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Eternals’ post-credit scene brings the Marvel universe back to Thanos

Here’s how Harry Styles fits into theoretical sequel plans

For months, rumors have swirled that a certain celebrity would make their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Chloe Zhao’s Eternals, and now, thanks to the movie’s post-credit scenes, we know for certain.

The MCU’s latest addition hearkens back to Thanos and potentially forward to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Exactly how they play in isn’t certain, but Marvel comics history provides some explanation. Let’s break down this surprise reveal.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Eternals.]

Is Harry Styles really in Eternals as Eros?

Harry Styles “Harryween” Fancy Dress Party playing a guitar (but not in Eternals, that would be super weird actually) Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for HS

Yep! In what’s become standard operating procedure for Marvel movies, Eternals has two bonus post-credit scenes for people who stick around in the theater: a final post-credits scene that teases an entirely new hero coming to the MCU, and a mid-credits scene that just adds a little more to the movie’s main story.

In the mid-credits scene, Eternals Druig, Thena, and Makkari are hanging out in space in their ship, worrying about their compatriots, who were snatched off Earth by their angry robot overlord. Suddenly, Makkari and Thena sense something and go on the alert, just in time to see a character new to the MCU teleport in: Pip the Troll, who appears to be drunk, cheerful, and ready for his gig as hypeman to “the mighty Starfox.”

After a big enthusiastic verbal windup, Pip teleports Starfox — aka Eros, aka Thanos’ brother — onto the ship as well. The Eternals are poised to attack, but Starfox, played by Harry Styles, reassures them: “We’re here to help! Your friends are in a lot of trouble … and we know where to find them.” And he produces his own version of the little glowing cosmic-energy ball that Ajak and Sersi used to communicate with their Celestial creator Arishem, implying that he, too, is a mouthpiece for a Celestial.

Who is Starfox in Marvel Comics?

Starfox/Eros cozies up to a paramedic on the sidelines of a battle scene. “Shouldn’t you be helping the other Avengers?” she asks as he leans in for a kiss in Avengers #233 (1983). Image: Roger Stern, John Byrne/Marvel Comics

The most important element of Starfox (in Marvel Comics, not the Nintendo franchise of the same name) is his family. Yes, he’s Thanos’ brother. Yes, that Thanos. Starfox’s given name is Eros, and he is an opposite reflection of Thanos in almost every way, a theme in line with writer-artist Jim Starlin’s intention to create two characters who represented the semi-Freudian concepts of Thanatos and Eros, or death and desire.

In the comics, Eros is a carefree womanizer who lives life to hedonistic excess and never takes anything too seriously, in stark contrast to his brother, a conniving, manipulative schemer who’s literally in love with Death.

In the comics, Starfox’s powers feed into his personality — he’s an Eternal, the son of an Eternal from Earth and another from Saturn’s moon Titan. This gives him the general enhanced physiology of an Eternal: superhuman strength, speed, you know the drill. He can fly, manipulate gravity and matter, and regenerate, too. But his most notable power is his psychic ability, which enables him to stimulate the pleasure centers of people’s brains, making them aroused, euphoric, or even sedated.

While his superpower is inherently manipulative, Starfox tries his best to be a hero. But his abilities have often caused friction with teams he’s been part of, including the Avengers. His relationship with Thanos also places him in a position of immediate importance in the Marvel Universe, something the MCU is certain to replicate.

Who is Pip the Troll? (And who does the voice?)

Pip the Troll, with his characteristic pointed ears and only-a-loincloth style, chomps a cigar and crouches by a broken window in Infinity Gauntlet #2 (1991). Image: Jim Starlin, George Pérez/Marvel Comics

Maybe even more surprising than Harry Styles as Starfox is Patton Oswalt as the voice of Pip the Troll.

In Marvel Comics, Pip is an unsuspecting alien prince who — you know what, it’s not really that important. He’s short, he’s quippy, and smokes cigars. Exiled from his kingdom, Pip was caught in the middle of a conflict between Adam Warlock and his evil double, Magus, and he befriended Warlock. It’s one of many grand cosmic conflicts Pip lands in, including Thanos’ quest to find the Infinity Gems, during which Pip gains possession of the Space Gem.

Pip’s main superpower, as showcased in Eternals, is a leftover effect of his time with the Space Gem. He’s able to teleport himself and others across vast distances, and can locate anyone, no matter where they are. He’s also got superhuman strength, noted as being able to lift 10 tons.

Starfox and Pip’s appearance in the MCU seems like it’s setting up a further Eternals story, as they promise to help out with locating the missing Eternals protagonists. But it’s not out of the question that Pip or Starfox could show up in James Gunn’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. The second Guardians movie ended on a tease of Adam Warlock and Magus, and Pip’s connection with them makes him very likely to appear wherever they do next. Gamora is also a major part of Adam Warlock’s saga, so replacing the version of her who loved Star-Lord with a fresh Gamora from a different timeline may have been a way to reset her to better fit into this storyline.

Either way, both Pip and Starfox are connected to Thanos, making them key parts of any potential followup to Thanos’ death (twice over!) in Avengers: Endgame.