MANY SPOILERS IN THIS STORY! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
One of the biggest gripes I have heard about [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) is that there was no post-credit scene. Sure, we all saw Thanos grab his gauntlet and say “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” But after that? Nothing. Why? Well, remember what a post-credit scene is supposed to be: It’s a scene that ties into a future movie, connecting the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU. That being said, I think we all saw the real post-credit scene. It was right at the beginning hidden in plain sight so we would forget about it and overlook its importance. Tony Stark’s vision given to him by Scarlet Witch is the best post-credit scene since Tony "became part of a larger universe…” Most movie goers did not understand just how vital this scene will become in the MCU. Let me explain.
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Tony's Scarlet Witch Induced Vision
Most people assumed because of Scarlet Witch’s conversation with Ultron about seeing Tony Stark’s “fear,” that the vision Tony had was nothing more than a nightmare conjured up by Stark’s subconscious. This just isn’t true. First let’s remember what he saw: The scene was obviously Thanos’ space rock and on it all the Avengers were dead. In specific, we see Hulk barely holding on to life with Chitari spears in his back, Black Widow is dead, Hawkeye is dead (with someone unknown next to him, more on that later), Thor is dead, Captain America’s shield broken in two, and Cap dying next to it. Cap has one last message for Stark - who is not dead and no where to be found on this space rock. Cap says “You could have saved us.” He dies and then Tony hears Cap’s voice in his head saying “Why didn’t you do more?” After saying this, the Chitari space whales make their way through an open portal to Earth (very reminiscent of the first Avengers).
The Other Avengers' Visions
Now why do I think this really happened? Well let’s examine the others’ visions. Black Widow clearly saw her past with the visions of the Red Room haunting her - so it was a definite thing that happened in the past. Thor saw quite a lot, but within it was his future. He saw many Asgardians, including Heimdall in Hel and he was told that it was his fault. This is possibility not necessarily the exact future. He also saw the Vision and the four infinity stones that have been revealed over the past few years - this is a definite thing he didn’t know. You cannot fear what you do not know. On the other hand, Cap saw Peggy and what was clearly a post-war party (although very eerie with the war symbolism - the man spilling wine looking like a gun shot wound, the women kicking, the flashes of the cameras looking like bombs flashes). I believe this was a "what could have been" past scene. After examining these visions, I think it is clear that Scarlet Witch makes people see possible outcomes of different events. This would go well with her powers of chance manipulation in the comics. So to clarify, Black Widow saw a possible past event that came to fruition, Cap saw a possible past event that did not come about, Thor saw a possible future in which some parts have already happened (Vision, infinity stones, etc.), and Tony saw a possible future that very well could (and I think likely will) happen.
A View of the Future
I believe Tony’s vision showed us the end of Infinity War Part 1. All of these Avengers have been killed by Thanos and unfortunately his Chitari army (I was hoping Thanos would be a 1-on-everyone affair, but Marvel’s bad guys love their armies). One of the telling signs for this theory is the broken shield. In the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Cap is the last man standing and goes toe to toe with Thanos in one of the most courageous Cap moments of all time, but Cap is beat by Thanos and he then breaks Cap’s shield. And we see that broken shield. We also see a lot more. There are more people than just Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Cap lying on that space rock. There is a woman clearly shown in a brief panning shot focused on Hawkeye. She appears to be wearing Iron Man like armor with glowing rectangles on her arms. I think that this might be Captain Marvel. I wish I could show a picture, but I’m pretty sure I’d get sued. We also see what looks like the Black Panther lying on his back, this can be deduced by top of Black Panther’s helmet being seen and his claws being in frame as the camera pans from Hulk to Black Widow. There are three other individuals lying amongst the Avengers. One looks like they have a shiny arm so possibly Winter Soldier, but the other two are not clear. I cannot wait till Age of Ultron hits bluray so I can examine this scene in HD.
Why are they dead? Maybe not all the team was there to fight alongside them. Cap said that Iron Man could have saved them, which implies he was not there. So either Tony doesn’t go to help the Avengers or he has a plan that backfires and the team pays the ultimate price. So Thanos will kill the Avengers and take the Earth (as Thor would say). That will be the cliff-hanger at the end of Infinity War Part 1 with the Guardians of the Galaxy most likely on their way to help in Part 2. For those who are worried, just because the Avengers die doesn’t mean they’re gone. In the comics, Thanos destroys 1/3 of the universe only to have Nebula undo his deeds and bring those characters back to life. This could very well happen in Part 2.
Tony and Fury Discuss the Future
Another point of proof could be found in the dialogue between Tony and Fury on Hawkeye's farm. In this conversation, Tony tells Fury that this vision is the end of the path he lead us on. That is a very telling line, ever since the first Iron Man, it was all building up to Infinity War and ultimately to Thanos. He also reassures Fury that this was the future that he was shown. Stark is convinced that this even will happen. I am too. Is that scene sounding a little cooler now? When I noticed these things, specifically the woman next to Hawkeye, I freaked out like a schoolgirl. This scene could be one of the most important scenes in Marvel history and definitely fits the bill for a great post-credit scene. It sets up the rest of the MCU and shows us the future.