Salma Hayek has already played one of Latin America’s otherworldly and beloved artists when she starred in Frida and now she’s playing a powerful immortal as Ajak in Marvel’s new film The Eternals.Based on the 1976 comic book series created by Jack Kirby, Ajak is actually a male character in the comics but for the film, Salma Hayek is the new leader of the Eternals. We’re thrilled to see a Latina be a part of the Marvel Universe when representation among the world of superheroes on film remains low.
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I’m so excited to join the Marvel family as Ajak, the mother of all Eternals. It used to be the father of all Eternals, but girls… this is OUR time!!!! Estoy muy emocionada de añadirme a la familia Marvel como Ajak la madre de todos los Eternos. Antes era el padre de todos los Eternos, pero chicas… ESTE es nuestro momento!!!! @marvel #theeternals @comic_con #sdcc2019
Ajak was born in Siberia more than a millennia ago and was worshipped by the Inca as the god Tecumotzin. The suit in the comic (no word yet on the film’s costume design) was inspired by indigenous mesoamerican culture. Ajak’s abilities include flying, teleporting, and almost full invincibility. It marks the first time Hayek will play a superhuman poderosa in the MCU.
The Eternals were created as experiments by the Celestials, who have been using the Infinity Stones featured in The Avengers. For anyone familiar with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 starring Dominican-Puerto Rican actress Zoë Saldana and Chris Pratt, the all-powerful Ego, played by Kurt Russell, was a Celestial. They developed the Eternals as genetically-engineered human-like heroes to help defend humanity but they also created their mortal enemy, the Deviants.
Ajak isn’t the first Marvel character to be gender-swapped within the past year. There’s the female version of Ghost in Ant-Man and the Wasp and Mar-Vell/Wendy Lawson in Captain Marvel. As well as Jeri Hogarth, a version of Jeryn Hogarth, one of the main characters in Jessica Jones.
The star-studded cast includes Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Don Lee, Walking Dead‘s Lauren Ridloff, and Game of Thrones‘ Richard Madden. The film will be directed by Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao. The Eternals is shooting in London and is set to premiere on November 6, 2020.
The 52-year-old Mexican actress recently appeared in Beatriz at Dinner, How to Be a Latin Lover and The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard with Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson.
“I take my inspiration from our leader, Chloe, who’s also a strong woman and it takes a strong woman to do a movie like this because it’s so big and amazing and I’m so excited to be a part of it. The way she approaches leadership as a woman, as a strong woman, is that she sees them as a family. So there’s a lot of maternal instincts in this Eternal, who is not supposed to have kids,” Hayek told the crowd at Comic-Con in San Diego this past weekend.
“So this is very exciting, and I feel very honored to be a part of a movie that is going to allow people who never felt represented in superheroes, or in this case Eternals, represented because I am proud to have a diverse family.”