Game of Thrones star Richard Madden is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Ikaris in this year’s Marvel epic, Eternals. Despite being the main character in all Eternals comics, Ikaris is still one of the MCU’s most lesser-known heroes, and a character that hasn’t received much exposure in Marvel Comics.

Officially confirmed by Kevin Feige during Marvel’s panel at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, Eternals will join a lineup of several other movies comprising Phase Four of the MCU, including the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home and Thor: Love and Thunder. Directed by Oscar-winning director Chloe Zhao, Eternals will be the third movie on Marvel’s schedule for 2021. Expected to delve deep into the history of the MCU, the film will center on the Eternals, a race of alien immortals created by the Celestials, a group of god-like beings first introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy. The Eternals have been sent to Earth to battle the equally ancient Deviants, their villainous counterparts.

Marvel Studios assembled a star-studded cast to play the creations of the legendary comic book writer and artist, Jack Kirby. The Eternals’ cast includes big names like Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek. The film’s comic book accurate list of characters includes both major and minor Eternals, such as King (Kumail Nanjiani), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), Sprite (Lia McHugh), Gilgamesh (Don Lee), Sersi (Gemma chan), Druig (Barry Keoghan), and Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry). Arguably the most important of them all is Ikaris, who has led the Eternals on multiple adventures involving the Celestials, Deviants, and even the Avengers. Here’s what you need to know about Madden’s Eternals character.

Richard Madden Will Play Ikaris In The MCU

In May 2019, it was reported that Madden was in talks to play Ikaris in Eternals. This was confirmed during SDCC a couple of months later when the cast was officially announced. At D23, Madden’s look for the movie was revealed through Eternals concept art, which showed that Marvel was giving Ikaris a mostly comics-accurate costume.

Madden has played key roles in several Hollywood films, including 1917, Disney’s live-action Cinderella, and the Elton John biopic, Rocketman. His most notable role, however, was in the HBO series Game of Thrones where he portrayed Robb Stark for three seasons before his character was killed off in one of the series’ most gruesome and memorable scenes. Madden will be joined by his Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harington, who will play Dane Whitman (aka, Black Knight). In Eternals, Madden’s character showcases his leadership abilities and superpowers. The film will also see Ikaris in a romance with Sersi, a fellow Eternal who is also in love with Dane in the present day. The character’s history in Marvel Comics indicates that Ikaris will lead the charge against the Deviants and he’s shown recruiting his fellow teammates as they prepare to battle their most ancient enemies.

Ikaris’ Origin Story In Marvel Comics

The Eternals are a super-powered, immortal offshoot of the human race created by the Celestials, who are often referred to in Marvel Comics as “The Space Gods”. The Eternals secretly share the Earth with the human race. Thousands of years ago, the Eternals branched off and settled in different areas of the universe but the main group, led by Zuras, remained on Earth and founded the hidden city of Olympia in the mountains of Greece. Though this is the primary home of the Eternals, it’s not the only place on the planet that the Eternals inhabit. The Eternals also have a city in Eastern Europe called Polaria, the home of the Polar Eternals, a group that includes both Ikaris and Ajak.

Born 20,000 years ago, Ikaris has often found himself the subject of many myths, stories, and even Biblical events. Among his most important deeds was when he flew through the sky, believed to be a “dove” by humans, as he guided Noah’s Ark to the Mountains of Ararat. The story of how he got his name came centuries later when he took a human wife and had a son, Icarus (the character from Greek mythology), who he knew would not share his immortality. The boy wanted so much to share his father’s ability to fly that he tried to make mechanical wings. In a tragic accident, his son was killed. He took his son’s name to honor him, which is why he is now known as “Ikaris”.

Ikaris’ Powers And Abilities Explained

The Eternals are unlike any other race in Marvel Comics. The immortal beings are gifted with a shared set of impressive powers which they received from the cosmic energy that flows through their veins. Ikaris, like all Eternals, possesses a roster of powers, including superhuman strength, durability, telepathy, teleportation, the ability to manipulate matter and create illusions, flight through levitation, and shooting beams of cosmic energy through his hands and eyes. These last two powers are prominent in both of the Eternals trailers that have been released thus far, with Ikaris shooting his eyebeams at the villain and flying through the air. Many have gone as far as to call him the MCU’s version of Superman because of these particular abilities.

Through the centuries, many Eternals have succeeded in training their powers, which means that some Eternals’ abilities are better than others. For instance, Makkari has focused so much of his time on perfecting his super speed that this power far outshines all of his other abilities. Ikaris, on the other hand, stands out as an Eternal who has managed to train most of his abilities, making him better than average in nearly every category. For this reason, Ikaris is the second strongest of the Earth-based Eternals, which puts him behind Gilgamesh. Ikaris’ cosmic energy attacks are another area where Ikaris excels in a way that puts most Eternals to shame. Using a combination of his powers - rather than focusing on just a few as other Eternals tend to do - is how Ikaris was able to go toe-to-toe with a cosmic-powered duplicate of the Hulk.

Ikaris’ Most Important Marvel Comics Stories

Ikaris is the Marvel hero who introduced readers to the mythos of the Eternals and the Celestials way back in Eternals #1 in 1976 when Ikaris, in the guise of “Ike Harris”, guided a pair of human archaeologists to the City of the Space Gods and revealed to them the secrets of the Eternals and the Celestials. Ikaris had been tasked with making sure that the Earth was prepared for the arrival of the Celestials, who would soon return to determine if their creations were still worthy of living. The Eternals aren’t the only genetic offshoot of the human race created by the Celestials. The Celestials also created the monstrous, genetically unstable Deviants who have often stirred up trouble with their warring ways and evil schemes.

It was generally Ikaris who led the charge when it came to fighting the Deviants. His hatred of the Deviants and willingness to go to war with them was condemned by their leader, Thena, but Ikaris’ feelings toward the Deviants was eventually found to be justified. After challenging and defeating Thena, Ikaris replaced her to take the title of “Prime Eternal”. In the final Eternals trailer, Ikaris is seen learning of the Deviants’ arrival and traveling to various locations to reunite his teammates after centuries apart, greeting Thena and Phastos, each of whom have lived different lives. While the film seems to indicate that Ajak is the one who has been monitoring humanity, with Ikaris living separately and alone, it’s likely he will be the one to guide the Eternals in their fight against their enemies to defeat them once and for all.

More: Why The Eternals Didn’t Interfere In Infinity War & Endgame

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