Post-credits scenes have become so incredibly popular today – particularly in big action series – that many moviegoers will stay seated in the theatre until the end of the credits just to see if there’s a bonus scene. But this trend goes back a lot further than the recent Marvel movies. So, when did it all start?
The James Bond franchise
The James Bond movies are known for 007’s love of suits, martinis, women, expensive cars, gaming, and beautiful destinations like Monte Carlo, a city maintaining the reputation as Europe’s playground for the rich and famous. But in addition to its sophisticated locations in the smartest casinos in Europe and entertaining games, one of the world’s most valuable movie franchises is also known for their iconic post-credits taglines, revealing that “James Bond will return” and the name of the next film.
The first James Bond tagline appeared in From Russia with Love, and the trend has persisted through all of the official Eon releases. Although not a true post-credits scene, this recurring tagline is what really started the post-credits trend altogether. Instead of thinking “this is the end,” the tagline now has you thinking about the next movie and what it will be about. And that’s exactly how many modern post-credits scenes tend to function (unless they’re just an amusing bonus scene).
The Muppets movies
The muppets have taken on space, Charles Dickens, Treasure Island, and even the glitz and glamour of Manhattan. And with the release of The Muppet Movie, they took on the post-credits scene. Unlike the Bond taglines – which revealed information about the next movie in the series – The Muppet Movie introduced the idea of an amusing bonus scene, one that didn’t have anything to do with sequels. As the movie ends and the credits begin to roll, the movie breaks the fourth wall and takes us to a theatre where all of the muppets have just finished watching their movie. They chat about the movie and make jokes, and when the credits end, Animal shouts “Go Home!” repeatedly at the audience.
The Muppets movies have continued to add during-credits and after-credits scenes throughout all of their releases, from The Great Muppet Caper to Muppets Most Wanted. But The Muppet Movie really kicked off the post-credits trend of the 1980s and even inspired the ending scene of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which features both during-credits and after-credits scenes. After the credits end, Ferris says: “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Sure, the post-credits trend occurred in a wide range of genres after The Muppet Movie – comedy, horror, action, animated, and so on. But today, when moviegoers think of “post-credit scenes” they’re more likely than not to think of the Marvel superhero movies. This is largely due to their blockbuster status and the sheer number of movies that have been released (besides the persistence of the trend in all of the Marvel movies). But it’s also due to their reputation for dropping major post-credits bombs.
Marvel movies often have more than one scene throughout the credits or after the credits. At least one scene is usually major and will reveal something shocking about the next movie in the series or a future movie in the series. (So if you don’t sit through the credits, you’ll likely miss out on something big.)
The Marvel movie that really started it all was Iron Man, which featured a post-credits scene with Nick Fury discussing the Avengers Initiative. At the time, modern audiences had no idea what they were getting into – nor that dozens of movies in this universe would follow. The Marvel post-credits scenes have revealed major villains, characters thought dead to actually be alive, and Spider-Man’s true identity (to his fictional world), among so much more.
Although these aren’t all of the best post-credits scenes that exist, these are some of the most important ones – the ones that really changed the game and added some more excitement into movie-going.