Unlike most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s established superheroes, who—aside from Spider-Man—have never really bothered to hide their secret identities, the family of characters at the heart of Eternals have spent thousands of years living among humanity, all the while hiding the fact that they’re a race of superbeings created by the Celestials.
One of the most interesting consequences to consider when thinking about immortal characters is the fact that, over time, it can become increasingly difficult to maintain the illusion of being mortal because of what it takes to be a member of larger society.
Unlike the Inhumans who were content to chill out on the moon and mind their own business, the Eternals’ direct contact with humans means that each of them has had to figure out a number of different lives for themselves that would serve as practical, plausible covers.
Common sense would lead one to assume that the Eternals got into the habit of leading relatively small, low-key lives so as not to draw too much attention to themselves. But in a recent interview with Deadline, Kumail Nanjiani explained how his character, Kingo, is going to be Eternals’ exception to that rule in a way that echoes Marvel’s comics.
Rather than hiding away from the world, Nanjiani said, Kingo conceals his identity by hiding in plain sight and becoming one of the most recognisable people on the planet whose true identity no one has a clue about.
“By this point, we’ve been on Earth for a long time. And my character, for instance, is like ‘OK we’re supposed to keep a low profile, no one should know,’” Nanjiani said. “So I become a Bollywood movie star, that’s my secret identity. We’re supposed to keep quiet and I’ve become the biggest Bollywood movie star.”
In the comics, Kingo was imagined as an Eternal who assimilated into Japanese society some time before the 16th century, and in the present day, he’s known for starring in big-budget samurai films. Nanjiani also explained that Eternals’ version of the character will be spotlighted in a massive Bollywood-inspired dance sequence (presumably as part of one of Kingo’s in-universe movies) featuring 52 dancers including himself, which, on paper, sounds utterly divine.
From the sounds of things, director Chloé Zhao is going all out for Eternals and trying to bring some much-needed fresh, vibrant energy to the MCU as it rolls into its next phase. Whether Eternals’ foray into the Bollywood scene ends up paying off is a question you’ll have to ponder until the film drops on November 6.