Earlier this year we reported on Sasha Calle will be the first Latina to play Supergirl in DC Universe and Blue Beetle will be the first Latino superhero in a DC film. Marvel also added more Latinx representation in their universe with the addition of Salma Hayek and Lauren Ridloff (The Walking Dead) as part of the Eternals. We’ve loved watching Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in the Avengers films and Zoe Saldaña as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy and now we’re even more excited to see more Latinas join their ranks in the Marvel Universe. The newly released teaser trailer for Eternals provides a peek into what we can expect come November and we are so excited.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Eternals follows the titular group of immortal alien heroes intent on defending Earth from the Deviants, their humanoid counterparts. Little more has been revealed about the plot but already the cast has been praised for its diversity in race, age, gender, body ability, and sexuality, with special emphasis on retconning certain aspects of the film to breathe new life into its characters. The film is directed by Chloé Zhao, who made history this year when she won the Oscar for best director for Nomadland becoming the first female of color and first Asian woman to do so.
In addition to Brian Tyree Henry playing Phastos, the first openly gay superhero in the MCU, both Hayek, who is of Mexican and Lebanese descent, and Ridloff, of African-American and Mexican-American heritage, will be playing groundbreaking reinterpretations of characters who were male and, in the latter’s case, also white and hearing in the original comics.
As Ajak, the spiritual leader of the Eternals, Hayek takes center stage on the film’s teaser poster and trailer alongside the other women of color, including the film’s protagonist Gemma Chan. And if we are to believe the comics where the character becomes a supervillain, she could become a major player in the franchise moving forward.
Taking on such a role was both empowering and daunting for a Latina in her late 50s. “It’s kind of hard to be an action hero if you’re Mexican. It’s really hard to be an action hero if you’re a Mexican and a woman. But to be an action hero, being Mexican, a woman, and my age, it felt like they were punking me,” Hayek, 54, told Variety.
As a deaf actor, Ridloff’s casting as Makkari, an Eternal with the power of super speed and ability to create sonic booms, is even more revolutionary, as she will be the first deaf superhero in history to be portrayed in an MCU film.
“This is what honor means, I am so happy to be here,” Ridloff shared with fans at the Marvel Comic-Con Panel in 2019.
It’s certainly a huge step from the erasure of Clint Barton/Hawkeye’s deafness and use of hearing aids, which were prevalent in the comics but nowhere to be found in his film portrayal—though this too may change in Marvel’s forthcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye.
But as Hayek has said, Eternals isn’t diverse just for the sake of diversity but about reflecting the real depths and varieties of the human experience, which is not only possible but logical even—and especially—when featuring characters from outer space who are both alien and immortal.
Overall, “I think a lot of people are going to feel seen,” Hayek told Variety. And if one thing’s for sure, Latinx Marvel fans certainly will. Eternals will be released on November 5, 2021.