At the end of Marvel's Eternals, Ikaris and Sersi's love story came to an end, but why does Ikaris choose to fly into the Sun, and what does it mean?
At the end of Marvel's Eternals, Richard Madden's Ikaris chooses to kill himself by flying into the sun, but what are his reasons for the suicidal action? While the movie has several big reveals and twists that will have implications for the Eternals and the wider MCU going forward, one of the most shocking was Ikaris's betrayal. Created in 1976 by Jack Kirby, the Marvel comics version of Ikaris is a hero, and he's presented as such in Eternals until his betrayal is revealed at the end of the second act.
In Eternals, Ikaris is shown to have murdered team leader Ajak (Salma Hayek) upon learning that she wished to defy their creator, Arishem, the Celestials, and their plan to prepare Earth for the "Emergence." The Emergence would bring forth the birth of a new Celestial (Tiamut) but at the cost of Earth's destruction. While most of the other Eternals empathize with humans and resolve to save Earth, Ikaris chooses to stand by his principles and remain loyal to Arishem. Ikaris turns against his family, who are no match for him, till he approaches Sersi (Gemma Chan)to kill her. Finding himself unable to do so due to his unending love for her, he allows himself to become part of the Eternals’ Uni-Mind, which turns Tiamut into marble, saving Earth.
Guilt-ridden over his hurtful actions against the other Eternals, especially Sersi, Ikaris flies into the sun, killing himself. He still doesn't think that remaining loyal to the Celestials was wrong, but his actions that stemmed from that position have consumed him with regret. He’s sorry for what he's done and yet can't bear to face the other Eternals. He also can't fulfill the purpose given to him by the Celestials. He's lost everything, and therefore in his mind, the only remaining option available is that of oblivion. Ikaris's death is a poetically appropriate demise for the character, given that in the MCU, it was Ikaris who inspired the legend of Icarus in Greek mythology. Eternal Sprite (Lia McHugh) made up the tale about a boy who flies too close to the sun, melting his wax wings and dying as a result. The cautionary tale of overambition proved to be prophetic for Ikaris, though in his case, he chose his death rather than it being an accident.
When Eternals was first released in theaters, there was some debate among fans whether Ikaris's decision to fly into the sun would actually kill him. Eternals are, after all, extremely powerful and durable, especially Ikaris. Unlike his DC counterpart Superman though, Ikaris's powers are not derived from the sun, meaning that he wouldn’t be able to survive the unimaginable heat and pressure within the star. Eternals co-screenwriter Kaz Firpo has since put an end to the debate, confirming that Ikaris does indeed die. In the early days of the script, Ikaris was first going to be exiled (either self-imposed or by the other Eternals), though, during the course of making the film, it was decided that his fate needed to be definitive.
While Ikaris's decision to fly into the sun appears to have sealed his fate, the MCU's Multiverse is now in full swing. There is, therefore, always the chance that a future movie or Disney+ show could include a Multiverse variant of Ikaris to enable the Eternals character’s return to the MCU. Additionally, with the Eternals being essentially robots created by the Celestials in the World Forge, another Ikaris could potentially be made (albeit without his memories).