Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley, known for his impactful work on “12 Years a Slave,” recently shared intriguing details about a scrapped Marvel TV series project that was set to explore the universe of ‘Eternals’. Ridley’s revelations bring to light the creative directions and visions that never made it to the screen, offering a glimpse into what could have been a unique addition to Marvel’s ever-expanding universe.
Ridley’s version of the ‘Eternals’ was marked by his distinctive storytelling style, promising a fresh take on the Marvel property. He described his concept as “the good version,” a statement that echoes both his confidence in his vision and a subtle critique of Marvel Studios’ eventual film adaptation of ‘Eternals‘. Directed by Chloé Zhao, the 2021 movie received mixed reactions from critics and audiences, grossing over $400 million worldwide against a budget of approximately $236 million.
The writer’s vision for the TV series was notably unconventional and bold. He revealed an opening scene involving a young man with a drill, setting a tone that indicated a departure from typical superhero narratives. Ridley aimed to weave a “really weird story” about these characters, possibly pushing the boundaries of what is usually expected in superhero tales.
However, Ridley’s project did not resonate with everyone at Marvel. Despite his enthusiasm and unique approach, he acknowledged that his version might not have aligned with the broader, more populist entertainment style that Marvel often pursues. This creative divergence might have contributed to the project’s shelving, especially as Marvel Studios began to consolidate its television efforts with the advent of Disney+.
The cancellation of Ridley’s ‘Eternals’ series is a reminder of the challenges and complexities in adapting comic book stories to screen. Balancing creative vision with audience expectations and corporate strategies is a delicate act, and not all projects make it through this process.
John Ridley’s contribution to the Marvel universe, however, did not end with the shelved TV series. He went on to write a 15-issue run of ‘Black Panther’ for Marvel Comics from 2021 to 2023, showcasing his ability to engage with and contribute to the Marvel world in different formats.
Marvel Studios continues to expand its reach with various projects, including the streaming of ‘Eternals’ on Disney+, offering fans a diverse range of stories and interpretations within the superhero genre.