Eternals features a massive A-list cast with ten lead superhero characters. However, those of you familiar with the comic books will know that a few of them have been gender-swapped during their journey from page to screen: Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Ajak (Salma Hayek), and Sprite (Lia McHugh).
Screen Rant visited the set of the Marvel Studios movie prior to the pandemic, and producer Nate Moore told the site why Ajak and Sprite, specifically, ended up being portrayed as female.
"It was a bit of what narratively made sense and what would create dynamics that were interesting. Ajak in the comics was the conduit to the Celestials. He's a bit of a surly character in publishing, but we felt like the conduit should be the leader and frankly there aren't a lot of female leaders," he explained. "Ajak from a design standpoint did feel like was very much steeped in Aztec designs. We wanted somebody who was from that region to sort of pay homage to that, so in talking about it, it just made sense to gender swap her. Salma Hayek was amazing."
As for Sprite, it sounds like the hope was that a female version in Eternals might be a little more original than what we've seen in other stories prior to this one. "Sprite, the boy who never grew up, is something you've seen a lot. The girl who never grew up seems to be a little bit of a fresher idea, so it's just those creative conversations to create a balance that we thought was interesting."
Given what a limited history these characters have in the source material, it's hard to imagine anyone being too upset by this change. Kieron Gillen's critically acclaimed Eternals run has seen Sprite similarly transformed into a female character, so it's not as if this is some sort of unforgivable departure!
The Eternals premiere takes place in Hollywood tonight, so be sure to check back here later on for the first social media reactions from critics (the review embargo reportedly lifts on October 24).
Eternals is set to be released exclusively in theaters on November 5.