On Oct. 18, just hours after the world premiere of “Eternals,” Variety journalist Matt Donnelly tweeted, “Big reveal from #TheEternals Premiere — Harry Styles has joined the MCU as Eros, brother of Thanos,” and it was the shot heard ’round stan Twitter.
Harry Styles Daily, an update account for the performer with a following of over 400,000, corroborated the statement just 30 minutes later, spreading the news onto the timelines of Styles’ fans all over the world. By morning, major publications such as PAPER and Rolling Stone released articles featuring the announcement and describing the character that Styles was set to play. Fans swooned over the idea that the “Watermelon Sugar” singer’s Eros “embraces all the pleasures life has to offer” and possesses the power of seduction, literally able to stimulate one’s brain from afar, causing arousal or euphoria.
However, among the excitement, there was also a fair bit of disappointment, coming from those who felt this had ruined what would have been a fun surprise at the end of “Eternals.” Many were specifically disappointed that most of these tweets came without any kind of spoiler warning. This sparked a debate among fans, content creators and journalists about what could be considered a “spoiler.”
Some, such as VICE contributor Gita Jackson, argued that this initial tweet was just a casting announcement and that the decision to tweet about Styles’ appearance didn’t really spoil anything about the plot of “Eternals.”
“I do not think this is a spoiler. For me, it doesn’t tell me any information so sacrosanct that the movie would be less enjoyable for me to watch,” they said. “I may know that Harry Styles is Eros, but I have no idea what that means in the context of the story, what role he plays in the conflict, or really any plot information at all.”
And this is true: Donnelly’s tweet did not reveal anything about what happened in the scene.
SPOILERS AHEAD for the ending of “Eternals” in the following paragraph.
Styles’ Eros only appears in the first post-credit scene alongside his sidekick, Pip the Troll (Patton Oswalt). After receiving a grand introduction from Pip, Eros tells the remaining Eternals — Thena, Makkari and Druig — that he knows a way to rescue their captured friends (Sersi, Phastos and Kingo).
A more in-depth description of this scene as well as the future implications it has on the MCU can be found here.
Others cited the fact that there had been rumors about Styles taking on the role of Eros circulating around the internet around this time last year, making the decision to tweet about him joining the MCU a non-issue. Kit Harington, who plays Dane Whitman, was even asked whether this was true in an interview with Jimmy Fallon. However, to some, a spoiler is still a spoiler, even if it’s been previously speculated.
Content creator and co-host of the “Geeks of the Week” podcast Megan Stoobs (@jsto.obs) expressed her disappointment at the leak in a TikTok, stressing that while film critics and journalists may not care about spoilers, those who have been following the MCU throughout all 26 films definitely do. She went on to say that’s why she believes that the insight of content creators who are MCU fans should be seen as more valuable than those who are not as invested.
“We’re trying to effect change so that it is people who actually care about these things, who have a voice to speak on them … I personally think that’s so important, not just as a creator but as someone who is an active part of this fanbase and wants to hear from people who love it like I love it,” said Stoobs.
She also brought up the fact that the review embargo was not lifted until Oct. 24, meaning that those invited to the premiere were only allowed to post a general first reaction to the film without revealing too much about the plot. She suggested that those who spoiled the film — journalists and content creators alike — might face some serious consequences because of this, potentially being blacklisted from future Marvel premieres.
As for Marvel Studios, it seems as though they did not want this information to get leaked, as they excluded both post-credit scenes entirely at an earlier screening of the film. They’re also famously secretive when it comes to the plots of their projects, having previously released statements urging fans not to spoil their other blockbusters such as “Avengers: Endgame” on social media.
Asad Ayaz, the president of marketing at Walt Disney Studios, released a statement on Twitter the next day, likely hoping to slow the spread of spoilers. “To our colleagues & friends in the press & fan community who will be watching #Eternals in the days ahead, please help preserve the experience of this incredible film. Please do not post spoilers and reveals that so many have worked so hard to protect,” he wrote.
It seems that even Styles himself didn’t expect his once top-secret role to become public knowledge ahead of the film’s release based on his wide-eyed reaction to a fan’s concert sign. “Can I get a snap from the brother of Thanos?” it asked, alluding to the purple titan’s choice to eliminate half of the universe.
Still, this didn’t do much to stop anything. The spoiler problem became even worse as Styles’ fans who were able to watch “Eternals” before its official debut began sharing and reposting pirated footage of the post-credits scene on social media, once again without any kind of warning. This further upset MCU fans who had been anticipating the film.
While there is no exact answer as to whether or not there will be any consequences for those who chose to announce Styles’ casting, those on both sides of the spoiler debate make valid points. Despite having several billion-dollar box office records under their belt, even Marvel Studios may not have been prepared for all the attention that Styles attracts. Much like Eros himself, I might add.