The Marvel Cinematic Universe it’s a vast sprawling collection that spans galaxies and even multiverses. The franchise is filled with wondrous vistas, awesome heroes, and sinister threats. As the universe has expanded over the last 15 years in cinema, the franchise has introduced concepts that make for some interesting discussions, mostly in terms of theology in the MCU. In a universe where gods exist and walk among humans, how does that shape the world of movies?
If the Norse gods exist, what about other religions? Did the Eternals give a definitive origin of the universe and provide a scientific explanation of how life is created? What are the responsibilities of the gods to humans, if any, and what is the relationship of humans to the gods? Does having superpowers make you a god? MCU Phase 4 has delved into the idea of the gods with projects such as eternal, moon knight, Thor: Love and ThunderY black panther: wakanda forever, while the introduction of heroes like Daredevil and Ms. Marvel raises some interesting discussions about faith in the MCU.
Creation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
2021 eternal dropped a huge bombshell regarding the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that sends ripples throughout the entire franchise as it offers a definitive take on how life is created in the universe. The The celestials maintain the balance in the universe creating solar systems with their vast cosmic energy. A Celestial is born when one of their seeds is planted on a host planet; once said planet’s population reaches a certain amount, the Celestial is born, destroying the host planet.
It’s worth noting that Celestials do not create the specific life forms that emerge on the planets they create, except for Deviants and Eternals. While a Celestial may have created the Milky Way galaxy, he is not responsible for the creation of humans, only the planet they inhabit. This suggests that there might be some other, higher form of creator at the heart of the franchise. This allows the Celestials to exist comfortably alongside the other godlike beings the MCU has introduced.
The definition of gods has changed in the MCU
When thor was released, many wondered how the more fantastical elements of the comics would fit in with, at the time, the MCU’s harsh sci-fi rules laid out in both Iron Man Y The incredible Hulk. The first thor The film finds a union between the fantastic and science fiction, leaning on the idea that the Asgardians are not literal gods, but an advanced race of extraterrestrials that were worshiped as gods. As Thor tells Jane Foster, in his world science and magic are the same.
However, as the MCU has progressed and more fantasy elements have been introduced, Marvel has also changed the definition of a god in the MCU. Thor: Ragnarok he first drops a hint, asking which god Thor is from, but it’s further explored in Phase 4 projects like Thor: Love and Thunder Y moon knight. Thor: Love and Thunder they seem to retake the god status of the Asgardians, as the gods seem to be an actual species of beings who gain some power from being worshipped. Different alien species have their own gods, and even have their own cities and councils. The gods are enough of a separate subcategory of beings that the film’s main threat, Gorr, can specifically attack them with a single wish that would destroy them all.
Relationship between superpowers and divinity
It’s worth noting that the MCU is filled with many characters who have tangential relationships with gods but aren’t, in fact, gods. Namor is adored by his people as K’uk’ulkan, the god of the feathered serpent, due to the powers granted by his mutant abilities. Having been on Earth for 5,000 years, the Eternals have served as the basis for many human myths and legends, and even seem to be the inspiration for some gods. In both cases, it’s the presence of their superpowers that confuses them with gods, though they don’t quite fit the MCU’s godlike species shown in Thor: Love and Thunder. Whether or not Eternals like Thena and Phastos have any relationship to the Greek Gods that exist within the MCU remains to be seen, but it does raise some interesting questions that the franchise could explore.
The gods guide or manipulate humanity
The quest for Gorr the Butcher God in Thor: Love and Thunder killing all the gods raises an interesting question about what the gods do in the universe and what their responsibility is to those who worship them. Are they good to their worshipers and looking out for the best for them, or are they manipulating what appear to be lesser life forms?
The Black Panther the movies show the gods guiding and influencing humanity, moving it forward. Black Panther shows that the panther god Bast revealed the power of the heart-shaped herb that created the first Black Panther and allowed Wakanda to prosper. In black panther: wakanda forever, the Mayan god of rain and abundance, Chaac, instructed a tribal leader to consume a blue-shaped herb which resulted in the creation of the aquatic civilization Talokanil. In this case, both gods influenced and impacted humanity and shaped the future.
moon knight presents the egyptian pantheon of gods, specifically Khonshu, the Egyptian God of the Moon. Unlike Thor, who can control and manipulate lightning but is not its source, Khonshu appears to be the actual deity responsible for controlling the moon. While Thor directly interacts with humans, Khonshu interacts with humans through a vessel in the form of an avatar like Moon Knight. He is a god who plays in the affairs of humans, he uses a human as a pawn in his game and reveals the sinister nature of these gods.
Faith in the MCU
The existence of these other deities would probably have a great impact on the MCU world in general, and could even change religion as the world knows it. If the world knows that Thor exists as a real individual, would other religions be tested or strengthened? It’s worth noting that the MCU features three superheroes who feature religion as a major part of who they are, Moon Knight, Daredevil, and Ms. Marvel. In all three cases, the presence of these other gods does not affect their beliefs.
Moon Knight is a man of the Jewish faith, and although he is in the service of an Egyptian deity, he remains in his faith. Daredevil is operating in a world where Norse gods like Thor and Loki are common knowledge and New Asgard is his own sovereign nation, but still upholds his Catholic faith. Ms. Marvel is Muslim, along with their friends and family, and still maintain their faith and religious practices. The existence of these otherworldly beings does not weaken your faith; they may interpret them as physical beings instead of spiritual beings, meaning it doesn’t contradict their beliefs.
In fact, it probably strengthens your belief in your faith; as they must exist in a world full of miracles and superpowers, the miracles of their God don’t seem too unreasonable. Nick Fury’s commentary on a larger universe grows bigger with each movie and that goes for the overall theology of the franchise as well. It is a great cosmos with the possibility of multiple deities.