Gemma Chan returns to the MCU as Sersi in Chloé Zhao’s Eternals, but is Sersi linked to her previous role as Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel?
Gemma Chan is one of few actors who has played two different characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but are her roles in Captain Marvel and Eternals linked somehow? Even though the Infinity Saga is now over, the MCU continues expanding with new characters, stories, and concepts that will bring more conflict to the characters already living in it. The MCU’s Phase 4 will not only explore the multiverse and its many dangers, but it will also introduce a new team that has been living on Earth for centuries, but their presence has been kept a secret: the Eternals.
Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, with the return of half of the population igniting “the emergence”, forcing the Eternals to reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. The Eternals are an immortal alien race created by the Celestials, and the group is formed by Sersi (Gemma Chan), Ikaris (Richard Madden), Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Druig (Barry Keoghan), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Ajak (Salma Hayek), and Thena (Angelina Jolie). However, the trailers have put extra attention to Sersi and her relationship with Ikaris, putting Gemma Chan at the front and center of Eternals.
This is Gemma Chan’s first lead role in a Marvel movie but it’s not her first in this extensive universe. Chan’s debut in the MCU happened in 2019 in Captain Marvel, where she played Minn-Erva, a Kree member of Starforce, an elite military task force formed by skilled warriors in the service of the Kree Empire and led by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). Minn-Erva and Yon-Rogg were the ones responsible for Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) gaining superpowers, as on their mission to retrieve the Light-Speed Engine created by Mar-Vell (Annette Bening), they intercepted her and Danvers’ flight and caused their plane to crash, with Danvers later causing the engine to explode and infuse her with energy. Minn-Erva was an antagonist through Captain Marvel, fighting Danvers and trying to kill her, and was ultimately killed when Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) shot down her ship.
Gemma Chan got a second chance in the MCU now as a completely different character that has nothing to do with her past role as a Kree warrior. Sersi is an empathetic member of the Eternals race and group who has always shown a desire to live among humans. Like the rest of the Eternals, Sersi possesses superhuman strength and abilities like telepathy, teleportation, matter manipulation, shooting cosmic rays from her eyes and hands, and flight through levitation, and in addition to all that, she has channeled her cosmic energy to improve some of those abilities, with transmutation becoming her most notable skill. Minn-Erva and Sersi are characters from different origins and with opposite roles in the MCU – one was an antagonist while the other will have a heroic role – and they are not connected in any way except by having Gemma Chan playing them.
It’s rare to have one actor playing different roles in the MCU, and in some cases – as was Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and Dormammu, for example – there is a connection between their characters, but that’s not the case with Gemma Chan. Luckily for her and fans, Sersi will surely have a much brighter future in the MCU than Minn-Erva had, and is a more complete character than the Captain Marvel antagonist, who like many others, was only meant to appear in one movie.
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Adrienne Tyler is a features writer for Screen Rant. She is an Audiovisual Communication graduate who wanted to be a filmmaker, but life had other plans (and it turned out great). Prior to Screen Rant, she wrote for Pop Wrapped, 4 Your Excitement (4YE), and D20Crit, where she was also a regular guest at Netfreaks podcast. She was also a contributor for FanSided’s BamSmackPow and 1428 Elm. Adrienne is very into films and she enjoys a bit of everything: from superhero films to heartbreaking dramas, to low-budget horror films. Every time she manages to commit to a TV show without getting bored, an angel gets its wings.
When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to learn a new language, watching hockey (go Avs!), or wondering what life would have been like had Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and Limitless not been cancelled. Breakfast food is life and coffee is what makes the world go round.
Guillermo del Toro said “hi” to her once. It was great.