Mid-credits and post-credits scenes have been used in various Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media, since the beginning of the franchise with the 2008 film Iron Man. The use of such scenes as a whole has changed movie-goer expectations, and has received both praise and criticism. Individual scenes have been widely discussed, ranked, and criticized.[1][2][3][4] In some cases, MCU films have multiple mid-credits and post-credits scenes, and MCU television series have employed them after some episodes. As of Echo (2024), the MCU has featured 81 post-credits scenes across 45 properties.

History

The first post-credits scene involving Marvel Comics characters occurred prior to the MCU, in the 2006 film X-Men: The Last Stand, showing Charles Xavier / Professor X to be alive after his apparent death by the hands of the Phoenix earlier in the film. This has been described as "Marvel's first post-credit scene".[5]

Nick Fury talking to Tony Stark in the MCU's first credit scene in Iron Man
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in the MCU's first credit scene in Iron Man (2008). On the decision to include Fury, Kevin Feige said "We wanted Nick Fury to be the character to intertwine characters, but we didn't want to interrupt the movie".[6]

The MCU has made extensive use of mid- and post-credit scenes (often both) which typically serve as a teaser for a future Marvel Studios film. For example, the post-credits scene of Iron Man 2 (2010) shows S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson locating a large hammer at the bottom of a crater in a New Mexico desert, thus teasing the release of Thor the following year; while the post-credits sequence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) introduces the characters of Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, who join the franchise in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Other times these mid- and post-credits scenes serve primarily as gags, such as the post-credits scene in The Avengers (2012), which has the team eating shawarma in a derelict restaurant in the aftermath of the film's climactic battle, or Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), which features Captain America educating the audience on patience.[7][8]

The Incredible Hulk (2008) does not include a proper post-credits scene; however, its final scene, in which Tony Stark approaches Thaddeus Ross in a bar, is often treated as one.[1][2][3] Avengers: Endgame (2019) also does not feature a post-credits scene, instead having the credits end with the sound of clanging metal first heard in Iron Man.[9] In addition to such scenes attached to films, the MCU has had post-credit scenes in most MCU television series, generally after the final episode of the series. The ubiquity of post-credit scenes in MCU properties was such that the producers of the television special Werewolf by Night (2022) felt the need to defend the absence of such a scene, noting that the final scene of the show itself had a feeling much like a typical post-credits scene, and that the characters were left not knowing what the future will bring.[10] The post-credit scene for the MCU television series, Hawkeye (2021) finale, "So This Is Christmas?", features the cast of the fictional Rogers: the Musical performing the number, "Save the City", first seen in a shorter form in the premiere episode.[11] At over four minutes, this was the longest post-credits scene of any MCU production to date, and was received with sharply divided opinions by fans, as it did not advance any MCU storyline.[11][12][13] Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) and the television series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (2022) are the projects with the largest number of post-credit scenes, featuring five, with She-Hulk including them in the first four episodes and the final episode.[14][15]

Scenes

The following table covers scenes featured in films, short films, television series, animated shorts, and television specials produced by Marvel Studios, and are organized chronologically by original release date.

List indicators

Phase One

See also: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One

Phase one credit scenes
Year Title Description of scene(s)
2008 Iron Man S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury visits Tony Stark at home to discuss the Avengers Initiative.[1][2][3]
2010 Iron Man 2 In a cut-down scene from Thor, S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson reports to Fury the discovery of Mjolnir at the bottom of a crater in a desert in New Mexico.[1][2][3]
2011 Thor Erik Selvig is taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, where Fury asks him to study the Tesseract, which Fury says may hold untold power. An invisible Loki prompts Selvig to agree, and he does.[1][2][3]
Captain America: The First Avenger In a cut-down scene from The Avengers, Steve Rogers converses with Fury at a gym.[1][2][3]
2012 The Avengers
Item 47OS Claire Wise spins in an office chair at S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters.[16]

Phase Two

See also: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Two

Phase two credit scenes
Year Title Description of scene(s)
2013 Iron Man 3 Stark finishes telling his story to Bruce Banner, who had fallen asleep near the beginning. Stark starts telling the story again.[1][2][3]
Agent CarterOS Dum Dum Dugan sits beside a pool with Howard Stark, marveling at two women wearing the newly created bikinis.[17]
Thor: The Dark World
2014 All Hail the KingOS In prison, Justin Hammer complains about Trevor Slattery and talks about the parallels between himself and Tony Stark.[18]
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Frustrated with his minions' lack of progress in collecting the Infinity Stones, Thanos decides to get the rest himself.[1][2][3]
Ant-Man

Phase Three

See also: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Three

Phase three credit scenes
Year Title Description of scene(s)
2016 Captain America: Civil War
  • T'Challa puts Barnes back into cryostasis in Wakanda until a cure for his mental programming can be found.[1][2][3]
  • Peter Parker looks at web shooters given to him by Tony Stark. The web-shooters emit a spider-signal.[1][2][3]
Doctor Strange
2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarok
  • Thor's spaceship encounters an even larger spaceship, the Sanctuary II, which belongs to Thanos.[1][2][3]
  • The overthrown Grandmaster is confronted by his former subjects in Sakaar.[1][2][3]
2018 Black Panther
  • T'Challa speaks before the United Nations, vowing to share his country's resources with the world.[1][2][3]
  • Barnes awakes from cryostasis in a hut in Wakanda, and thanks Shuri.[1][2][3]
Avengers: Infinity War Before Fury disintegrates in the Blip, he uses a pager to call Carol Danvers.[1][2][3]
Ant-Man and the Wasp
2019 Captain Marvel
Spider-Man: Far From Home

Phase Four

See also: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Four

Phase four credit scenes
Year Title Description of scene(s)
2021 WandaVision episode 7: "Breaking the Fourth Wall" Monica Rambeau discovers the lair of Agatha Harkness but is caught by "Pietro".[19]
WandaVision episode 8: "Previously On" S.W.O.R.D. director Tyler Hayward reactivates "The Vision", with a now all-white, reassembled original body.[20]
WandaVision episode 9: "The Series Finale"
  • Hayward is arrested while Rambeau is informed by a Skrull disguised as an FBI agent that a friend of her mother Maria wants to meet with her in space.[21]
  • Wanda Maximoff hears her twins' cry for help while studying the Darkhold in her astral form in a remote mountain cabin.[21]
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 5: "Truth" Embittered by his discharge, and motivated by Lemar Hoskins' death, John Walker forges his own version of Captain America's shield, from scrap metal and his Medal of Honor, painted in the colors of the American flag.[22]
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 6: "One World, One People" After receiving a full pardon, Sharon Carter rejoins the CIA and makes a phone call to an unknown person, stating that she intends to use this access to sell government secrets and resources.[23]
Loki season 1, episode 4: "The Nexus Event" Loki, having been "pruned" by the TVA, awakens in the Void, and is met with four other Loki variants.[24]
Black Widow After Natasha Romanoff's death, Yelena Belova encounters Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine at Romanoff's grave and receives her next assignment: take down Clint Barton, the man "responsible" for Romanoff's death.[1][2][3]
What If...? season 1, episode 9: "What If... the Watcher Broke His Oath?" In an alternate timeline, Captain Peggy Carter and Natasha Romanoff discover the Hydra Stomper armor with someone inside.[25]
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Wong and Shang-Chi speak with Banner and Danvers and discover that the ten rings are emitting a mysterious signal. Wong tells Shang-Chi and Katy that they should go home and get some rest, but instead all three are shown at a karaoke establishment singing "Hotel California".[1][2][3]
  • Xu Xialing becomes the new leader of the Ten Rings.[1][2][3]
Eternals
Hawkeye episode 6: "So This Is Christmas?" The cast of the fictional Rogers: The Musical performs the number "Save the City".[11]
Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Following the mid-credit scene in Venom: Let There Be Carnage, the universe-displaced Eddie Brock and his symbiote Venom have a conversation with a bartender and decide to find Spider-Man, but are suddenly returned to their universe due to Strange's spell, unknowingly leaving behind a part of the symbiote.[26]
  • A teaser trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is shown in the post-credits scene.[26]
    • In The More Fun Stuff Version of the film released in September 2022, this trailer is replaced by a scene of Betty Brant highlighting the last four academic years of Midtown School, with Peter Parker being absent or obscured from all photographs.[27]
2022 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Strange is approached by the sorceress Clea, who warns him that his actions have triggered an incursion that he must help stop. Strange follows her into the Dark Dimension.[1][3]
  • The Pizza Poppa vendor, who had been bewitched by Strange into beating himself up for three weeks, is shown punching himself until Strange's spell wears off. The vendor laughs and yells "It's over!".[1][3]
Moon Knight episode 6: "Gods and Monsters" The Ammit-possessed Arthur Harrow is taken out of a psychiatric hospital and brought into a limousine where he is killed by Jake Lockley, the third alter of Marc Spector, who is still working with Khonshu.[28]
Ms. Marvel episode 1: "Generation Why" At the Damage Control Headquarters, agents P. Cleary and Sadie Deever discover a recording of Kamala Khan's incident at the New Jersey AvengerCon upon social media, and plan to capture her.[29]
Ms. Marvel episode 6: "No Normal" In a cut-down scene from The Marvels, Khan's power-bestowing bangle emits a strange glow before she suddenly switches places with Danvers.[30]
Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Zeus is revealed to have survived his encounter with Thor and plans his revenge by sending his son Hercules to kill him.[3]
  • Following her death, Foster enters Valhalla and is greeted by Heimdall, who thanks her for looking over his son Axl.[3]
I Am Groot season 1, episode 5: "Magnum Opus"SH Groot's drawing of the Guardians is seen adrift in space.[31]
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 1: "A Normal Amount of Rage" Banner reveals to Jennifer Walters that Rogers had lost his virginity to a girl on the USO tour in 1943, to Walters' delight.[15]
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 2: "Superhuman Law" Walters uses her She-Hulk form to help her parents with chores around the house like mounting a flat-screen TV and moving large bottles of water.[15]
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 3: "The People vs. Emil Blonsky" Walters twerks with Megan Thee Stallion.[15]
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 4: "Is This Not Real Magic?" Wong and Madisynn King watch television on Wong's couch.[15]
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 9: "Whose Show Is This?" Emil Blonsky, having been returned to prison for violating his parole by becoming Abomination, is again broken out by Wong.[15]
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Shuri travels to Haiti where she burns her funeral ceremonial robe, finally allowing herself to grieve and mourn T'Challa. There, she is met on a beach by Nakia and learns that Nakia and T'Challa have a son, Toussaint, who Nakia has been raising in secret far from the pressure of the throne. Toussaint reveals his Wakandan name is T'Challa.[32]
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday SpecialSP Rocket and Cosmo are decorating Groot as a Christmas tree; Groot drops his arms, causing the decorations to fall off, leading Cosmo to say that Groot has ruined Christmas, and Rocket to break the fourth wall and say that now they will need to do another special.[33]

Phase Five

See also: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase Five

Phase five credit scenes
Year Title Description of scene(s)
2023 Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
  • The new Guardians—Rocket, a much larger Groot, Cosmo, Kraglin, Adam Warlock, Phyla, and Blurp—are shown discussing their favorite music from Earth while waiting in a desert on another planet to undergo a new mission.[37][38]
  • Quill, having returned to Earth, reunites with his grandfather, Jason Quill.[37][38]
I Am Groot season 2, episode 3: "Groot's Snow Day"SH Groot drinks a hot chocolate, which is too hot. He swipes the mug off the table and it smashes, causing Rocket to shout.[39]
Loki season 2, episode 1: "Ouroboros" Sylvie emerges from a time portal on Earth in 1982 and enters a McDonald's restaurant, where she says she wants to try everything.[40]
The Marvels Monica Rambeau awakens in a hospital-like room and is excited to see her dead mother, Maria Rambeau, next to her. However, Maria does not recognize her, when Dr. Hank McCoy / Beast enters and tells Monica she was found in space by Binary (Maria) and that they believe Monica is in a parallel universe.[41]
What If...? season 2, episode 4: "What If... Iron Man Crashed into the Grandmaster?" The still alive Grandmaster begs Topaz to collect his puddle form.[42]
2024 Echo episode 5: "Maya" Kingpin, on a plane back to New York, arranges a meeting of the heads of all of the crime syndicates, and then watches a news report indicating that New York voters would support an outsider who is "a bare-knuckle brawler" in the upcoming mayoral election.[43]

Reception

The MCU has been described as having "made the post-credits scene commonplace",[44] and as being the media that "uses them to the greatest effect", and having "reset moviegoers' expectations about when a film is actually over".[45] Post-credit scenes often contain humor,[44] or Easter eggs referencing matters ranging from the significant to the obscure that would be of interest to fans of the media. Peter Cullen Bryan "examines the interplay within modern superhero blockbusters, which grants the geek a degree of social power: Marvel's use of the post-credits scene is indicative of the larger process, creating a ritual enacted by fans, who interpret the scene for the uninitiated".[46] In the MCU, these scenes often "tease future plotlines and characters that will be introduced down the road".[44]

Post-credit scenes have also often been used in the MCU to highlight new releases that are still forthcoming at the time that the media containing the post-credit scene is released, a practice that has been criticized as detracting from the importance of the films to which the scenes are attached.[47] Such scenes are also criticized on the grounds that they usurp meaningful film endings with cheap gags; a review in The Guardian stated that "if you can't find a way to incorporate it into the actual movie instead of ruining its afterglow, maybe it wasn't meant to be in there".[48] A 2022 review in Total Film observed that "[t]he recent wave of Marvel post-credits scenes do not seemingly lead into any known sequel, instead offering a scattergun approach to the future". They felt that a road map was needed for where the credit scenes were heading and that "Marvel popularized the post-credits phenomenon – now it needs to reinvent them."[49] Multiple other critics have shared the same opinion about the growing number of unresolved teases from Phases Four and Five.[50][51][52] Screen Rant added that one of the major issues with the credit scenes in Phase Four and early Phase Five was the amount of new characters introduced. The MCU's first three phases introduced eight new characters over the eleven year span, while Phases Four and Five had already introduced more by early 2023, which was only a two year span from the beginning of Phase Four.[53] Writng for Digital Spy, David Opie singled out the credit scene in The Marvels featuring Beast by saying that it could be years before the scene pays off with there being no plans in the near future for a live action X-Men project. He said "the X-Men are a huge deal and it makes sense that their full-on return might take some time", but added that the issue is this was not the first time that Marvel played the long game with their credit scene teases and that there have been many huge developments over the recent years, "then never mentioned again".[50]

Marvel Comics characters outside the MCU

A number of films, television series, and other media not occurring in the MCU, but featuring characters from Marvel Comics, have also had post-credit scenes. In some cases, the relationship between these properties is blurred because the characters have later appeared in the MCU, or because the post-credit scenes themselves implicate events in the MCU.

Marvel films outside the MCU

In X-Men: The Last Stand, Charles Xavier is shown to be alive after his apparent death by the hands of the Phoenix earlier in the film. Screen Rant later described this as "Marvel's first post-credit scene", and noted that this is one of several significant post-credits scenes that were not followed up on in later films.[5] The post-credits scene in Deadpool (2016) featured the title character appearing in a bathrobe and telling the audience that the movie is over—identical to the post-credits scene in the 1986 comedy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off—while also saying "What are you expecting Sam Jackson to show up in a eye patch?", referencing the appearance of Nick Fury in the Iron Man post-credits scene.[54] In the Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU) film Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), Eddie Brock and Venom decide to take a tropical vacation while they ponder their next steps. As Venom tells Brock about the symbiotes' knowledge of other universes, a blinding light transports them from their hotel room to another room where they watch J. Jonah Jameson talk about Spider-Man's identity as Peter Parker on television, as was previously revealed in Spider-Man: Far From Home.[26][55] Similarly, in Morbius (2022), the first mid-credits scene features Adrian Toomes finding himself transported to the SSU, while in the second, Toomes approaches Dr. Michael Morbius, suggesting they should form a team.[56]

Other media outside the MCU

In Lego Marvel's Avengers (2016), a video game primarily based on the plot of The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, there are a number of MCU-inspired scenes during the credits. The first scene parodies the mid-credits scene from The Avengers, though with Thanos playing various 'Awesome Mix' cassette tapes. The second scene parodies the post-credits scene from that film, with the Avengers sitting around a restaurant table, but with the Hulk hoarding the available food. The third scene shows Stan Lee as a janitor cleaning up the aftermath of Ultron's attack on Avengers Tower in Age of Ultron. He lifts Mjölnir and accidentally causes a blast of lightning.[57]

The Good, the Bart, and the Loki, a 2021 Disney+ short featuring The Simpsons and tied into the first season of Loki, features a mid-credits scene of Loki disguised as Moe Szyslak giving patrons at Moe's Tavern free drinks. In two post-credits scenes, Ralph Wiggum as the Hulk smashes Loki similarly to a scene from The Avengers, and Loki stands before Ravonna Renslayer at the Time Variance Authority, where she finds him guilty of his various crimes, such as crossing over to the Simpsons universe. A review noted that the scene "pokes fun at the MCU post-credits scenes with an extended credits reel that hides a good couple of reference heavy clips".[58]

See also

References

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