Chloe Zhao Makes History by Landing Marvel's 'The Eternals' Directing Gig
WENN/Brian To

To be in charge behind the lens for the adaptation of the Jack Kirby-created comics, the 'Rider' director is the first woman of color to direct a Marvel superhero movie.

AceShowbiz - Marvel Studios is trusting its next potential franchise to Chloe Zhao. The studio has tapped "The Rider" helmer to direct a big-screen adaptation of "The Eternals", featuring superhero characters created by Jack Kirby.

"The Eternals" focuses on the super-powered and near-god beings known as Eternals created by cosmic beings known as Celestials. They are intended to be the defenders of Earth, leading to a war with their villainous adversaries known as the Deviants, set millions of years ago. The comics debuted in 1976.

According to The Hollywood Reporter which first broke the news, the story "involves the love story between Ikaris, a man fueled by cosmic energy, and Sersi, who relishes moving amongst humans." The project will reportedly feature a diverse cast of various shapes and sizes.

Matthew and Ryan Firpo, who topped the 2017 Black List with their spec script "Ruin", penned the script for the upcoming superhero movie. Kevin Feige is producing, while no cast is announced so far.

Zhao was previously in contention to direct "Black Widow", a standalone feature centering on Scarlett Johansson's spy heroine character, but Cate Shortland eventually landed the gig. The Chinese-born filmmaker was eyed by major studios after her film "The Rider" was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and landed nominations for Independent Spirit Award for Best Film and Best Director.

Besides Zhao, those in the running for "The Eternals" gig included "Watchmen" pilot helmer Nicole Kassell, Travis Knight ("Bumblebee", "Kubo and the Two Strings"), as well as Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra who directed Colombian movie "Birds of Passage".

Zhao is the first woman of color tapped to direct a Marvel superhero project. Anna Boden is the first female to direct a Marvel movie, after co-directing "Captain Marvel" with Ryan Fleck. Warner Bros./DC earlier tapped the first Asian American female filmmaker Cathy Yan for its superhero project, "Birds of Prey".

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