The MCU's Phase 1 post-credits scenes are fun, but they don't actually make sense at all. According to Kevin Feige, the MCU's post-credits scenes came into being because of his own love of movies back when he was a teenager. "As a film nerd, I never wanted it to end," he reflected. "I didn’t want the experience… no matter how good or bad the movie was, just the experience of being in the movie theater, I didn’t want to end. So I would always sit through the credits."
Marvel didn't invent the idea of the post-credits scene; in fact, the first ever post-credits scene was in 1903, when the main character seemed to return from the dead to point a gun at the audience in The Great Train Robbery. But since 2008 they've become strongly associated with the Marvel brand, with some of the most memorable and distinctive scenes in the movies being consigned to after the credits have rolled. Marvel even trolled their own fans in the post-credits scene of Spider-Man: Homecoming, when the credits ended to show Captain America delivering a lecture on patience and how sometimes things aren't worth the wait.
As important as the post-credits scenes may be to the Marvel brand, the reality is that many of them prove a little problematic. Even the writers of Avengers: Infinity War have admitted they have no idea what Thanos is doing in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron; where is he and who is he even talking to? But the real problems, oddly enough, are back in Phase 1. All these post-credits scenes were essentially setup - and as such they don't hold up to careful scrutiny.
The MCU Post-Credits Scene Tease Events That Didn't Happen
The fundamental problem is that none of the setup in those early post-credits scenes is paid off. They tease events that don't quite happen. Take that famous post-credits scene in Iron Man: Tony Stark returns home to find that S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury has broken in and is waiting for him. Fury welcomes Stark to a bigger universe of heroes, telling him that he's not the only superhero in town, and even mentions the Avengers Initiative. This is one of the most crucial scenes in the entire MCU, explicitly cluing viewers in to the overarching direction of Phase 1. But it's also rather odd when viewed in light of the rest of the MCU; for one thing, Fury makes it sound as though he's already working with a bunch of superheroes, when in reality Tony Stark doesn't get to meet any S.H.I.E.L.D. enhanced assets at all. And then there's the fact Fury revokes Stark's participation in the Avengers Initiative in Iron Man 2.
The post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk is even more problematic, with Stark approaching General Ross and offering to help with his Hulk problem. It clearly indicated that the Avengers' first mission would be hunting down the Hulk, an idea that's lifted straight from the Ultimates comics. But the hunt for the Hulk never happened, and in fact Marvel had to film an entire one-shot to fix this; according to The Consultant, S.H.I.E.L.D. sent Stark as a patsy, knowing he'd irritate General Ross to the point he refused to cooperate with them. It was a smart fix, but it certainly underscores the fact this hadn't been thought through quite as much as casual viewers imagine. Moving on, Fury recruits Dr. Selvig to experiment upon the Tesseract in the post-credits scene of Thor, with a cool scene revealing that Selvig is under Loki's control. But that plot-point is completely dropped in The Avengers, with Loki using the Scepter to take control of Selvig's mind just as he does Hawkeye's. And the post-credits scene of Captain America: The First Avenger is basically just a trailer for The Avengers.
Even the post-credits scene of The Avengers doesn't really work. It sees the Other report in to Thanos, revealing that the Mad Titan was the one who is truly behind the Chitauri invasion of Earth. "They are unruly," the Other notes of humanity, "and therefore cannot be ruled." That comment implies that the goal of the Chitauri invasion was a simple conquest, with the Chitauri then aiming to rule the ashes of the Earth. Then, crucially, the Other continues; "To challenge them is to court death." This statement leads Thanos to turn and face the screen, with a smile on his face. Whedon is alluding to a comic-book-accurate Thanos, one who explicitly desired to "court Death." But, of course, when Marvel eventually explored Thanos' character and motivations in Avengers: Infinity War, they moved away from the comic book version completely.
Iron Man 2's Post-Credits Scene Is The Only One That Makes Sense
There's just one post-credits scene in the entirety of Phase 1 that makes sense; Iron Man 2's. In this scene, Agent Coulson arrives at an impact site in the New Mexico desert, one that's already surrounded by civilians. As he calls it in, the camera pans out to reveal a shot of Mjolnir at the center of the crater. This particular post-credits scene ties in perfectly with Thor, where Odin enchants the hammer and casts it through the Bifrost. Scenes in Thor show the civilians attempting to lift it - including a notable Stan Lee cameo - before they're forced away by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Look closely, and this is really the only Phase 1 post-credits scene that Marvel actually delivered on.
Page 2 of 2: Why The Post-Credits Scenes Don't Make Sense
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019