Marvel Studios has popularized the notion of including at least one extra scene during or after a movie’s credits. Almost every movie has included one or two bonus scenes, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had, like, five. In fact, other studios have adopted this concept, specifically a few DC movies and the X-Men saga.
Today, we’re ranking our top 10 MCU mid- and post-credits scenes so far…
#10: Thanos Does It Himself in Avengers: Age of Ultron
By this point, Thanos has already appeared briefly a few times in the MCU, building up for his epic clash with the Avengers in Infinity War. His last appearance was in 2015’s Age of Ultron, where he found the Infinity Gauntlet and vowed to do “it” himself. And by “it,” we assume the collection of all the Infinity Stones.
This was a very brief scene, but it sees Thanos making a key step forward in his mission to possess the Gauntlet’s power. Age of Ultron had teased the significance of the Infinity Stones, so it makes sense for the mid-credits scene to continue that thread. Also, the scene has spawned many “do it myself” memes…
Fox: We can’t lock down an actor to play Cable in Deadpool 2
Josh Brolin: pic.twitter.com/JuB6CXbSrm
— Paul (@PaulRom95) April 12, 2017
#9: The Avengers Eat Shawarma
While most Marvel credit scenes were teasers for the next movie(s), there are some that are just there as a joke. The one that started this trend was in The Avengers. After saving New York from Loki and the Chitauri, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes celebrate by eating shawarma, something suggested by Tony Stark earlier. And that’s literally it.
It’s not a groundbreaking or complex scene by any means, but it was a nice little clip of our heroes taking time off and grabbing lunch. It’s a reminder that not every post-credits scene needs to set up the next 15 movies or shove in a big cameo. The scene was simple, but effective. And clearly it worked, as Marvel has done several other joke scenes for after the credits.
#8: Strucker and The Twins in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This scene served as the MCU debut of three characters, ahead of their roles in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Following Captain America’s dismantling of S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA, we meet Wolfgang von Strucker in his underground base. During his monologue about HYDRA’s exposure to the public and an “age of miracles,” we see his test subjects in their cells – Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.
This was a neat scene that showed a little bit of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch before meeting the Avengers in Age of Ultron. It was also a nice tease for Strucker, who would have been the perfect main villain in a future MCU movie. But, Age of Ultron stopped that from happening.
#7: Mjolnir Lands in Iron Man 2
In Iron Man 2, Phil Coulson told Tony Stark that he had to go to New Mexico to attend to business. In the post-credits scene, we learn exactly what that business is. Coulson arrives and says, “We’ve found it.” And that “it” is none other than Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor. We end with the sound of thunder, teasing Odinson’s movie out that following year.
This was the definition of a classic post-credits scene: an extra scene attached to the end credits that teases the next movie. It’s one of the simpler credit scenes, but it effectively teases the arrival of Thor in the MCU. It also offers a first glimpse of Coulson’s mission in the God of Thunder’s film.
#6: Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War
I’m surprised that this scene was regulated to mid-credits, since it would’ve been a good addition to the actual film. Following the events of Captain America: Civil War, Bucky decides to return to cryogenic sleep, with scientists at Wakanda working on a cure from his HYDRA brainwashing. We then see Steve thanking T’Challa for granting them protection. The camera moves over, and we see the statue of a black panther, teasing T’Challa’s 2018 movie.
Again, this probably would have worked better in the movie itself, but this scene was a nice epilogue to Civil War. It temporarily takes Bucky out of the picture, while we see the beginning of Steve’s alliance with T’Challa. It was also a good tease for the Black Panther movie, giving us the slightest glimpse of the world of Wakanda.
#5: Thor Meets Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange was mostly standalone from the rest of the MCU, aside from the few references. However, that changed in the film’s mid-credits scene, where we see Strange meeting with Thor, who informs him that he and Loki are searching for Odin. Strange then volunteers to assist them, so long as they promptly return to Asgard.
This was actually a scene from Thor: Ragnarok, but it works very well as a Doctor Strange stinger too. It told audiences that Strange was going to team up with Thor in that character’s next film, while it firmly integrated the Sorcerer Supreme into the MCU. I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship grows in Avengers: Infinity War….that is, if they have much screentime together.
#4: Captain America’s Patience in Spider-Man: Homecoming
Many of Marvel Studios’ recent post-credit scenes aren’t designed to set up the next movie or whatever. Rather, they’re just there for the joke. This was particularly prevalent in Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s stinger. Here, Captain America delivers another PSA, this time addressing the importance of patience. He says that sometimes, patience leads to very little, and people spend too much time waiting for something so disappointing.
This scene was an extremely meta take on the post-credits scene trend, where audiences wait during the credits to see one extra scene. You’d expect movies like Deadpool to poke fun at it, but not Spider-Man. The scene was also a fun conclusion to the Captain America PSAs, which was a recurring joke throughout the film.
#3: The Wasp Begins in Ant-Man
Fans have waited to see the Wasp suit up on the big screen for years, and we finally got a first glimpse of it in Ant-Man. Throughout the film, Hope van Dyne wanted to suit up and assist her father Hank, who instead recruited Scott Lang to take over Ant-Man. However, Hank gave her an updated Wasp suit, directly setting up the sequel.
Wasp is one of my favorite female heroes in the Marvel universe, and her big screen debut has been long overdue. It was also frustrating to see Hope constantly sidelined in Ant-Man, despite being more qualified than Scott in just about every way. But, the scene was a very good tease for what’s to come, and I can’t wait to see Ant-Man and The Wasp. It’s about time, indeed.
#2: Thanos Smiles in The Avengers
This one is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic post-credits scenes ever. After the Avengers’ defeat of Loki and the Chitauri army, The Other informs his master of just how powerful the human race is. He says, “To challenge them is to court death.” The master gets up, turns around, and smiles. And right there, we see that it’s none other than Thanos.
This scene showed us what Marvel’s long-term plan was: introduce Thanos and the Infinity Stones across multiple movies, before bringing them to their full potential for Avengers: Infinity War. This is one of those scenes where the general audience may not immediately know what’s happening, but the fans know exactly what’s up. Classic.
#1: Nick Fury Meets Iron Man
You didn’t think our #1 pick would be something else, right? The scene that started the trend of post-credits scenes was in the first Iron Man, where Tony Stark finds out someone broke into his house. We then hear Samuel L. Jackson give a monologue about how Stark isn’t the only hero in this universe, before introducing himself as Nick Fury. He leaves us with, “I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.”
And just like that, Marvel announced to the world what its plan was: unite the Avengers on screen after several solo films. It was the beginning of the studio’s ambitious strategy, and it told us that this universe was bigger than some rich dude in an iron suit. It was here that the Marvel Cinematic Universe truly began. What a legacy.
What are your ten favorite Marvel mid/post credits scenes?
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