Did you watch Eternals in Cineworld over the weekend? If so, you've surely got questions about the mid and post-credits sequences. In this feature, we're addressing the former scene, which showcases the arrival of a pop-culture megastar within the MCU. (Keep your eyes peeled for our post-credits breakdown.)
The latest Marvel Studios movie is another stepping stone in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Nomadland director Chloé Zhao marshals the sweeping story of the Eternals and their ongoing quest to protect mankind.
The climax of the movie also leaves us speculating as to the future of the MCU, seeing as it's set to go to infinity and beyond. Scroll down to find out more.
WARNING: ETERNALS SPOILERS AHEAD
What happens at the end of Eternals?
Betrayed by Ikaris (Richard Madden), who remains fanatically loyal to his creator, the Celestial known as Arishem, the remaining Eternals must band together. The Earth is being used as an incubator to breed another all-powerful Celestial being, a process known as the Emergence. This is a pattern that has been repeated with planets across the galaxy since time immemorial; the Eternals didn't know about it due to having their memories wiped.
Ultimately, the compassionate Sersi (Gemma Chan) finds the inner strength to defeat the emergent Celestial, growing into her role as the new Eternals leader after the murder of Ajak (Salma Hayek) at the hands of Ikaris. Sersi is then apprehended by the vengeful Arishem for breaking the Celestial code of conduct, stipulating that the Eternals must never interfere with the Emergence. She is captured along with fellow Eternals Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani), Sprite (Lia McHugh) and Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry).
The remaining group members, Thena (Angelina Jolie), Druig (Barry Keoghan) and Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), have already departed Earth on their spaceship the Domo, on their way to rescue their fellow Eternals. However, they are interrupted by the arrival of a goblin-like creature named Pip (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who heralds the arrival of his master Starfox AKA Eros. As some handy exposition makes clear, this is the rakish, handsome brother of the notorious MCU villain Thanos (Josh Brolin), who was responsible for obliterating half of all life in the universe with the Infinity Stones. He promises to take the Eternals to their kidnapped friends, after which we cut to black.
Who plays Eros in the Eternals mid-credits scene?
That would be pop superstar, fashion icon and occasional actor, Harry Styles.
Why did director Chloé Zhao cast Harry Styles as Eros?
Quite simply because he is the character. Zhao tells Deadline: "Harry as Eros was very much a package deal for me. I pitched the idea of Pip the Troll [voiced by Patton Oswald in Eternals] and Eros to Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios boss] a while back, and I love the idea of exploring an Eternal who is beyond Titan and who may have influenced Thanos throughout the years the same way Eternals influenced us, earthlings."
She continues: "And then, it wasn’t like I suggested Eros, and let’s go find actors. I kept tabs on Harry since Dunkirk, I thought he was very interesting. After meeting him I realised he is that character – the same way I cast the rest of my cast. There’s so much of Eros in him. For me, if he says yes, and Kevin says yes, then it’s a go. And I’m very happy they both did."
OK... so who is Eros?
As mentioned, he's the sibling of Thanos. However, Eros (created by Jim Starlin) is cut from a very different cloth. As per the Marvel comics, Eros and his brother hail from the planet Titan; however, both the former and his father Mentor were pacifists, while Thanos grew up to become militant and violent. He was eventually exiled from his home planet after Eros and Mentor rose up against him.
In the comics, it was also revealed that Thanos, Eros and Mentor belonged to a sect of Eternals who left Earth to seek life elsewhere. Thanos also has deviant DNA with him, the subsequent mutation explaining his purple skin. Eros, however, retained his human appearance, leading to much resentment between the brothers.
In terms of his residual character, the hedonistic Eros is a lover and a charmer, not necessarily a fighter, although he has been known to take up arms and fight for a noble cause. Whether he remains as a good guy in the MCU remains to be seen. Certainly, Styles' flirtatious and boyish demeanour (accompanied by the strains of Foreigner's 'Feels Like the First Time') play up the hedonistic aspects of Eros' personality.
Will Eros appear in Eternals 2?
We don't even know if Eternals 2 will be made. Producer Nate Moore told The Toronto Sun: "It’s not something that is a must-have. Obviously, we have ideas of where we could go, but there isn’t a hard and fast rule where we have to have three of these things and this is the first."
Clearly, there's no chance of Eternals 2 slotting in with the rest of Marvel Phase Four. We'd imagine it would become a key chapter in Marvel Phase Five, opening up different branches of the galaxy and allowing Eros and his backstory to play more of a role. It would no doubt create some interesting dramatic conflict with the former Avengers collective, given Eros' familial bond with the tyrannical Thanos.
Will a future Marvel movie rake over the history between Eros and Thanos? It would be an effective way of re-establishing (however briefly) Josh Brolin, who was acclaimed for his chilling performance as the evil Titan. It might also provide the first leading man role for Styles who until now has only been seen in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk.
And let's not forget about Pip who was also created by Jim Starlin. In the original comics, he shared history with Adam Warlock, who will be played by Will Poulter in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. An Eternals/Guardians crossover may be the clearest indication as to the development of the Eternals storyline.
What is the next movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Spider-Man: No Way Home is the next Marvel movie, and is due for release on 17th December 2021.