The Marvel Cinematic Universe has retrained viewers in how to watch a movie. In the past, theaters cleared out when the credits started to roll; these days, everyone seeing a Marvel Studios movie knows to stay firmly planted in their seats until the very last frame of the movie has run.
Indeed, the MCU post credits ("end credits," "after credits" or "mid-credits") scenes have become as big an event as the actual movie they follow - and with good reason. These post credits scenes are often "buttons" used to trigger Marvel fan frenzy, with big new character or storyline reveals.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has more post-credits scenes than any other MCU movie, and in ranking those GotGV2 buttons, we got to wondering: how would we rank the Top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe Post Credits Scenes?
Iron Man 2 may not be the most memorable MCU film, but it did have a fun post-credits scene.
After dealing with Tony Stark's recruitment into the Avengers Initiative, Agent Phil Coulson has to head to Arizona on another assignment. When we catch up with Coulson in the post-credits scene, he's standing at a large creator, which is revealed to be the crash site of Thor's iconic hammer Mjolnir.
The question of how Mjolnir got away from Thor and landed in the desert was a juicy mystery that carried fans into the first Thor movie. Add in the Agent Coulson short "A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to Thor's Hammer" and the experience becomes even more fun!
It's no spoiler that James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy films have had the best post-credits scenes in the MCU, and that trend started with this scene, which encapsulates the humor and fun of Guardians in one hilarious moment between breakout characters Groot and Drax.
Not only was dancing Baby Groot a cute and hilarious way to end the movie - it was also a merchandising cash cow! Dancing Groot and/or potted Groot merch sold like like hot cakes.
SPOILER: It's a trend that's likely to continue with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's Baby Groot and Teenage Groot moments.
Marvel movie fans have been waiting for years for the Marvel Cosmic Universe to reach the full potential of its comic book counterpart, with some key figures and events being eagerly anticipated by the fansbase.
One of the biggest (and longest) fan hopes has been to see the pivotal Marvel Cosmic character Adam Warlock adapted for the MCU. And, thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's third post-credit scene, they'll soon find out.
In the scene, Ayesha, Queen of the Sovereign, is still stewing over losing the Guardians, when she reveals that she is cooking up a new type of Sovereign champion, one she will call "Adam."
We won't see him in Avengers: Infinity War, but as the Marvel Cosmic Cinematic Universe continues to unfold, Adam Warlock will officially be a player in it now!
Ant-Man was one of the harder movies for Marvel to launch (it only took a decade), and the middling response to the film wasn't the studio's greatest victory ever.
At the same time, the Ant-Man post credit scene did throw fans a much-needed bone: It revealed that The Wasp would be joining the MCU.
In the scene, Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lily) gets to the see the upgraded Wasp costume she'll be wearing in the sequel film, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and it was a look that Marvel fans wholeheartedly approved of!
Avengers: Age of Ultron was a story that focused on an Earth-based threat (Ultron), but it also managed to weave in a lot of Marvel Cosmic elements, in the lead up to Avengers: Infinity War and Thor: Ragnarok.
Those cosmic elements culminated with an Age of Ultron post credits scene that built upon its Avengers predecssor by checking back in with Thanos, who was one step closer to taking on the universe by retrieving the iconic Infinity Gauntlet from its holding place.
The scene caused some confusion (after all, we previously saw the gauntlet in Odin's Vault), but it was nice progression of the over-arching MCU storyline, which will culminate with Avengers 3.
Thor: The Dark World is probably one of the most unpopular MCU movies in the lineup, but it did have a pretty explosive post credits scene!
After defeating The Dark Elves, and reclaiming The Aether, The Asgardians decide to leave The Aether with someone who can protect it. That person is The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), and upon leaving the Aether with him, The Asgardians drop the bombshell that The Aether and The Tesseract are two of "The Infinity Stones."
This was the very first confirmation we ever got that the Infinity gems (or stones) exist in the MCU, which set off the larger story arc that will bring us around to Avengers: Infinity War.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a nice and (relatively) grounded political thriller with superhero elements - but its post credits scene took a very fantastical turn.
In that scene, we met three major Marvel Comics characters (Baron Von Strucker, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch); seeing "The Twins" use their superpowers for the first time, we learned that the MCU was about to enter a bold new phase: The Age of Miracles.
Until this post-credits scene, there was a big question of how superpowers would be adapted for the MCU; after it, the MCU has gone "full super," with Inhumans, demons, sorcerers and everything in between.
Age of miracles, indeed.
Some fans may have a hard time remember this one, as Incredible Hulk is one of the more overlooked entries in the MCU. However, a mid-credits scene in the film was one of major significance.
After being defeated by Hulk, General Thunderbolt Ross is drowning his sorrows in drink, when he's approached by none other than Tony Stark, to discuss the Avengers Initiative.
It may have seemed like a trivial novelty at the time, but this button scene marks the official first crossover moment in the MCU, with the star of Iron Man appearing the Hulk movie. If fans had been waiting for the promise of truly connected superhero cinematic universe, this was the proof that it was happening.
The Avengers was a major milestone, bringing together the major solo Marvel heroes. The events of the film were a major culmination of everything that the MCU had been building toward - but as Phase I came to a close, it was time to start selling Phase II.
Director Joss Whedon didn't even know he would be able to pull it off until he did: After The Avengers saved Earth from the Chitauri invasion, the mastermind behind that invasion, Thanos, becomes aware that Earth's heroes are a formidable threat. That knowledge set in motion the events that will culminate with Avengers: Infinity War.
A lot of audience members were confused by the smiling face of the purple guy - and even more confused by the epic eruption of fan excitement in the theater. By now, with actor Josh Brolin in the role, Thanos has become a household name, and will soon become a major MCU figure.
This was the post-credits scene that stared them all: The epic moment that gave birth to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
After the events of Iron Man, Tony Stark is simply trying to kick back and relax, having exposed his superhero identity to the world. However, fans got the shock of a lifetime when Samuel L. Jackson stepped out of the shadows, revealing his role as Nick Fury.
When Jackson dropped those now-infamous words "Avengers Initiative," the theater was drowned in fan uproar. It would take another four years to get to the epic Marvel team-up, but Iron Man's post-credits scene was the moment when decades of hopes and dreams started to become a reality.
The Avengers must assemble once again to face the mad Titan leader Thanos and his powerful infinity Gauntlet.
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Avengers: Infinity War is described by Marvel Studios as the culmination of everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man in 2008. The movie is filming now under directors Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
The expansive confirmed cast includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bethany, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Pom Klementieff, and Josh Brolin as the villain Thanos. Avengers: Infinity War and its as-yet-untitled sequel are filming back-to-back for a May 4, 2018 and May 3, 2019 release, respectively.
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