Warning! Spoiler to Eternal in front of.
Gemma Chan is one of the few actors who has played two different characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his roles in Captain Marvel and Eternal somehow related? Since the end of the Infinity Saga, MCU has continued to expand with new stories, timelines, and concepts. MCU’s Phase 4 not only explores the multiverse and its many dangers, but also introduces many new characters, including a new team that has been secretly living on Earth for centuries: The Eternals.
Directed by Chloe Zhao, Eternal takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, where half of the population’s return triggered “emergence” – the birth of a new celestial body, Tiamut, from the Earth’s core. Faced with this threat that will destroy all of humanity, and the moral dilemma that accompanies it, the eternal are forced to meet for the first time in centuries. The Eternals is an immortal alien race created by Celestials, and the group is formed by Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Ajak (Salma Hayek) and Then (Angelina Jolie). While each eternal plays a key role in the team and in the history of the film, Gemma Chans Sersi is without a doubt the main character in Eternal.
Chan, however, had a former MCU role on a much smaller scale: Minn-Erva from Captain Marvel. Although Marvel generally tries to avoid continuity errors in its vast cinematic universe, Chan’s dual cast as Minn-Erva and Eternal‘Sersi is a slightly strange exception. Here’s how Chan ended up playing two different characters in the MCU, and whether the two parts are actually connected.
Why is Gemma Chan in Marvel Twice?
Served in Eternal may have been Gemma Chan’s first starring role in a Marvel movie, but it’s not her first in this expanded universe. Chance’s MCU debut was in 2019 in Captain Marvel, where she played Minn-Erva, a Kree member of Starforce, an elite military task force formed by skilled warriors serving the Kree Empire and led by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). It was Minn-Erva and Yon-Rogg who gave Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) superpowers: during their mission to retrieve Light-Speed Engine created by Mar-Vell (Annette Bening), they intercepted his and Danvers’ flight and caused their plane to crash, whereupon Danvers later blew up the engine and blew energy into it. Minn-Erva was an antagonist throughout Captain Marvelfought against Danvers and tried to kill her, and was eventually killed when Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) shot her ship down.
Gemma Chan got a second chance at MCU as a completely different character who has nothing to do with her previous role as a Kree warrior. Sersi is an empathetic member of the eternal who has always shown a desire to live among people. Like the rest of the Eternals, Sersi possesses superhuman strength and abilities such as telepathy, teleportation, drug manipulation, shooting cosmic rays from her eyes and hands, and levitation flight. In addition, she also possesses the transmutation power. Eternal‘Sersi and Captain Marvel‘s Minn-Erva are characters from different backgrounds and have opposite roles in MCU – one was an antagonist while the other has a heroic role – and they are not related in any way except through Gemma Chan herself.
How do the eternal fit into the MCU?
Part of the reason Gemma Chan’s MCU double casting has not been a big deal is that the characters and stories in Captain Marvel and Eternal still need to interact (though they may in the future). The Eternals’ place in MCU is set aside for now, as their first film did not directly contain any existing MCU characters or story lines. However, Eternal played a very important role in introducing / reviving MCU’s Celestials. The giant, almighty gods in space briefly appeared in Phases 1-3, especially in guardians of the galaxy franchisee, however Eternal fundamentally changed their appearance, role and presence in ways that will definitely affect the MCU in the future. With Celestials now playing a bigger role in the MCU, it’s even possible that Galactus will be coming to the screen soon.
Actors who have played multiple characters in MCU
In addition to Gemma Chan, a few other actors have played several MCU roles over the years. In most cases, these double castings are conscious and help emphasize historical connections, as opposed to Chan’s reworking as Sersi, which feels more like a reworking. Here are all the actors who played more than one role in the MCU movie:
- Chris Hemsworth: Thor and one of Hajo’s heads in Thor: Ragnarok
- Taika Waititi: Basket and another of Hajo’s heads
- Benedict Cumberbatch: Doctor Strange and Dormammu
- Laura Haddock: fan of Captain America i Captain America and Meredith Quill in guardians of the galaxy movie
- Martin Starr: student at The amazing Hulk and Mr. Harrington i Spider-Man: Homecoming franchise
- Kenneth Choi as Jim Morita of Howling Commandos in Captain America and Rector Morita i Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Sean Gunn: Kraglin and Rocket in guardians of the galaxy franchise
- Paul Bettany: JARVIS and his vision
- Imogen and Isabella Poynton: Daughter of Rhomann Rey in guardians of the galaxy and Lila Barton
In the end, it is rare for an actor to play different roles in the MCU. In some cases – such as with Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Dormammu – there is a significant connection between their characters, but this is not the case with Gemma Chan. Fortunately, Eternal‘Sersi should have a brighter MCU future than Minn-Erva, and is a more complete character than Captain Marvel antagonist who, like many others, was only to appear in one film.
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release Date: May 6, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release Date: July 8, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: November 11, 2022
- Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release Date: July 28, 2023
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release Date: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release Date: May 5, 2023
Doctor Strange mocks Hawkeye and Ant-Man in Multiverse of Madness clips