For today’s blockbusters the post-credits scene has become almost mandatory. The short, usually whimsical, tag scene rewards the hardcore fans for waiting until the end of the credits and plants a seed for a potential sequel. Pinpointing the exact moment the post-credits scene was coined is not an easy task, however, the movie consistently being credited with popularizing the modern post-credits scene is the 1979s’ The Muppet Movie. Aside from incorporating a sequence while the credits are rolling, the film also has a scene at the end of the credits. Breaking the fourth wall, the psychotic Muppet, Animal, turns to the camera and tells the audience to “go home”. That little stinger kicked off the 1980s post-credits scene mania.
Over the years, the trend just kept growing and now we’ve reached the post-credits scene era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans of the superhero franchise have long learned that if they remain in their seats once the credits start rolling their patience will be rewarded with a post-credits scene. Marvel started its now-long-running tradition of post-credits scenes with the first Iron Man movie. Iron Man‘s post-credits scene introduced Nick Fury and the ‘Avenger Initiative’, launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe we know and love today. Every single MCU movie since Iron Man has had at least one post-credits scene. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 tops the charts with a total of five post-credits scene. We went through all 35 MCU post-credits scenes and ranked them from the least good to the best. Oh, the list includes Ant-Man and the Wasp, so spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it yet.
35. HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS (THOR: THE DARK WORLD)
Thor: The Dark World saw Thor and Jane experiencing some long-distance relationship issues. In order to give the couple some happy moments together, there was a cute little post-credits scene in which Thor comes back and kisses Jane on the roof.
The scene then cuts away from the romantic rooftop kiss to a misplaced Jotunheim beast running around chasing a flock of birds. It’s not a bad scene but given that this ended up being Jane’s last appearance it feels out of place and pointless now.
34. FALCON’S HIDDEN WEAPON (ANT-MAN)
Ant-Man’s post-credits scene is actually a cut-down scene taken directly from Captain America: Civil War. We see Captain America and Falcon discussing what to do with Winter Soldier, mentioning ‘the accords’ that prevent them from calling Tony Stark.
The Cap seems to think they’re on their own, but Falcon may know a guy who could help. The guy in question is none other than Scott Long, who, as we know, plays for Team Cap. It was a cool teaser, just not Marvel’s best work.
33. GOOFING AROUND WITH GUNNS (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2)
Kraglin practicing his whistling technique to control Yondu’s Arrow felt like the two brothers James and Sean Gunn decided to have some mindless fun on the set and tagged it on the final cut of the movie just for the heck of it.
The first post-credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t have a narrative purpose, but it is a pretty funny scene and it fits the tone of the movie to a T. Luckily, the movie has five of these, so one of them may as well be a gag.
32. RAVAGERS REASSEMBLE (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2)
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we got to learn more about Yondu Udonta — or as he himself put it, Peter Quill’s daddy. Showing that he truly cares about Peter, Yondu sacrificed himself for his adopted son to live.
We also got to see the other members of the Ravagers, including Yondu’s mentor Stakar Ogord, played by Sylvester Stalone. Stakar and his team make an appearance in one of the mid-credits scenes, where they decide to reassemble the team inspired by Yondu’s sacrifice.
31. GIANT ANT DRUMMING (ANT-MAN AND THE WASP)
The latest movie in the MCU, and the 20th movie overall, Ant-Man and the Wasp was as hilarious as the first Ant-Man film, though it ended on a grim note. Even the post-credits scene which would have been a zinger under different circumstances.
In the post-credits scene, we’re at Scott Lang’s empty house and there’s an emergency broadcast on the TV after the snap. We also see the giant ant tasked with performing Scott’s duties, drumming away as if nothing had happened. It’s all very unsettling.
30. ONE DOWN… (THOR: THE DARK WORLD)
Thor: The Dark World is often cited as forgettable, filler and boring, but it did have its moments. The post-credits scene wasn’t all that insightful or needed for that matter, but the mid-credits scene actually served a purpose.
The scene in question sees Lady Sif and Volstagg arrive at Knowhere where Carina introduces them to Taneleer Tivan, aka the Collector, to whom they entrust the Aether. The scene introduced the Collector and his pursuit of the Infinity Stones, and it foreshadowed the Guardians of the Galaxy.
29. WHO LET THE DOG OUT? (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)
After appearing briefly in Thor: The Dark World’s mid-credits scene, the Collector gets to play a bigger role in Guardians of the Galaxy. In his pursuit of the Infinity Stones, Taneleer Tivan hired Gamora to get him the Orb in exchange for four billion Units.
As we all know, plans changed and the Guardians ended up leaving the Power Stone on Xandar in the safe hands of the Nova Corps. The Collector made another appearance in a funny post-credits scene which showed his museum in ruins and both Cosmo and Howard the Duck out of their cages.
28. THE LAST RECRUIT (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER)
Captain America: The First Avenger ends with Steve Rogers running out on the street only to find himself in the strange 21st century world. The scene cuts to black and we’re then shown Steve taking out his frustrations on a bunch of punching bags.
Steve’s training session is interrupted by Nick Fury, who arrives to inform the Cap about a world-saving assignment. The scene then cuts to a brief teaser for The Avengers, making sure the audience is hyped for the upcoming team-up.
27. THANOS IS COMING (THOR: RAGNAROK)
Despite having lost his father, his friends, half of his people, and Asgard itself, Thor was brimming with optimism as he set course for Earth. However, just as he assured his somewhat apprehensive brother Loki that everything will be fine, a giant ship appeared right in front of them.
We immediately suspected the Mad Titan to be aboard the large ship and in Avengers: Infinity War our suspicions were confirmed at the very beginning of the movie. Ragnarok‘s mid-credits scene was a foreboding glance at darkness that followed in Infinity War.
26. SINISTER SIX (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING)
Spider-Man: Homecoming’s villain the Vulture immediately became a fan-favorite. Adrian Toomes was well-written, sympathetic and believable. His goal wasn’t to ‘take over the world’ but simply to support his family in these difficult times.
In the post-credits scene, we see Toomes lie to Mac Gargan about not knowing Spider-Man’s true identity. Yay for Toomes. Plus, the scene teases Gargan’s transformation into Scorpion and potentially the introduction of the Sinister Six, since Gargan mentions going after Spidey with a group of friends. Here’s hoping this does actually come to pass.
25. BUCKY, YOU THERE? (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER)
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers had to face the harsh truth that his presumed-dead best friend Bucky had been brainwashed and sent to kill him. But, Steve refused to give up hope that his friend is still there, despite all the evidence pointing otherwise.
Until, the post-credits scene reveals a masked Bucky Barnes visiting the Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute, suggesting that maybe his memories are coming back to him. The scene laid the foundation for Bucky’s return.
24. JEFF GOLDBLUM DOES HIS THING (THOR: RAGNAROK)
Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster is one of the most hilarious, quirky, entertaining characters in the MCU and we appreciated every second of screen-time he got. The post-credits scene with Jeff Goldblum being — well, Jeff Goldblum is absolutely bonkers.
After being defeated by a revolution on Sakaar, the Grandmaster addresses the rebels, congratulating them on a job well done and decides to call the revolution a ‘tie’. It’s a shame this scene was probably the last we’ll ever see of the Grandmaster.
23. TOO MANY SORCERERS (DOCTOR STRANGE)
At the end of Doctor Strange, Stephen Strange and his sidekick Karl Mordo had a falling out over Stephen’s alleged wanton use of magic. In the post-credits scene, Mordo is shown stripping the magic that allows Jonathan Pangborn to walk from him.
As he does so, Mordo explains that there are too many sorcerers, suggesting that he’s on a quest to purge magic from the world. The scene probably sets up Mordo as a villain in the Doctor Strange sequel.
22. THE WHITE WOLF (BLACK PANTHER)
Last time we saw Bucky Barnes was in the post-credits scene when he was put in cryostasis in Wakanda. In Black Panther, when an injured Everett Ross is brought to Shuri, she references Bucky by calling Ross ‘another white boy for us to fix’.
In the post-credits scene, we get to see Bucky recovering from his treatment surrounded by the gorgeous nature of Wakanda. It was nice seeing Bucky again, and confirming that he will be there for Infinity War.
21. SPIDEY SYMBOL (CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR)
Tom Holland made his debut as Spider-Man in in Cap’s third movie outing and stole the show. Peter Parker even got his own mid-credits scene in which he explains to aunt may how he got into a fight with a friend that was really huge — Giant Man.
When May leaves, we see Peter fiddling with his web-shooters and discovering a Spidey Symbol, in the style of the Dark Knight. It was an adorable moment between aunt and nephew followed by an awesome teaser for what’s to come in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
20. T’CHALLA DELIVERS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE (BLACK PANTHER)
There’s a lot we can learn from Black Panther, and that goes for the mid-credits scene as well. The scene shows T’Challa at the UN accompanied by Nakia, Okoye and Ayo. Introducing himself to the other UN members, T’Challa delivers a powerful speech about unity and humanity.
Just like the message of Black Panther, T’Challa’s message strongly resonated with audiences. By opening his country to the world and refusing to stand on the sidelines, King T’Challa is saying that in the face of danger we are stronger together. A fitting lesson in the prelude to Infinity War.
19. AGE OF MIRACLES (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the most important MCU movies. It managed to connect with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the most substantial way, it introduced a bunch of new characters and plotlines, and it upended the entire MCU.
The mid-credits scene gave us our first look at the Maximoff twins — Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who returned in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The twins were shown in holding cells at a facility led by Wolfgang von Strucker who’s also seen studying Loki’s Scepter.
18. WIZARD MEETS GOD (DOCTOR STRANGE)
In a mid-credits cut-down scene from Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange interrogates Thor about his plans on Earth and especially the presence of his adopted brother Loki. Obviously, Strange hasn’t been living under a rock for the past five years. He’s seen The Avengers. He knows what’s up.
It was a fun meet-cute between Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme and the Asgardian God 0f Thunder exquisitely portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch and Chris Hemsworth, respectively. The infinite beer trick and Thor’s reactions were hilarious. Luckily, we got an extended version of this scene in Ragnarok.
17. I SHALL CALL HIM ADAM (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2)
In the third post-credits scene from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we are back with Ayesha and the Sovereign. The High Priestess tells her chambermaid that she’s cooking up a special kind of Sovereign — one capable of destroying the Guardians of the Galaxy.
We are then shown a cocoon, which we immediately associated with Adam Warlock. Our suspicions were confirmed almost instantly by Ayesha herself who decides to name her creation Adam. James Gunn stated that this wasn’t just a meaningless teaser and that Adam Warlock will play a crucial role in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
16. GAMER_GOD_GROOT (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2)
All right, let’s get one thing straight, any scene that has Groot is by default awesome. Whether it’s grown-up, baby or teenage Groot, Groot is always adorable.
In one of the many mid-credits scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, Peter Quill tries to discipline the teenage Groot, who can’t seem to put away his game for even a second to clean up his messy room. Essentially, Groot is a 21st century teenager — he’s argumentative, rebellious and addicted to technology.
15. ABOUT DAMN TIME (ANT-MAN)
The moment Marvel introduced Ant-Man we knew the Wasp was just around the corner. Sure enough, our suspicions were confirmed by the end of Ant-Man.
The mid-credits scene shows Hank Pym surprising his daughter Hope with a prototype of a new Wasp suit he’d been working on with her mother. They agree it’s time to finish the suit, setting up the sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp. The mere sight of the Wasp’s awesome suit with wings and blasters got us hyped for her debut, which was awesome.
14. BANNER THE THERAPIST (IRON MAN 3)
The Iron Man 3 post-credits scene is so much more than a funny scene. It frames the entire movie as Tony Stark venting about his troubles — basically, recounting the story of Iron Man 3 to his friend Bruce Banner.
Banner dozed off long before his patient finished his story, but Stark doesn’t seem to be troubled by that. Even as Banner — the guy with the most serious case of anger management ever recorded — tries to explain he’s not the best person for the job, Tony continues to vent about his original wound.
13. WELCOME TO WAKANDA (CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR)
Captain America: Civil War kicked off Marvel’s mind-blowing Phase Three, introduced us to Peter Parker and T’Challa, and gave us our first look at the gorgeous Wakanda. In the mid-credits scene, we see Bucky going back to cryostasis with Steve and T’Challa overseeing the process.
12. IT’S ALL CONNECTED (THE INCREDIBLE HULK)
The Incredible Hulk often gets overlooked, almost as if we’ve forgotten that it’s a building block of the MCU. It is the film that followed Iron Man and contributed to the lore of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the post-credits scene, Tony Stark finds Thaddeus Ross drowning his sorrows at a bar and starts chatting to him about the super-soldier serum and a certain team that is being formed. This scene established, for the first time, that everything is connected. Iron Man making an appearance in a Hulk movie, even a brief one, is a huge deal.
11. LOKI LOCATES THE TESSERACT (THOR)
With Thor we got to explore the cosmic side of the Marvel universe, meet the Asgardians, and get our first look at the Tesseract. In the post-credits scene, Nick Fury takes Erik Selvig to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and invites him to investigate the Tesseract. Unaware that his mind is being controlled by Loki, Selvig accepts Fury’s offer.
The plot twist is, Loki is alive and he’s controlling other people, still trying to become King of Asgard. The scene sets up the main conflict of The Avengers and provides the right kind of buildup for the big team-up.
10. ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST (ANT-MAN AND THE WASP)
With Ant-Man and the Wasp finally released, at least now we know what they were up to during the events of Infinity War. The movie ties into Infinity War in its mid-credits scene, which shows Scott, Hope, Hank and Janet conducting an experiment in the Quantum Realm.
Scott goes into the Quantum Realm, but when he calls for his team to pull him back we see that all three have been turned to dust after the snap. This begs the question, why were they conducting experiments with a war going on? Unless, of course, this was all part of a bigger plan.
9. WE FOUND IT (IRON MAN 2)
In Iron Man 2, we got to meet the third member of the Avengers in Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow. But, Marvel wasn’t satisfied with just introducing one Avenger. In the post-credits scene, Agent Coulson is seen driving up to a crater in the New Mexico dessert.
As Coulson reports a finding to his superior, we cut away to a close-up of the object that created the crater — Mjolnir. And just as the scene cuts to black we hear thunder, announcing the arrival of Thor. This was our first clue that the MCU is going cosmic.
8. THE INFORMANT (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2)
The co-creator of the Marvel Universe, Stan Lee, has appeared in just about every Marvel movie ever made. So, while watching an MCU film, we’re all on high alert for the inevitable Stan Lee cameo.
And because he’s popping up everywhere from New York to outer space, fans have for long theorized that Stan Lee is one of the Watchers. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it was confirmed that he is in fact an informant for the Watchers. We return to this in the post-credits scene, as Stan Lee tries to convince his employers he’s got more valuable intel.
7. THE SHAWARMA PALACE (THE AVENGERS)
Marvel finished its Phase One with The Avengers and knocked it out of the park. If there was ever any doubt, this movie made it clear that we were all part of something special. The team was assembled, the invasion stopped and now it was time for our heroes to recuperate.
Towards the end of the movie when Stark mentioned wanting to try shawarma at the Shawarma Palace we assumed it was a throwaway line. However, the post-credits scene shows the visibly exhausted team eating shawarma in silence.
6. I’LL DO IT MYSELF (AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON)
The year is 2015, for three years we’ve known that Thanos is looming somewhere in the galaxy, waiting for his minions to collect all the Infinity Stones. In the post-credits scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Mad Titan finally decides that he’s waited long enough as he picks up the Infinity Gauntlet, stating “fine, I’ll do it myself”.
5. MARVEL GOES META (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING)
By now we’ve been trained by Marvel to remain in our seats until those long credits roll to see that important, possibly game-changing post-credits scene. We wait patiently watching as the less enlightened walk out of the theater and we think to ourselves ‘what a bunch of plebs’.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming’s post-credits scene, Marvel went meta in the most hilarious way. Captain America broke the fourth wall to lecture us about patience, because patience is important especially when you’re wondering “why you waited so long for something so disappointing”.
4. PAGING CAPTAIN MARVEL (AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR)
Avengers: Infinity War went out not with a fizzle but with a bang. Thanos’ universe-balancing snap obliterated half of the population, including some of our beloved heroes.
In the post-credits scene, we get to see Nick Fury and Maria Hill disappear. But before turning to dust, Fury manages to send a distress signal to an unidentified person. Recognizing the image on the screen as the Captain Marvel logo, we all went crazy. Now that we know Captain Marvel is on her way to help the Avengers, we can theorize about how she’ll get there from the ’90s.
3. GROOTLOOSE (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)
At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, proclaiming ‘we are Groot’, the lovable Groot enveloped his friends with his twigs, shielding them from the blast but putting his own life on the line. Luckily, the Guardians managed to salvage a part of Groot and grow him again.
In the most adorable post-credits scene, Baby Groot dances to Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” only to freeze whenever Drax turns around to look at him. There’s no way this scene wouldn’t be high on our list. Baby Groot is adorable, Drax is a sweetheart, and that Jackson 5 song is awesome.
2. THE ONE WHO COURTS DEATH (THE AVENGERS)
In The Avengers, Earth’s mightiest heroes came together to fend off an alien invasion in the now-infamous Battle of New York. Fury’s team of superheroes fought against Loki and the Chitauri army he procured from The Other.
In the mid-credits scene, we find out that the one pulling the strings is in fact the big purple guy known as Thanos. This scene was epic. This scene introduced the Mad Titan. This scene set the course of the MCU. Smiling at the prospect of courting Death, Thanos sent chills down our spines. In Infinity War, the Titan finally got his hot date.
1. THE AVENGER INITIATIVE (IRON MAN)
Marvel kicked off its cinematic universe with Jon Favreau’s Iron Man. The movie introduced us to Tony Stark and his supporting cast, including Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan. The film ends with Tony Stark admitting he’s Iron Man during a press conference.
At the time there was no MCU, just an origin story for Iron Man. But all that changed when, once the credits rolled, Stark found Nick Fury standing in his living room. Emerging from the shadows Fury utters the words ‘Avenger Initiative’, forever changing the cinematic landscape and that is why nothing will ever top this scene.
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