Eternals’ Director Explains Alternate Ending With Harry Styles, How His Character Changed

Salma Hayek and the cast of Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Spoilers ahead for Eternals! 

Marvel fans everywhere were simultaneously shocked and delighted when pop idol Harry Styles made his debut appearance as Eros in an Eternals post-credits scene. The new screen version of the comic book hero insinuates that he will help the Eternals, but Eros (along with the rest of the cast) was originally meant to have a much darker fate - at least, according to director Chloé Zhao. 

In a recent ‘Spoiler Special’ interview with Empire, Chloé Zhao discussed the film’s thematic undertones and the introduction of Thanos’ brother Eros. In the initial iteration of the script, Harry Styles’ character, an Eternal himself, was mind-wiped and sent off to another planet along with the rest of his immortal kindred. Chloé Zhao explains: 

Long story short, with that depressing ending, at some point he was going to be one of the Eternals on that ship. And that didn't quite work out. But I had been wanting to bring Eros into the MCU. So I kept mentioning it to Kevin [Feige] at every chance I had in the hallway, because I love the idea of Eros being another Eternal, another Ajak. He's an Eternal, and he was stationed on Titan – 10 of them were, just like the 10 Eternals on Earth, assuming Titan is also a host planet at some point. Now, if you think about that, what influence could Eros have had on the inhabitants of Titan, the way Ajak has influenced people on Earth? And how has that affected Thanos?

Although Thanos was killed by Thor in Avengers: Endgame, it seems that his influence will live on in Eros. The brothers’ backstory is fully fleshed out in the comics, leaving Marvel with plenty of material to mine for future plotlines. A sequel to Eternals has not yet been confirmed, but Chloé Zhao is ready to explore the sibling rivalry that characterizes the relationship between Eros and Thanos. She said: 

If you go to the comics, there's some quite beautiful, heartbreaking influence Eros has had on Thanos. And how much does Thanos know? I love him as a character. It makes my imagination go crazy thinking, 'Why does Thanos think this way? Why is he worried about overpopulation and destroying his planet?' Think about the emergence – does Eros know about it? Maybe if he's an advisor, the way Ajak advised kings and queens on Earth? It gets my imagination going. For me, the backstory of Eros is that he deserted, he said, ‘I'm not doing this anymore.’ So he somehow got that sphere, which you saw in his hand, and he ran off and made Pip the troll. They're like Han Solo and Chewie. Arishem's been looking for him, and he's just been a space outlaw. That's the character I had in my mind. But I never said once to Kevin, ‘Here's the character. Let's find an actor.’ For me, it was a package deal. It's got to be Harry. That's how I pitched it to Kevin.

Eternals is now playing in theaters everywhere. Need an MCU refresher? You can catch up on the story of Thanos in the Avengers trilogy on Disney+. 

Rachel Romean

Actor, singer, and occasional dancer. Likes: fashion, books, old buildings. Dislikes: cilantro, the NJ Turnpike, sneaker wedges.