Back in 2008, when Marvel Studios was preparing to launch their first self-financed feature film, Iron Man, they convinced Samuel L. Jackson to come in on a Saturday to shoot a quick cameo scene, one that would play after the credits roll. It was a fun idea for the comic book fans, but it was also one of the smartest ideas the studio ever made. The few words spoken by Jackson's S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury opened the door to a vast Marvel Comics library and the first shared continuity in film, and so began the journey to The Avengers and the tradition of post-credits "button" sequences.
Iron Man 2 teased Thor; Thor and Captain America teased the epic team-up of The Avengers; The Avengers teased one of Marvel's most dangerous villains in Thanos. With Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe underway, the tradition continues and these bonus sequences have become a staple of the franchise and an expectation of the fans. For Iron Man 3, Marvel went the way of keeping the film standalone at every level and its post-credits stinger was just something fun, not focused on teasing the next movie on Marvel's slate, but with Thor: The Dark World, there was a very important reveal. For the next film coming from the studio, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, rumor has it that it's going to be a big one as well...
Where the latest Iron Man and Thor installments attempted to - very intentionally - offer standalone experiences to prove the strength of the brand and individual characters when not teamed with their Avengers cohorts, Captain America 2 brings moviegoers back into the thick of things when it comes to the mysterious S.H.I.E.L.D. organization. The sequel not only features two Avengers in lead roles, but teams them with another potential member of the team in Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie). The film acts as a bridge of sorts between The Avengers and next summer's The Avengers: Age of Ultron (watch the new Super Bowl trailer!) and so its post-credits button needs to be a biggie.