The most memorable Marvel end credits: From the Avengers to Thor, the best post-credit scenes ranked

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Handout)
Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron (Handout)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe may not have invented post-credits but ever since Samuel L. Jackson made his first pivotal appearance as Nick Fury in the Iron Man end credits scene, it has become a tradition for fans to sit through the credits, waiting to see a bonus scene emerge. Marvel’s post credit scenes have since become almost as important as the movies themselves.

From Iron Man to recent releases like the Disney+ series Loki, Secret Invasion and films like The Marvels, the MCU’s web continues to expand with no possible ending and post-credit scenes continue to offer viewers a glimpse into the next chapter. There are over 45 post-credits scenes sprinkled through the Marvel Universe, many of them serving as teasers for possible sequels and developing key plot lines.

Here are the ten best post-credit sequences that prove just why you should never leave a Marvel film early.

10. Avengers: Infinity War - Calling Captain Marvel (2018)

Brie Larson’s arrival as Captain Marvel came in perhaps the worst circumstances imaginable, following the aftermath of Thanos’s Snap in Avengers: Infinity War.

Little surprise the snap is officially known as The Decimation; Thanos destroys half of life across the universe after activating the Infinity Gauntlet, with the likes of T’Challa, Groot, Bucky, Doctor Strange, Peter Parker and Maria Hill all disintegrating. Nick Fury also suffers the same fate, but manages to think quickly enough to make one last call — to Captain Marvel.

If there was a silver lining to be found in the utter devastation, it was knowing the arrival of Larson’s superhero was just around the corner.

9. Ant-Man and the Wasp — Trapped in the Quantum realm (2018)

The Ant-Man movies might be some of the more lighthearted, wackier strands of the MCU, but even they couldn’t escape the devastating effects of Thanos’s Snap after the climax of Infinity War.

Fans who didn’t stick around for the post credit scene in Ant-Man and the Wasp missed out on the 2018 film’s biggest moment, when Michael Douglas’s Dr Hank Pym and Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp sent Ant-Man into the Quantum Realm. Just as Paul Rudd’s hero is about to be pulled out, the communications line goes dead and it becomes clear that Dr Hank and the Wasp have been erased as a result of Thanos’s snap.

Now, Ant-Man is stranded, but alive within the Quantum Realm — which fans are speculating could play a big role in the future of the MCU following the destructive events of Infinity War. Only time will tell how this pint-size hero will have an impact on the MCU as a whole, but the scene marked a huge moment in the franchise.

8. Thor: The Dark World - One down, five to go (2013)

Meet the Collector — Benicio del Toro had the time of his life playing the mysterious character, with a performance as bold as his outrageous platinum blonde hairdo.

Viewers were first introduced to him in the credits sequence for Thor: The Dark World, which makes it clear that, like Thanos, he is looking to get his hands on all the infinity stones. The clip sees guardians Sif and Volstagg give the Aether to the Collector, in a bid to keep it away from Asgard. “One down, five to go,” del Toro says, adding a sinister edge to another memorable and atmospheric post-credit sequence.

The scene threw a real spanner in the works for Marvel fans, leaving them with questions unanswered — was the Collector looking to the Infinity Stones out of his own greed or vanity? Was he teaming up with Thanos to bring down S.H.I.E.L.D? If nothing else, it proved that Marvel are masters of raising the stakes with post-credit scenes and added new layers of intrigue after the film itself had come to a close.

It wasn’t the only scene that Thor: The Dark World viewers were treated to either. A heartwarming clip saw the franchise move briefly into romcom territory, with Jane Foster and Thor reuniting and sharing a passionate kiss on the balcony.

7. Captain America: Civil War - Bucky on ice (2016)

It’s hard to imaging the MCU without Black Panther these days, given how significant Wakanda has come to be in the future of the MCU. Fans only got their first glimpse of the African nation back in 2016 though, when it appeared in a key post credit sequence in Captain America: Civil War.

The clip saw Bucky take the decision to put himself on ice in a Wakanda lab, reasoning “I can’t trust my own mind”. The footage then sees Captain America stood beside Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, as he looks out across the landscape. “You know if they find out he’s here, they’ll come for him,” the Captain warns, with T’Challa replying: “Let them try.”

The Black Panther statue looming large over the rainforest at the end of the clip was the studio's not-so-subtle way of looking ahead to the hero's forthcoming standalone film, too. It signalled incredible things to come for the MCU and changing the direction of the franchise forever.

The scene was nicely mirrored a few years later, with the post credit scene from Black Panther showing Bucky ‘defrosted’, walking out of a hut and encountering Shuri. The fact that Wakanda can conceal itself from the outside world also suggests that it could be the ideal hiding place for Captain America, Bucky, Falcon and Black Widow as they look to escape the clutches of the US government. Wakanda has a bigger part to play in the MCU yet, it seems.

6. Iron Man 2 - Hammer blow (2010)

A giant hammer, in a huge crater, showing the arrival of one of Marvel’s most badass superheroes — the post credits scene at the end of Iron Man 2 ticked all the boxes for fans back in 2010, and helped them forget about an otherwise pretty disappointing outing for Tony Stark and co.

The clip is about as straightforward a tease as it gets with Marvel. When a huge crater appears in New Mexico, Agent Coulson appears on the scene and calls Nick Fury. “Sir, we’ve found it,” he says, before the camera reveals a close up on Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. The simple, but effective sequence helped raise anticipation for Chris Hemsworth’s debut in the role to all new levels, with the actor arriving on the scene two years later in 2011’s Thor.

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - The twins (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s mid credit sequence was a masterclass in introducing new characters to the MCU, with fans given a sneak preview of Maximoff twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

Wolfgang Von Strucker introduced twins Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver to viewers from the depths of a secret research lab in the clip, showing for the first time that the Avengers would be coming up against more than just agents of HYDRA in the future.

The compelling first look at the mutants — or “miracles” as they’re referred to — pointed ahead to the future of the franchise, familiarising audiences with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen ahead of time and hinting at their staggering powers. And they managed it all in the space of a two minute clip — now that’s smart work.

4. Thor — The Tesseract (2011)

If they didn’t think Loki was one of the most cunning and conniving screen villains in recent memory before, fans certainly did after seeing the Thor post credits scene.

Tom Hiddleston’s character plays a sister role in Thor post-credits clip, which is actually one of the most important in the MCU. The sequence sees Fury show Dr Erik Selvig the Tesseract, in a bid to find out more about its power.

The viewer quickly learns that Fury was wrong to do so though, as it’s revealed Loki is influencing him — looming in Stellan Skarsgård’s characters reflection and saying “I guess that’s worth a look.” Loki uses the Tesseract to travel to earth in The Avengers, making this small credits scene a key one for plot development, and a priceless pantomime baddie moment for Hiddleston’s Loki.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy — Baby Groot and Howard the Duck (2014)

The most joyful post credits scenes in the entire MCU can be found in 2014’s larger-than-life Guardians of the Galaxy, proving that scenes don’t have to mean an awful lot to be incredible fun.

Viewers were treated to two fantastic hidden sequences. The first featured fan-favourite Baby Groot dancing to the Jackson 5, avoiding detection from the watchful eye of Dave Bautista’s Drax. It’s innocent and adorable, and went on to become one of the biggest memes of 2014.

The film also contained one of the very best easter eggs in the whole franchise — the second clip revists the Collector’s gallery, which was destroyed earlier in the film. In a move that thrilled die-hard fans of the Marvel cinematic universe, there’s a cameo for the wisecracking Howard The Duck, who last appeared in Marvel’s eponymous film of 1986 — one of the most infamous flops of the decade.

Howard takes a drink with the Collector in the scene, before going on to make a very brief appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 a few years later. Can fans expect another Howard The Duck movie in the near future? We wouldn’t put it past Marvel.

2. The Avengers - Thanos is revealed (2012)

Thanos is something of a veteran of Marvel post-credit sequences, having cropped up in three since first appearing in The Avengers. The villain also graced screens in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it’s the first appearance that remains the most memorable.

The clip sees The Other head to see his master, explaining how Loki had failed in his task to secure the Tesseract after the Avengers thwarted his efforts. “To challenge them is to court death,” The Other says, before Thanos turns and smiles at the camera, revealing himself for the first time. The clip proved that Loki was working in collaboration with a bigger power and needless to say, the first sight of the villain sent comic book fans into fits of giddy excitement.

Fans also got to see The Avengers relaxing after a job well done in the same credits sequence, with the gang tucking into a shawarma feast together. The short clip was filmed at the very end of the shooting process, and Chris Evans actually had to cover up his face for the scene as he’d grown a beard for another role.

1. Iron Man - Meet Nick Fury (2008)

It took just over 30 seconds to flip the entire Marvel cinematic universe on its head back in 2008. The scene at the end of Iron Man marked the first post-credits sequence, and set the bar very high indeed. The clip saw Tony Stark encounter Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury after coming home late at night. “You think you're the only superhero in the world? Mr. Stark, you've become part of a bigger universe. You just don't know it yet,” Fury says, before making referencing to the Avengers initiative.

In an instant, the franchise was blown wide open and the possibilities were boundless. Everything that followed stemmed from this moment – it’s one of the shortest post-credits sequences, but it's by far the most significant.