The ending Marvel fans experienced in “Eternals” is not the one director Chloe Zhao originally had in mind.
Zhao had a behemoth project on her hands with “Eternals”. It was a new entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, running more than two-and-a-half hours and starring heavy hitters like Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani and others.
“We actually had another ending that is really bleak. Bleak,” Zhao tells Empire magazine. “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.
“It used to end with everybody back on the ship, minds erased and just going on to another planet, like ‘The Twilight Zone’,” Zhao continues. “I remember when it goes to black, everyone was like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ And also, it’s the [Marvel Cinematic Universe], and you want to be excited for what’s next.”
Zhao, who also directed “Nomadland” and “The Rider”, is used to changing up a film’s ending.
“I have never made a film where the ending is what I wrote. You find it in the edit,” Zhao says. “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.”
“Eternals” premiered in movie theatres on Nov. 5. It makes its way to Disney+ on Jan. 12.