With Marvel Cinematic Universe’s phase 2 finally coming to an end with Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron on the way I decided to take a look back on the mid and post credit scenes all the movies of MCU phase 2 and how they are different than the ones in phase 1.
How are phase 2 mid and post credit sequences different from the ones in Phase 1. During phase 1, Marvel was a relatively unknown franchise, taking risk with some relatively unknown characters and was building a momentum for Avengers at the same time. Each of the post credit scenes in the phase 1 was a tease for the next movie. Until Iron Man 2 most of the fans didn’t even know about the cohesive cinematic universe that Marvel was planning to build so the post credit sequences had two roles 1 to make the audience aware about their next movie, and 2 To set foundation for their first Avengers movie. And this worked well.
From what I have observed, the after credits only come into play when Marvel is going to introduce a new character or a new movie THAT IS NOT A SEQUEL is on the way. Let me explain how.
Before reading the post you need to assume that from Phase 2 the movies are divided in two directions. The movies that take place on Earth are the only ones leading to Avengers 2 while the cosmic movies are leading directly to the final act in 3rd Avengers movie and Phase 3.
Iron Man 3 – The end credits reveal that the whole movie was running in flashback as Tony was narrating his story to his science buddy Dr. Bruce Banner, sitting in the building that once used to be Stark towers and now is The Avengers Mansion.
Implications – Tony was planning to build Avengers mansion by the time Avengers ended, now we have a fully functional building made for the members of team and Dr. Bruce Banner is already living in it. This can either mean that Dr. Banner finally found home he was looking for or may be Tony is secretly keeping a watch on him (we know that Hulkbuster is going to show up in Age of Ultron.) This scene serves as an epilogue for Avengers as well as a prologue giving a mild tease for next Avengers movie.
Thor: The Dark World – The mid credit scene of Thor’s sequel introduced us to The Collector leading directly to Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The end credit sequence of Thor: TDW shows that Thor has returned to Earth after seeking permission from Loki/Odin. This post credit sequence was a direct tease for Avengers 2 and declaring that Thor now has truly become the protector of Midgard.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – The mid credit scene introduced us to the new members of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Avengers is also going to serve as an origin story for these two characters along with a possible hint on the Inhumans movie that will be a part of MCU’s phase 3 slot. The end credit sequence however was probably setting route for Bucky’s path and Captain America 3.
Guardians of the Galaxy – This was one of the most confusing after credit sequence that many fans thought was underwhelming. Well, let’s look upon it in this way. This sequence firstly teases Avengers 3 that will probably feature The Collector who is also on a quest for infinity gems along with it what I can guess is that the Howard the Duck cameo was not about Howard the Duck but instead what was behind him. An empty cocoon inside which Adam Warlock was charging himself and is now gone. The same cocoon showed up in Thor: TDW as well. These end credits are setting stones for Guardians of the Galaxy 3 and then to Avengers 3.
Whatever be the meaning of these scenes for one thing I am sure is that now 4 of the key members of Avengers have united on Earth under one roof. Captain America has left SHIELD and shifted to Avengers mansion, Thor will probably find home at the same place where Bruce Banner is already residing. At the same time Guardians are now on a new quest that will probably lead them to Thanos by the time phase 3 concludes.