I used to leave a movie the moment it ended. Never mind the credits — after sitting through a movie for two hours, I was always ready to force my eyes to readjust to the light. But now, Marvel has us eagerly sitting through the credits until the very end, holding onto a glimmer of hope that they slipped an extra 30 seconds of content in. Those sneaky post-credits scenes have such a chokehold on us, nowadays we happily lean back into our luxury loungers till the screen fades to black.
Despite Marvel’s mid- and post-credits scene expertise, the movie-making giant can’t take credit for the idea. In fact, its origins date back to long before Marvel took over our movie theaters.
What are the origins of post-credits scenes?
“The Silencers,” a 1966 James Bond spoof starring Dean Martin, was the first movie to use a post-credits scene, per Collider. Back in the day, Bond movies traditionally ended on a text card that read “James Bond Will Return.” To parody the typical text card, “The Silencers” finished off with a post-credits scene that shows Martin laying on a bed with scantily-clad women, beginning with a text card that says “Coming Up Next.”
This end-credits scene made history as the first, but it didn’t spark the abundance of end-credits scenes we’ve got today. That is attributed to “The Muppet Movie” in 1979, per Bustle. After the credits finish rolling, the Muppets tell audiences, “Go home! Go home! Bye-bye!”
After the Muppets did a post-credits scene, lots of comedies followed suit. Most notably, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” in 1986 parodied the post-credits scene from “The Muppet Movie” when the star says to the audience, “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go!”
During the mid-’80s, the trend eventually made its way into other genres. Post-credits scenes were slipped into “Young Sherlock Holmes” (1985), “Aliens” (1986) and “Masters of the Universe” (1987), per Collider. These movies used the post-credits scene to allude to a sequel with a potential plot set-up.
Marvel’s undying love for the post-credits scene
Marvel movies and post-credits scenes go together like Thor and his hammer. Post-credits scenes are no longer a nice surprise, but rather, an expectation. A single post-credits scene barely even cuts it these days — recent Marvel releases such as “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” all have a mid- and post-credits scene.
In 2008, “Iron Man” was the first Marvel movie to feature an end-credits scene — it was also the studio’s first movie, reports Vox. During the 25-second clip, Tony Stark enters his home to find Nick Fury, who tells Stark he’s part of a much larger superhero world.
Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, has said that his first experience with the post-credits scene was when he saw “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
“It was the greatest thing in the world,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly. “I thought it was hilarious. It was like a little reward for me for sitting through the credits.”
While making “Iron Man” Feige and his team decided to add post-credits scenes as “a bonus of what’s to come,” per Entertainment Weekly.
“(The ending) is before the credits, that’s really how we look at it,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly. “That’s the conclusion of the story that we’re telling, and then if there’s a credits scene after the main one ends or the first one, it’s usually something that ties into the movie you’ve just seen that’s extra. At the very end of the credits, that’s what’s to come.”