The Oscar winner said during a recent appearance on the Comic Book Club podcast that while the TV series he was developing at ABC in 2015 is “not in the works anymore,” it was a “television version of The Eternals, but good.”
“My version or the good version was so fucking weird,” Ridley recalled. “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.”
A few years later, Marvel Studios produced the film Eternals in 2021, directed by Chloé Zhao and featured a star-studded cast including Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kit Harington and Richard Madden. The movie followed the Eternals, immortal beings who lived on Earth and protected it from the less-evolved Deviants.
Ridley, who won an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, proceeded to detail the pilot episode of his series, saying, “My version started with, the first thing you see is a young man, probably about 17, 18 years old. And he’s sitting there. He’s sitting there for a moment. And then he lifts his hands. He has a drill in it. And he turns the drill on. And he puts the drill to his ear. And he starts pushing it in. And then it goes from there. … That’s how it starts. And then I think you see another kid. He sleeps in the bathtub, covers himself with foil. It’s just a really weird story about these people who are, I mean, it’s just weird.”
But the writer-director admitted his version was a “really hard property [to develop].” He later realized that “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 [for all].”
Ridley added, “I do mean what’s entertaining to me is often not populist, which is great for a lot of the work I do, but this needed to be a little bit more popular, it really did.”
During the time that Ridley’s series was in development, Marvel Television was producing other shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter and Jessica Jones. But Marvel TV was later combined with Marvel Studios, with several shows, including the Eternals series, being scrapped.