Marvel Studios has arrived at the worldwide opening weekend for its 26th theatrical film, Eternals, after about a year of delays from its original release date. Fans are flocking in droves to see how the MCU’s overarching narrative will expand through its classic race of immortals after a difficult couple of weeks filled with widely differing opinions on the film from critics.
Of course, Eternals asserts to be a deserving MCU installment for various reasons, most notably director Chloé Zhao’s vision and multiple symbolic systems among the film’s main characters. However, the leading characters, played by nearly a dozen of Hollywood’s biggest names from the last few decades, maybe the film’s most significant selling point. Many have wondered if the film’s large cast is a bad sign for their characters’ chances of survival.
There has been no word on the length of the contracts signed by the movie’s stars before filming in 2019 in the months before the release of Eternals. One star disclosed her position with Marvel Studios in the most recent round of interviews, which will be interesting to follow in the future.
Salma Hayek revealed that she would reprise her role as Ajak in multiple MCU projects during an interview on Smallzy’s Celebrity Small Talk show. Even though Hayek affirmed she agreed to a multi-film deal when asked about it, she is uncertain if Marvel will hold her to it:
“I did sign multiple-movie deals. That doesn’t mean they’re going to hold me in it!”
Hayek then went on to talk about Marvel Studios’ penchant for extreme uncertainty surrounding its projects, which goes beyond anything she could have imagined. While this surprised her at first, she loved being a part of the “secret society” that is so closely guarded:
“Nothing I could’ve anticipated. It was kind of funny, it’s so extreme! At the beginning, I was like, ‘What?!’ But then it was kind of fun. It was kind of fun being a part of this secret society that you have to protect so fearlessly, you know?”
On the one hand, it’s exciting to learn that Marvel had planned for Salma Hayek to play Ajak beyond her debut in Eternals in 2021. Her status, however, could be described as complicated by fans who have seen everything that happens in the movie.
The newcomer’s screen time was mostly limited to flashbacks after Ajak was brutally murdered by “Deviants,” while Richard Madden’s Ikaris emerged as the film’s central villain. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, her death was the catalyst for her fellow Eternals to band together, as Ikaris did everything he could to keep the team’s mission on track, allowing for the birth of a new Celestial.
Given these facts, flashbacks appear to be the only way Hayek could return for more Marvel films. However, one must consider the ever-popular fact about comic book movies that Alfred Molina discovered while filming Spider-Man: No Way Home: no one truly dies.
Even though Ajak, along with Ikaris and Don Lee’s Gilgamesh, was one of three Eternals who appeared to be killed off in this film, Marvel could change its mind and decide to bring the team’s spiritual leader back in future films. Fans will have to wait and see how this matter is resolved, as sequels to this film are still up in the air.