistry to Marvel!
Gemma is known for being soft-spoken, well-spoken, and generally radiating a gentle strength in both her real life and onscreen. We’ll be excited to see how her heroine’s role as a nuanced female superhero manages to be not only emanate kindness and softness, but also strength and resilience, in “Eternals” on November 5th! As Screenrant put it, “between its decades-spanning story, diverse cast, and the unique character at its center, “Eternals” has the potential to be something really special”!