Skip to main content

Harry Styles' Eros of the Eternals has one of the most disturbing histories in Marvel comics

Harry Styles's Eros
Harry Styles's Eros (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Harry Styles is in the MCU. 

Marvel's Eternals has been in theaters a few weeks, and with the cosmic odyssey, the population of a new race of superpowered beings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is revealed.

official Eternals Eros character poster (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

And while some of that population was pared down during the events of the film, it turns out there are more Eternals in the MCU, including Styles' Eros, AKA Starfox, who got his surprise introduction in a gasp-inducing mid-credits scene.

If the world didn't already know about the MCU adding the musician-actor-on-his-way-to-cultural icon to its ranks, Marvel Studios just released an official Eros character poster to make sure they did. So spoilers off... 

In comic books, there's a whole other society of ancient Eternals who hail from Saturn's moon Titan - including everyone's favorite big bad MCU villain Thanos, and his brother Eros, a sometimes-member of the Avengers.

By now, everyone knows who Thanos is. And thanks to Avengers: Endgame, viewers have also gotten a glimpse of his past and even the wreckage of his homeworld of Titan. But the rest of his family - and we mean his actual blood relations, not his adopted daughters Nebula and Gamora - remained a mystery in the MCU.

Not anymore...

One of Eternals' two credits stingers introduces Styles making his heartthrob debut alongside Patton Oswalt as Pip the Troll, another cosmic adventurer from wider Marvel Comics lore. 

Pip describes Eros as "the Royal Prince of Titan, brother of Thanos, the Knave of Hearts, defeater of Black Roger, the great adventurer, Starfox."

So who is Eros, and how does he connect not just to the cosmic saga of Thanos and the Eternals, but to the new generation of Avengers growing in the MCU? We'll explain it all right now.

Who is Eros of the Eternals?

image of Eros of the Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Born on Saturn's moon Titan, home to a population of Eternals all its own, Eros is the biological brother of Thanos the Mad Titan. Unlike his brother Thanos who was born with the genetic markers of the Eternals' ancient enemies the Deviants, Eros spent most of his youth as a libertine adventurer, taking lovers and finding mischief rather than worrying over his increasingly violent brother's misdeeds.

In fact, Eros was originally named Eron by his parents, but when his penchant for romance and sexuality was discovered in his youth, they renamed him 'Eros' in honor of the Greek god of love from actual human mythology. 

Interestingly enough, the name Thanos is also derived from the Greek word for the personification of death, 'Thanatos,' meaning that the brothers are effectively named Love and Death - names that correspond with their respective obsessions.

Eros isn't the only name used by the Eternal either, as he's often gone by the name Starfox, given to him by the Avengers, when operating as a superhero among the people of Earth (though that name has become much less prevalent since the character's 1972 debut in Iron Man #55, thanks to Nintendo's Star Fox video game franchise).

Eros' carefree attitudes changed when Thanos went on a destructive rampage across Titan, killing many of the world's population of Eternals, including his own mother.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Though the circumstances of the story aren't quite the same as what's been explained about Thanos' past in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the results are similar: Titan and its population are left devastated and in ruins, with Thanos going on to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet as part of his plan to wreak his destruction throughout the entire universe.

Following Thanos' attack, Eros becomes a more somewhat more serious person, eventually finding a friend and ally in Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel, and his own allies the Avengers in their first major fight against Thanos. After Thanos' initial defeat by Mar-Vell and the Avengers, Eros winds up falling in with the Avengers as a full member of the team, taking up the aforementioned superhero codename Starfox.

Eros stuck with the Avengers as Starfox for a time, before his wanderlust and constant desire for new romantic conquests became too much, and he returned to his spacefaring adventures. Over the years since, he's rejoined the Avengers for a mission here and there a few times, usually when Thanos enters the picture.

Most recently, in the story Guardians of the Galaxy: The Final Gauntlet, Eros' body was almost taken over by the consciousness of his then-dead brother Thanos, leading Thanos' adopted daughter (and therefore Eros' adopted niece) Gamora to stab him in an attempt to prevent Thanos' resurrection.

Sadly, Thanos returned anyway, and Eros has so far remained dead.

What are Eros' powers?

image of Eros of the Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

We won't lie to you. When it comes to Eros' actual super powers, they're more than a little problematic and kinda creepy - and the implications of that creepiness have been explored directly on the page in Marvel Comics.

So what can Eros actually do? 

Well, in addition to the usual Eternal powers of long life, super strength and toughness, and other general superhuman qualities, Eros specifically has the power to psionically stimulate the pleasure centers of the brains of living beings - with all the weirdness and potential abuses that entails.

In comic books, Eros has been depicted as using this power to manipulate peoples' perceptions of him and others, to cause them such physical bliss that they're unable to move and become paralyzed, to form psychic bonds between people, and yes, horrifically, even to coerce people into sexual acts.

If that last bit sticks out to you, it stuck out to Marvel Comics too - to the point that in 2006's She-Hulk #6, Eros is actually put on trial for sexual assault due to allegations that he used his powers to seduce and assault a married woman. Eros is represented by his former Avengers teammate She-Hulk, with whom he shared a sexual tryst in their time as teammates, due to the law firm she was working for at the time taking on villainous clients, much to her chagrin.

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

During the trial, Eros is removed from the courtroom after being accused of using his powers to manipulate the jury into his favor. While being cross-examined by She-Hulk in a remote location, Eros refuses to answer questions about whether he used his powers on her when they were sexually involved, leading She-Hulk to beat him to a pulp after realizing she may have been coerced by his powers.

Thanos shows up, along with he and Eros' father Mentor, demanding a trial be conducted in accordance with the rules of the Eternals, as Eros is a citizen of Titan, not of Earth. In the course of the trial, it's revealed that while Eros didn't use his powers on She-Hulk to seduce her, he did use his powers to make her fall in love with John Jameson (son of J. Jonah Jameson). 

At the same time, in the course of the trial, Thanos tricks Eros into believing that Eros is responsible for Thanos' obsession with the embodiment of Death through the use of his powers, meaning that he'd also be indirectly responsible for Thanos' murderous actions.

Though this is a lie meant to hurt Eros, Thanos' manipulation, combined with the evidence against him that he has a habit of using his powers to do harm to people, leads Eros to ask the psychic Avenger Moondragon to psionically shut down his powers, which she does - though he's later seen using them again without a clear explanation.

Eros in the MCU

image of Eros of the Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

With the Eternals now having debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe - and with Thanos having long been a presence - it seems that more branches of the Eternals family tree could be introduced in the MCU in future films. 

Adding Eros to the MCU could bring in some complicating elements for the legacy of Thanos as a villain, or even possibly provide a path for his return, as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Final Gauntlet. And he could also make for an interesting if potentially troublesome teammate for a future Avengers roster.

Speaking of which, the newest generation of MCU heroes is shaping up to look a lot like the Avengers team that Eros was a part of when he was using the name Starfox, including She-Hulk, Black Knight (who has the beginnings of his own MCU superhero origin in Eternals), and Monica Rambeau. 

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

That could mean that when he (and Styles) returns to the screen, Eros could be the perfect member of a new Avengers roster to add a touch of cosmic flair, and an unexpected connection to the larger legacy of the original team.

All of that said, any attempt to adapt Eros - especially as a hero, let alone an Avenger - is likely to include a major revision to his powers and history. Marvel Comics already balked at Eros' incredibly problematic powers over a decade ago, and Marvel Studios is likely more than keen to follow suit, especially with Harry Styles in tow.

Eternals is now in theaters.

Eros' Marvel Comics death appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy: The Final Gauntlet, one of the best Guardians of the Galaxy stories of all time.

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)