‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ End Credits Scene Explained

Published 9 months ago by , Updated August 29th, 2014 at 12:52 pm,

Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Scene Explained Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Scene Explained

At one time Marvel Studios’ post-credits teases were a fun bonus for fans patient enough to sit through the film’s credits – often teasing characters or plot lines that would go over the head of the average moviegoer. However, as Marvel’s shared cinematic universe became a pop-culture sensation (and box office powerhouse), button scenes were no longer a harmless reward – they became a staple of the experience.

As a result, movie fans are sitting through Guardians of the Galaxy‘s credits with expectant eyes. Those outside of comic book fan circles (or anyone who wasn’t paying much attention to movies in 1986) might be confused by what they saw after sitting through all those end credits, but we’re here to help explain. Our discussion is going to be full of Guardians of the Galaxy movie SPOILERS from here on out. READ NO FURTHER unless you’re all caught up.




Post-Credits Scene – The Master of Quack-Fu

Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Collector Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Scene Explained

Given Guardians of the Galaxy‘s connections to interweaving storyline depicted in The Avengers team-up and solo movies, fans were probably expecting a teaser for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. After all, Thanos and select Infinity Stones (The Tesseract and The Aether) have already been featured in both Phase One and Phase Two of the shared movie universe – so it would only make sense for the studio to use Guardians‘ end-credits scene to get people excited for the studio’s next (and biggest) film.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier gave a sneak peek at two new characters from Age of Ultron; plus, it is expected that the Guardians of the Galaxy will eventually team-up with The Avengers down the road (the studio even teased Guardians in the post-credits scene for Thor: The Dark World with an appearance by Benicio Del Toro’s Collector). Yet, for now the Guardians are off on their own and, after showcasing dancing Groot in a pre-credits scene, director James Gunn used his post-credits scene as an opportunity to provide audiences with one more zany laugh.

Benicio Del Toro in Guardians of the Galaxy Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Scene Explained

In the scene, we see Taneleer Tivan aka The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) bruised and despondent, sitting amidst the ruins of his museum on Knowhere, following the unplanned detonation of the Purple Infinity Stone. As Tivan sips a martini, the soviet space canine (aka future Guardian member Cosmo the Spacedog) begins licking The Collector’s face. Tivan takes solace in the dog’s show of comfort – only to be interrupted by an abrasive voice that asks “What do you let him lick you like that for?” The camera pans over to reveal Marvel comic book character – and 1980s feature-film star – Howard the Duck, sipping his own martini while standing next to a broken museum cage.

Eagle-eyed viewers might have noticed the character imprisoned above The Collector earlier in the film but, free from his cage, Howard the Duck gets snarky with Tivan. Taking another swig of his martini, Howard adds “Gross” and the scene fades to black – revealing lettering clearly identifying the character: Howard the Duck created by Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik.

Who is Howard the Duck?

Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Howard the Duck Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Scene Explained

As the scene indicates in its closing, Howard the Duck was created back in 1973 by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik – first appearing in Adventure into Fear issue 19. Howard was typically used for the purpose of social satire, making fun of real-life people as well as fictional Marvel characters, from an outsider point of view.

Even though the character might seem like a downright bizarre inclusion in Guardians of the Galaxy (a movie that also includes a talking raccoon and tree), his biography is actually filled with outer space adventures and battles with cosmic beings. In fact, while he’s a relatively obscure character now, Howard was almost always accounted for during important story lines in the Marvel Universe – including Civil War and Secret Invasion, among others. He also enjoyed repeated run-ins with Avengers characters such as She-Hulk and Doctor Strange – even donning Iron Man-knock off armor as Iron Duck.

Guardians of the Galaxy Howard Iron Duck Guardians of the Galaxy End Credits Scene Explained

Recently, the character even appeared in an episode of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. titled “The Collector” – where he has been imprisoned, along with the Fantastic Four and The Avengers, as a living member of Tivan’s collection.

Of course, non-comic book readers will likely remember Howard the Duck from the 1986 live-action film starring Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins – with Chip Zien voicing the titular character.

Check out the trailer for Howard the Duck below:

Lucasfilm and Universal Pictures produced the movie, which received abysmal reviews from critics – given that the film was mostly an adaptation of the premise (an anthropomorphic duck from outer space lands on Earth) than a fully-realized implementation of the character (or his function as social satire).

NEXT PAGE: What Does This Mean for Future Marvel Films?

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  1. Howard the Duck for president!

  2. The eyes were more like a ducks, intense eyebrows too, and not like the comic exactly, the clothes were spot on, and as soon as he started speaking I recognized, “Seth Green”
    does anyone think he could handle an entire stand alone movie, is he ready for or capable of that? I wonder is all…

  3. Myself and one other person ( an old man) in the theatre knew who Howard was. People my age and older know who he is but very few read the comics like I did.

    • I’m 24 (born in 1990, so after the Howard the Duck film adaptation came out), and I knew it was Howard the Duck the moment he appeared. I’ve never seen the movie (largely because I heard it was terrible and quite frankly have very little interest), and I’ve never read the comics. Cultural literacy, I guess. Or maybe it’s just my inner geek…

      • The “Howard the Duck” movie came out on 1984, actually … Have watched it So Many Times !!!

  4. Yeah, Howard the Duck was fun and all, but he was mainly a distraction from what was happening in the background (which this article missed). Adam Warlocks cocoon was seen earlier in the movie with The Collector, and at the end with Howard the Duck, the cocoon is seen cracked open and empty. Adam Warlock is a major character and a nemesis to Thanos.

  5. Looks like Marvel is gearing up for many more cameo roles rather than major movies. I expect to see Hercules and the Recorder in the next GotG. And the next Avengers can have as many extra heroes as they want in it; Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Ms. Marvel, Captain Mar-Vel, or even Wonder Man. I’m surprised that the Antman movie is not a tie in with Ultron. Since it is not I am at a loss as to why they would pick him for a stand alone movie. Since they have already shown the original Human Torch in the first Captain America movie I am wondering if they will use that as the basis for Vision since that is the comic version of his origin, along with his brain imprint from Simon Williams.

  6. No one else remembers the sex-scene between Howard and Lea Thompson?

  7. How do people not know howard the Duck? Did they miss out on the 80s completely?! It used to be one of my all time fave films. That and Earth Girls are Easy.

  8. Do we really care about Howard the Duck anymore?Me,I’d live see Adam Warlock in the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie or somewhere else movie?

  9. Marvel needs more theriomorphic superheroes.

    I hope they make Hawkman at least partly a REAL G*D HAWK.

    • If I got the company that owns said Hawkman wrong, it’s probably because I haven’t picked up a comic book in over 30 years, and those I did read were horror and WW2 comics – because superheroes were damn boring and stupid back then.

  10. Oi! What about Drax’s daughter Moondragon?! She’s awesome.

  11. The problem I had with this end credit is that the duck looks nothing like the movie character. Okay so he is based off a comic book, but the 80’s movie gave us a pretty good Howard the Duck and don’t tell me that someone from Marvel couldn’t get a favor called in to use the same costume.

  12. I am glad I got my Howard the Duck comic signed by Stan Lee since I can’t have Steve sign it, since his death, and not sure if I will see Val at a signing. But when Stan saw it, he looked up and smiled. Something he rarely does at signings. He signs them and passes them. Now seeing Howard the Duck being brought back I am so stoked for this. I hope he in the next movie… even though he looks creepy.

  13. that’s not at all explaining the ending to guardians of the galaxy… you were supposed to notice the cocoon in one of the glass cases was not there and that cocoon represented Adam warlock… it literally had nothing to do with howard the duck other than the comedy aspect.

  14. The main thing here, apart from Warlock’s open cocoon, which Howard distracts us from, is that it is a middle finger to DC.

    Marvel is basically saying: “You struggle to get your MAIN characters to perform. We get a talking Racoon and makes him a star. And if we WANTED to, we would PWN you with THIS dude, too.”

    • You have to be a troll because that was the dumbest thing anyone has extracted from the end credit scene yet.

  15. f*** you all