Spoilers for Eternals.
The post-credits scene has become an integral part of the MCU experience both in movies and television, with the brief scenes sometimes providing a moment of levity or intrigue to cap off the experience of the story. In many cases, the scenes are critically important not just to the individual movie but the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Some of the most important post-credits scenes in the MCU tease major mysteries or villains or introduce concepts that will pay off in major ways in future projects. The timeline for these payoffs varies, with the true impact of some developments yet to be realized on screen, making some scenes all the more important in the greater MCU structure.
Updated on November 8th, 2021 by Darby Harn: Post-credits scenes remain an important architectural element of MCU movies with two important ones coming at the end of Eternals. Both of these scenes have massive implications not just for the future of the franchise of these characters, but the greater Marvel Universe. But these scenes aren’t the only ones that are building toward the future.
The MCU continues to expand in various movies and streaming series, with post-credits scenes in new shows pointing the way toward a future that is infinitely more complex – and infinitely more fun – than even the spectacularly successful first decade-plus of the franchise.
Eternals [Scene 1] (2021)
Eternals features two post-credits scenes and the first is fairly major for the future of this particular franchise and the MCU. Makkari, Thena, and Droig travel into space to find other Eternals on other worlds. They are met by a surprising pair in deep space. Pip The Troll (voiced by Patton Oswalt) heralds Starfox, AKA Eros, the brother of Thanos.
Starfox is played by Harry Styles, the musician and actor who has appeared in Dunkirk. Starfox is like his brother one of the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe, and it remains to be seen if he is truly a friend or foe.
Eternals [Scene 2] (2021)
The second post-credits scene in Eternals is perhaps even more intriguing. The scene focuses on Dane Whitman, who comic book fans know becomes the Black Knight. In the scene, he opens a box with an ancient sword inside. As he reaches out to touch the sword, a voice says from off-screen, “Are you sure you want to do that, Mr. Whitman?” This voice belongs to Mahershala Ali.
MCU fans know that Mahershala Ali is playing Blade in an upcoming MCU movie, meaning this brief scene is his first official appearance, even if fans don’t actually see him. His connection to Whitman is surprising and portends fascinating things for the movies ahead.
What If..? (2021)
A story that fans certainly want to see in season two of What If..? is a follow-up to the post-credits scene of the season finale. In the scene, Captain Carter discovers that the cargo of the ship that she and Black Widow have infiltrated is none other than the HYDRA Stomper that Steve Rogers operated during World War II in her timeline.
The HYDRA Stomper appears to be occupied, meaning Steve Rogers is inside. This sets up a lot of possibilities, including the fact that Rogers may not be the hero that Peggy Carter remembers, but perhaps a version of The Winter Soldier.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming ended with a post-credits scene that had immediate consequences for the character and MCU. In the hilarious final scene, Aunt May walks in on Peter Parker as he changes out of his suit, leading to her shocked exclamation. Her realization of his being Spider-Man affected their relationship in major ways and set up the bigger reveal of his public identity.
May’s discovery might have brought them closer together, but her connection to Spider-Man could make her target in future movies, as it has in comic books in the past. Many enemies, like the Kingpin, have tried to get at Spidey through Aunt May.
Episode five of Loki ended with its only post-credits scene and it was major. The scene introduced several of the best Loki variants in the show or the comics, and also blew the doors off of the multiverse in the MCU. Boastful Loki, Kid Loki, Alligator Loki, and Old Man Loki all appeared in this brief but exciting moment, truly cementing Loki’s infinite lives.
The concept of variants is integral not just to Loki, but also What If..? and it seems Spider-Man: No Way Home. At the very least, variants of past Spider-Man villains are appearing, and potentially versions of the Wall-Crawler himself.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021)
The mid-credits scene in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was fantastic for a number of reasons. One of the most important is the teasing of a major mystery that is likely to have major impacts on the larger MCU in the future: where did the Ten Rings come from?
There are many theories on the origin of the Ten Rings that are possible, but most intriguing is the way the scene debunks obvious ones. Captain Marvel makes an appearance to throw out a cosmic origin, Wong dismisses magic, and Bruce Banner disqualifies a worldly one. Wherever they come from, it’s bound to be consequential.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier ended with a massively important post-credits scene. By introducing Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, the movie throws open the door to what fans now realize is even bigger than they thought.
Wanda is now the all-powerful Scarlet Witch, a key player in the expansion of the multiverse expanding into other movie franchises (even if Evan Peters turned out not to be the Fox X-Men’s Quicksilver). The importance of these two characters to the immediate future of the MCU and beyond the present day, especially Wanda, can’t be overstated.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
As important as the introduction of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch was, the tease of Thor in Iron Man 2 was just as important. Agent Phil Coulson’s discovery of Mjolnir, the mystical hammer of the God of Thunder in the post-credits scene is key in the early MCU.
At this point, the franchise is still slowly expanding after the great reception to the first Iron Man movie and the not-so-great reaction to The Incredible Hulk. This scene pushes things forward with the introduction of one of the foundational characters of the MCU, with tremendous consequences.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a great example of a post-credits scene that has yet to pay off. The movie ends with the character of Ayesha intending to create “Him,” a figure many fans have speculated to be Adam Warlock, who in Marvel Comics was originally known as Him and similarly emerged from a cocoon.
The scene hasn’t produced major results yet, mostly due to the delay of the sequel to the movie, and maybe not even then. But given the fact that Adam Warlock is one of the most powerful cosmic beings in the Marvel Universe, it’s likely he will appear on screen at some point.
Black Widow (2021)
The importance of Black Widow‘s post-credits scene is also yet to be fully understood. What is clear is that The Contessa is up to something in recruiting Yelena Belova to go after Hawkeye, which is bound to pay off in some way in that character’s upcoming Disney+ streaming series.
She is also working behind the scenes with the U.S. Agent and seems to be assembling a team that some have speculated to be a form of either the Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers from the comics.
Black Panther (2018)
Black Panther ends with a post-credits scene with massive implications for the world of the MCU. T’Challa reveals the truth about Wakanda’s resources to the world, which is bound to have immediate and profound ramifications for other nations.
The true impact of that revelation has yet to be explored, mostly because of the massive interruption of The Snap, but will likely be picked back up in the upcoming Black Panther sequel due for 2022 as well as the World of Wakanda streaming series from Disney+.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Spider-Man: Far from Home is enormously consequential for Spider-Man and could be for the rest of the MCU in ways that aren’t immediately obvious. The doctored allegation that Spider-Man killed Mysterio has immediate ramifications for Peter Parker, but the appearance of J.K. Simmons as a version of J. Jonah Jameson has intriguing implications for the multiverse.
With the revelation that villains like Doctor Octopus and Electro from other Spider-Man movie franchises will appear, questions about Jameson loom large.
The post-credits scene in WandaVision has massive potential to affect the future of the MCU. Not only is the Scarlet Witch expanding her already considerable powers by learning the secrets of The Darkhold, but she also hears the voices of her children, who were to that point artifacts of her own magical ability.
The prospects for where her children are and who they could actually be tie into the larger multiverse of the MCU, but could also lead to much more mystical places. Fans will find out for sure in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where Wanda will return.
The Avengers (2012)
One of the most significant moments in the MCU occurs in the post-credits scene of 2012’s first Avengers movie. The consequences of this revelation were truly cosmic. Thanos would emerge as the Big Bad of the first era of the MCU, assembling the Infinity Gauntlet and snapping half of all life out of existence.
This quick tease promised a great deal that was paid off in epic ways and became an architectural part of the entire franchise. Ever since, the post-credits scene has taken on even more importance in the MCU.
Iron Man (2008)
The most important post-credits scene of all time in the MCU is the first, which occurs at the end of Iron Man in 2008. When Nick Fury steps out of the shadows of Tony Stark’s apartment and speaks about the Avengers Initiative, he sets off a chain reaction that would result in the entire franchise as fans know it today.
It was a bold move by a series that had little assurance of success, and certainly not the success it’s had. Many franchises emulated this storytelling device, without the same results, making this scene and everything it resulted in even more special.
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