Although the post-credits scene can be traced back to the earliest days of cinema, its current popularity owes everything to Marvel Studios and that moment, at the end of 2008's Iron Man, when Nick Fury paid a visit to Tony Stark. Since then, such sequences have become a defining element of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Heck, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a whopping five post-credits scenes (and nearly six). Director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther keeps that decade-long traditional alive, of course, with two end-credits scenes. But how important are they to the film's story, and its connection to the larger MCU, and are they worth waiting around the theater a little longer for?
Often such scenes are included merely for comedy (think Deadpool and Justice League), but that obviously isn't always the case. Particularly in the case of Marvel, they frequently help to set up what comes next in the shared universe (like, say, Thor: Ragnarok's foreshadowing of Avengers: Infinity War). Black Panther deviates from those approaches, however, and gives the audience something to think about, especially with its mid-credits scene. Don't worry, we're won't spoil anything.
What's depicted in the mid-credits has potentially long-term implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It doesn't set up another movie, at least not directly, but it's easy to imagine how it could affect everything going forward. It does its job perfectly, laying down a thread that can be picked up in a Black Panther sequel or virtually any other Marvel Studios film, although we may have to wait for the next phase, after Avengers 4, for it to fully play out.
The post-credits scene is a nice nod to earlier events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's perhaps a little predictable, but it nevertheless fills a gap that may otherwise not be explored in subsequent films. It picks up on a loose thread, and ties it into what's on the horizon. If you need to leave the theater in a hurry -- to feed a parking meter, relieve the babysitter, whatever -- you shouldn't feel too bad about skipping this one, though.
Should I Stick Around?
The Marvel faithful likely are already planning to remain in their seats until the lights come back up, even more casual fans will undoubtedly want to wring every last second out of Black Panther. But both the mid-credits and post-credits scenes are worthwhile viewing, even if neither necessarily delivers a "holy cow" moment.
Directed by Ryan Coogler from a script he wrote with Joe Robert Cole, Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, Winston Duke as M’Baku and Forest Whitaker as Zuri. The film opens Friday nationwide.