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Eternals' Explanation For Infinity War Is An MCU Plot Hole

Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Eternals

Marvel's Eternals reveals why they didn't interfere in Avengers: Infinity War to try and stop Thanos' Snap, but the explanation given creates a new MCU plot hole. Heading into Eternals, one of the biggest questions has been just where they were during the events of Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. As all-powerful characters who have lived on Earth for 7000 years, the Eternals would've been well placed to prevent the Mad Titan from wiping out half of all life in the universe, and yet they stood back and did nothing.

Initially, Eternals offers a somewhat reasonable explanation for this inactivity: having been sent to Earth by the Celestials, they were only instructed to interfere if Deviants were involved. Since the Deviants were ostensibly all wiped out centuries before the main events in the MCU's timeline, including Thanos' Snap, then it does explain why the Eternals didn't interfere in Infinity War. However, that's only part of the answer, and in going further Marvel raises new issues.

Related: Eternals: Every MCU Easter Egg & Reference

Later in the movie, it's revealed the real reason the Eternals didn't interfere in Infinity War or Endgame is because they were secretly paving the way for the Emergence, allowing the Celestial Tiamut to rise on Earth. To this end, then things like war were a necessary part of human evolution, driving forward technological innovation that would ultimately help lead to great population growth, culminating in the Emergence. Thanos' Snap ran counter to this idea: since his plan was to wipe out half of life in the universe, including on Earth, then it represented a massive setback to the Emergence, which turns the true explanation for them not interfering into a plot hole.

Although Ajak was still pretending to the other Eternals at this point that they weren't interfering unless Deviants were involved, the threat Thanos posed to the real goal of the Celestials means it doesn't make much sense they wouldn't be instructed to get involved. The Deviant explanation was largely a cover story, and since Arishem would presumably have known about Thanos' quest for the Infinity Stones then he should also have known just how much of a setback it would be for the Mad Titan to "balance" the universe, and told Ajak and the team to stop it. At this point, of course, would be a question of how the rest of the team is convinced: Ajak could tell the truth, which would lead to some division just like in Eternals, or they could even conceivably try to fake it that Thanos himself is a Deviant. Neither is without its issues, but at the very least Arishem would've ended up with some Eternals fighting against Thanos (and the team was divided anyway), which would've given Earth an advantage.

Equally, the movie doesn't reckon with Thanos' own Eternal past. In the comics, Thanos has been confirmed to be an Eternal, much like his brother Starfox. The latter appears, played by Harry Styles, in one of Eternals' post-credits scenes, which very much suggests he is an Eternal in the MCU, and that would mean Thanos is as well. If Thanos were an Eternal, then it further raises the question of why the team didn't interfere, since presumably him being an Eternal would be a reasonable loophole to get involved, because it would be Eternals business rather than a humanity matter. In the end, the Eternals not interfering worked out, albeit in a dark way: the Snap and Blip caused a great wave of energy and surge in the population when they returned, which helped the Emergence begin, but without knowing if Arishem had the foresight for that then the mater of why the Eternals sat out Avengers: Infinity War still doesn't have a complete answer.

Next: Eternals' Cliffhanger Ending Explained

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