Marvel Studios may have perfected the art of the post-credits scene (or end credits stinger), but the fact is that the practice of adding an extra scene at the end of a film’s credits has been going on for a long time. Movies like Young Sherlock Holmes and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off had stingers tacked onto their movies ages before Nick Fury showed up in Tony Stark’s living room, telling the narcissistic superhero that he was putting a team together.
The thing is, most people nowadays tend to associate post-credits scenes with superhero movies, even though they all don’t have one. Sure, every Marvel movie has a post-credits scene, but the majority of DC Comics offerings don’t. Even the X-Men franchise has managed to feature only a few stingers. There’s a slew of films out there with end credits scenes most people haven’t seen (or even know exist), so we thought we’d help out with that.
Here are 15 Movies You Didn’t Know Had Post-Credits Scenes.
Note: we’ve included a handful of mid-credits sequences on our list. Because of course they count.
When it comes to comic book movies, most people think of costumed superheroes. But the genre has a bit more to it than just people in capes taking on the villain of the week; there are people like John Constantine, an antihero and occult detective from DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. The character recently made his live-action debut on television in the Arrowverse, played by Matt Ryan, but almost a decade prior, Keanu Reeves appeared as Constantine in Francis Lawrence’s movie of the same name, which also happened to be the director’s feature film debut.
At one point in the movie, Shia LaBeouf’s character, Chas Kramer, is beaten to death by the archangel Gabriel, who was masquerading around as an invisible creature. While the movie’s ending is as happy as it could be, the real happy ending comes in the post-credits scene. When Constantine visits Chas’ gravesite, he places a lighter on top of the grave and says, “You did good, kid.” At that moment, Chas appears as an angel and then flies up into the sky, presumably to Heaven.
14. Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Animation Studios has been experiencing something of a renaissance these past few years, evidenced by releases such as Tangled, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 — the latter of which is loosely inspired by the Marvel superhero team of the same name. Even though Big Hero 6 isn’t a Marvel Studios production, that doesn’t mean Disney was going to pass over the opportunity to include a post-credits scene.
During the credits, newspaper headlines reveal that the university dedicated a building to Tadashi’s memory while also awarding a highly-coveted grant to Hiro. Then, in the post-credits scene, we discover that Fred’s father was actually a superhero, played by Stan Lee. He then shows up, in person, and tells Fred that they have a lot to talk about.
Not only does the scene give audiences a classic Stan Lee cameo, but in pure Marvel fashion, it also teases a potential sequel (or the planned TV show), perhaps with the comic book legend having a larger role. Wouldn’t it be something to see Stan Lee play a superhero in a comic book movie, instead of just being relegated to his standard brief appearances?
Zombieland was an unlikely success when it released in 2009, becoming the highest-grossing zombie flick in the U.S. until Brad Pitt’s World War Z. It’s also in good company, being one of the most critically acclaimed zombie movies of all time. Still, those two points don’t begin to describe Zombieland‘s wackiness. After all, a significant portion of the movie is dedicated to finding the last Twinkie in the country.
The writers wanted a celebrity to cameo in the movie, but getting one to actually sign on was tough. The filmmakers considered the likes of Sylvester Stallone, Mark Hamill, Kevin Bacon, and even Matthew McConaughey, but they eventually got Bill Murray, of all people, to do the gig. Simply put, it was awesome.
At one point in the film, the group arrives at Bill Murray’s mansion and proceed to let loose for a while. They even meet the legendary actor himself, but since they’re in Zombieland, Columbus accidentally kills Murray. In the post-credits scene, Tallahassee is trying to say goodbye to Murray, and Murray helps him out by saying, “In the words of the immortal philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher.’”
12. Masters of the Universe
If you thought Michael Bay’s Transformers series was the first time Hollywood tried to make a movie based on a series of toys, you would be wrong. Cannon Films made their first attempt with Gary Goddard’s Masters of the Universe in 1987, starring Dolph Lundgren as the titular hero, He-Man, and Frank Langella as the villain, Skeletor, along with several other prominent stars.
The movie was a colossal failure, but the filmmakers didn’t know that when they were making the movie. After a series of fights, He-Man finally beats Skeletor by knocking him into a shaft, seemingly killing him — or does he?
In a post-credits scene, Skeletor pops out, breaks the fourth wall, and tells audiences not to fret, for he will be back. The way he said it was more blunt, of course, and less like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2. Still, the big baddie promised an inevitable return, one that we still haven’t seen come to pass three decades later. Perhaps he’ll show up in the planned reboot instead?
11. The Grey
Liam Neeson is an Academy Award-nominated actor, and someone who has appeared in countless roles as a mentor, but in recent years, he’s redefined himself as a modern day action star. Still, not all of Neeson’s films are traditional action movies. In 2012, he starred in Joe Carnahan’s survival thriller The Grey, which centered around a group of petroleum landmen who brave the harsh conditions of the Alaskan woodlands. Along the way, they encountered grey wolves who are determined to kill every last one of them, and, well, that’s exactly what happens.
After a while, Neeson’s character, John Ottway, ends up as the last man standing. He eventually finds himself unwittingly walking straight into the wolves’ den, and instead of running, he decides to go head-to-head with the alpha wolf. Unfortunately, the movie ends before we find out the result of the fight. In a post-credits scene, though, we see both Ottway and the wolf lying on the ground, both breathing, but gravely injured. Whether Ottway survives or not is still undetermined.
10. Jingle All the Way
Aside from his recently concluded political career, Arnold Schwarzenegger is known worldwide for being a renowned bodybuilder as well as an A-list action movie star, having appeared in classics such as Terminator, Predator, and Commando, among others. He also appeared in the occasional comedy movie in his heyday, like Brian Levant’s Jingle All the Way. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to get the season’s most popular toy as a Christmas gift, and that’s something Schwarzenegger’s Howard experienced firsthand in the movie, trying to get a Turbo-Man action figure for his son, Jaime.
Instead of teasing a potential sequel, or poking fun at a scene earlier in the movie, the post-credits scene in Jingle All the Way reminds audiences that you can’t forget to get gifts for everyone in the family, not just your children: as Howard sets up the Christmas tree and begins to celebrate with his wife and son, he realizes that he never got his wife, Liz, a present. The shock on Schwarzenegger’s face is enough to muster a chuckle or two from audiences — those that actually stuck around through the credits, that is.
The J.J. Abrams-produced, Matt Reeves-directed Cloverfield pulled off one of the most impressive marketing campaigns in cinematic history when the film released in 2008, and the movie has since become one of the most beloved monster movies in recent memory.
In the film, a monster of unknown origin decimates New York City, killing countless people, including a few members of the main cast. In the end, only two folks are left standing: Michael Stahl-David’s Rob and Odette Annable’s Beth. As they profess their love for each other, a bomb goes off in the city, and they are heard screaming. At the end of the credits, there are a few seconds of static with a voice saying, “Help us.” But if you play the recording in reverse, the person is saying, “It’s still alive.”
People have been waiting years for a Cloverfield sequel, and while we’re getting offshoots set within the same universe, we still don’t know what happened to Rob or Beth (they’re probably dead, though). Regardless, the debate about whether or not the monster is still alive should be put to rest.
8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes marked the beginning of a new Planet of the Apes series, one that has truly stood out among all the recent reboots. Unlike the Tim Burton-directed reboot from the early 2000s, Rupert Wyatt’s film started out with humanity (and the world) very much intact, and with the apes still in captivity. Of course, we all know that, eventually, the human population will pushed to the brink of extinction and that the apes will take over the planet.
The Simian Flu is the primary source of human eradication in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, and that is teased early on in Rise, though we actually don’t see it take hold. What we do see are the apes freeing each other and becoming smarter — much smarter. Caesar even learns to speak. However, in the film’s post-credits scene, we see David Hewlett’s Hunsiker, a pilot, at the airport, getting ready to board a flight while suffering from a not-so-innocuous nosebleed. This is after he was exposed to the virus earlier in the movie, so it’s a clear sign that he’s at least partially responsible for the spread of the Simian Flu.
7. Fast Five
If there’s any franchise out there that has defied all rules and expectations, it’s Fast and Furious. What started out as a rather forgettable street racing movie in 2001 has turned into one of the biggest, highest-grossing franchises in movie history, and there are still three installments left that we know of. Each movie has tacked on a few additional cast members and tweaked the franchise’s formula in some way, though you may not have realized that they’ve each featured a post-credits scene. They’ve all been interesting, but the scene from Fast Five stands out the most.
Instead of reprising her role as ICE Agent Monica Fuentes from 2 Fast 2 Furious in the actual movie, Eva Mendes appeared in an uncredited role in the movie’s mid-credits scene. She’s seen handing Dwayne Johnson’s DSS Agent Luke Hobbs a file with a surprising photo inside — a photo of Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty, who was previously killed off in Fast and Furious (not to be confused with The Fast and the Furious). The scene set up the story for Fast and Furious 6, with Dom and his team heading to London to bring Letty back.
6. Kung Fu Panda
Hollywood takes their most bizarre ideas and turns them into animated movies because the genre allows them to create worlds, stories, and characters that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to realize in live-action. Kung Fu Panda is representative of that approach; it’s a series about a panda becoming a Kung Fu master and defending his land as the Dragon Warrior. It could only have been pulled off in the world of animation.
The first movie was an unexpected hit critically and commercially, and it kickstarted one of the most successful and beloved animated franchises out there. And as with most animated films, Kung Fu Panda also carries numerous overt and subliminal messages, including those about never giving up, even in the face of adversity.
After spending much of the series’ first adventure filled with resentment, Shifu finally learns to accept Po as the Dragon Warrior in an end credits stinger, and the two of them share a meal of dumplings together under Oogway’s peach tree. Then, the camera pans out to reveal that the seed Shifu planted earlier in the movie is beginning to blossom. It’s a heartwarming end to a way-better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be film about animals being Kung Fu warriors.
5. The X-Files: I Want to Believe
The X-Files is one of the longest running and most beloved science fiction franchises out there. Consisting of multiple shows, including one spin-off, two movies, and a handful of novels and comics, The X-Files has been around in some form for over two decades, and there is still hope for further stories. But in 2008, years after the original television series concluded, creator Chris Carter resurfaced with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson for one last hurrah: The X-Files: I Want to Believe.
For all audiences knew, I Want to Believe was the last time Duchovny and Anderson would appear as Agent Fox Mulder and Dr. Dana Scully, respectively, ever again. After everything the two had been through together, they deserved a happy ending. That’s exactly what they got with the movie’s post-credits scene: both of them, in a row boat, heading towards a tropical island, who then wave at the camera. It only makes sense that one of the strangest movies, from one of the weirdest franchises, contains one of the most bizarre post-credits scenes around. Check out the link above if you want to believe.
4. Paranormal Activity 4
The found-footage filming technique is nothing new in Hollywood. It used to be a novelty, but now it’s hit stagnation and is irritating more and more people. While Hollywood has mostly curbed its use in the horror genre, there are still a few franchises that utilize the technique, such as Paranormal Activity. Years after the Blair Witch Project popularized found-footage in the mainstream horror game, the Paranormal Activity series revitalized it. The filming technique is part of the very essence of the franchise.
In addition to using found-footage, the Paranormal Activity series has maintained a connection to two sisters, but 2012 marked the first spin-off in the series, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. Paramount chose to set up the inevitable spin-off by including a post-credits scene in Paranormal Activity 4, with unknown videographers perusing through a store when an elderly woman appears in front of them, speaking Spanish. The scene was meant to tease The Marked Ones, albeit somewhat confusingly for audiences at the time.
3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
There are few franchises in history that are able to maintain a fan base that’s as loyal and as dedicated as Harry Potter‘s. We’re not just talking about the films either; children flocking to local bookstores for the midnight release of J.K. Rowling’s latest Harry Potter book was unheard of. It isn’t the type of series that people could just jump into the middle of either.
Since the movies followed Rowling’s series of books, post-credits scenes weren’t needed to tease the next chapter. That’s what makes the post-credits scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets all the more special (and rare) — so rare that even the most ardent Harry Potter fans might not know it exists.
In the movie, Kenneth Branagh’s Gildroy Lockhart is exposed as a fraud and attempts to flee, but in the process, he loses his memory, due to a spell backfiring from using Ron Weasley’s broken wand. In the post-credits scene, Lockhart is seen in a straitjacket, trying to sell his new book: Who Am I? Even with amnesia, Lockhart still can’t rid himself of his celebrity persona.
2. Super Mario Bros.
Hollywood has been making comic book movies for decades, but it wasn’t until the ’90s that studios developed a fascination for video game adaptations. To kickstart this new endeavor in bringing beloved video game stories and characters to life on the big screen, Disney decided to make a Super Mario Bros. movie. Disney and Nintendo working together for a feature film — it sounds like a match made in Heaven. While it may not have been a hit with critics nor general audiences, the flick has earned cult status and even generated several fan-made comics over the years.
But it might be a little over the top to consider the movie being the basis for a Super Mario Bros. video game, right? In the movie’s stinger, two Japanese executives visit Fisher Steven’s Iggy and Richard Edson’s Spike and ask the duo if they would be interested in developing a video game based on them, not on Mario or Luigi. Of course, they think it’s a great idea, but they would like the game to be called The Super Koopa Cousins.
1. Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace
Star Wars is one of the few remaining franchises in cinema not to include a single post-credits scene. Everyone does it — and not just superhero franchises, as proven by all of the aforementioned flicks — but Star Wars is different. Ever since A New Hope released in theaters way back in 1977, Lucasfilm has liked to do things a bit differently than everyone else. But just because there’s no post-credits scene in the movies per say doesn’t mean the studio can’t tease fans, and that’s what George Lucas did with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
If you wait until the very end of the credits for The Phantom Menace, there is something there that Star Wars fans would surely enjoy: the sound of Darth Vader’s breathing. After credits are done rolling, the Dark Lord of the Sith’s iconic labored breaths can be heard, teasing and foreshadowing Anakin Skywalker’s eventual fall to the Dark Side. That is, after all, what the entire prequel trilogy was about.
Do you know of any other movies that featured credits sequences that most folks aren’t aware of? Let us know in the comments!