Warning: Spoilers Ahead
The two post-credit scenes in Marvel’s Eternals wastes no time setting up future MCU projects, with the first scene introducing …
Harry Styles as Eros, brother of Thanos, a legendary lothario with the unusual ability to “stimulate the pleasure centres” in human brains. Hmm.
Eros looks … well, exactly like Harry Styles, meaning no purple skin or testicular chin grooves. But that doesn’t make sense – he and Thanos are not adoptive siblings, but brothers.
Why does Eros look human?
A better question might be, why is Thanos purple?
After all, Eros and the Eternals appear identical to humans, which seems common for extraterrestrials in the Marvel cinematic universe. But we don’t really know much about Thanos’ family, aside from extensive comic book lore, which often doesn’t align with the MCU.
We never saw a backstory for Thanos in Infinity War, beyond him explaining the genesis of his “50% genocide” theory, as the civilization on his home planet, Titan, was apparently destroyed due to overpopulation. Frankly, we don’t even know if that’s true, because Thanos, nicknamed “the Mad Titan,” is an unreliable narrator (to say the least).
We do know that the actor who played Thanos, Josh Brolin, considered Thanos “deformed,” even comparing him to Quasimodo in an interview with EW, in which he explains that the deformity led to social isolation, which eventually contributed to Thanos losing his mind.
So, why is Thanos purple?
For an answer, we can look to the comics, which state that Thanos was born a Titan (later retconned to an Eternal), and that his twisted features and enhanced abilities are the result of “Deviant Syndrome,” which can randomly appear in Eternals as a mutated gene – at least, in the comics. Think of the way the “X-Gene” randomly shows up in humans in the X-Men universe, creating superpowered mutants, and you’ve got the idea.
So, does this explain why Thanos is purple in the MCU?
The Eternals specifically state that they did not interfere with Thanos and his genocidal finger snap due to their sacred mission, which only allowed intervention when the Deviants were involved.
If Thanos could be described as some kind of Deviant, even loosely, than you’d think the Eternals (who often longed to interfere and be Earth’s heroes) could have defeated him without breaking the rule – they’d be bending it, at most.
Not to mention, Thanos doesn’t even remotely resemble the Deviants we see on screen, which are quite different to their comic book counterparts. In the comics, every single Deviant looks different, with some humanoid, some not, and most hideously mutated.
In the films, their appearance is much more homogenized, with the Deviants appearing as different predatory shapes (and one almost becoming human), but all made of the same shimmering space-spaghetti; they certainly look nothing like Thanos, that’s for sure.
If we were to point to any alien in the MCU that most resembles Thanos, it’s probably the shapeshifting Skrulls, who share that distinctive wrinkled jawline. And in the comics, Skrulls are descended from Deviants, so we’ve gone full circle.
If Harry Styles does return in a future Marvel film, it’s possible that Eros will elaborate on his childhood and explain why his brother is purple; given the self-aware (and somewhat self-conscious) gags peppered throughout the MCU, it’s difficult to imagine a character not immediately asking Eros the big question.
After all, the moment Dane (Kit Harington) learns his girlfriend is a demigod, the first question he asks is, why she didn’t defeat Thanos? Which instantly opened a plot hole in the Mad Titan’s origin story.
Hopefully, with the help of Harry Styles, we’ll soon be given an official explanation.