The Eternals, indeed, have a star-studded ensemble that any one of them could be the lead character in the film. However, it is Marvel President Kevin Feige himself that confirmed that there is one of them who takes the lead, it belongs to two-time Marvel actress Gemma Chan who plays Sersi. Who is she in the film and why is she the lead character?
In an interview with Variety, Kevin Feige was asked about the ideas on the characters of Eternals and he explained that yes, there were gender-swapped characters in the film. The casting also mattered as much where director Chloé Zhao had a part in deciding who plays who. When asked about the lead, Feige said it is Gemma Chan who portrayed Minn-Erva not so long ago in Captain Marvel.
Feige stated, "So for Sersi, for instance — and if there was a lead in this ensemble, it is Sersi, it is Gemma Chan — we looked at and read all sorts of women for that part. And ended up really believing that Gemma was best for it. And thankfully, she's proven that to be the case in the final movie."
Who is Sersi?
A fourth-generation Eternal, Sersi is the daughter of Helios and Perse. She is often called "The Maker" and she's one beautiful and powerful Eternal, an enchantress, a sorceress, a conjurer. She has the common Eternal abilities of flight, strength, speed, and teleportation but what makes her stand out is her matter manipulation.
Sersi is fifth-level adept in manipulating atoms and molecules, she is the only known Eternal to ever reach such mastery that she could make herself resistant to toxins, heat, energy, radiation, electricity, and even cold. Also, a telepath could swing weaker minds to her will. She is indestructible, invulnerable, and near-immortal.
Originating in Olympia, Sersi met Homer who wrote The Odyssey where she is written under the name of the mythological woman Circe, the woman with the Pandora's Box. Throughout the thousand years, Sersi has lived on Earth, she has lived the most human life an Eternal could ever have. She became an actress, a singer, a magician, and even a dancer while being an adventurer at the same time.
She loves humans so much, she learned to pick up their characteristics and she wants to live with humans. At one point, she even became an Avenger. Through this, she found Dane Whitman, also known as the Black Knight.
Why is Sersi the Lead Character in Eternals?
In the teaser of the Eternals, Gemma Chan's Sersi had the spotlight when she said, "we're the ones who changed everything." It would be no surprise if Sersi would be the lead character of the film considering that Dane Whitman is present and would be portrayed by Game of Thrones alumnus Kit Harrington. Quite a damsel-in-distress kind of way, it's a perfect explanation for her taking the lead.
If we are to analyze why Sersi is the lead character, it could be something like that in the pages of the books. You see, in the comics, Sersi fell in love with Dane Whitman's version as the alternate reality version of Proctor, a villain. Proctor was known to have been rejected by Sersi and because of this, he murders all iterations of Sersi across the universe.
If the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going for this story arc, it would easily explain why Sersi is the lead. However, another clue points to a possible love triangle that she will be in the middle of with Dane Whitman and possibly another Eternal, Ikaris.
Gemma Chan's interview with Vanity Fair Italy had a slight slip of a possible love triangle when asked about Eternals and she said, "Sersi is the one who has the most affinity with humans, indeed she is even involved in two love stories, an absolute novelty for Marvel events and one of the reasons that attracted me to this project."
Gemma Chan will portray Sersi and she will be joined by a star-studded ensemble with Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Kit Harrington as Dane Whitman, and Barry Keoghan as Druig.
Eternals would debut in the MCU in a theatrical release on November 5, 2021.
Related: Eternals: Is Thanos an Eternal?