WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ralph Breaks the Internet, in theaters now.
With most films nowadays, it’s important to know whether there’s something waiting for the audience after the credits. And Ralph Breaks the Internet has one of the best after-credits scenes in recent memory. Just don’t take it too seriously.
By the end of the movie, Ralph and Vanellope have saved the internet (from a mistake Ralph caused with his own insecurities). While Ralph returns to the arcade with the necessary steering wheel for Sugar Rush, Vanellope chooses to stay in the intense game, Slaughter Race.
Their parting is bittersweet, and the film ends with the two on the phone catching up before returning to their respective games. It's a soft yet powerful moment, one that definitely leaves the door open for a follow-up, as Ralph promises to visit her, and the rest of the internet is open and waiting for them.
After the credits, a banner appears, promising a first look at Frozen 2 ... just before the chords to Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” begin. Ralph dances in place of Astley and, with backup dancers from Slaughter Race, recreates some of the music video.
The song and video were immortalized by the “Rickrolling” meme, no doubt experienced at least once by anyone who's used the internet. The gist of the joke is to set up something important, and then undercut it by playing one of the catchiest songs of the 1980s.The meme originated in 2007 on 4chan before becoming an online fixture.
It's the perfect, if frequently frustrating, bait and switch, with links promising, say, the new trailer of some highly anticipated movie leading instead to Astley's video. It's become shorthand for "gotcha!" jokes for more than a decade now.
This, of course, is the perfect way to end a movie that has so much fun with references to internet culture. As Ralph puts it, “good luck getting that song out of your head on the ride home!”
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnson, Ralph Breaks the Internet is in theaters now. The film features the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Gal Gadot, Jane Lynch, Ed O’Neill and almost every Disney Princess voice recorded.