The teaser trailer for the latest Marvel flick, The Eternals, dropped today and in it was an unexpected Bollywood dance number.
Now, this doesn’t seem like news on the surface given that Marvel boss Kevin Feige has stated on several occasions that the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be more “diverse.”
But could there be an ulterior motive beyond diverse representation? Could Disney be making sure that The Eternals plays well to India, a highly-populated country they’re desperately trying to lock down with their Hotstar streaming service?
In fact, a Bollywood star, Harish Patel, was added to the cast of The Eternals in a role he can’t talk much about.
Confirming the same, Harish Patel told Indian Express, “Yes, the man you saw in the teaser is me. I can just confirm that I am doing Eternals but cannot speak about it right now. The makers haven’t even announced my name, and I will wait for them to do that.”
Harish Patel, 67, is a well-known face from both stage and screen. His long-standing career includes roles in films such as ‘Mandi’, ‘Gunda’, ‘Mr India’, ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ and ‘Zubeidaa’. He has also been an active part of Indian TV and has some international credits like ‘Run Fatboy Run’, ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘The Buddha Of Suburbia’.
Patel seems like a fairly recent addition to the cast, and we know that The Eternals had a round of reshoots last year.
Could Disney have reworked the film to better appeal to Indian audiences, as it looks like China might be a lost cause for The Eternals at this point? It’s possible, given that director Chloé Zhao is facing backlash for criticizing China and there’s talk of the film not being released over there.
Whatever the case may be, it does seem like Disney is shooting for a global audience with The Eternals moreso than previous entries into the MCU. Will it pay off, or will the movie wind up being Marvel’s first flop, as some fans are speculating? Only time will tell.
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