The Marvels’ mid-credits scene certainly looks important – but when are all these teases going to pay off?
NB: Spoilers for the very end of The Marvels ahead.
When Kevin Feige saw Ferris Bueller’s Day Off for the first time, he had an idea. No, he wasn’t about to pull a sickie – not to our knowledge, at least. Instead, as one of the few punters to stay until the end of the credits, he was rewarded by Matthew Broderick Ferris telling him to get lost.
“It was the greatest thing in the world,” Feige told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. “I thought it was hilarious. It was like a little reward for me for sitting through the credits.”
The rest is box office history. Ever since Nick Fury popped up at the end of 2008’s Iron Man in a now iconic recruitment drive, Marvel Studios have trained cinemagoers to stick around long after the fancy, graphic-designed credits have swapped over to the black and white ones. As a former cinema employee, even non-comic book movies like 2021’s Dune regularly find audiences asking ushers: “is there a bit at the end?”
When it comes to Marvel movies, though, most people don’t bother to ask. They’ve been well-trained to expect a little something, usually teeing up a new character or arc in the franchise’s unfolding narrative. But, as the MCU train seems to be slowing down for the first time, that expectation might be coming back to bite Disney in the behind. Recent scenes involving Brett Goldstein’s Hercules, Harry Styles’ Starfox and whoever Charlize Theron is supposed to be (Clea, apparently – we looked it up) all look to tee up projects which (if Disney’s current schedule is anything to go by) seem unlikely to pay off until at least 2028.
We’re about to get a bit spoiler-y for The Marvels now. You have been warned.
So, when The Marvels finally, after years of misdirection and the killing of a multiversal Patrick Stewart, uses a mid-credits scene to confirm the X-Men proper are on their way, it’s hard to see when they’ll be able to squeeze them in. Of course, Deadpool 3 is currently slated as the only MCU film in 2024, but if the meta merc with a mouth is the vehicle family-friendly Disney are trusting to introduce their next big super-team properly, we’ll eat Wolverine’s latex mask-thing.
Instead, with Marvel Studios’ slate currently looking pretty full up to 2027 (and with many of those projects still likely to move back post-strikes) the next viable time for a proper X-Men movie seems to be at least four years away. While earlier entries in the MCU had some element of surprise on their side, the introduction of mutant-kind to the universe is a big promise to make in a throwaway scene at the end of the movie. With the number of untied threads currently poking out of Marvel’s TV and film output, this latest one really begs the question – when will they find the time?
“We’ve introduced a lot of new characters in a lot of movies and a lot of tags. Where do the tag folk reappear? That’s a good question,” Fiege told Entertainment Tonight this week.
With a frankly dizzying number of characters and arcs still to pay off, maybe The Marvels’ lack of a new scene after the mid-credits is a wise move. Kevin Feige has long been praised for his ability to spin a lot of plates – but surely, at this point, it might be better to let some of them fall after all?