Don’t Leave Your Seat
Hyping up the lead-up to Avengers: Endgame, Marvel has very nicely released all of its end credits teasers to watch chronologically (by film release) on its Twitter page, or you can check this link to Entertainment Weekly to watch them. They are all there, from the first Iron Man all the way to the most recent Captain Marvel. All the jokey ones and the ones that set up future films and storylines. You can catch them all and see how they crafted a narrative throughout the MCU.
Wait for What?
Having scenes after the credits roll wasn’t invented by Marvel. Many films have had jokes or even set up sequels after the credits for those die-hards that sat through them. But Marvel made them must-see scenes and crafted their storytelling around them. I talked about this in my Phase 1 of my weekly “Road to Endgame” series. But I still remember, after the first Iron Man, getting up from my seat and my brother telling me to wait. Marvel did something unique with that end credits scene. It wasn’t a joke or setting up a direct sequel to Iron Man—it teased something much bigger. It teased a whole universe and characters in one simple phrase: “Avengers Initiative”. With that, the MCU was born.
Throughout the first phase, we got mostly teasers for other characters or the Avengers coming together. The Hulk teaser showed that, yes, Tony Stark was in this world and now recruiting for the Avengers. Then we got a tease for the God of Thunder showing up and a little larger threat after that. Then Cap got the call to join. Probably now the biggest teaser of them all, Thanos reared his ugly head at the end of Avengers and changed the game!
Thanos showing up at the end of Avengers switched the narrative on these teasers. Now they were teasing some long-term plot points, stuff that wouldn’t happen for years down the road. Avengers also started the “jokey” credits scene as well with the “Shawarma” scene. Avengers did not set up any direct sequels or tease a new hero’s movie. It teased a bad guy with a bigger, badder plot that would unfold throughout the background of the MCU for years to come.
Marvel made these extra little things more than nice Easter eggs for die-hard fans; they were now part of the movie and experience. Now it seemed after every movie you would have to google, does this have an “after credits scene?” Lots of companies tried to make their own connected universes and end credits scenes followed suit, but no one has quite crafted it like the MCU. I will give the Godzilla Universe credit—they have done a pretty good job with it.
Stay in Your Seat
The end credits scenes also do a phenomenal job of getting people excited about what comes next. No telling how many people googled “purple guy at end of Avengers“; my own response to the Thor movie teaser was “wow, they are really making a Thor movie!”; or my wife’s response to the Captain Marvel teaser at the end of Infinity War: “who’s that?”, now one of her favorite characters and movies. It gets you excited even if you know the characters. That Captain Marvel “beeper” teaser gave a sense of “hope” after half of our heroes got dusted. The teaser after Ant-Man and the Wasp reminded us that the fun is over as Hank, Janet and Hope all got dusted (and that ants can play killer drums).
It is funny now that after MCU movies most people stay in their seats. Even though you could get an early jump on traffic or whatever by watching the scene at home leaked on the internet, it has become a part of the movie-going experience for the MCU. Everybody knows there is something after the credits. It may be a dumb joke; it may set up an ongoing storyline or a new hero. You never know, but you want to see it. We don’t just get up and leave the theatre anymore. You sit, wait and anticipate what might come next.