A Brief Overview About the Celestials, Eternals, and Deviants
Some people believe that advanced, interstellar beings visited Earth thousands of years ago. Mistaking them to be of divine origin, our ancestors began to worship them as gods, giving us the myths and legends found in civilizations worldwide. While we have yet to find proof of this in the real world, it’s pretty much fact in fictional universes like Marvel. Numerous aliens came to Earth and impacted ancient humans, from the Asgardians to the Kree. However, none were as powerful as that of the Celestials.
The Celestials are near the top of the cosmic pecking order found in the Marvel Universe and its countless iterations. They’re so strong, not even the numerous gods of Earth can hope to stand against them. In other words, if they come to visit Earth, then there’s little anyone can do to stop them. However, just what are the Celestials, and why are they so obsessed with Earth? With the imminent release of Eternals, we’re going to look at the Celestials, as well as two of their most important creations, the Eternals and the Deviants.
Word of warning, things are going to get a little confusing at times.
While there’s no proof that this could happen to us, the multiverse runs on a cycle in the infinite forest of realities that make up Marvel properties. When one iteration of the multiverse reaches the end of its life span, it’s reborn anew. It wasn’t always that way, though. In the beginning, there was one universe, and at the center of it was the First Firmament. They were the sentient, abstract concept of the universe and the only thing to exist. The Firmament was lonely, though, so he created other entities to help seed itself with life: the Aspirants and Celestials. The Aspirants worshipped the Firmament, keeping creation simple and never doing anything without their master’s say-so. However, the Celestials disagreed on how they did things. Instead of maintaining static things, they thought life in the universe should constantly be changing, growing, and evolving.
The First Firmament and the Aspirants didn’t like the idea of not being in control of everything, though, and took exception to this. As a result, the two sides went to war. Ultimately, the Celestials came out on top, with the singular universe shattered into countless universes in the process. The Firmament and Aspirants fled to the edge of all existence, leaving the Celestials free to look after the newly born multiverse.
Celestials M.O. and Coming to Earth
The Celestial’s modus operandi went like this. When the current multiverse died, its incarnation would journey to the edge of creation and join its predecessors. From here on out, the multiverse would follow a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. They would stand guard for when the First Firmament would return and try to retake control of everything.
In between all this, the Celestials would go around and help oversee the evolution of life in the multiverse. When they came across a planet that developed primitive life, they’d observe it, see its people’s potential, and decide if they should intervene. When they did interfere, they’d make whatever changes they thought necessary before departing. After that, they’d pop in every now and then and see how the natives were progressing. If everything went well, they’d make some more changes and leave. If not, they’d wipe everything out.
Their mission would eventually lead them to Earth, right when humanity was starting to evolve from its fellow primates, and conducted their usual routine. Eons later, these experiments would give humans the dormant potential to develop superhuman abilities, hence why Marvel has the Mutants and so many people with superpowers running around. However, this wasn’t the end to the Celestials experiments. Taking it a step further, they took two groups of one hundred hominids each and altered their DNA. This gave rise to two new offshoots of humans, Homo immortalis and Homo descendus, AKA the Eternals and Deviants.
Eternals and Deviants
Having created the Eternals and Deviants, the Celestials left Earth, leaving their creations to their own devices. From here the two species took separate paths.
While fewer in number, the Eternals possessed superhuman strength, speed, and lifespans so long that they were almost immortal. While normal humans were learning how to make fire, the Eternals started building cities. Following a civil war, though, they began to spread out to neighboring planets. One group came to reside in a domed city on Uranus alongside its native population. Another group would come to settle on the moon, Titan. It would be from this group of Eternals that that big purple grimace known as Thanos came from.
As for the Deviants, they took a much different path. As a result of their modifications, their bodies were in a constant state of mutation and evolution. Every Deviant would possess an appearance or ability so unique that it would be repeated in any other species member. Children would look nothing like their parents. The good news is that this rapid mutation led to their population exploding in numbers and technology. The bad news was that they hated each other but hated everyone else even more, especially the Eternals, who were the only ones to keep them in check. However, it was such a losing battle that by 18,000 BCE, the Deviants had conquered all of Earth, save Atlantis. That’s when the Celestials came back to see how things had turned out. They were less than thrilled to see what the Deviants had done.
Then the Deviants stupidly tried to attack the Celestials. Big. MISTAKE. Seeing them as a lost cause, the Celestials decided to do a partial reset, sending their home continent of Lemuria to the bottom of the Pacific and killing many of them. It also did the same for the ancient Atlantis. Thanks to the Eternals, though, enough of mankind survived on giant arks to rebuild, and the Celestials left. The remaining Deviants would survive and rebuild, continuing their conflict with the Eternals.
Jack Kirby Connection
If the Eternals and Deviants concepts sound similar to the New Gods found in DC Comics, there’s a reason for that. They were both created by the same man, the legendary Jack Kirby.
Kirby was a giant in the world of comics, and rightfully so. He co-created Captain America with Joe Simon back in 1940, and in the 60s, worked with Stan Lee to create the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Magneto, the Avengers, Iron Man, and more. However, in the 1970s, he left Marvel to work for DC. While there, he created the New Gods of New Genesis and Apokolips, including the likes of Darkseid. He had an entire storyline planned for them, but then DC canceled the New Gods comics, prompting him to head back to Marvel. Thus, the Eternals and Deviants were born, along with their creators, the Celestials.
A Long and Complicated History
As previously mentioned, the Celestials, Eternals, and Deviants have a long and complex history. They remain among the lesser-known aspects of Marvel. However, all that changed thanks to the rise of a certain purple villain named Thanos. Despite the MCU remaking Thanos so that he wasn’t an Eternal, the fact remains that his comic book counterpart still is one. Therefore, all that success Thanos has garnered could be transferred to the rest of the Eternals. Furthermore, the Celestials have already been established in the MCU thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy films, with Ego being retooled as an evil Celestial.
If you want to learn more about any of these groups, then go read about them on Marvel.com or in the Marvel Comics Database. It will help get you up to speed in time for the release of Eternals on Friday, November 6th.