There’s no such thing as a bad Marvel Cinematic Universe post-credits scene - each performs, at the very least, its intended function of hyping up subsequent films. But there are definitely some confusing and awkward MCU cliffhangers on record, including some that make less sense as the saga has rolled on.
Even some of the best MCU post-credits stingers can have inconsistencies and incongruities that nobody noticed on the first viewing but are impossible to ignore once recognized. Some might think these take away from the overall quality of the film in retrospect, but it’s possible to put a more positive spin on it - these minor slipups stand as testaments to the unprecedented and out-of-control growth of Earth’s Mightiest Franchise.
- Photo: Universal Pictures
The post-credits scene in The Incredible Hulk features Tony Stark walking into a bar to meet a drunken General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and ask him “What if I told you we were putting a team together?”
It was obvious at the time, and even more so in hindsight, that the clip was meant to signal the cohesive nature of the new Marvel Cinematic Universe and hype up the Hulk’s eventual appearance in The Avengers - but it also doesn’t make a lot of sense. Who exactly is Stark trying to recruit here? It’s almost certainly not General Ross himself, and it’s definitely not Bruce Banner either - Ross just spent an entire movie proving how bad he was at controlling the Hulk.
The only interpretation that really tracks is that Stark is looking to add Emil Blonsky, AKA the Abomination, to the roster, but that would be a terrible choice. And why is Stark doing the recruiting anyway? At this point in the story, he’s not even an Avenger himself and won’t be for several years.
In fact, the scene was so incongruous that Marvel Studios later released a One-Shot called The Consultant which explains the entire thing away as a scheme by Phil Coulson. Basically, someone at S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted Blonsky to join Earth’s Mightiest Initiative, and Coulson knew that was a bad idea, so he sent in the one guy he knew Ross would refuse - Tony Stark, in all his smug glory.551314Too random?
The mid-credits scene of The Avengers introduces Thanos, and then the post-credits one from Avengers: Age of Ultron sends him off on his quest for the Infinity Stones. He walks down a high-tech corridor, puts on the empty Infinity Gauntlet, and says “Fine, I’ll do it myself,” in foreboding fashion.
But with just five words of dialogue, the Mad Titan raises a lot of confusing questions. First and foremost, why is this scene being shown now? The timing and phrasing would imply that the events of this film were yet another attempt by Thanos to gather the Stones - but then that means that he planned for Loki to lose the Mind Stone and have it affect Tony Stark’s new robot, which seems like a major stretch.
The moment also contradicts its sequels, Infinity War and Endgame, in multiple ways. Thanos says he’ll do it himself and gears up, but then proceeds to sit on his purple behind - until Nebula and Gamora spill the beans on the Soul Stone years later. And why does he have the Infinity Gauntlet already, anyway? Thor’s visit to Nidavellir makes it seem like the glove had been constructed recently, but apparently it’s been in Thanos’s possession all this time - and Eitri has just been chilling in the dark for the interim.274521Too random?
When Howard the Duck shows up inside Taneleer Tivan’s collection in the post-credits scene for Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s an amusing shoutout to the first real Marvel movie. It’s also troubling for a number of reasons.
Howard is later shown partying it up in Contraxia and even fighting alongside the Avengers in Endgame, so he’s clearly a sentient being with his own hopes, dreams, and desires - along with at least somewhat of a heroic streak. At the very least, he seems like a creature that would greatly dislike being imprisoned. And yet, when given the opportunity to escape from the Collector’s collection, Howard just sits there, drinks a beverage, and cracks wise. He should be duck-tailing it out of there, but he appears to be in no hurry - and downright chummy with the same guy who just had him locked up for who knows how long.
And that’s not even getting into the fact that the scene opens with the Collector having his face licked by one of the most powerful psychics in the Marvel Universe.198565Too random?
- Photo: Paramount Pictures
The first Thor film is a rather large departure from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to this point, but it snaps back to the main plot in the post-credits scene. Dr. Erik Selvig is called in by Nick Fury to examine the Tesseract - but is then shockingly revealed to be under the mind-control of Loki!
Except that shouldn’t really be possible. Moments earlier, Loki was falling into an Asgardian abyss to his presumable demise, and he’ll eventually end up rescued by Thanos - but at what point does he take over Selvig’s mind? It makes more sense to be after his meeting with the Mad Titan and acquisition of the Mind Stone, but then that would mean that the scene actually takes place long after Thor.
Even if that’s the case, how exactly is Loki controlling Selvig from such a distance? In The Avengers, Loki needs to touch people with his scepter to brainwash them, but according to this scene, he’s also apparently able to do it from galaxies away. To make matters even more complicated, Loki goes on to tap Selvig with the scepter in The Avengers - but why would he need to re-mind-control a man already under his thrall?154521Too random?