Celestials are cosmic beings that have existed ever since the First Cosmos, a conscious universe that created life in the form of the Celestials. After the shattering of the First Cosmos, they continued creating new iterations of the universe and new life forms. With such a vast job, a lot of people wonder, how many Celestials are there?
There were initially many Celestials in the comics, “as many as the stars themselves” (Iron Man Vol 5. #13). The Celestial War severed their numbers, though. We have only seen a few Celestials in the MCU so far, but the new Eternals movie is about to change that.
The Celestials survived the destruction of every iteration of the universe so far, so it’s unlikely they’ll ever go extinct. They travel across the Cosmos, experiment, and judge lower life forms, deciding which civilization is worth surviving, evolving, or annihilating.
How Many Celestials Are There In Marvel Comics?
As mentioned in the introduction, there were countless Celestials at the beginning of their existence. There were much fewer Aspirants – dark Celestial counterparts who worshipped and obeyed the First Firmament (the First Cosmos). In Iron Man Vol. 5 #13, we learn that there were many Celestials, “as many as the stars themselves.”
However, when the Celestials rebelled against the First Firmament and the Aspirants, the Celestial War depleted their numbers severely. Still, many of them survived, as the race still exists after six iterations of the Cosmos have already been destroyed. That means they are probably never going extinct.
One more important thing is that the Celestials can still reproduce in multiply – not in a traditional sense, but it’s possible to create more Celestial beings in numerous ways.
In S.H.I.E.L.D. #4, we learn that the primary reproductive process among the Celestials is implanting Celestial Eggs in the cores of planets. The gestation period takes millions of years, but after it’s complete, a Celestial is born and consumes the planet from inside out to gain power and energy. It destroys the planet, but that’s how new Celestials come to life.
It’s also possible for a Celestial to carry another, but the birth results in the “mother’s” death. The Celestial Madonna carried an infant Celestial named Star Child, who was later deemed to be a variant.
It is also possible for Celestials to take a humanoid form, or an avatar, to reproduce with lower life forms, like Ego the Living Planet did in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie. However, the child almost never inherits the Celestial gene – only Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, inherited the gene, making him a demi-Celestial.
There’s also the Black Galaxy, a curious part of the cosmos that became a compressed bio-verse with millions of light-years of empty space. From the bio-verse and an assembled Celestial armor, a new, unnamed Blue Celestial came into existence.
M’Kraan is a race that developed mutant individuals (however, in another universe, on Earth-92131). Some of those mutants evolved so much they became Celestials, as we learn in the X-Men ‘92 Vol. 2 #9.
Finally, we have the Creation Constellation, a mysterious cosmic device that two human scientists discovered. In Domino: Hotshots #3, their interaction with the Creation Constellation turns both of them into Celestials.
As you can see, there are many ways that Celestials can come into being. Also, all their minds are linked with one another via quantum telepathy, meaning that no matter where they are in the cosmos, they can always communicate with each other. While we don’t know the exact number of Celestials at the moment, we can safely assume that there are many and more to come.
How Many Celestials Are There In The MCU?
The origins of the Celestials are the same in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as they are in the comics. However, we still haven’t seen many of them have significant roles in the MCU, but the new Eternals movie might change that quickly.
So far, the MCU encountered one true living Celestial, and that was Ego the Living Planet. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie, Ego is an evil Celestial trying to wipe all life forms clean from existence but himself.
However, he needs the power of two Celestials to accomplish the feat, so he tries to use his son, Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord), to help him, but Quill refuses and ultimately kills Ego. He’s actually the second living Celestial we’ve seen in the MCU.
However, Star-Lord was only a human-Celestial hybrid, and he lost his powers after he killed Ego, so we can’t consider him a true Celestial.
Another dead Celestial appeared in several MCU movies so far. When the Sixth Cosmos had been destroyed, a primordial god called Knull lived in the void called the Abyss. However, the Celestials created the Seventh Cosmos, destroying his beloved darkness, so he severed the head of one of the Celestials.
That head kept floating around the universe, having massive amounts of energy in it, and it was later developed into Knowhere. Yes, the planet we see several times in the MCU movies isn’t really a planet, but a severed head of a Celestial.
The only other Celestial we’ve seen is Eson the Searcher in Guardians of the Galaxy. But, he only appeared as a flashback for a few seconds, shown using the Power Stone to annihilate “unworthy” planets.
The Eternals movie, coming out on November 5th, 2021, will feature more Celestials and potentially make their role in the MCU a lot bigger.
As we know from the trailer and other announcements, we’ll meet Arishem the Judge as the leader of the Celestials, who deems a civilization or a planet worthy or unworthy of survival. The aforementioned Eson the Searcher, Hargen the Measurer, Jemiah the Analyzer, and Nezarr the Calculator.
Eson, Hargen, Jemiah, and Nezarr are all Arishem’s subordinates, and we may get to see even more Celestials in the Eternals movie or the future of the MCU Phase 4.