Back in the prehistoric days, once the credits rolled, it was time to GTFO. But all that has changed thanks to the classic Marvel movie format, which popularized the inclusion of post-credits scenes. A lot of films have done stingers prior to the MCU such as Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, and comedies like Napoleon Dynamite and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but Marvel has done it consistently that it’s already become their trademark. Bonus scenes serves as a way to hint at a sequel, give closure to other characters, provide a punchline to a joke that was set up early on, and ultimately reward viewers who chose to stay until the end.
Ever since Iron Man in 2008, we’ve been trained to become very patient moviegoers and have been conditioned to search the credits for clues and Easter eggs. It was also Marvel’s way of encouraging viewers to acknowledge the crew who worked on the film. These bonus scenes almost always elicit two types of reactions: audible gasps and cheers from those familiar with comic book canon and questioning glances sideways paired with “Huh? Who’s that?” from others as they frantically type descriptive keywords in the search engine. We’d like to emphasize though that regardless of how much you know about the OG source, it doesn’t make you a better or worse fan of the franchise. (Just say no to geek snobbery!) Either way, these scenes help Marvel garner enough buzz to promote future films and increase the hype.
Among all the scenes churned out by Marvel, which ones were the most memorable and which ones were just plain unnecessary? Let’s find out! Needless to say, spoilers abound but maybe you should go watch the movies first before reading below.
28. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
As far as credit scenes go, this interdimensional booty call was the least exciting one. But since Jane Foster won’t be returning to the MCU anytime soon, we guess it’s more like a bittersweet goodbye to Natalie Portman’s role.
27. Doctor Strange (2016)
Too Many Sorcerers
Leaving Jonathan Pangborn paralyzed was kind of a dick move but we hardly knew the guy so it didn’t leave as much of an impact. But it shows that Mordo has officially gone full villain to instill order and prevent another Kaecilius situation.
26. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Sinister Six, Maybe?
Scorpion fails in fishing out Spider-Man’s identity from Vulture and mentions friends who’d like to “meet” the hero. Could this mean that we’ll be seeing more than one baddie in the sequel?
25. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Sif and Volstagg (and the audience) meet Taneleer Tivan way ahead of the GOTG movie. We don’t see any of the main MCU players but hey, the Infinity Stones are finally confirmed!
24. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
What The Duck?!
Most viewers probably wondered why there was an alcoholic Donald Duck rip-off onscreen. The 1986 Howard The Duck film happens to be Marvel’s first live-action full-length release. (1944’s Captain America was a 15-chapter weekly serial) And it’s a quick nod to a so-bad-it’s-good campfest that starred Lea Thompson and had George Lucas as executive producer.
23. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Yaka Arrow Fail
Kraglin messes around with Yondu’s arrow and hilarity ensues. The over-the-top long and continued screams of anger and pain when Drax gets hit by said arrow makes it funnier. (Never underestimate the power of physical comedy.)
22. Thor (2011)
The glowing cube hints at the existence of the Infinity Stones/Infinity Gems (which during the time, wasn’t confirmed) in the MCU and plays a significant role in the culmination of Phase One, the Avengers movie. Plus, the fangirls rejoiced when the perpetually emo Loki is shown to have survived the events of the film in the form of a ghostly Safeguard commercial conscience.
21. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
The Expendables: Galaxy Edition
Yondu’s appearance in the films was already the walking, talking shout-out to the first GOTG team. But the mid-credits scene showing Sly Stallone’s Stakar Ogord/Starhawk bringing the gang all back together including Aleta Ogord, Charlie-27, Martinex, plus new members like Mainframe (an alternate version of Vision in the comics), and Krugarr (who shares Doctor Strange’s mystical abilities) means that we’ll be seeing the OG guardians in action.
20. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Steve Rogers is so damn relatable as the tito who stares in confusion at today’s modern society. We’re just glad he was finally brought forward to the present in order to gradually build the Avengers initiative.
19. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Bucky visiting a museum to figure out what happened to him and finally remembering his epic bromance with Steve is giving us all the feels. (We’re not crying, we’re just cutting onions.) And it’s a hint that we’ll see him allied with Cap in the future (See: Civil War).
18. Ant-Man (2015)
Aside from hints of future plot points, nothing excites a Marvel fan more than the addition of new characters into the cinematic universe. While it was hella obvious that Hope van Dyne is the Wasp, it’s another thing to see the costume for ourselves, prepping us for Ant-Man and the Wasp in 2018.
17. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
We finally get a glimpse of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s powers in all its CG glory before Age of Ultron. In this scene, it’s implied that instead of having mutant ancestry, they’re the result of mad scientist experiments thus, solving the whole X-Men property problem where the MCU films aren’t allowed to mention mutants.
16. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
A continuation of an earlier scene in the film, Stan Lee is seen hanging out with some bald dudes. Who are they? The Watchers are an ancient race who know everything about anyone and anything in the whole damn universe and keep a record of it all. That could explain why Stan Lee is sharing stories, perhaps he’s an honorary Watcher who keeps track of the MCU.
15. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Thanos goes for the “less is more” approach when striking fear into the hearts of moviegoers. He’s only around from few secs to a few minutes tops with every appearance but you always feel the gravity of his presence. You know real shit’s about to go down when he grabs the gauntlet to do the dirty work himself.
14. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Baby Groot’s adventures were adorkable AF but nothing lasts forever and we have to move on to the brooding adolescent phase.
We’re surprised to learn that Peter can finally understand the nuances of the Flora colossus language as they have a father-and-son style back-and-forth convo. We’re looking forward to seeing the new abilities Teen Groot will unlock in Vol. 3.
13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Damn! GOTG does not mess around. They have a total of five bonus scenes throughout the credits and have the most number of post-credit fillers in the MCU so far. One of the mid-credits scenes introduces a new character, Adam Warlock. In the comics, this Cosmic Being has a hand in defeating Thanos but unfortunately, he won’t be in Infinity War. At least he’s guaranteed an entry into future Marvel movies, though.
12. Iron Man 3 (2013)
We really enjoyed the super nerdy friendship between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. So seeing them level up in the friendship department by having a BFF sharing session (with Bruce insisting that he’s not that kind of doctor) just made it all the more memorable. Iron Man’s been through some serious crap in this film so he deserves a listening ear.
11. Doctor Strange (2016)
Drinking Sesh With Thor
The glaringly obvious absence of Thor in Civil War made us wonder where the hell he’s been. This short clip at least showed some interaction between the Asgardian and one of the newer MCU characters and hints at plot points in Thor: Ragnarok such as Odin going M.I.A. and a Loki teamup. P.S. We’d like to know where to get those self-refilling beer mug ourselves.
10. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
It sucks that we won’t be seeing any more bash brothers-style tag-team action from Cap and the Winter Soldier any time soon but at least Bucky’s still alive. And we get a panoramic view of what we can expect in the Black Panther film.
9. Ant-Man (2015)
I Know A Guy
Falcon and Cap caught Bucky? Did they say something about accords? Why is Iron Man cockblocking their plans? Are they recruiting Ant-Man? What the hell were they talking about? So many questions ran through our minds as we watched the scene. This moment made us all the more hyped for what was about to go down in Captain America: Civil War.
8. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Stop. Hammer time!
We already saw Captain America’s shield several times plus Hulk recruited into the fold but hinting at the upcoming Thor movie was still pretty freaking awesome. Seeing the Mjolnir buried in the sand just made it all the more real.
7. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
An Actual Homecoming
After two different Spider-Man movie franchises, Pete is finally coming home to Marvel Studios. Just seeing the logo projected on the ceiling like a Bat signal made us all kinds of ready for future Spider-Man collaborations.
6. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Most people forget that before Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton took on the role of the mean, green giant for the MCU with great reception. Regardless of the actor though, it was hella exciting to see Tony Stark make cameo so he could recruit the Hulk for his team. The scene proves that Marvel ain’t dishing out B.S. and that the Avengers are legit assembling.
5. The Avengers (2012)
The Bigger Bad
Showing a quick profile of the supervillain Thanos made most people wonder who the grape-skinned, Grimace-looking mofo was. By now, the general audience is more than familiar with Thanos thanks to his evil cameos in several Marvel films. He’s a constant reminder that there’s a greater threat looming beyond this earthly realm, quietly plotting the events leading up to the Infinity War like an intergalactic chessmaster.
4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
The otherwise rollicking fun that was GOTG had a major downer moment with the devastating loss of breakout character Groot. Fans heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing him reborn into a tiny dancing tree that you wanna just display on your dashboard. “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 adds infinite plus points to the scene.
3. Iron Man (2008)
Back in 08, crossover movies weren’t a popular ploy to build an instant cash cow franchise (we’re looking at you, The Dark Universe and MonsterVerse). Our collective jaws dropped when Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury stepped out of the shadows talking about Iron Man becoming part of a bigger universe. Little did we know that a great superhero movie renaissance movement was coming our way in the next decade.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Best Captain America Cameo Ever
If you’ve scrolled down this far in our list then congrats! You’ve got one of the most valuable traits that a soldier or student can have: patience. To quote the good Cap, “Sometimes patience is the key to victory, sometimes it leads to very little and it seems like it’s not worth it. And you wonder why you waited so long for something so disappointing.” Kudos to Marvel for effectively trolling its viewers.
1. The Avengers (2012)
An epic post-credit scene doesn’t always require exposition or a flashy cameo. Sometimes, movie magic is made out of the very mundane.There’s nothing out of the ordinary about a group of friends grabbing a bite to eat after a particularly rough day at work except, you know, they just happen to be earth’s mightiest heroes, too. It’s odd, amusing, and a much-needed breather from a feature film that took us for a crazy ride. (Superheroes, they’re just like us!)