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Logan's Director Is Wrong About Post-Credits Scenes

Logan's director James Mangold has vocally derided the practice of attaching post-credits scenes to movies. At Audi’s 2018 Writers Guild Association Beyond Words Panel, the filmmaker behind Cop Land, Walk The Line, and two hit films about the Wolverine, shared his opinion that post-credits scenes are not only "cheating" and evidence that "[the director] couldn’t land your  f***ing movie['s ending]," but that ultimately the practice of using them is "f***ing embarrassing."

Mr. Mangold is certainly entitled to his position on Hollywood's current penchant of attaching stingers to the end credits of their blockbusters. Part of his umbrage could stem from his personal experience; he himself attached a post-credits scene to 2013's The Wolverine to set up the next summer's X-Men: Days of Future Past. As both were part of FOX's franchise, the studio's call in that matter was final. Mangold also seems unhappy with the practice in general. He feels post-credits scenes cheapen the theatrical experience because in his view, they are basically ads selling the audience on the next product, which is a fair assessment.

Related: Logan's Oscar Nomination Is a Game Changer

The director is wrong, however, that post-credit scenes are truly a detriment to modern movies. In the grand scheme of things, post-credits scenes are not much more than icing on top of a cake and, when used properly, they enhance the moviegoing experience. In short, post-credits scenes are part of the fun of movies!

This Page: Why Post-Credits Scenes Are A Good Thing

Why Post-Credits Scenes Are A Good Thing

Post-credits scenes have been part of movies for almost as long as movies have existed - 1903's The Great Train Robbery was the first recorded example of an extra coming at the end of a film. They have popped up irregularly over the decades in films like The Muppet Movie, Airplane!, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Note the common denominator to those three examples: they are all comedies offering extra bits to send a happy audience on their way. Who can forget There's Something About Mary's singalong to "Build Me Up Buttercup" whisking audience members already exhausted from laughing out of theaters?

The game changed, of course, at the final moments of 2008's Iron Man when Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury appeared with an offer to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) about the "Avengers Initiative." This harkened to the existence of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, a prophecy that has been fulfilled to success beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Marvel Studios has now pioneered the modern post-credits scene craze.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige succinctly explained his love of post-credits scenes:

"As a film nerd, I never wanted it to end. 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.”

Related: Logan Has A Real Chance of Winning Its Oscar

Feige gambled, successfully, that there are millions of dedicated movie lovers who share his philosophy and don't charge through the exits after the final fade out. A certain segment of moviegoer will respectfully sit all the way through the end credits to watch the list of thousands of names who worked on a film and to discuss the film with whoever is with them. Feige simply fused his personal desire to be rewarded with something extra for sitting through the credits with the business of servicing Marvel's shared universe and teasing the next chapter in the ever-expanding franchise. What Marvel in turn created with the help of post-credits scenes was a brand loyalty that is arguably the most powerful ever seen between a studio and its fanbase.

However, "Movies are a gold rush business," as screenwriter William Goldman wisely stated, and to the dismay of many, including Mangold, other studios have rushed to copy Marvel's success by inserting stingers to their superhero blockbusters' credits. Mangold found himself caught up in this wave when he signed on to direct The Wolverine, which in turn had to tease - or in his view "sell" - the next chapter of the X-Men saga. The Oscar-nominated Logan director's umbrage with the practice has a basis in that he views stingers as a function of commerce instead of art. They can be both, if done properly, just like the films themselves.

Yet, stingers are valuable in another way that enhances the theatrical moviegoing experience: post-credits scenes are primarily aimed at the movie theater attendee. It's one of the bonuses the theatrical moviegoer can receive that aren't offered by streaming services like Netflix, which immediately presents the option to jump to the very next thing to watch.

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Logan's Director Is Wrong About Post-Credits Scenes