Ever since Nick Fury showed up at Tony Stark’s beach house in Iron Man, the post-credits scenes have been an important part of the MCU. Other movies have employed this tool before the MCU came along. But it was the Marvel Cinematic Universe that trained audiences to stay put in the theater until the very end – even if it’s just for a few more seconds of movie. But regardless of how long this special scene is, it tells fans what to look forward to.
Reddit user, u/samp987, came up with this flowchart that illustrates what movie each post-credits scene leads to.
- Iron Man- Nick Fury told Tony Stark that there were other superheroes out there. He told him that he had a special project called The Avengers Initiative. This leads to The Avengers.
- The Incredible Hulk- Tony Stark met with General Ross to tell him about Nick Fury’s Avengers Initiative. Since Hulk was the protagonist of this film, many think this was to recruit Hulk. But actually, it was for Ross’s soldier, Abomination. Any case, Bruce Banner was the one to join The Avengers. This leads to The Avengers.
- Iron Man 2- Agent Coulson is called to a site in New Mexico. When he gets there, he sees that they are digging up Mjonir, the weapon of the Thunder God. This leads to Thor.
- Thor- Nick Fury shows Dr. Selvig the Cosmic Cube. Though, in the MCU, it is called The Tesseract or the Space Stone. This Infinity Stone was retrieved from the bottom of the ocean after Red Skull dropped it, teleporting to his location in Avengers: Infinity War. This leads to Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Captain America: The Fist Avenger- even though it happens after the credits roll, this isn’t really a post-credits scene, but rather a trailer for the first team-up movie featuring the Marvel characters up to this point. This leads to The Avengers.
- The Avengers- the villain whom Loki was meeting with in order to obtain an army to reign on Earth, The Other, meets with a his superior. This superior turns his face to the camera, and we see Thanos for the very first time. Eventually, Thanos is played by Josh Brolin in CGI. But here, Damion Poitier wears prosthetics on his face. This leads to Avengers: Infinity War.
- Iron Man 3- Tony Stark has been narrating the movie as if he is talking to a particular person. The post-credits scene reveals that this is actually a therapy session with Bruce Banner. The fellow scientist wakes up, alluding to the fact that he was sleeping throughout Stark’s telling of the whole movie. Dr. Banner tells Stark that he really isn’t that kind of doctor. Though, this isn’t really an Easter Egg for an upcoming movie. It’s really just something fun, featuring a cameo from Mark Ruffalo. But if it has to lead to something, then perhaps the next time Stark and Banner meet to create their own artificial intelligence in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- Thor: The Dark World- now that the Aether is safely out of Malekith’s hands, Volstagg and Sif bring it The Collector. Since the Tesseract was brought to Odin’s trophy case in Asgard, and out of Loki’s hands from The Avengers, Volstaag says that it is not good to have two Infinity Stones close to each other. A good strategy, but Thanos was still able to find his way to both of them. This was the first time the Infinity Stones are referred to by name. This leads to The Collector’s appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier- Baron Von Strucker discusses how he manipulated the Mind Gem. He was able to transform his twin prisoners, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, into super-powered beings. That same Mind Gem was also used to creat The Vision, and then eventually put in his head for safe keeping – until Thanos plucked it out. This leads to Wanda and Pietro’s next appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- Guardians of the Galaxy- The Collector’s trophy room is left in ruins. Benicio Del Toro’s character sits on the floor, stunned. Cosmo the Spacedog, who was seen earlier in the movie, comforts his master. In which, Seth Green’s voice can be heard from off-camera, “Why do you let him lick you like that? Gross.” Then it is revealed that the Scott Evil actor is voicing Marvel favorite, Howard the Duck. Again, this is used as just something fun. Howard the Duck has only been in small cameos, not yet expanded to a main character. But if this was to point to another movie, it’s Howard’s next appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron- Thanos is fed up that Ultron failed in destroying the Avengers. So he sticks his hand in a gauntlet that will eventually collect all the Infinity Stones. “Fine, I’ll do it myself,” he says. This leads to Avengers: Infinity War.
- Ant-Man- Falcon and Captain America have Bucky captured by his metal arm. Last we saw of Cap’s former sidekick, it seemed as though he shook the brainwash Hydra placed on him. Now that Cap and his current sidekick have him, such is proven when the Winter Soldier tells Steve his mother’s name. Falcon tells Cap that he “knows a guy.” This alludes to when Falcon met Scott Lang from earlier in the movie. This leads to Captain America: Civil War.
- Captain America: Civil War- now that we met Peter Parker, he is messing around with the new Spider-suit that Tony Stark gave him. A hologram shines on his ceiling. When Aunt May asks him a question from the other room, Peter hides the hologram in hopes she doesn’t discover his secret. This leads to Spider-Man: Homecoming. Also, Cap and Black Panther discuss keeping Bucky in Wakanda. This leads to Bucky’s next appearance in the post-credits of Black Panther.
- Doctor Strange- Stephen meets with Thor in his Sanctum Sanctorum. They discuss Loki while Strange refills Thor’s mug with magic. This leads to the same, yet expanded, scene in Thor: Ragnarok.
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had too many post-credits scene to remember. I’m still convinced that was to spite Logan director, James Mangold’s boasts that these scenes were just trailers for another movie. Proving that he was right, there was a ridiculous amount that made up for those missing from Logan. These scenes included Sylvester Stallone’s Ravagers, who were the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics. Also, antagonist, Ayesha, points to a cocoon and teases Adam Warlock. While these threads have yet to be tied, hopes are that they’ll lead to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
- Spider-Man: Homecoming- there’s another fun scene that isn’t intended to lead anywhere. It’s actually trolling those who sat in the theater to see what will come next. Captain America makes another appearance via the cheesy school videos he was obligated to film. He talks about patience, in which sometimes results in a very small reward. The real thread is the final scene before the credits, in which Stark gives Peter his new Iron Spider suit. That leads to where Spider-Man wears it in Avengers: Infinity War.
- Thor: Ragnarok includes two post-credits scenes. The final is another fun scene. It involves Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster congratulating his citizens in revolting against him. In the mid-credits, Thor and Loki are on the ship carrying their fellow Asgardians. When asking where they go next, they approach a much larger ship. This scene continues in Avengers: Infinity War.
- Black Panther- T’Challa meets with the United Nations, offering Wakanda’s resources to the world. This will probably line up with Black Panther 2. But also, Bucky finally emerges from his last appearance in Captain America: Civil War. His metal arm is gone, waiting for Shuri’s Vibranium upgrade. This leads to Bucky, or as he’s now called White Wolf, and Shuri’s next appearance in Avengers: Infinity War.
- Avengers: Infinity War– Nick Fury and Maria Hill watch everyone disappear around them. They are listening to the news of Thanos’s snap over the radio in their SUV. When they step out, Maria dusts away. Fury pulls out his pager. “Motherfu…..,” Sam Jackson recites his catchphrase as he too dusts away. The pager drops, but not before he was able to send out his call. A red, white, and blue logo appears in retro graphics. This leads to Captain Marvel.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp- again, there’s another fun scene where a giant ant plays Scott’s drums. However, the house and the city around it is empty. Before that, Scott, Hope, Hank, and Jan are experimenting with the Quantum Realm. Scott is inside. He calls out to his comrades, but to no answer. When the camera pans out, they are nowhere to be found, presumably fallen to Thanos’s snap. This leads to Scott returning from the Quantum Realm years later and showing the Avengers how to use it to time-travel in Avengers: Endgame.
- Captain Marvel took place in the 90s, a couple decades before the rest of these movies take place. At the end of the film, she leaves Earth to serve as a protector to other planets throughout the universe. Assuming she received Nick Fury’s page from the post-credits scene of Infinity War, she meets the Avengers and asks where Fury is. This scene is expanded in Avengers: Endgame.
- Avengers: Endgame- there was originally no post-credits scene. This was to show that a book has closed on MCU’s first saga. However, when re-released to theaters to knock Avatar out of the spot for highest-grossing movie of all time, a couple post-credits scenes were added. One was an unfinished CGI’d Hulk. This may or may not lead to a hopeful appearance in She-Hulk. And the other is a trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, like how Captain America: The First Avenger showed a trailer for The Avengers.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home- there are also two post-credits scenes. It’s unsure where these will lead to, since this is the most up-to-date chapter in the MCU. But we can theorize. After taking MJ for a swing throughout New York, and past the Osborn penthouse from the Raimi trilogy, something catches their attention. From a video on the Times Square Building, a news reporter shows footage from Mysterio’s last moments, revealing Spider-Man as Peter Parker. Then it cuts to a surprise cameo from JK Simmons reprising his role as J. Jonah Jameson. Whatever Sony plans on doing with Spider-Man, hopefully this will play out in Spider-Man 3. Next, Nick Fury is sitting on a simulated beach in a Skrull ship. Evidently, the Fury and Maria Hill from this movie were actually Talos and his wife from Captain Marvel. This will probably lead to a Secret Invasion plot in the future. The comic arc had Skrulls replacing many Marvel characters with their shape-shifting powers. Since the Skrulls are portrayed as good guys in the MCU, the cinematic arc will probably play out a little differently.
All of these movies are available for home release, except for Spider-Man: Far From Home, which will be available on Digital and Blu-Ray, October 1st.