For as much joy marginalized people have found in heroes like Black Panther, or the recently revealed Captain Marvel, Marvel Studios is still catching up when it comes to representation behind the camera. With a recently announced hire, Marvel is taking another big step toward realizing that balance.
IndieWire reports that The Rider director Chloé Zhao has been named director of Marvel’s The Eternals. Zhao, an Asian-American woman, joins Anna Boden (who’s co-directing Captain Marvel alongside Ryan Fleck) and Cate Shortland, who will direct the upcoming Black Widow film.
The Eternals follows Marvel’s recent swing into more extraterrestrial films like Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy. The Eternals are described as a separate race of humanity created by the mysterious alien Celestials, who hoped the Eternals would defend Earth from their offshoots, the Deviants.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said The Eternals will focus on the character Sersi, an Eternal who decided to live among normal humans and spent thousands of years meeting some of history’s greatest figures, like the poet Homer and Captain America. Of course, in the years since her 1963 debut by Jack Kirby, Sersi has undergone plenty of character changes, so it’s anyone’s guess what the plot will entail.
Zhao is an interesting pick for Marvel considering her last film, 2017’s The Rider, is an independent American drama about a bronco rider battling a seizure condition and struggling to keep his family and friends afloat.
The film premiered at Sundance and was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, including best feature and best director, and grossed just over $3 million at the box office.
Wow Chloe Zhao just went from her second feature The Rider to directing Marvel's The Eternals 👏 make your indie 👏 do the thing https://t.co/QqVQsOF0Sj— jen yamato (@jenyamato) September 21, 2018
The Eternals does not yet have a release date, but it will likely be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four. It will be Zhao’s third feature film.
All 20 previous Marvel films have been directed by men.