John Ridley Boldly Proclaims His Scrapped Marvel TV Show Was ‘Eternals But Good’

John Ridley Boldly Proclaims His Scrapped Marvel TV Show Was ‘Eternals But Good’

There are almost as many Marvel what ifs (not that one) as there are Marvel projects out there these days, but one of the most fascinating could’ve-beens is one of the MCU’s oldest: a planned TV show from 12 Years a Slave’s John Ridley. It never materialized after its announcement, but now the scribe has lift the lid on what was planned, and… hm.

“It was a television version of The Eternals… but good,” Ridley recently told the Comic Book Club podcast of his planned ABC series. “My version was the good version. It was so fucking 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,” Ridley went on to add, referring to Chloé Zhao’s 2021 movie. “Which I don’t think that version was particularly good, I’ll be honest.”

Now, of course, we’re never going to see it, so Ridley has every right to be confident that his vision for the Eternals as characters was the better one, in the potentiality of it all. His body of work speaks to his talent, just as it did for Chloe Zhao ahead of her movie version. That’s fine! But, quality of the Eternals movie aside (fine! It was fine!), was a 2015 ABC Marvel show really going to give us the best, fullest-extent use of the Eternals as characters? Really?

This is not to knock the Marvel TV we were getting at that time—on ABC or otherwise. Daredevil, Agents of SHIELD, Jessica Jones, Agent Carter, they might not evoke the glitz and glamor of Marvel’s attempts to throw the weight of a fully armed and operational Disney streaming platform behind today when it comes to television. But they all knew their scopes, even when they did lean more into the fantastical, they worked for the medium and scale they were telling their stories in, and played with that freedom even as their cinematic siblings kept giving them the cold shoulder.

This is, however, to knock the Marvel TV we were getting at the time (or a couple years later at least) that honestly is more closer to what Eternals would’ve had to do on ABC: Inhumans. Weird superpower-heavy society of alt-humans inspired by classic, properly weird Jack Kirby comics? On a mid-aughts ABC budget? We know what that looked like, John, and the wig—the wig still haunts us in our waking moments, and in our darkest dreams. The wig lingers.

There is forever a chance, even though we’ll never see it, that an Eternals TV show could’ve been the “But Good” version. But perhaps it is indeed better to leave that as a thought experiment rather than a declarative fact, given the evidence we do have suggest… well, that it likely would’ve been otherwise.

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