Here's what Harry Styles' 'Eternals' introduction means for the MCU

Tracy Brown
Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Editor's note: This story contains spoilers for the movie "Eternals."

If a certain former boy bander's appearance in the "Eternals" mid-credits scene came as a surprise, congratulations: you probably have an enviably healthier relationship with the internet than the rest of us.

(And if you left the theater when the credits started to roll, congratulations on your first ever trip to the movies.)

In typical Marvel Cinematic Universe fashion, "Eternals" features a couple of post-credits bonus scenes that tease future installments of the franchise. Picking up some time after the events of the movie's main story, the first of these two scenes introduces a pair of new faces to the MCU. The foxier of the two is played by "Watermelon Sugar" crooner Harry Styles — whose long-rumored involvement in something Marvel was spoiled well before "Eternals" made its official debut — and his furry, diminutive companion is voiced by Patton Oswalt.

Of Styles' casting, director Zhao told Deadline, "Harry as Eros was very much a package deal for me ... After meeting him I realized he is that character — the same way I cast the rest of my cast. There's so much of Eros in him."

Harry Styles, seen at the Grammy Awards in March, makes an appearance during the end credits of "Eternals."

Spoilers: "Eternals" ends with half of the team choosing to remain on Earth, while the rest head back to space aboard their ship the Domo. Unfortunately for the Eternals, the Celestial Arishem is not at all pleased that they chose to stop the emergence of another Celestial in order to save humanity, so he plucks Sersi (Gemma Chan), Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and Kingo (Kumail Nanjiani) off of Earth to experience his wrath.

Cruising aboard the Domo are Thena (Angelina Jolie), Makkari (Lauren Ridloff) and Druig (Barry Keoghan). But the trio are suddenly joined by a curious-looking CGI fellow named Pip (Oswalt), who goes through a long list of accolades as he introduces the "Royal Prince of Titan" and "Thanos' brother" Eros (Styles).

Eros knows the Earthbound Eternals are in trouble, but luckily he knows how to find them.

Who is Eros? Making his first comic book appearance in an "Iron Man" No. 55 (1973), Eros is an adventurer whose interests have been known to lie in the pursuit of sensual pleasures. In the comics, he is an Eternal raised on Titan and Thanos' younger brother whose powers include enhances strength, flight and the power to control people's emotions.

That last power could be a bit problematic in terms of consent, which was touched on in some comic book storylines (such as one where he was put on trial for sexual assault). He was also known for being physically attractive, to set him even more apart from his brother Thanos.

Eros picked up the alias Starfox when he joined the Avengers. Besides Thanos, Eros/Starfox has shared storylines with characters such as Mar-Vell (from "Captain Marvel"), Monica Rambeau, She-Hulk, Gamora and Pip the Troll.

Who is Pip the Troll? Pip makes his first comic book appearance in "Strange Tales" No. 179 (1975). Born Pip Gofern, he was originally a prince of the planet Laxidazia, but was transformed into his current appearance after imbibing some hallucinogenic ale, as one is wont to do. Both Pip and Eros are creations of Jim Starlin.

Besides Eros, comic book Pip is affiliated with Adam Warlock, who called on him to help defeat Thanos before the Mad Titan used the Infinity Gems (aka Infinity Stones) to wreck the universe. Pip was given the Space stone (which in the MCU movies is the one that was in the Tessaract) and gained the power to teleport anywhere in the universe.

In the comic books, Pip has also been involved in storylines involving the mutants of X-Factor, the Silver Surfer and other "Fantastic Four" characters.

What does this mean for the MCU? The most obvious implications of Eros and Pip's appearance is that the two will play a part in the next "Eternals" installment, helping those on the Domo rescue their friends.

Both characters also have ties to Adam Warlock, a character teased at the end of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (2017) and who will reportedly be played by Will Poulter in the upcoming "Vol. 3." This opens the doors for Pip and/or Eros to make an appearance in the "Guardians" follow-up. Especially considering in the comics, they both also have connections to other "Guardians" characters as well.

Eros/Starfox's affiliation with Mar-Vell and Monica Rambeau could mean he could make his way into the upcoming "Captain Marvel" sequel "The Marvels." And although it's very unlikely Marvel will venture into Starfox's sexual assault storyline, if he needs a lawyer for some other reason, maybe he'll pop up in the Disney+ series "She-Hulk."

Obviously, Pip's appearance in the MCU does not necessarily herald the future arrival of the Silver Surfer, but a "Fantastic Four" film has been announced.

For now, it's probably more likely that Eros and Pip will appear in MCU installments set in space, but fans will just have to wait and see.