Back in 2015 came the news that “12 Years a Slave” writer/producer John Ridley was teaming with the ABC network for a Marvel TV series that would serve as a reinvention of an existing Marvel superhero property.
All other details were under wraps so it was never clear what he was working on. Nearly a decade later, the Oscar winner appeared on the Comic Book Club podcast and finally revealed what property he was working on – the Eterrnals.
Ridley was developing the series around the time “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Agent Carter” were on the air and “Daredevil” had just premiered on Netflix. However the series seemed to stall with Ridley moving onto other things.
After Marvel Television was incorporated into the Marvel Studios group, any further development was scrapped. Meanwhile “Eternals” made it to the screen in the form of Chloe Zhao’s 2021 film which is considered one of the MCU’s weakest. Of his take, Ridley says:
“It’s not in the works anymore. It was a television version of The Eternals… But good. My version was the good version. It was so f—ing weird. There was my version, a good version, which is good to me, which – that doesn’t mean anything. There was the version that [Marvel] ended up doing, which I don’t think… that version was particularly good. I’ll be honest.”
Ridley said his take on the Eternals was met with mixed reviews, saying that it was a “really hard property to develop”. He says ultimately it was a good thing he wasn’t involved:
“The best thing to happen for everybody was that it didn’t happen with me, because I don’t know that it would have been entertaining, and I do mean what’s entertaining to me is often not entertaining. Populist, which is great for a lot of the work I do, but this needed to be a little bit more popular.”
In the comics, Eternals are immortal alien beings that emerge from hiding after thousands of years to protect Earth from their counterparts known as the Deviants. Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani and Kit Harington co-starred.