Ah, the post-credits scene – a staple of the modern-day superhero movie. Sometimes, there’s only one; most times, there are two; and in the case of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, there was a whopping five!
Given that we’re living in a golden age of comic book adaptations, there’s certainly no shortage of these stingers, so we here at Epicstream decided to pick what we think are the absolute best of the bunch. With that in mind, here are the 10 best post-credits scenes in superhero movies:
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The First Avenger takes place primarily during World War II, but after being frozen in the Arctic for 70 years, Steve Rogers finds himself in modern-day New York City as the film comes to a close. Then, in the post-credits scene, he’s approached by Nick Fury, who informs Steve that he has a mission for him – one with worldwide ramifications. It’s at this time that we cut to what’s essentially a brief teaser trailer for The Avengers, which would hit theaters the following year. For fans who had been following along since Iron Man, this moment felt like the ultimate payoff, as it promised the arrival of what – at the time – was all but unheard of in terms of shared cinematic universes.Advertisement
Justice League (1)
Superman and Flash have been racing one another in the comics for decades, so it’s only fitting that Justice League came to a close with a callback to this often revisited storyline. After being alluded to earlier in the film, we get a mid-credits scene in which we see Superman and Flash preparing to determine which of them is really the fastest hero alive. The banter between Barry and Clark is lighthearted and amusing, and while the scene stops short of showing us who the victor is, it’s still an incredibly fun Easter egg for longtime comic book fans.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (3)
One of the major pieces of the Thanos/Avengers/Infinity Gauntlet puzzle that’s currently missing from the MCU is Adam Warlock. In the comics, Adam Warlock was an immensely powerful being who emerged from a cocoon and traveled to the stars, receiving an Infinity Gem (the Soul Gem) in the process. He would then go on to aide Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in defeating the Mad Titan Thanos, who obtained the Soul Gem, as well as the five other Infinity Gems, and used them to destroy half of the sentient life in the universe. While we don’t see Adam in the flesh, one of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s post-credits scenes does show the iconic cocoon, sitting under the watchful eye of the Sovereign Queen Ayesha, who dubs it “Adam.” Since Thanos and the Infinity Gems (referred to as Infinity Stones in the films) are going to play a significant role in Infinity War, the tease of Adam Warlock’s MCU debut is not only exciting but incredibly timely. The character likely won’t be around for Infinity War, though, as the more probable scenario would be him showing up to defeat Thanos is the untitled fourth Avengers film, presumably after Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have already been defeated.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
It was hinted at back in the first Avengers movie that Thanos was eventually going to become a major player in the MCU, but aside from his limited role in Guardians of the Galaxy, he had remained MIA ever since. However, that finally changed in the post-credits scene following Avengers: Age of Ultron, where we saw the Mad Titan grab the mighty Infinity Gauntlet and state, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” Not only did this imply that he was going to begin hunting for the Infinity Stones but that perhaps Loki wasn’t his only pawn.
Black Panther (2)
When we last saw Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in Captain America: Civil War, he was being left in the care of T’Challa and placed in cryostasis until the traumatic effects of his constant brainwashing could be dealt with. However, in the second post-credits scene of Black Panther, we see him emerge from a small tent and meet with Shuri, at which time it becomes clear that his treatment is going as well as we could have hoped. He feels like himself again, despite his ethnic attire, and the sequence serves as a perfect launching pad to his eventual return to form in Avengers: Infinity War. It also hints at a major status quo change for Bucky, with the implication being he’ll serve as the MCU’s version of the White Wolf – a character from the comics who became the leader of Wakanda's secret police, Hatut Zeraze.
It was hardly a surprise that Deadpool featured an appropriately fourth-wall-breaking post-credits scene. “Oh, you’re expecting a teaser for Deadpool 2?” the Merc with the Mouth said while sporting a bathrobe, a la Ferris Bueller. “Well, we don’t have that kind of money. What are you expecting Sam Jackson to show up in an eye patch?” He then took his meta-humor to new heights by teasing Cable’s arrival in the all-but-confirmed sequel, revealing (jokingly, of course) that Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, and Keira Knightley were all in the running for the role.
Justice League (2)
We knew early on into production that Jesse Eisenberg would reprise his role as Lex Luthor in Justice League, but not in what capacity. Then, amidst the countless shakeups over the summer, it seemed as though Eisenberg’s scenes had been completely cut from the film. However, not only does Eisenberg show up – he does so in arguably the most exciting way possible. It begins when we see a shadowy figure aboard a speedboat in the post-credits scene. The boat then pulls up alongside a luxurious yacht, and when the shadowy figure boards the ship, we see that it’s Joe Manganiello’s Deathstroke. Lex greets the mercenary, who removes his helmet to reveal his extremely comic-book accurate Slade Wilson look. After offering him a drink, Lex then presents Slade with an intriguing offer by suggesting that they form “a league of [their] own,” which is a clear nod to the Injustice League – Lex’s villainous answer to the Justice League from the source material. Whether this is a simple Easter egg or a sign of things to come remains to be seen, but whatever the case may be, it’s by far the biggest shocker of the movie.
The Avengers (1)
Even though Loki was the big-bad of The Avengers, it was clear that he was working underneath someone. However, while that person was believed to be the Other, it wasn’t until the first post-credits scene that we learned who was truly pulling the strings. The Other tells his master that to challenge the heroes of Earth would be “to court death,” at which time it’s revealed that the person he’s speaking to is none other than the Mad Titan Thanos. Sure, it may have been lost on general audiences, but for longtime comic book fans, this moment was nothing short of pure fanboy satisfaction.
The Incredible Hulk
The concept of a shared cinematic universe akin to what we see in the comics was nothing more than a dream at one time, but that all changed in the post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man had come out earlier that year, and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark was still fresh in the minds of moviegoers, so to see him approach Thaddeus Ross and tell him he’s forming a team made us realize this was more than just fan service – it was the beginning of something incredible (no pun intended). Still, it doesn’t quite live up to the one that truly started it all…
Even hardcore comic book fans were taken aback when a live-action Iron Man movie was first announced, as he was considered a C-list character at best. However, when Nick Fury appears in the post-credits scene and tells Tony that he’s not “the only superhero in the world” and that he wants to discuss “the Avengers Initiative,” it became clear exactly what direction the then-untitled MCU was heading. Again, this sort of thing (solo superhero movies setting up team superhero movies) had never existed before, so for those of us who had been reading comics for years, it felt like a reward for all of our loyalty. Now, these characters are mainstream icons, and we owe it all to Iron Man’s post-credits scene.