In the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Eternals, we see world history shaped by the titular team of cosmic heroes. The team making it had some strong influences in how they captured the spiritual and ecological elements of the plot.
Talking to Polygon, Ken and Ryan Firpo, two of the co-writers on Eternals, discussed the influence of certain Japanese anime movies and RPG games on the project. As they put it, games like Final Fantasy VII, and animated movies like Spirited Away, sit in a “grey area” that helps to explore ideas of morality, and humanity. They believe Eternals is cut from the same cloth.
“It’s really a movie that’s about Humanity with a capital H, and the question of: Are we worthy of this gift that we’ve been given of both this planet and life?,” Kaz Firpo says. “Then for these eternal, immortal space gods to grapple with that too, that was something that no movie, I don’t think, has ever had the chance to kind of do.”
The characters of Sersi and Ikaris were chosen for this reasons, because to the writers, they represent a duality central to the film. “For us, Ikaris is duty and Sersi is love, but to make a more complicated, they’re in love with each other,” Ryan Firpo explains. “We wanted [Sersi] because of her powers, but more specifically, because she even the way she has been written in other runs of Eternals is kind of like the most kind of human Eternal. She’s the one who is the most kind of messy, the most empathetic. We always describe her as basically ‘an immortal with a mortal soul’.”
Eternals takes these ideas to levels that impact the entire world and all of civilisation. Hiroshima is woven into the Eternals’s ethos of not interfering, which is challenged in the ending, forcing the team to act against certain doom for the planet. That kind of humanity-preserving goodness comes from Final Fantasy, and adapting the seventh installment is a dream project for the writers.
“Final Fantasy VII was a story I played when I was very young that changed my life,” Kaz Firpo says. “It really opened the horizons of what you could do in a story. I think, for me, my dream’s always been to take Final Fantasy VII and do it as the most epic story of all time.”
Only time will tell on that front, but Eternals is in theatres now.