Spoiler Warning: Marvel’s Eternals
Eternals might have been one of Marvel’s most ambitious projects. Serving as one of the first films of Marvel’s phase four, the film sought to introduce ten new characters and build a narrative that stretched across human history, clocking in as Marvel’s second-longest film with a runtime of two hours and thirty-six minutes. While it does struggle at times to balance so many new characters, Eternals still provides for an entertaining adventure with the typical Marvel tropes fans have come to love.
Thanks to Chloe Zhao’s direction and some great visual effects (minus Pip the troll), Eternals succeeds in intriguing audiences with its all-powerful characters and leaves them anticipating the roles they’ll play in the coming phases.
The film opens with Arishem (David Kaye) sending the Eternals to Earth to eradicate the deviants and restore balance to the planet. During their time on Earth, the Eternals become intertwined with every generation of humanity, helping them grow their technology and innovations, but refraining from involving themselves directly with human conflict. Druig (Barry Keoghan) is one of the ten Eternals in the film and is the most mischievous. Of all the Eternals, Druig questions their mission the most, believing that their indifference to the atrocities humans commit is a grave error.
Even though the character of Druig isn’t explored in-depth due to the massive cast of characters, he remains one of the most fascinating. With flexible morals, a growing ego, and the fires of romantic passion burning inside him, this mind-controlling Eternal is one of the most powerful, if not the most dangerous, of the bunch.
Who is Druig?
Druig was first introduced when the Eternals land on Earth in 5,000 BC. After Ikaris (Richard Madden), Athena (Angelina Jolie), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), and Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) prevent a deviant from killing a group of primitive humans, Druig disembarks the Domo (their ship) with Sprite (Lia McHugh), Sersi (Gemma Chan), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), and Ajax (Salma Hayek). In order to calm the primitive humans, Druig uses his mind control abilities to put them at ease and get them to drop their weapons. This is the first taste of Druig’s powers, showing he can turn a person’s violent intentions into peaceful ones in a heartbeat.
When the Eternals arrived at Babylon in 575 BC, Phastos presented his concept for the steam engine to Ajax, but Druig was skeptical if humans are ready for such an invention, only having had the wheel for a thousand years. Phastos asks Druig to use his mind control, but Druig, knowing it’s forbidden to interfere with humans’ minds in such a way, turns to Ajax to confer to her that the idea is ridiculous. This moment shows that Druig is a pessimist and does not think highly of humans’ capacity to handle change, but it also shows that at this point, he remains loyal to the dogma and refuses to use his powers to interfere with human free will.
At a party in Babylon, Druig greets Makkari as “my beautiful Makkari” when she arrives late to the festivities. Makkari claims she needed to collect some artifacts for a trade, but after the people she’s trading with attempt to steal from her, she finds out they never had what she wanted in the first place. A brawl breaks out next to them, and Druig uses his mind to stop them from fighting. Makkari tells Druig it is forbidden, but he tells Makkari that stealing artifacts is too. Makkari tells Druig she won’t tell if he does not, and he agrees. This whole scene shows that Druig is tempted to bend the rules now, whereas before, he was not, but Makkari keeps his secret, likely because she loves him.
The two are very flirtatious in their interaction and even press their heads together at the end. Makkari is not concerned with Druig’s manipulation because with love comes the belief that Druig is not capable of using his abilities for great evil. If he were, she likely would have told Ajax, but then again, love is complex, and so is an individual’s capacity for good and evil, which can exist simultaneously.
When Tenochtitlan falls to the Spanish in 1521 AD, Druig sees the Spanish violently eradicating the Aztecs, making him use his powers to stop them, but Ajax warns him not to interfere. Druig blocks his attempt but tells Ajax it is not war but genocide. For the first time, he questions their mission and Ajax’s rules.
Druig’s Disillusionment With Ajax and Their Mission
As the Spanish attacked Tenochtitlan and waged war on the Aztecs, Druig claimed that humanity’s weapons had gotten too deadly and Phastos made a mistake by helping them advance. Phastos states he can not control what they do with their advancements, but Druig emphatically states that he can. The debate amongst the Eternals is interrupted when Athena turns violent from Mahd Wy’ry. The Eternals are able to subdue Athena, but Ajax says they have to erase her memories to stop the violent episode from occurring again. Sick of Ajax’s authority and rules, Druig exclaims that she wants to erase who Athena is and that their trust in her for 7,000 years has led to him watching humans destroy each other when he could stop it all if he wanted. Druig stops the fighting between the Aztecs and the Spanish, deciding to leave the Eternals and go his own way.
It pained Druig to see the people that he protected for so long kill each other. Not only that, but Druig knew he could stop the bloodshed, and his failure to do so weighed heavily on his conscious. When Druig goes to the Amazon to build his peaceful commune, his people live in peace and, while not primitive, are not as advanced as the outside world, illustrating Druig’s apprehension toward technology. The Amazonian commune was peaceful but lacked free will, showing that Druig believes security is paramount over freedom when it comes to humanity and that humans cannot handle the anarchy of freedom.
The Eternals arrive at present time to ask for Druig’s help in stopping Tiamut. Sersi reveals to Druig that Arishem sent them to Earth to help humanity advance enough to power the birth of a celestial, Tiamut. They need Druig’s help to put Tiamut to sleep and prevent Earth’s destruction. While reluctant at first, Druig ultimately agrees but loses his compound after Kro (Bill Skarsgård) and his deviants attack, forcing him to turn his people loose so that they can survive.
What’s Next for Druig?
The Eternals head to Iraq to enlist the help of Makkari in building the uni-mind, hoping to join their power and overpower Tiamut. As they work on the uni-mind, Druig continues to flirt with Makkari, but their flirtations are halted when Ikaris admits he killed Ajax and will fight the Eternals to ensure Tiamut rises. Makkari finds out Tiamut will rise near a volcano in the Indian Ocean and the Eternals head out to stop it.
Their first attempt at the uni-mind fails, and Ikaris almost kills Druig. While Ikaris and Sprite attempt to foil them, Sersi proves that Ikaris can not hurt her, and Druig knocks Sprite out before she can kill Sersi. At the end of the battle, Ikaris and Sprite come around to help them, joining them in the uni-mind to stop Tiamut. Thinking Druig had been killed by Ikaris, Makkari is ecstatic to see him alive and the two embrace at the end of the battle, hugging and pressing their heads together.
In a post-credits scene, Athena, Druig, and Makkari head out to find the other Eternals across the universe. The three aim to tell the other Eternals that their true purpose is to build worlds up, so they can be destroyed and birth celestials, after which their minds will be wiped, and they’ll do it again. During their voyage, Makkari can not get in touch with the others on Earth, and Athena confirms that Arishem took them back for judgment for disobeying him. Debating whether to go back, Eros (Harry Styles) appears and offers to help them find their friends. A lot is up in the air in terms of an Eternals sequel, but as it pertains to Druig, it does not seem likely that he’ll turn villainous any time soon, although he has the capacity for it.
Druig is loyal to his friends, and despite his disdain for free will, he has a genuine love for humanity and never considers obeying Arishem, unlike Ikaris. Even though he loves humanity, his commune was, in a way, an extension of his ego, forcing humans to create the version of society he sees as the best, refusing to give them the chance to craft their own. Even though it’s strongly suggested that Makkari and Druig are together, they do not ever kiss on-screen but expect to see their relationship develop in future sequels. Druig is on a mission to get his friends back and spread the truth, but he questions whether the others will believe them. If the other Eternals refuse to heed their truths, expect to see Druig force it upon them and go his own way as he did in Tenochtitlan.
Although a long shot, if Kang and Druig ever meet, Druig may be sympathetic because he could be sent to various timelines to use his mind to prevent great atrocities from occurring or shape them in a way that he prefers. There is still much to explore about Druig’s character, but his stubborn and righteous personality, coupled with his ability to love and hold genuine compassion for people, makes Druig a murky character, one teetering between good and evil, hubris and selflessness.