Commentary: The Conflicting Ancient Mythologies Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

by Frank Martin

Ancient histories and mythologies have always been prime material for storytelling, especially in comics. With so many different types of myth throughout the world, it is no wonder how many different approaches people have taken to adapting these stories. Marvel Comics is no different. In a comic book world — especially one that spans so many different genres and tones — very little thought is given to the cohesion of the universe. But in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the continuity from installment to installment is under much more scrutiny. And as the universe grows with adaptations from Norse, Greek, and Egyptian mythology, fans notice just how different all these approaches have been.

With Thor, a literal approach to the Norse gods existing as extraterrestrial beings was widely accepted, especially as the space side of the MCU was in its earliest stages at the time. Eternals expanded on the ancient astronaut idea, but shifted away from the “literal gods” approach of the Asgardians. Thena (Angelina Joile), Ikaris (Richard Madden), and Gilgamesh (Don Lee) weren’t viewed as the actual figures of legend like Odin and Loki were in the first Thor. Instead, they were merely inspirations for those ancient tales. Then Moon Knight flipped everything on its head as the ancient Egyptian gods were depicted as actual supernatural beings far from the extraterrestrial origins of Asgard and the Eternals.

Fans began questioning how these three different interpretations of ancient gods can exist in the same universe. They pointed it out as an inconsistency and a flaw. But why? All the sources are different. In ancient times — a world not interconnected like ours is today — it is certainly plausible that all these different and immensely powerful beings interacted with ancient societies and were all perceived as “gods” in different ways. There is no one way to be a god, after all. It just means a being of immense power that you can’t explain. To early humans, that’s what all these different entities were. Fans should be okay with that and just enjoy the ride.

Moon Knight, Eternals, and Thor are all streaming now on Disney+.

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