Beginning with Iron Man in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe adopted a format that offered audiences who stuck through the credits a hint at what the future held for the franchise with a post-credits scene. In 2012's Marvel's The Avengers, patient fans were offered two post-credits sequences, with one serving as an extended joke that was established in the film's finale. The post-credits trend was abandoned for the most recent MCU film, Avengers: Endgame, confounding fans who were hoping to catch a glimpse at what was just over the horizon. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo recently opened up about why they opted to avoid such a sequence.
"It was never in the cards," Joe admitted to USA TODAY. "It was called 'Endgame' for a reason. This is it. This is the ending. The book is closed on that chapter of the Marvel universe and a new book will get written."
The Russo brothers debuted in the MCU with Captain America: Winter Soldier, which they followed with the sequel Captain America: Civil War before delivering Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. The pair have become prominent figures within the franchise, though Endgame is meant to be their swan song, in addition to some of the characters' chapters having come to an end.
"This was the first Marvel movie we've done where we weren't thinking about the future," Anthony expressed. He also noted that it was a "great thrill" to not have to think about the future of the series.
Earlier this month, the pair confirmed that this was the end of their time with Marvel, at least for the time being.
"It’s our Endgame, at least for now," Anthony explained to Games Radar. "We don’t have any plans for now to make any more Marvel movies. It certainly may come up in the future at some point. We have a wonderful working relationship with [Marvel Studios] and a great passion for what they’re doing."
Anthony shared with USA Today that "there's no future" for the MCU, so they didn't have to think about a post-credits scene. "There will be a future, of course, but it's not our responsibility," he clarified.
This isn't to say there's no reason to stick around through the credits. In addition to observing the names of the thousands of people who brought the movie to life, the final moment of the credits features the sound of Iron Man clanking his hammer on an anvil, as depicted in the original Iron Man, serving as a reminder of the franchise's humble beginnings.
"It's really just an homage, sort of a little bookend," Joe clarified. "It started it and it ends it."
He also noted that it served as "an echo of the past" as opposed to a hint at the future.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now.
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