Theand postcredit scenes are as inextricably linked as Thor and Loki -- it's become a tradition to sit through the entire credits waiting for a just few more seconds of superhero goodness.
Like the movies they're attached to, these stingers vary wildly in quality. Some add to the overall MCU tapestry, others leave you wishing you could get back the time you wasted. And there are a few that make fun of us for hanging around through the credits.
We've ranked the postcredits scenes based on how shocking, important or delightful they are, but keep in mind this isn't ranking the movies themselves -- we've. Prepare yourself for a stroll down postcredits memory lane and be warned: massive MCU spoilers follow!
Postcredits: We jump to Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) with a captive Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). On the face of it, this is completely out of left field -- it's a scene from the middle of referencing Falcon's encounter with Ant-Man.
Verdict: Poor. The scene with the Wasp costume is an obvious callback to the comic books and a setup for the movie's sequel, which is fine.
The Falcon/Cap/Bucky scene, on the other hand, makes no sense in isolation and puts the movie's stinger at the bottom of this list -- it feels like someone forgot to think of a postcredits scene and tacked this on at the end without a second thought. Also, Bucky is a postcredits regular, as you'll soon see.
20. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Postcredits: Superspy Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) approaches Cap, who's clearly a little frustrated after being asleep for nearly 70 years and waking up in the present day, with a mission to save the world.
Verdict: Lame. The scene where Cap wakes up in a fake hospital and runs out into modern-day Times Square would've been a much stronger stinger, but it was probably too important to leave until after the credits. Instead, we get an overly vague hint at a big mission from Fury.
Verdict: A cute scene between Downey and Ruffalo, but it adds nothing to the overall plot.
18. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Postcredits: You probably forgot about this one. Stark approaches General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) as he drowns his sorrows in a bar after unleashing a beast that leveled a chunk of Harlem and still failing to capture the Hulk.
Stark knows about Ross' "unusual problem" (a sub-plot that's expanded in 2011's The Consultant one-shot, from back Marvel Studios did those) and reveals that "we're putting a team together."
Verdict: OK. This doesn't add much to the Fury scene in Iron Man (which came out a few months earlier), but the Downey cameo is cool, and it's our first direct connection between movies.
17. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Midcredits: Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) hand over the dark-matter-creating Aether to the Collector (Benicio del Toro). The Aether is really the Reality Stone, one of the Infinity Stones MCU is gathering.
"One down, five to go," says the bleach-blond Collector, implying he's trying to gather all the stones.
Postcredits: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Earth and reunites with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) -- who was apparently just sitting around pining for him -- then cuts to one of the monsters summoned during the final battle running around London.
Verdict: Mixed. The scene with the Collector adds another piece of the MCU puzzle, but the reunion's a bit limp and doesn't serve Jane's character at all. It's also her last appearance in the MCU to date -- she was written out in a throwaway fashion in Thor: Ragnarok.
Midcredits: Thanos (Josh Brolin) has had enough of his lame underlings' failure and puts on the Infinity Gauntlet: "Fine, I'll do it myself."
Verdict: Seeing the MCU's big bad and the fancy glove he'll wear when he gathers the Infinity Stones is cool, but the scene feels like a bit of an afterthought.
15. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Postcredits: The Collector sits in his ruined lair after the destruction caused by the Power Stone (another Infinity Stone). He gets a friendly lick from Cosmo the Spacedog, much to the disgust of Howard the Duck (Seth Green).
Verdict: A decent song and cameos from obscure Marvel characters… nah. One for the hard core only.
Midcredits: Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), Hope Van Dyne and Hank Pym are on a rooftop, helping Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as he explores the Quantum Realm. The trio disintegrate, seemingly leaving Scott stranded.
Postcredits: As an emergency broadcast plays on the TV in Scott's house, his massive pet ant plays the drums.
Verdict: Pretty good. It's cool to see the wider MCU impact of, but the ant/drum scene probably isn't worth sticking around for.
This oneclearing up plot threads after the credits role.
Deep breath… Kraglin (Sean Gunn) tries to master the late Yondu's telekinetic arrow, Ravager boss Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) reunites with his ex-teammates, Sovereign leader Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) announces her plan to destroy the Guardians with new creation "Adam," Groot has grown into an obnoxious teenager and the Watchers abandon their informant ( ) on the moon.
Verdict: It's a lot, but it kinda suits this movie's tone. The most important aspect is "Adam," which hints at Adam Warlock, an android who plays a massive role in the comics' Infinity Gauntlet storyline and may enter the MCU's cosmic side in the future.
12. Doctor Strange (2016)
Midcredits: Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) chats with Thor about the "family drama" we'd see in Thor: Ragnarok the following year, in a scene we'd see again in that movie (with a few minor differences).
Postcredits: We revisit the disillusioned Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). He visits Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt), who used magic to regain the use of his legs, and steals his energy because there are "too many sorcerers" in the world.
Verdict: Pretty good. The midcredits scene is repeated in Thor: Ragnarok, but it hints at Strange's further adventures, and the postcredits one offers a potential sequel villain.
Midcredits: Jumping from the '90s to post-Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes who've survived Thanos' snap try to figure out Fury's pager. Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) appears and asks, "Where's Fury?"
Postcredits: Back in the '90s,, the Flerken-disguised-as-a-cat, coughs up the Tesseract on Fury's desk, hairball-style.
Verdict: Decent. It's likely that midcredits scene will be in Avengers: Endgame, in which case this one will be greatly diminished, but right now it's a tantalizing hint of how Carol will enter those events and links her to the rest of the MCU.
The Goose scene isn't quite as strong -- we knew she had to spit out the Tesseract eventually. However, kudos for getting echoes of Fury into both scenes without actually having him show up.
10. The Avengers (2012)
Midcredits: We got our first glimpse of Thanos (here played by Damion Poitier) as one of his minions reveals humanity isn't to be taken lightly after the Avengers defeated their attempt to invade Earth. Thanos' smile hints at a bigger plan.
Postcredits: The Avengers eating together silently in a schwarma restaurant.
Verdict: A mixed hint of things. The first scene offers a look at a plot thread that'd weave its way right up to 2018's, and the second showed us that some of these extra scenes were basically trolling audience members who stayed too long (even though it called back to a line from earlier in the movie).
Fun fact: Cap is covering his face with his hand in the schwarma scene because it was shot long after the rest of the movie and Chris Evans had grown a beard for Snowpiercer. Since Cap didn't have any facial fuzz in Avengers, Evans wore a "horrific" prosthetic piece to hide it.
9. Thor (2011)
Postcredits: Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) meets Fury in the depths of the SHIELD facility, where he's shown a glowing cube that may be a source of "unlimited power." We also see that Selvig has been possessed by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), revealed to have survived his conflict with Thor and Odin.
This is our first look at the Tesseract, which plays a big role in Captain America: The First Avenger. Loki steals it in The Avengers and ultimately gives it to Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War -- it actually contains the Space Stone, an Infinity Stone that basically lets you teleport and is an essential part of Thanos' plan.
Verdict: This scene isn't wildly exciting on the surface, but the Loki reveal and callback to the Cosmic Cube regularly seen in Marvel Comics are cool.
8. Iron Man 2 (2010)
Postcredits: "Sir, we found it."
SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) drives out to a massive crater in the New Mexico desert, where we glimpse Thor's hammer Mjolnir.
Verdict: Exciting. This one is short and sweet, but seeing that hammer for the first time was wild and directly set up the next MCU movie (Thor).
Midcredits: An imprisoned Adrian Toomes/Vulture (Michael Keaton) runs into Mac Gargan (Michael Mando), who's heard Toomes knows Spidey's identity. Since the wall-crawler saved Toomes' life, he keeps the secret to himself.
Postcredits: Cap appears in another educational video about the value of patience.
Verdict: Middling. The first one is definitely worth it, since it hints that Gargan holds a grudge and may set up Scorpion (a classic Spidey villain) for a future installment. The Cap one just sorta mocks us for sticking around though.
Midcredits: Bucky opts to return to cryo-sleep until Wakanda's scientists can cure his brainwashing, while Cap warns T'Challa/Black Panther () that it's a risk -- Bucky's still a wanted man.
Postcredits: We return to the Queens home of Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as he fiddles with the web shooter Stark gave him, revealing the classic Spider-Signal (basically a projection of his logo).
Verdict: Essential: We get our first glimpse of Wakanda, which looks awesome, and the scene sets up Bucky finally being fixed. The Peter scene isn't quite so important, but more Spidey is always good.
That's Bucky scene No. 2.
5: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Midcredits: After the fall of the Hydra-infested S.H.I.E.L.D., Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann) examines the scepter Loki used to control minds in The Avengers -- it's actually powered by the Mind Stone -- yet another Infinity Stone.
He also monologues about the "age of miracles" as he looks at the rest of the subjects he's given superpowers to with the scepter -- Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Postcredits: A recovering-from-brainwashing Bucky visits a memorial to his heroic deeds during World War 2.
Verdict: Fascinating. It's a bit talky, but seeing the Maximoffs (a pair associated with the X-Men more than the Avengers in comics) is pretty darn exciting.
It's awkward that von Strucker calls them "miracles" rather than "mutants" though. This was when Fox had the X-Men rights and the Marvel-owning Disney couldn't use those characters. That changed whenin 2018.
The Bucky scene doesn't feel essential, but it's nice to confirm he's recovering his memories and it's the third time he's shown up in one of these.
Postcredits: Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Fury caused by people disintegrating after Thanos' snap. Seeing Hill vanish, Fury manages to activate a mysterious pager before disappearing himself.
A gold star appears on the pager's screen, along with some red and blue.
Verdict: So good. This one shows the fates of a pair of beloved secondary characters and offers our first MCU hint of Captain Marvel.
Midcredits: Thor and Loki discuss the plan to return to Earth and how "everything's gonna work out fine" just as the shadow of a massive ship eclipses their own.
Postcredits: Secondary villain Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) leaves his hidey-hole and finds himself surrounded by his former subjects, who revolted against him.
Verdict: Great. The former leads directly into(it's Thanos' ship) and the latter hints at a dark fate for the movie's lovable jerk.
Midcredits: T'Challa tells the United Nations he's ending Wakanda's isolationist policies and sharing its wildly advanced technological resources with the world.
Postcredits: Bucky, apparently recovered from his brainwashing, emerges from a hut in one of Wakanda's more traditional villages, and Shuri (Letitia Wright) prepares to teach him about the country.
Verdict: Excellent. The UN scene hints at Wakanda's wider MCU role, while the Bucky one continues a plot thread from Captain America: Civil War without interrupting the main narrative. Also, we're up to Bucky appearance No. 4.
1: Iron Man (2008)
Postcredits: The one you probably walked out on during your initial viewing since Iron Man was the first MCU movie and we didn't know postcredits scenes were going to be a thing in every single one.
In the wake of Tony publicly revealing he's Iron Man, he arrives home to find his security system subverted and Fury waiting. The S.H.I.E.L.D. director reveals that Stark isn't the only superhero in the world, and that he wants to chat about the Avenger Initiative.
"Mr. Stark, you've become part of bigger universe. You just don't know it yet."
Verdict: The original and still the best. This is pretty phenomenal because Fury essentially gives birth to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in that moment, putting us on a roller-coaster that's lasted 11 years.
Bonus points for casting Jackson, who inspired Fury's look in Marvel's Ultimate line of comics in 2001.
Our friends at GameSpot did a similar ranking, so be sure to check out their list next. And please follow our month-long, cross-brand too.
First published March 11 at 2:26 p.m. PT.
Updated March 12, 8:18 a.m. PT: Clarifies details in the Ant-Man and Incredible Hulk entries.