The Deaf Hero of Eternals leads to a greater interest in learning sign language

A new study finds that Eternals’ Makkari, the first deaf superhero, has led to a 250% increase in the number of people trying to learn sign language.

eternal‘The deaf hero Makkari has created an increase in the number of people who wish to learn sign language. Released last week with very mixed critical reviews but generally better public reviews, eternal was able to get the second-best global box office opening of 2021, coming just behind F9. The film tells the story of a group of immortal aliens known as the Eternals who, after living in secret on Earth for thousands of years, must come out to defeat an evil force known as the Deviants.

eternal marks several firsts for the MCU, both because it features the franchise’s first-ever sex scene, but also because it debuts Marvel’s first deaf superhero, Makkari. Played by deaf actor Lauren Ridloff, Makkari communicates with sign language and possesses superpowers that include superhuman speed, strength and reflexes. Many fans will recognize Ridloff from her role as Connie on The walking dead, which was introduced in the ninth season of the series in 2018.

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According to a new study by Preply (via The independent), the buzz around Makkari as Marvel’s first deaf superhero has led to an increase in the number of people interested in learning sign language. The study cites a 250% increase in searches for “learning sign language for beginners” in the past year as eternal‘the marketing campaign has started. While the study doesn’t include information on how many people actually started learning sign language, it does show that the film and Ridloff’s character directly contributed to a significant increase in the number of people interested.

Makkari and Druig Romance in Eternals

Ridloff herself has also seen a 550% spike in research activity since November 1, and searches for “first deaf superhero” have doubled since this time last year. Evidently, while the film may have failed to impress critics, Ridloff’s character clearly had an effect on people. Makkari’s introduction is a milestone for Marvel as well, even if there isn’t a second eternal film, it seems likely that Makkari will appear in other MCU films.

The rise in people trying to learn sign language shows just how powerful Marvel movies can be today. By giving a platform to a previously underrepresented group in cinema, eternal has already made a positive impact on the world, regardless of how well the film actually works as an entry into the ongoing MCU saga. Hopefully, Marvel will continue to feature underrepresented groups of people in their future films, and that these casting decisions may also translate, at a minimum, into a desire to learn more about different lifestyles, cultures and disabilities. To watch Makkari in action, fans can check out eternal, which is now airing in theaters across North America.

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Source: Preply (via The independent)

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