Marvel never asked actor Richard Madden to dye his hair blond or change his accent for his role in Eternals. Madden plays Ikaris, who has traditionally had blonde hair in his comic-book incarnation. Created by Jack Kirby in 1976, Ikaris is an Eternal, created by the Celestials thousands of years ago, gifted with superhuman abilities that are meant to protect and guide humanity. Ikaris’ earliest appearance shows him with longish blonde locks and he is fitted with a blue-and-red costume with three circular-shaped designs on his chest.
Eternals is directed by Academy Award Winner Chloé Zhao and stars Madden, Gemma Chan, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Lauren Ridloff, Ma Dong-seok, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Barry Keoghan. The film takes place in the MCU’s Phase Four series of films, which ushers in a new era for the franchise universe, introducing a bevy of new characters, which began with last month’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Eternals will be the first live-action realization of the characters in the MCU.
During the Eternals set visit in January 2020, Screen Rant and other venues were on-hand to talk to the filmmakers about the film, including producer Nate Moore, who gave some insight into the appearance of Ikaris in the film. In the live-action Eternals film, Ikaris is featured as a short-cropped brunette and sports a blue-and-gold costume, which similarly replicates the comics uniform minus the red trim. When asked if there was ever a time that they considered making actor Richard Madden go blond for the role in order to look more comics-accurate, Moore said that not only did they not ask him to dye his hair, but they also had him keep his accent, saying, “We did not ask him to go blonde. So he gets to keep essentially his natural hair and the Scottish accent which he was very excited about.”
Madden previously cut his teeth on projects like HBO’s Game of Thrones, Bodyguard, and Rocketman. Also joining Madden in the film is fellow Game of Thrones star Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow on the show and is playing Dane Whitman in Eternals, a character who eventually becomes The Black Knight. Snow was the “half brother” of Madden’s Robb Stark, so the two actors have a strong history together on the mega-popular show. It’s unclear if either of them will share screentime in Eternals, but it’s a reunion nonetheless from a casting perspective.
Many comic-to-film adaptations change up appearances of characters and Ikaris is just another link in that chain. Ultimately, the blond hair feels less consequential to the character than the origin, powers, and performance, so it’s easy to overlook that aspect that’s lost in translation. Jack Kirby created a massive backstory for these characters, which is far more important than getting every color and hue lifted off the page and put on screen. With such a diverse and talented cast, Eternals is already primed to make a big splash at the box office and is sure to make these longtime comic characters household names, just as Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor did years ago.