There used to be a time when you’d leave the theater as soon as the credits rolled. Thanks to Marvel, the finality of “The End” is kinda flexible. With post-credit scenes, we get a second ending – a funny insert or a teaser for the next chapter. Marvel didn’t start this trend, but they do it best. There have been 32 MCU post-credit scenes so far. (Infinity War will likely add a couple.) Now that we’re a week out, I’m celebrating the road to Infinity War with all things Marvel. Kicking things off, here are my ten favorite MCU post-credit scenes.
Coming off the roller coaster that was Winter Soldier, it was hard to imagine where Marvel could go next. SHIELD has essentially been destroyed, having been quietly infiltrated by Hydra over the century. But Hydra wasn’t finished just yet. It had one last surprise in store for us with Wanda and Pietro, better known as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. When the twins would come into the fray was on everybody’s minds. Marvel, thankfully, didn’t play mind games with us and dropped the reveal at the end of Winter Soldier, leaving us salivating at the prospects of how the twins would factor in the MCU’s grand scheme.
Say what you will about the long game Thanos has been playing behind the scenes. The guy has patience. Many of us thought he was the next Avengers villain. (That dubious honor went to Ultron.) I suppose we should be grateful. The tease alone hinted just how big Marvel was dreaming: “To challenge them is to court death.” It remains to be seen whether Mistress Death will factor in Thanos’ arc, if at all, though the overriding question is whether Thanos has lived up to all this rampant teasing. Infinity War started here. What a road it’s been.
Ant-Man is remarkable in that it could’ve been a disaster, but isn’t. The script’s overhaul from Adam McKay and star Paul Rudd was otherwise the film’s saving grace, though it couldn’t quite reconcile how or why Hope van Dyne was sidelined in her own story. (I get that Hank doesn’t want to risk losing her, but The Wasp is SO integral to Marvel’s mythology.) This is Hope’s saga as much as it is Hank Pym’s. Which is why the tag at the end is the MCU’s most deliciously painful teaser. Hope herself hits right on the nose: “It’s about damn time.”
It’s kind of a bummer we only get Baby Groot for one movie when I’m sure most would be happy to see Baby Groot for the entirety of the character’s run in the MCU. But Groot’s next stage as shown in the mid-credits of Guardians Vol. 2 proved promising, with an assist from a charmingly maternal Chris Pratt. Watching the Guardians inhabit the role of parental figures for Baby Groot was part of Vol. 2’s charm. If there’s any indication, Moody Teenage Groot is a sign of truly great things to come.
A lot was left to the imagination when Bucky went back into cryo-sleep at the end of Civil War. What would they do with him? How would Bucky come back? That was all answered during Black Panther’s 2nd post-credits scene, where Bucky hasn’t just been thawed, but is also in rehabilitation under Shuri’s care. (That’s right, the tech-wunderkind is doing all this in her spare time.) Bucky has reentered the fold just in time for what looks to be Steve Rogers’ swan song. I wonder who will take up the mantle…
Iron Man 2 was a great deal of things, much to its detriment. The film suffers from too many agendas converging all at once. This, however, was done appropriately as a post-credits scene and thus no impact on the plot. It’s the kind of world-building that Phase One could’ve used more of, but seeing as how Avengers turned out, all is forgiven. This was when audiences began to realize Marvel films had a little something at the end. I will never forget the roar of the crowd as the camera panned to reveal Mjolnir. Thunder never sounded so glorious.
Black Panther deftly tackles nationalism in a way few movies have, let alone superhero movies. This scene at the U.N. serves up the finishing touches on the film’s themes and shows the clear path forward not just for Black Panther, but the world at large. “What can a nation of farmers offer the rest of the world?” The ‘shithole country’ is implied, which is why the exchange of smiles across Okoye, Nakia, Agent Ross, and finally T’Challa, in the face of naïveté is oh so satisfying. Frankly, we’re smiling too.
Audiences are so attuned to Marvel’s post-credit scenes that many stay even if nothing’s there. (People were convinced Age of Ultron had a second tag when it really didn’t.) Last year, Marvel became fully aware of its own influence. Because by now, other franchises have gotten in on the post-credits action. With Homecoming, Marvel saw a chance to critique both the experience and expectation of post-credit teasers and how it’s become obligatory to the fans rather than curious. “How many more of these?” Cap asks, looking off-camera. It’s borderline Deadpool-esque, nonetheless inspired. Marvel, you got us big time.
I get religious recalling the first time I saw Iron Man. This was after X-Men flubbed The Last Stand and only a year after Rise of the Silver Surfer (*cringe*). There was as much trepidation going into Iron Man as there was anticipation. The result? More than a sigh of relief, I can tell you that. The lot of us stayed in the theater, still in awe, wondering where this could go. (Civil War finished its run the year before, and we drooled at the possibilities.) As we got up to leave, the screen came back on and we all stood in the aisles, pinned. The reveal of Nick Fury was axis-tilting. Once he said, “Avengers initiative,” I nearly fainted. That right there was the Big Bang of the MCU.
The dream of the Avengers came true. Seeing them come together, egos and franchises clashing and all was the stuff of fantasy. You only saw that in comic books. And we got to see it fully realized on screen. Joss Whedon could’ve stopped with the Thanos teaser, but he does one better with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes dining at a Shawarma joint. A very Whedon-esque insert and a payoff to what was seemingly a throwaway line. (The scene was shot two days after the Hollywood premiere, meaning we got to enjoy it before the critics knew about it.) When Tony Stark mentioned Shawarma, no one assumed there would be a scene to conclude the bit. It was the last thing on our minds. Now, it’s hard to imagine the film without it. I can’t skip it. That Shawarma scene completes The Avengers. In many ways, that scene completes me.
What were your favorite MCU post-credit scenes?