Sure Marvel films have trained us all to stay until after the credits of their films, but it is arguably the most anticipated moment of any new movie! Over the course of Marvel's Phase 1 they were filled with tons of fun teases for the next movie, and the entire future of the franchise. Over time, though, the end credit scenes have evolved.
Spider-Man and X-Men have done these too, even before Marvel Studios, but in this post I'm only going to examine the Marvel Studios franchise.
Iron Man - 2008
The first in the franchise has maybe the best tease ever!
Nick Fury makes his first appearance sneaking into Stark's home after his big "I am Iron Man" announcement on the news, telling Stark that he is not the only superhero, and that he wants to talk about the "Avengers Initiative". He also says the chilling words "You've become part of a bigger universe...you just don't know it yet." These words are meant for more for the viewers, telling them that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is bigger, and they can't imagine what's coming next.
This is an amazing and chilling tease!
Incredible Hulk - 2008
A great way to inform the average movie goer that these universes will be connected, bring in the guy they're familiar with the most - Iron Man.
In this post credits scene we get a peak at Tony Stark attempting to convince General Ross that he will take care of his "unusual problem", the Hulk, that Stark's "we" are going to handle it. Also if you've seen the One-Shot "The Consultant", we see Agents Coulson and Sitwell discussing how they plan on confronting General Ross about the Hulk situation, this post credit scene is what they're decision was - have Stark handle it.
Iron Man 2 - 2010
About halfway through Iron Man 2 Coulson is re-assigned to the New Mexico desert, we don't find out why until after the credits. He gets out of the car to see a crater surrounded by trucks and civilians, he speaks into his phone "I found it", and we zoom backwards over the crater and see Thor's hammer Mjolnir, which caused fanboys everywhere to try to teach their non-nerd friends the correction pronunciation.
Thor - 2011
After the climax of the film, and after Loki fights Thor and disappears into the vortex we see Dr. Selvig meet Nick Fury in a basement somewhere. Fury introduces Selvig to the Tessseract, bringing him on as a consultant to S.H.I.E.L.D. We see Loki step up behind Selvig and learn that Loki is in Selvig's head, manipulating his body and voice like a puppet.
Captain America: The First Avengers - 2011
At first we see Captain America working out, and he's joined by Fury. Cap asks if he has a mission for him. This scene is longer and further explored in Avengers, but after this short clip of Fury and Cap we see a montage of clips and characters that was our first tease to 2012's Avengers. Not really a scene, but still it sends chills up my arms! So cool!
[The Avengers](movie:9040) - 2012
In the mid credits scene we see the Other, who was communicating with Loki throughout the film, go to his master and say "Humans....they are not the cowering wretches we were promised....they stand....they are unruly and therefore can not be ruled. To challenge them is to court death." At which is master turns around and we see the true puppeteer villain of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe - Thanos.
In the Avengers end credits scene we see the team sitting down in a restaraunt enjoying some Schwarma, just a bunch of superheroes chowing on some food. They chew loudly but eat in silence. Nothing happens. It was a great scene - hilarious really in it's purpose. It's definitely Whedon type humor to have us sit their through the credits for thirty seconds of silent chewing.
So ends the Phase 1 films, and so also ends the teases of the mid and post credit scenes. As you'll see below the Phase 2 movies have little or nothing to do with the future of the franchise.[Iron Man 3](movie:24391) - 2013
At the beginning of the film we hear Stark's voice start to narrate the story, and he states "well it all started back in...." and the movie jumps to 1999 and starts. At the end of the credits we see that he's been telling Banner the story the entire film. He's treating Banner like a therapist, trying to get things off his chest. Banner states "I don't have the temperament for this."
It's a funny scene! No tease for the future of the franchise though!
Thor: The Dark World - 2013
In the mid-credits scene Lady Sif and Volstagg take the Aethor (one of the Infinity Gems) to the Collector. He says it's an honor to meet Asgardians, but he doesn't know why they don't keep it themselves. Volstagg states that two infinity stones shouldn't be kept together. They leave and the Collector states "One down, five to go." This is the first direct reference to the connection of the Infinity Gems.
The post-credits scene has no dialogue at all, it just shows Thor returning to Asgard and Jane running to embrace him in a strong kiss. (Actually this scene was filmed so much later that that Natalie Portman was unavailable and standing in for her is Chris Hemsworth's real life wife.)
The mid-credits scene is a wonderful tease! Great setup for Guardians of the Galaxy and the future of the Infinity Stones. The second scene was cute, but didn't tell us anything. We already knew Thor left Asgard for Earth at the end of the movie when we learned Loki was impersonating Odin. No new news in that scene.
Captain America:The Winter Soldier - 2014
In the mid-credits scene we see Baron Strucker hiding S.H.I.E.L.D., Hydra and Chitauri tech. We see Loki's sceptor and he walks over to two prison cells where we see the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver for the first time. Teasing their appearances in next year's Age of Ultron.
In the post-credits scene we again have no dialogue, but it is one of the most touching scenes of the movie as we see the newly awakened Bucky Barnes walking around the Smithsonian reading and learning about his time in WWII with Captain America. This obviously teases that Bucky will return, but my guess is probably not until 2016 with Captain America 3.
Guardians of the Galaxy - 2014
In the mid credits scene we see Groot as a tiny reborn tree (as he sacrificed himself for the rest of the team in the final battle) dancing to the music of Quill's cassette tape. We see Drax in the background cleaning his blade. It's a cute scene, with some good facials from Groot, who really was one of the best characters in the movie, but the scene had no dialogue, and no tease to the future of any Marvel film.
The post credits scene featured the Collector again, this time sitting in the rubble of his once proud establishment. Cosmo the spacedog (who shows no signs of telepathy like his comic counterpart) runs up and starts licking the Collector's face. From off screen we hear "why do you let him do that?", and the camera changes to show us an anthropomorphic duck - Howard the Duck to be exact.
Many people do believe that the Howard the Duck tease means that he'll be getting his own movie shortly. I couldn't disagree more. Just because he makes an appearance, a comedic appearance, doesn't mean that he's up for a superhero role any more than the telepathic canine in that scene is up for his own film. I strongly am of the belief that Howard the Duck was merely a comedic end to the already comedic film. Maybe he'll show up in Guardians of the Galaxy with news of who Peter Quill's father is, or some other small cameo. MAYBE. I sincerely doubt we'll see a solo movie, or any kind of Iron Man/Howard the Duck team up anytime soon. I could never take it seriously, and I don't think too many people could either. I really believe that the Howard cameo is simply a nod for comic book fans, a funny joke for them to laugh at.
So there you have it. Every Marvel Studios final credit scenes and teases. As you can see Phase 1 was much more filled of serious teases than Phase 2 has been. Iron Man 3 was comedic, Thor 2 showed the Collector, then a romantic ending with Thor and Jane, Cap 2 introduced [Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch](movie:1081109), then ended on an emotional note with Bucky, and Guardians was simply comedic in both their scenes. Still nothing super huge like the teasers in Phase 1. Is it because Marvel is holding their cards closer to their chest? Or is this solely because Marvel already has us wrapped around their fingers and they don't need to tease us for future films, they know we'll go anyway?
What do you think? Which end credits scene was your favorite?