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Chloe Zhao has nabbed the gig to direct Marvel’s next potential franchise, the Jack Kirby-created title The Eternals.
Matthew and Ryan Firpo, whose spec script Ruin topped the 2017 Black List, penned the script for the superhero team adventure.
The project features the super-powered and near-immortal beings known as Eternals and a more monstrous off-shoot known as the Deviants that were created by cosmic beings known as Celestials.
Kirby created the title in 1976 during his cosmic hero stage and was influenced by such works as Chariots of the Gods, which explored ancient gods as aliens.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that one aspect to the story involves the love story between Ikaris, a man fueled by cosmic energy, and Sersi, who relishes moving amongst humans.
The project also allows Marvel to assemble a diverse cast of various shapes and sizes.
The director search for Eternals narrowed in the last few weeks of summer, with a shortlist consisting of Watchmen pilot helmer Nicole Kassell, Travis Knight (Bumblebee, Kubo and the Two Strings), as well as Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, the duo behind Colombian movie Birds of Passage.
Chinese-born Zhao was already well known to Marvel as she went down the road with the company on Black Widow, the standalone featuring Scarlett Johansson’s spy heroine. That gig ultimately went to Cate Shortland.
Eternals is a big opportunity for WME-repped Zhao, who will be going from the settings of Native American reservations and American Heartland from her indie festival darlings The Rider and Songs My Brothers Taught Me to the epic global, if not intergalactic, scale of this Marvel project.
Marvel had no comment.