The MCU could have been a lot different to the one we know today, with one of its biggest trademarks – the post-credits scene – being the idea of Jon Favreau…
If you’ve ever seen a Marvel film, you know that there’ll be at least one post-credits scene. While I’m baffled that people still leave Marvel films the second the credits roll (even at the midnight showings!), it turns out that the MCU could have been very different and we’d have never had them at all.
Ten years ago, Marvel Studios introduced us to Iron Man and opened a whole world of filmmaking. It was old Shellhead’s movie debut that spawned what has now become the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. Quite an achievement when you consider Iron Man wasn’t one of Marvel’s bigger heroes.
Stay Right Until The End
It was this film that introduced us to the MCU trademark of a post-credit scene — but it could have been different. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Iron Man director, Jon Favreau revealed there were different plans for these scenes:
“That was a bit of a lark. I wanted to include Easter eggs that the fans would appreciate and we thought the idea of a post-credit scene could be fun. It was something that wasn’t really in the script originally.”
From there, the idea blossomed. Favreau and MCU supremo, Kevin Feige began to discuss what could happen in these scenes. They talked about what each teaser could mean for the wider universe they set out to build, and Favreau was inspired:
“I thought the idea of Nick Fury being Sam Jackson would be really fun, because when Nick Fury was reimagined in The Ultimates (comic book) they recast him as Sam Jackson, and I thought that that would be a really good nod to the audience. And Kevin was way into it, too. Kevin really lit up.”
But that wasn’t the end of it. Once they’d agreed to bring Samuel L. Jackson to the MCU, there was one more thing to figure out — what would he say? If this was to be the start of a universe, they had to figure out the perfect dialogue and, thankfully, they did.
There Was An Idea
Favreau and Feige decided that the best way to tease the audience of things to come was to directly mention their plans. It clearly wasn’t enough that we had an Iron Man film with a secret scene featuring Nick Fury. Favreau revealed:
“We were very careful how we selected the words. ‘You’re part of a bigger world now, a bigger universe,’ and ‘the Avengers Initiative,’ laid breadcrumbs for what was to come. We had the idea that we would somehow group these characters together, that was part of what would happen. but a lot of things had to go right for that to happen. so, we were really just laying out a basic mission statement of purpose, to show our intent, and thinking that the few people who would linger in the theatre would be the ones who would appreciate it most.”
Let’s be honest, before the MCU, who really stayed until the end of the credits? I know I certainly didn’t. As a result, many viewers missed the first teaser. But not many people make that mistake anymore.
While not all of the scenes are essential to the greater MCU story, it seems that Favreau laid the groundwork very early on. Some scenes tease future films, while others are simply a bit of fun. It’s a concept that’s even made its way into Marvel Comics with the ‘Where’s Wolverine?’ teases.
After the first post-credits scene introduced the idea of an extended universe, Phase One’s scenes built on this idea. Tony Stark made an appearance in The Incredible Hulk, while Iron Man 2‘s scene introduced Mjolnir and teased Thor.
Perhaps the biggest tease of all was the tease of Thanos, the Mad Titan in The Avengers. We know that he’ll finally be doing battle with the Avengers in Infinity War so it’ll be great to see him in action. He also appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron forebodingly donning the Infinity Gauntlet, so we know he means business.
Not all of the scenes have been designed to link into the greater MCU however. The famous Schwarma scene from The Avengers was actually a last-minute addition that Joss Whedon thought would be funny. It was so last minute, in fact, that it wasn’t included in the UK release of the film. Other examples include Tony Stark’s therapy session with Bruce Banner in Iron Man 3 and the Grandmaster congratulating his citizens on their successful revolution in Thor: Ragnarok.
Spider-Man: Homecoming takes the prize for the most fourth-wall breaking scene thanks to Captain America’s lesson in patience. It’s probably because the film was never originally planned to exist so no scenes were devised. This isn’t a bad thing though, as it led to one of the funniest scenes yet.
As Avengers: Infinity War draws ever closer, we eagerly await the culmination of ten years of storytelling. So many characters and so many threads to connect. But seeing as it looks like the Avengers might not win this time, it’ll be interesting to see what the post-credit scene brings.
Could Loki die in Infinity War? I ponder why here.