Original reporting by Rosie Knight
The Eternals have landed! And with them comes a 7,000 years in the making recontextualization of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While there’s lots to pick apart from Chloé Zhao’s epic sci-fi flick, we’re here to talk about the newest addition to the MCU, Eros, a.k.a Starfox.
Introduced in one of Eternals‘ two post-credits scenes, Eros—played by Harry Styles(!??!)—has the internet talking. So let’s talk about this unexpected new cosmic addition to the MCU and what it means for the world going forward.
Who Is Eros?
Let’s talk about the purple elephant in the room: Eros is Thanos’ brother. The legendary Iron Man #55 (1973) introduced both characters. Jim Starlin, Mike Friedrich, Mike Esposito, and John Costanza were the team behind the introduction. It’s an epic cosmic tale for the ages. Both first appear as Drax the Destroyer explains his feud with their father, Mentor, and the Titans. Who knew that one panel would change the fate of the Marvel universe forever? Later, Tony faces down with Thanos but Eros is left in Drax’s flashback narration of the past… until he returned in Captain Marvel #27.
In classic Jim Starlin fashion, the issue continues his cosmic odyssey by just folding Captain Marvel into the action. This is our first real introduction to Eros, a.k.a. Starfox. He’s “the man of love” and an all round adventurer. And, along with his father Mentor, is apparently trying to stop Thanos after he destroyed their home planet and became the Mad Titan. In Warlock #12, Eros gets a gag appearance that further establishes his powers. After an entire issue that sees Pip the Troll trying to save a hot alien sex worker named Heater, Eros shows up and she just leaves with Eros. He’s just that smokin’ and sexy… plus his powers might help a little.
What Are Eros’ Powers?
This is where things get extremely weird, and why we focused on Eros’ origin when we were introducing him. In a retroactive reveal, Eros is the child of two Eternals, an Eternal of Earth and an Eternal of Titan. This gives him all the classic Eternals powers like immortality, super strength, psionic abilities, and more. But he’s most well known for using those powers as a way to manipulate and seduce women. In Dan Slott’s fan favorite 2005 She-Hulk series, Eros went on trial for sexual assault. She-Hulk herself defended him until she realized he may have been using those powers on her too. Basically, Eros is most well known for being a skeeze, which we’re sure the MCU will reimagine. It also does introduce an interesting potential crossover for the upcoming series…
Who Are Eros’ Other MCU Connections?
Seeing as he is the brother of Thanos, that makes Eros the uncle of Gamora and Nebula. In the comics, he’s actually Nebula’s great uncle—as she is Thanos’ granddaughter—and it’s a relevant point because in those comics Eros has sought her out because of it. We could see him aiming for a similar family reunion in the MCU, especially as his brother is dead. Another huge part of Eros’ backstory is Captain Marvel. The pair had numerous interactions and adventures. While the MCU’s Mar-Vell iteration is dead, Eros’ connection to the Kree will likely come into play. Especially count on this as we embark on the Secret Invasion of it all.
We also can’t forget that Adam Warlock was recently cast in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. In the comics, Thanos, Eros, and Warlock regularly encounter each other as both allies and foes. Could we be witnessing the birth of a beautiful new frenemyship in the MCU?
Under the alias Starfox, Eros also served alongside the Avengers, joining in issue #232. That’s definitely something we could see here, what with the classic MCU team now essentially defunct. It also seems particularly relevant that he was part of Roger Stern’s Monica Rambeau era of Avengers. Could we see an iteration of that cosmic team coming to our screens soon? Ultron also attacked Titan when Starfox has been in charge of the planet, so after seeing the Infinity version in What If…? Maybe he’ll return. Basically, Eros has reopened the cosmos of the Marvel Universe and now anything goes.
Most recently, Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore noted, “We didn’t cast Harry for a tag… (There’s) more stories to be told with that character.” And added, “He has an interesting connection with Thanos; they’re half-brothers and share the same father… He’s a complicated character, but a really fun character.” Make of that what you will.
What Does Eros’ Arrival Mean for the MCU?
The biggest takeaway here is that we haven’t seen the last of Thanos. While introducing a big stunt casting in a deep-cut role is par for the course for Marvel, Eros is only really relevant in the MCU as the brother of Thanos. Ever since Avengers: Endgame, we’ve wondered if the movies would follow the comics and reintroduce Thanos. It’s something that has been done time and time again, and was even hinted at in the recent What If…? series.
Thanos’ most famous arc began with a resurrection at the hands of none other than Death herself. In Silver Surfer #34 by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim, the Mad Titan was reborn anew. Eros, of course, appeared soon after and became entwined with his brother’s journey to collect the Infinity Gems.
It seems unlikely that Eros would arrive without a new iteration of Thanos in our MCU future. The only question now is which version of the Titan we’ll see. For now, all we can do is wait to see more from the hero.
Originally published on November 5, 2021.