Celestial (comics)

"Celestials" redirects here. For other uses of "Celestial", see Celestial (disambiguation).

The Celestial Fourth Host (left to right):
Hargen, Tefral, Nezzar, Gammenon, Arishem, Jemiah, Eson, Oneg, and Ziran.
Scene from Thor #300 (October 1980).
Art by Keith Pollard.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Eternals #2 (July 1976)
Created by Jack Kirby
Place of origin Unknown
Notable members List of Celestials members
Inherent abilities Capable of virtually any effect

The Celestials are a group of fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics.

Immensely powerful and of huge humanoid shape, the Celestials are some of the oldest entities in the Marvel Comics universe. They debuted in the Bronze Age of Comic Books and have appeared in Marvel publications for four decades. They also appear in various forms of merchandise such as trading cards.

Publication history

The Celestials debuted in Eternals #1 (July 1976) and were created by writer-artist Jack Kirby. They reappeared as regular guest stars in three subsequent limited series sequels: Eternals vol. 2, #1 - 12 (October 1985 - September 1986), Eternals vol. 3, #1 - 7 (August 2006 - February 2007), and Eternals vol. 4, #1 - 9 (August 2008 - May 2009).

The characters have also been featured in other titles, including the "Celestial Saga" storyline in Thor Annual #7 (1978), Thor #283 – 300 (May 1979 - October 1980), Thor #387 – 389 (January–March 1988), Quasar #24 (July 1991), Fantastic Four #400 (May 1995), X-Factor #43-46 (August–November 1989) and #48-50 (December 1989 x 2 - January 1990).

Fictional team history

Celestials existed near the birth of the universe and created life and death along with the multiverse.[1] There were once billions of them, until their hegemony was challenged by a species known only as the "Aspirants", who went to war against them by creating a now-lost hyper weapon called the "Godkiller", a space-borne 25,000 foot (7,600 m) tall humanoid robot that dwarfs even the Celestials themselves.[2] After a bitter war of attrition, during which the Godkiller destroyed countless Celestials, the Aspirants and the Godkiller were ultimately defeated and the Aspirants wiped out.[3] New Celestials may be born by consuming the mass of an entire galaxy.[4] Visiting Earth every few thousand years in groups called "Hosts", the group is revealed to have been responsible for the creation of the Eternals and the Deviants, and, via genetic manipulation, the existence of superpowers in mutants.[5]

Resenting the presence of the Celestials and their monitoring of Earth's progress, the Skyfather figures of Earth (i.e. Odin, Zeus) attempted to stop the Third Host, but were quickly outmatched. The Skyfathers then developed a convoluted plan to stop the Fourth Host via the use of the Odinsword and Destroyer armour, but once again the Celestials—although also opposed by Odin's son Thor—prevented the offensive and melted the Destroyer armour into slag, scattering the Asgardians' life forces. Thor threw the Odinsword through Arishem's chest, but he removed it, analyzed it, and then vaporized it. The Earthmothers (such as Frigga and Hera) of Earth, however, made an offering of twelve perfect humans, which was accepted and the planet was spared judgment.[6] The judgment process was eventually witnessed by Thor, who observed Celestial Arishem the Judge sending an execution code to Exitar the Exterminator, a 20,000-foot (6,100 m) tall Celestial who carried out Arishem's "sentence". Exitar terraforms the planet in question into a garden paradise, with only the "evil" inhabitants having been destroyed.[7] On one occasion, the hero Quasar observes a race completely failing the genetic test, with every living creature being destroyed with their planet.[8]

The Celestials' actions conflicted with the policy of "non-interference" practiced by fellow cosmic entities the Watchers, with the two races becoming enemies.[9] The Celestials and their "opposites", a group of entities known as the Horde, are established as instruments of an entity referred to as The Fulcrum, their purpose to be "instruments of the planting/creation/teeming of the universe".[10]

A team of space adventurers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, find and use as a base the severed head of a Celestial floating in an area of space known as "The Rip". Dubbed "Knowhere", the structure also acts as a common port of call (complete with a market and bar) for travelers from all points in the space-time continuum. The base is administered by its chief of security, Cosmo, a telepathic and telekinetic Soviet space dog originally lost in Earth orbit in the 1960s. Courtesy of the deceased Celestial's "Continuum Cortex", travelers with special "passport" bracelets can teleport to any point in the universe instantaneously.[11][12]

During the "Time Runs Out" storyline, the Beyonders are revealed to have killed all the Celestials in each reality across the multiverse.[13]


Powers and abilities

Referred to as "space gods" by the Eternals and the Deviants, the Celestials appear as silent, armored humanoids with an average height of 2,000 feet (610 m).[15] They are capable of feats such as reducing the Asgardian construct known as the Destroyer to slag,[16] moving planets at will,[17] and creating and containing entire pocket universes.[18] Reed Richards theorized that the Celestials' source of power was Hyperspace itself – the source of all energy in the Marvel Universe. The characters are almost totally invulnerable, and have only been harmed in rare instances[19][20] before instantly regenerating.[21] The first known assassination of a Celestial was carried out by the Apocalypse Twins,[22] who used the axe "Jarnbjorn", divinely enchanted to pierce Celestial armor,[23] against the Celestial Gardener. The now-lost hyperweapon Godkiller, a space-borne humanoid robot which dwarfs even the Celestials themselves, was claimed to have destroyed Celestials literally by the billions.[24]

Thanos wielding the Infinity Gauntlet ranked the Celestials as being on roughly the same scale of power as Galactus, the Stranger, Odin, and Zeus, but below that of Mistress Love, Lord Chaos, and Master Order.[25]

Other versions

The characters also appear in the 1999 alternate universe limited series Earth X, appearing as beings of energy encased in armor composed of vibranium, a metal with properties that prevent their dissipation. They reproduce by planting a fragment of their essence in a planet, which matures into a new Celestial over the course of eons. As a form of protection of that growing Celestial, its "parents" would manipulate the DNA of a planets dominant life form to gain super-abilities and unknowingly act as antibodies, protecting the planet until the Celestial is born. The cosmic entity Galactus opposes them, devouring planets that incubate Celestial "eggs" to prevent the Celestials from overpopulating the universe.[26]

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, the Celestials are a race of powerful Asian metahumans led by Shen Xorn.[27]

In the alternate reality of the 1998 miniseries Mutant X, the Celestials openly opposed the Goblin Entity, an all powerful being that consumed entire galaxies and the polar opposite of the Phoenix Force. While they were ultimately successful in imprisoning their enemy, they eventually died from the wounds they sustained during the battle and the Goblin Entity managed to escape its prison several years later by attaching itself to the life force of Madelyne Pryor.[28]

The Celestials of Earth-4280 were convinced they were gods and attempted to conquer the Multiverse by use of the Bridge, a device created by Reed Richards that allows its users to observe and enter alternate worlds.[29] They were defeated by the combined forces of Galactus and a Franklin Richards from an alternate future.[30]

In other media

Live action

Marvel Cinematic Universe

The severed head of a deceased Celestial appears in the 2014 feature film Guardians of the Galaxy. The head is used as a congregation hub for space travelers known as Knowhere.[31] As in the comics the origin and nature of the Celestials are shrouded in mystery. Whatever was known about them is known only to a few, such as Taneleer Tivan, who reveals that the Celestials utilized the Infinity Stone known as the Orb as a means of execution against those who wronged them. The Celestial shown in the Hologram on Knowhere is that of Eson the Searcher.[32]

X-Men: Apocalypse

In the film, ancient mutant and title-villain En Sabah Nur enhances his own body with Celestial technology.


The Celestials are mentioned in the Avengers Assemble episode "Widow's Run". Rocket Raccoon lists them as one of the species that will soon be coming to Earth to claim the Infinity Stones.


  1. Astonishing X-Men #61 (June 2013). Marvel Comics
  2. Iron Man Vol. 5 #11 - 18. Marvel Comics
  3. Iron Man vol. 6 #13. Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics
  4. Thor #424 (October 1990). Marvel Comics
  5. Eternals #1 – 12 (July 1976 – June 1977). Marvel Comics
  6. Thor Annual #7 (1978), Thor #283 – 300 (May 1979 - October 1980). Marvel Comics
  7. Thor #387 – 389 (January–March 1988). Marvel Comics
  8. Quasar #24 (July 1991). Marvel Comics
  9. Fantastic Four #400 (May 1995)
  10. Eternals vol.4, #2 (September 2008). Marvel Comics
  11. Inside Look: Guardians of the Galaxy #1 by DnA, Broken Frontier, May 21, 2008
  12. Nova vol. 4, #8 (January 2008). Marvel Comics
  13. New Avengers vol. 3 #30 (April 2015). Marvel Comics
  14. Uncanny Avengers #7 (2013)
  15. Eternals #1 (July 1976)
  16. Thor #300 (October 1980)
  17. Infinity Gauntlet #5 (1991)
  18. Heroes Reborn: The Return #1–4 (1997)
  19. Fantastic Four #400 (May 1985)
  20. Thor #387 (February 1988)
  21. Eternals vol. 3, #3 (August 2006)
  22. Uncanny Avengers #7 (2013)
  23. Uncanny Avengers #6 (2013)
  24. Iron Man vol.6 #13
  25. Thanos Annual #1 (2014)
  26. Earth X #0 (March 1999); #0.5 (January 2000); #1-10 (April 1999 - January 2000); #11-12 (March–April 2000); #13 (June 2000)
  27. Ultimate Comics: Ultimates #5
  28. Mutant X #12. Marvel Comics
  29. FF #14. Marvel Comics
  30. Fantastic Four #604. Marvel Comics
  31. Truitt, Brian (February 17, 2014). "'Guardians of the Galaxy' crew comes down to Earth". USA Today.
  32. Cornet, Roth (November 13, 2014). "Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Director James Gunn Says 'We're Not Here to Service The Avengers or Infinity War'". IGN.
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