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Scrapped Marvel TV series about the Eternals was the 'best thing to happen' says John Ridley

The Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave writer reveals all about the ill-fated series

Scrapped Marvel TV series about the Eternals was the 'best thing to happen' says John Ridley
Danielle de Wolfe
04 January 2024

Sometimes, despite harbouring unfathomable powers, a superhero blockbuster never quite gets off the ground.

As was the case with Oscar-winning writer John Ridley's scrapped Marvel endeavour, the screenwriter has revealed.

It's news that had Eternals fans gripped.

Unveiling his grand plans for MCU success, Ridley explained that his premise was to develop a 'good version' of the eponymous comic book race, the Eternals.

Speaking in a recent interview with the Comic Book Club podcast, the writer revealed that the abandonment of the project was "the best thing to happen for everybody".

Why? Well, he claims he wasn't sure the end result "would have been entertaining".

Sounds like a valid reason if you ask us.

“My version or the good version was so f****ng weird,” Ridley recalled.
“There was my version, a good version, which is good to me, which that doesn’t mean anything. There was the version that [Marvel] ended up doing, which I don’t think that version was particularly good. I’ll be honest.”

Admitting that his creation was “really hard property [to develop]”, the writer added that “the best thing to happen for everybody was that it didn’t happen with me, because I don’t know that it would have been entertaining [for all].”

Scrapped Marvel TV series about the Eternals was the 'best thing to happen' says John Ridley

The concept was in development alongside other hit series that including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jessica Jones, Ridley explained Ridley, who won an Academy Award for his work on 12 Years A Slave.

Marvel Studios subsequently released Eternals in 2021 based on the group protecting planet Earth from Deviants.

However, the film received some less than savoury reviews about the "clunky" nature of the backstories (as this Rotten Tomatoes 47% goes to show).

A film that was eventually directed by Chloé Zhao, it featured an all-star cast that included the likes of Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington and Richard Madden to name but a few.

Explaining his grand plans for the concept that never was, Ridley said: “My version started with, the first thing you see is a young man, probably about 17, 18 years old. And he’s sitting there. He’s sitting there for a moment.

"And then he lifts his hands. He has a drill in it. And he turns the drill on. And he puts the drill to his ear. And he starts pushing it in. And then it goes from there. …

"That’s how it starts. And then I think you see another kid. He sleeps in the bathtub, covers himself with foil.

"It’s just a really weird story about these people who are, I mean, it’s just weird.”

Ridley added, “I do mean what’s entertaining to me is often not populist, which is great for a lot of the work I do, but this needed to be a little bit more popular, it really did.”