The Post-Credit Scene: A Key To The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Success

by Frank Martin

A long running and successful film franchise is the goal of any movie studio. There have been a large number of them from the plethora of slasher movies to sci-fi giants like Star Wars and Terminator. Yet, probably no franchise has had such success in such a short amount of time as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU managed not just to create one successful franchise, but multiple, and then weave them all together in a single cohesive universe. Fans can speculate about how this happened. Having a big stable of intellectual property to mine and properly-invested executive management are certainly two reasons. But a key reason for its success can be traced back to the early roots of the MCU: the post-credit scene.

The tendency to put one last seen at the end (or in the middle) of the credits as an attention-grabbing hook for a subsequent film began with the very first MCU installment. Iron Man by itself is a single successful, stand-alone film. Yet, the post credit scene hinted at the Avengers and a greater universe that this film could be a part of. From there, the post-credit scene became a trademark of the series, so much so that later installments began to play around with the trope and troll its audience. Using the post-credit scene, the MCU successfully built up hype, attention, and marketing for future installments that led one movie directly into the next.

The practice has been so integral to Marvel Studios building its franchises that others are now attempting to do the same. Post-credit scenes popped up as the DC films began expanding. They were also used in Legendary’s Godzilla monster-verse. This isn’t a surprise to anyone. Ask any fan how important the post credit scene is to the MCU and they will immediately herald it as one of the most fun parts of going to see the movies — so much so that the studio has begun introducing brand new characters with big name actors in them. It was done with Eternals and now with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. And with the MCU only growing in scope, the post-credit scene isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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