‘The Avengers’ Post-Credits Scenes Explained

Published 2 years ago by , Updated August 3rd, 2012 at 7:48 am,

Avengers Movie Interviews The Avengers Post Credits Scenes Explained

Fans of Marvel Studios movies generally know to stay to the end of the credits for a bonus scene, one that typically introduces a character or teases the next film in the franchise. The tradition began with Iron Man where Samuel L. Jackson infamously showed up in Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.’s) apartment and name-dropped The Avengers, a moment which laid the groundwork for the future of the franchise.

Every Marvel movie since (with the exception of The Incredible Hulk which moved its scene into the main film) has included some sort of tag/button at the end of the credits, but The Avengers (i.e. the biggest opening film of all time) included two; One during the credits and one special scene added after the credits which didn’t play until the film opened in North America on May 4th.

The first button shows up midway through the credits and works to tease upcoming events in the Marvel Cinematic universe. The second scene at the very end however, is there only for pure entertainment value, and it wasn’t even shot until after The Avengers premiered in LA. In fact, we only found out about it because Robert Downey Jr. couldn’t resist spilling the beans and teasing the extra scene.

So, what are these two scenes, why are there two this time, and how did they come about?

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WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE AVENGERS AHEAD!

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Thanos in The Avengers  The Avengers Post Credits Scenes Explained

The first scene that shows up after the first section of credits (the part with all the animated weapons/costumes) presents the leader of the Chitauri alien force explaining the failure of their attack on Earth (led by Loki) to a mysterious alien, who turns and smiles at the idea of dealing with The Avengers would be “courting death itself.” That alien is of course the previously rumored Thanos and the reason for the smile is that “Death” is actually personified in the Marvel Universe as someone Thanos so desperately wishes to please.

Without getting too deep into the Marvel Comics history of Thanos, this scene, albeit totally confusing to non-Marvel Comics fans, is important as it is likely teasing the villain for next year’s Thor 2. We know from Tom Hiddleston’s interviews in promoting The Avengers, that Loki and Thor return to Asgard in the Thor sequel and there’s a greater villain at play which just may force the (not by blood) brothers to work together. It’s likely that Thanos will be coming to get at least one of the artifacts found in Odin’s Vault (image below), as shown in the first Thor film. Thanos needs the Infinity Gauntlet and Thor 2 must show him coming to get it. From there, Thanos will show up in Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie which remains unannounced but could come in 2014 or 2015, and if not, The Avengers 2, likely in 2015.

Thor Thanos Infinity Gauntlet 570x308 The Avengers Post Credits Scenes Explained

Thanos sporting the Infinity Gauntlet

Was Thanos then, a character Marvel forced Joss Whedon to include at the end? Nope. Not at all. In fact, it was entirely Joss Whedon’s idea. Marvel President Kevin Feige explained to /Film that their guidelines simply involved aliens attacking Manhattan through a portal – who they were and who sent them was entirely up to Mr. Whedon. He chose the Chitauri army, as we know, but he also chose Thanos as the man behind the curtains so to speak, the one who set the plan in motion and gave Loki his added knowledge.

“He for me is the most powerful and fascinating Marvel villain. He’s the great grand daddy of the badasses and he’s in love with death and I just think that’s so cute. For me, the greatest Avengers was THE AVENGERS annual that Jim Starlin did followed by THE THING 2 in 1 that contained the death of Adam Warlock. Those were some of the most important texts and I think underrated milestones in Marvel history and Thanos is all over that, so somebody had to be in control and had to be behind Loki’s work and I was like ‘It’s got to be Thanos.’ And they said ‘Okay’ and I’m like ‘Oh my God!’”

But only the hardcore fans will know who he is, right? How many non-comic-readers knew who Nick Fury was at the end of Iron Man, what that hammer was at the end of Iron Man 2, or what the cube was at the end of Thor? As we explained in our special Avengers edition of the Screen Rant Underground podcast this week and as Kevin Feige reiterates in the interview, it’s there to get people talking, to get fans speculating, and to serve as a reminder for when said character does return to the big screen next year or the year after.

The Artifacts and Relics of Odins Vault in Thor Movie The Avengers Post Credits Scenes Explained

As for the post-credits scene that didn’t play internationally, it does nothing to setup future films or offer geek-focused Easter Eggs. Instead, it plays off of one of the jokes in the film’s final act, as told by Robert Downey Jr’s character. EW had a chance to chat with director/writer Joss Whedon and the cast to figure how and why this scene came about and why it was added at the literal last possible minute so it could play in theaters in time for its May 4th North American debut.

For background, during the final battle in The Avengers, a nuke is shot towards Manhattan to ensure the destruction of the invading alien army, but it was shot against the wishes of SHIELD Director Nick Fury and so he notifies Stark that it’s incoming. Using the last bit of energy in his armored suit, Iron Man redirects the warhead back through the portal, potentially sacrificing himself. On his collision course back down to the Manhattan streets, Hulk leaps to his rescue (as spoiled by the trailers) and when he regains his consciousness, it’s time for a series Robert Downey Jr.-style quips and one-liners, including one about trying out some local cuisine (shawarma), a line that wasn’t in the original script as pointed out by Entertainment Weekly who was on set during the time.

Stark was originally supposed to awaken and ask “what’s next” but Downey Jr. felt they could do more with the scene and the director agreed. The one line became three pages, but the payoff wasn’t there for the shawarma quip. Marvel agreed later, and so after the LA premiere of The Avengers, with the cast gathered, they brought the costumes and had them shoot one scene in a local restaurant (made to look damaged from the battle) where all they did was sit around a table eating.

There was no dialogue at all and the scene was meant to show how tired the six heroes were after the battle. Chris Evans, having short hair and a beard, had to wear prosthetics and covered his face with his arm, and we see all the characters chewing slowly as the mighty Thor dug in for one big bite. It was hilarious and it’s the type of scene that works so well with the tone and style Whedon brought to the team-up epic. Now we know why it was added.

The Avengers shawarma The Avengers Post Credits Scenes Explained

If you’ve seen The Avengers and want to share your thoughts, join our Avengers spoilers discussion. Update: Disney’s CEO confirmed The Avengers 2 is in development.

The Avengers stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Tom Hiddleston and Stellan Skarsgard. It is of course written and directed by Joss Whedon.

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Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes if you’re a Marvel fan.

Sources: EW, /Film

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TAGS: the avengers, thor, thor 2

254 Comments

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  1. Dear Mr. Whedon, please put Vision in Avengers 2. Thank you.

  2. What, no Hugh Jackman cameo?

    • ROFL

    • Fox owns all theatrical rights to Fantastic 4 and X-Men, which is why the aliens are refered to under the name Chitauri instead of the more common Skrull (as used in the Fantastic 4 comics) and no X-men were part of the group. Spiderman’s theatrical rights are owned by Sony, so unless some legal negotiations can be made (*crosses fingers*), don’t expect these characters to join the group in the next film either.

  3. I really hope Spiderman can somehow be in the next avengers, maybe the third. And they could cover up why Spiderman wasn’t in Manhattan in this film maybe by saying he hasn’t got his powers yet. I dunno haha.

    • I doubt it, Sony will keep ahold of the license until it doesn’t make them money anymore.

    • Spiderman is defiantly DC.

      • ROFL!!!!!
        So many things wrong with that statement.

        • He would have to be pretty damn defiant seeing how he was created by Stan Lee and published by Marvel.

        • definitely marvel

      • Dont insult DC by saying he is theirs… Get your comics straight bro..

  4. So funny, the truth about the shawarma ending, as so many have been arguing about all the subtleties and nuances contained in the scene. One person went on about what it meant that Captain America wasn’t eating at all when the fact is that Chris was simply covering his beard! Sooooooooo funny!

  5. dunno if anyone has checked the following link but nice trivia (for those of us that didn’t know)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0848228/trivia

    • i like that Morena Baccarin tried out for maria hill. I’m surprised she didn’t get it since she looks more the part than Smulders, but also her & Whedon’s past. but Cobie was good, and will hopefully be better and MORE of her in future marvel films.

  6. I can see the opening of the new Spider-Man movie now…

    Peter Parker-Wha-…what happened to MANHATTAN!
    News-Recently, the Avengers stopped a giant alien invasion from taking over Manhattan.
    Peter-Show offs… *sees spider* IMA BE BETTER THAN THEM! *eats spider*

  7. I really enjoyed the final restarant scene when the superheros are too exhausted to do anything but eat. But I felt I was missing the point of an inside joke. It was because I didn’t know what a shawarma was. When erlier in the movie Tony Stark says he doesn’t know what a shawarma is but that he would like to try it, that is an invitation to those like me to find out. According to wikipedia, this sandwich goes by many names and international versions, and buried in that long list is the mention of the Greek Gyro. Okay, I know what a Gyro is. And just about now (it took me two days to realize this, but that’s because I’m a little slow) many of you reading this will suddently realize that the final scene is a PUN. The superheros are eating Gyro (hero) sandwiches. Those who thought this was a worthless scene should now appreciate Joss Whedon’s genius sense of humor. And the placement of this joke at the very end is perfect. It’s a wink at the fans to not take ourselves too seriously. At the end of the day, it’s all for fun.

    • Shawarma is similar to a gyro, but is not a gyro. Also, the scene isn’t a pun at all. Stark invites them to eat shawarma while he’s laying there on the ground, and then they go eat shawarma, in silent, exhausted fashion.

      I loved the scene, it showed that even heros can be human, and that after a hard day’s work nothing beats stuffing your face.

      • My point (that I left out for some reason) is that “gyro” isn’t another word for “shawarma” so the gyro/hero joke doesn’t even work.

    • . . . Okay, I know what a Gyro is. And just about now (it took me two days to realize this, but that’s because I’m a little slow) many of you reading this will suddently realize that the final scene is a PUN. The superheros are eating Gyro (hero) sandwiches . . .

      Get a life!

      • Gyro is pronounced with a “g” sound (Anglicized) or a “y” sound (Greek), so there is no pun on HERO. It is, as Ken said, just a nice, calm ending to an extremely chaotic day.

        • http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/443408 For all the many many pronounciations, it depends on where you live.

          • Yes, but the Greeks on that thread were saying, fairly consistently, Yeero. The other comments simply softened the G. H only came up as questioned possibility.

            The point, anyway, is that Whedon was not trying to be clever in the food choice; he was simply providing the heroes with some deserved downtime.

            • 1. Downey Jr. ad libbed the line, which he does a lot, and therefor Whedon had nothing to do with it.
              2. The scene was added even after the LA premiere and was put in as nothing more than an after-thought/joke, not a clever pun.

              This all sounds like an argument a film student at a community college would make. They’re just eating.

              • Ummm, I assume you are responding to SuperGyro and Coll…Right?

                • You DID notice I was saying that the “gyro-as-hero” inside joke was a falsehood, agreeing with Ken (Ken, did YOU notice that?)…right?

                  As for whether or not Whedon came up with that scene formally, I was not claiming superior knowledge; I was simply saying that the film was ending, with that button, on a simple note as opposed to a clever note.

                  I was not making ANY film student’s observations…if you were, in fact, responding to me.

                  • Yeah, I thought phrases like, “they’re just eating,” and “not a clever pun” made it clear that I was supporting your argument against SuperGyro and Coll.

                  • I noticed.

                    Here’s your gold star & dry hand job.

                    • Ken and Speshlk37…

                      Thank you, and I apologize for my reaction, but I’ve been mistakenly (or just rudely) called out on several threads at various times and find it aggravating. I should have simply waited a few moments after reading your responses and let them go as what they were…agreement with the overall point. :)

              • I’ve been so called out by your insightfulness. Graduated Summa Cum Laude, BA English with minor in Film Studies. *hangs head in shame and humiliation* It was just a fun thought and not a definitive declaration of an undeniable truth, guys.

                • Are you implying he thinks he’s a film expert, or are you tooting your own horn about your degree?

                  It was a fun thought, but it sounded like your were definitively claiming something that wasn’t there. Also, don’t get butt hurt about someone analyzing what you post. It’s a discussion board. Some people put thought into responses instead of blindly posting “OMGZ SCARLUT JOHANSSONS RACK IZ HUGE.”

            • +1

        • I was in the navy and have been to both Greece and Turkey and in both it sounded like they pronounced it with a h. However, my wife was also in and went to a different area in Greece and they pronounced it with a g. So I think it really depends on where you are at.

  8. I was thinking. If the Infinity Gauntlet and Thanos are going to be in the sequel. What about Johnny Depp as Adam Warlock ?

    • No thanks.

      Although honestly I have trouble imagining any actor that would work with gold skin & blonde hair.

  9. I like Johnny Depp and all but I really could’nt see him as any type of superhero. He just don’t strike me as one.

  10. Hah, I had to share this.

    http://www.kicksonfire.com/2012/05/21/new-balance-574-iron-man-custom/

  11. One would have expected some cameos like the fantastic four or Xmen. It would have been brillent to have spiderman swing by with the his movie coming out soon after this one. It was an opportunity missed. I gather it was due to the companies that owned the rights to the characters… too bad

    • Right you are sir. X-Men and Fantastic 4 are held by Fox and Spidey is locked down by Sony….

  12. The movie was awesome, but I felt that loki should be more diabolical, and there were no clues concerning the ant-man.

  13. The movie was awesome, I felt that loki could been more diabolical. No clues to ant-man

  14. Where is ant-man?

  15. i find it amazing that you ppl are more concerned about the shawarma scene (which was hilarious btw) than the thanos scene, which is an important one.. shame

    • Most people aren’t “concerned with it,” there were a few folks who didn’t get it, a lot of people helping explain to those people.

      The Thanos scene is easy, no explaination needed. If someone doesn’t know who the character is, you just say “this really badass villain.”

  16. i really love this avenger movie. cant wait till the next 1… hope its betta than the 1st

  17. best movie ever i rlly love scarlet

  18. that person known as the other who was serving thanos.who is he? could he possible be red skull.he does have human hands.he probably isn’t red skull but could someone please respond.

    • Some people theorize he’s Ronan the Accuser, partially because in the Ultimate comics, Ronan was the son of Thanos… the Marvel Cinematic Universe is partially based on the Ultimate universe. He does have some visual similarity if you think about it the right way, but it’s also entirely possible that he’s a new character, or someone else we haven’t thought of.

      • now that you mention it he does look a good bit like ronan the accuser. thanks for responding

  19. just wasted five minutes reading everyones comments. yuck

  20. AWESOME MOVIE!!! Just awesome!

  21. why him

  22. On the 2 after credit scene on the avengers I see everyone except loki what is he tied to a flag pole out side I need awnsers

  23. Can Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man) be in the Avengers 2? Or at least guest star or something?!

  24. So, what did they do with Loki while they ate?
    Thor is still there, and they’re all still in their battle costumes, (except Banner, of course) so apparently Thor hasn’t taken Loki back to Asgard yet.
    I imagine he’s chained to Thor’s mjolnir outside the restaurant like a dog. *Sigh*, no shawarma for supervillains. ;)

  25. I thought it was a pink hulk. lol (I know)

  26. Thanos: *Sneaks into vault and steals Infinity Gauntlet while Thor stuffs his face with shawarma.*

    Yes, I know there are all sorts of reasons why that couldn’t happen–Heimdal, Odin, etc.–but it is still a funny image.

    After all the theories and speculation, it comes down to the fact that the choices for which movies are made and which characters will be in them will be based on which they think will make the most money. Unfortunately(?) for avid comic fans, that may mean the exclusion of some favorite, but lesser-known heroes/villains. I am pretty sure I will never see a movie starring PigIron and the gang, as entertaining and nostalgic as that might be (for me anyway, haha).

    Oh well, thankfully the imagination is free. And there’s always fanfiction. O_o