Richard Madden and Kit Harington may be the most obvious link between Game of Thrones and Eternals – but there is an even better connection between the two. Chloé Zhao’s movie sees Madden star as Ikaris, a powerful Eternal with powers including flight, super strength, and the ability to project cosmic energy beams out of his eyes; Harington, meanwhile, takes on the role of Dane Whitman, a run-of-the-mill human with abilities including fluency in Latin, a strong knowledge of history, and being extremely nice. While it is Madden’s character who claims the lion’s share of the screentime, the duo briefly come into each other’s orbit to help battle a member of the Deviants, the Eternals’ sworn enemy.
With Madden and Harington still fondly remembered for their roles as Robb Stark and Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, their Eternals reunion is a welcome treat for fans of the series. Indeed, their MCU collaboration was used as a promotional tool for the movie, with Marvel undoubtedly keen to capitalize on viewers’ lingering affection for House Stark. However, they are not the only alumni of the HBO juggernaut to make an impact on the film.
While Madden and Harington may provide the most obvious connection between Game of Thrones and Eternals, it is Ramin Djawadi who has a far more significant impact on the movie. While the name might be unfamiliar to many Game of Thrones lovers, the composer played a key role in the show’s success, crafting a wide range of now-iconic scores and original songs throughout its eight-season run – not to mention the iconic theme tune. It is no surprise, then, that Djawadi was picked to score the similarly fantastical Eternals– and it is through this that he makes a much greater contribution to the final product than either of the well-coiffed Westerosi.
Indeed, while Madden and Harington are both integral to Eternals, neither arguably delivers a standout performance – and it is easy to imagine their roles being recast at no cost to the overall production. On the other hand, a significant part of the movie’s character would be lost if Djawadi’s music was replaced by a more generic soundtrack; his is an ethereal score that is equal parts understated and majestic, the perfect complement to the story’s underlying themes of the vastness of time and the grandeur of space – and a sonic landscape unlike that of any other Marvel movie. With stunning tracks like “The Duomo” and “Across the Oceans of Time”, the composer leaves his unique imprint on the final product. This is something that Madden and Harington fail to accomplish, making Djawadi a much more interesting and valuable link between the two franchises.
While Eternals had been one of the most anticipated movies of MCU Phase 4, many fans and critics felt a little let down upon its release, leveling criticism at a bland visual palette and a convoluted storyline. However, the film’s supposed weaknesses make Djawadi’s soundtrack even more significant, with his celestial soundscapes helping to elevate and enhance numerous scenes throughout its two-and-a-half-hour runtime. In many ways this is a familiar role for the composer, his soundtracks having helped to paper over wooden acting and lackluster scripts in big-budget properties like Warcraft and Westworld – and on many occasions even Game of Thrones itself.
With Marvel notoriously secretive around their plans for the MCU, not much is known about the future of the Eternals franchise – though many fans are excited by the prospect of Harington’s Dane Whitman becoming the superhero Black Knight, as teased in the movie’s post-credits scene. However, it’s clear that whatever Marvel has planned for the Eternals universe, it should make Djawadi’s involvement a top priority. That is, of course, if the studio can get him – with future projects including Patrick Hughes’s The Man From Toronto, Square Enix’s strategy RPG The DioField Chronicle and the Game of Thrones prequel House of The Dragon, the composer’s schedule must be pretty busy. However, even if Djawadi doesn’t return to the franchise, it is clear that his soundtrack has already left a lasting mark on the Eternals universe, and indeed on the broader MCU.