Eternals director Chloé Zhao has further teased the epic scope of her upcoming Marvel movie, confirming that the rumored 156-minute (2 hours and 36 minutes) runtime is indeed correct, making Eternals one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's longest installments. "It could be longer!" the filmmaker added. "You know, it's ten characters, the Celestials and 7,000 years. There's a lot going on." In fact, as it stands, Eternals is the second longest MCU movie to date, standing just behind Avengers: Endgame, which clocked in at a staggering 181 minutes. Behind Eternals is Infinity War, which clocks a hefty runtime of 149 minutes, and is 7 minutes shorter than the MCU's next epic.

Such a copious runtime makes sense when considering the amount of ground that the Eternals has got to cover. Not only will the movie delve far deeper into the largely mysterious cosmic side of the MCU than ever before, it will also introduce audiences to the franchise's newest team of superheroes. "We like to call them Earth's original superheroes," Zhao explained. "So, they were instructed to stand on the sideline once the Deviants were gone to allow humans to develop and progress in the way that we were meant to...and that ultimately led us to someone like Tony [Stark]. So, they've always existed in the shadows...you just never know where they might show up again."

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A recent Disney press release has also revealed that Eternals will tell two stories across two very separate time periods, with each story no doubt shedding some much-needed light on the inner workings of the titular team, and why they have suddenly decided to make themselves known to the wider world. "The story takes place across two time periods. One storyline is set in the past when they operated as a formidable team and a close family unit. The second storyline is in the present, when the group has fractured and split apart, content to live among humans, hiding in plain sight," the press release states. "The prevailing threat of the Deviants, which once again threatens the existence of mankind, means the Eternals need to put their differences aside and regroup." With all this in mind, one wonders whether 156 minutes will even be enough...

Eternals picks up following the events of 2019's comic book blockbuster event Avengers: Endgame. Enter the Eternals, a species of immortal aliens from a distant planet who arrived on earth thousands of years ago and have been protecting humans since the dawn of time. Created by the Celestials, a race of powerful extra-terrestrial cosmic beings who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7000 years, the Eternals must reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.

Written and directed by Oscar winning filmmaker Chloé Zhao, with Patrick Burleigh also contributing to the screenplay, Eternals stars an epic ensemble cast including Hollwood icon Angelina Jolie as the fierce Eternal warrior, Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, the tactical leader of the Eternals, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, an Eternal who can shoot cosmic energy projectiles from his hands, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, an Eternal with the gift of super-speed, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, who poses super-intelligence, Salma Hayek as Ajak, the leader of the Eternals, and Don Lee as Gilgamesh, the strongest Eternal.

Eternals is scheduled to be released in the United States on November 5, 2021, as part of Phase Four of the MCU. This comes to us courtesy of Fandango.