20 films comprise the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a woman directs not a single one of them. While the MCU may never reach directorial parity, Marvel Studios finally making steps toward representation behind the camera. According to IndieWire, the studio is bringing in Chloé Zhao, its first woman of color director, to helm The Eternals.
Zhao joins the ranks of Anna Boden and Cate Shortland—who are directing Captain Marvel and Black Widow respectively—to become one of three women behind forthcoming films in the MCU.
The Eternals comes as Marvel continues to push its heroes into intergalactic realms. It actually takes place millions of years ago, with cosmic beings called Celestials who essentially create heroes and villains by experimenting on humans. The resulting heroes are named Eternals, who must defend earth against Deviants. No word on when this film will be coming out, but Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said it will focus on an Eternal named Sersi who chooses to live among humans, per The Daily Dot.
The world of superheroes is far from Zhao’s previous habitat of indie films, including her last movie The Rider, an independent drama about a bronco rider who suffers from seizers. It grossed a little over $3 million at the box office compared to Marvel’s typically ginormous haul. The Eternals will mark her third feature film.
The decision to bring on Zhao has already been praised by some big names in the industry, including Ava DuVernay.