Movie scripts change a lot during pre-production, but Eternals co-writers Ryan and Kaz Firpo always knew where Ikaris’ arc was going.
Warning: This post contains MAJOR spoilers for Eternals.
Eternals‘ Ikaris’ shocking twist was part of the script from the very beginning, according to the film’s co-writers. The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that of Chloe Zhao Eternals, has officially arrived and fans are still processing all of its major developments. The film centers on the titular cosmic team, who were sent to Earth thousands of years ago to protect humanity from an evil alien race known as the Deviants. When a renewed threat in the present brings the Eternals together, the once-close family finds themselves facing obstacles they never could have imagined.
One such obstacle, revealed more than halfway through Eternals, is dissension in their own ranks. After the death of team leader Ajak (Salma Hayek), the empathetic Sersi (Gemma Chan) is chosen to take his place. Sersi wishes to challenge the creators of the Eternals, the Celestials, in order to save Earth from complete destruction following the Celestials’ plans. Although not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea, it is her former lover Ikaris (Richard Madden) who takes a stand in opposing Sersi and the rest of the Eternals so that the Celestials’ goals can come to fruition. A devastating flashback reveals that Ikaris killed Ajak out of unwavering loyalty to the Celestials, as she too wanted to disrupt their plans.
It was quite a twist for audiences to deal with, and according to co-writers Ryan and Kaz Firpo, it’s always been a part of Eternals‘ story. Talk to THR in a new interview, the Firpos answered the question of how much they debated the Ikaris/Ajak twist and when in the writing process it came. Despite being such a shocking development, it turns out the twist was still included in the story. They said:
Ryan Firpo: We had this idea very early on. That’s really the basis of the story, really. It is the twist that is the impetus of everything. It was an idea that came very early on and was in tandem with the romantic relationship between Sersi and Ikaris and the other elements of that triangle. And then all this until the very end. All of these things were part of the early stages of the pitch.
Kaz Firpo: The great opportunity to have these twists is something that we’ve been interested in as storytellers since the beginning. Plus, it’s a challenging, different, and exciting movie and the ability to do challenging, different, and exciting things is one of the most interesting things to tackle in a story of this size and scope. We really wanted to challenge those notions of right and wrong, duty, responsibility, love, and what makes a family.
For a large part of Eternals‘ run, Ikaris is presented as the perfect ideal of what an Eternal should be: strong, powerful, and utterly devoted to the Celestials. In many ways, he almost becomes the MCU’s version of Superman. That’s why his betrayal of not only Ajak, whom he loves dearly, but also the whole team is so shocking. For a twist like this to work, it has to be built, and since the Firpos had it in mind from the start, they were able to do it.
Ikaris might not have been the most interesting character in Eternals, but his murderous twist provided deeply intriguing layers to his seemingly noble persona. The end of Eternals might not have offered an easy answer as to whether he might return in future installments, but anything is possible within the MCU. It would be rather interesting to see where a character like Ikaris might go next after slipping down a darker path, and hopefully Marvel chooses to explore that.
More: What Happens To Ikaris At The Ending Of The Eternals?
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