Avengers: Endgame will be the final installment in an 11-year-long experiment to see if television style serial storytelling will work in a big screen environment. From the box office proceeds, I think everyone can agree it worked. It also comes at a fitting point for the finale of Marvel Cinematic Universe's first season, as it is the 22nd installment, the length of a traditional broadcast TV season. To celebrate this Endgame to the story, Marvel rounded up every end-credit scene from all 21 movies past, to help tie it all together.
End credit scenes have become something of an MCU calling card. The franchise didn't invent them, but with very few exceptions, these afterthought scenes were usually blooper-reel type footage until the MCU came along. The irony is, the reason for Iron Man's first end-credits sequence, when Nick Fury propositions Tony Stark to join the Avengers, was out of fear the film might fail. If so, the company could quietly remove that scene from the DVD release, no harm, no foul, no sequels.
Obviously, that didn't happen, and the tradition of using post-movie scenes to help tie the different arms of the franchise together became the connective tissue that helped move the franchise along.
Now, Marvel Studios is celebrating these scenes, in a series of tweets that stunningly shows just how many post-credit sequences the franchise has.
It started with Iron Man and Nick Fury...and then cuts to the only "pre-movie" scene, which was in front of The Incredible Hulk. Having become part of the Disney universe by this time, Iron Man 2 found itself with a post-credit scene promising Thor, and Thor found itself back with Nick Fury. Captain America: The First Avengers brought fans Cap in the present. Then there was our first glimpse of Thanos in the Avengers mid-credits sequence. And of course, who can forget the Shwarma scene?
In Phase II, Iron Man 3 just added more bromance of Stark and Banner to the table. Thor: The Dark World was the first stand-alone film to start doubling up on the end credit sequences. Captain America: Winter Soldier introduced the twin referred to in Thor 2, as well as more Bucky Barnes. The Guardians of the Galaxy probably wins hands down for the Jackson 5 dance sequence though. No wonder Thanos thought, "Fine, I'll do it myself."
You can roll through Marvel Studio's tweet list by clicking above, but it's actually more efficient to just watch them as one continuous video:
Phase III is when the post-credit sequences got a little silly. Every film had two sequences, middle and ending, except for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It had five! (FIVE!) Totally ridiculous. Thankfully, after that, the franchise reigned it back in.
The video is missing the final few sequences, so let's roll back to the tweets, with Infinity War's famous pager, and Ant-Man's unexpected problems getting home.
And finally, Captain Marvel, with the pager scene rejoinder...and Goose the Cat.
Avengers: Endgame will reportedly be the first MCU film without end credits, so consider this End Credits The Collection: Phase I-III. Endgame arrives in theaters Friday, April 26, 2019.