The 3rd Swing, the Accounting Assistant and the Lead Greensman couldn’t be happier for the resurgence of the after credits stinger. Finally, rightful dues can be paid!
Thanks in part to the continuing expansion of the Marvel Movie Universe, tagging on one more scene after the final spate of legalese climbs up the screen is becoming common practice. There are few better ways to rouse a crowd then zing ‘em with one more late-game joke or build early anticipation for a possible sequel with a teaser scene. Plus, you make them sit through all the “Thank Yous.” Everyone wins!
The post-credit is a relatively new invention – most films weren’t obligated to list the crew members’ names until the ’70s – but in a short amount of time, filmmakers have already proved that the creative possibilities of a last-minute tag are endless.
Check out a few of the best post-credit scenes from the past thirty years. All the clips are fast-forwarded to the good parts:
The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
1979’s The Muppet Movie is known as one of the first films to keep the laughs coming until the end of the titles, but The Great Muppet Caper may be the first with an actual break in action to indicate that it’s okay to leave the theater…or is it!? For those audience members that did leave, they missed an opportunity for a group picture taken by Gonzo, an ace photographer whose work stands alongside greats like Arbus and Leibovitz. Or so I’ve been told.
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)
Spoiler Alert (for a movie that came out 25 years ago).
The Barry Levinson-directed, Spielberg-produced mystery movie delved into the origin story of the famous detective and defied expectations by pitting Sherlock against someone other than his infamous nemesis Moriarty. But here’s the twist: after the credits, the thought-dead big bad Rathe aka Eh-Tar aka scowling British guy reveals himself through a signature to be the iconic evil Professor.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Any member of the general public who voluntarily sits through the credits of a film deserves a medal in my book, but Ferris Bueller thinks otherwise. Day Off caps with one last 4th-wall-breaking appearance from Ferris, disheveled, bewildered and wondering why the heck we’re still hanging around his house. The moment’s a bit unsettling, actually. Michael Haneke would be proud.
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
As oddball as the evening events in Adventures in Babysitting are, they do have real world ramifications. Graydon might be a thug who doesn’t mind chasing teenagers around town, but he’s a real person and in the after-credits tag of the film, we realize he’s still stranded on the top of a skyscraper, counting down the time to his probable death. Not even a cheery rendition of The Crystals’ “Then He Kissed Me” could lift his spirits.
Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
Richard Donner couldn’t wrangle the film’s two stars for its post-credits coda, but through the magic of voiceover, Murtaugh and Riggs once again agree that they’re “too old for this shit” after watching yet another building erupt with explosions. Oh, those wacky detectives. They should probably be in jail for the massive amount of destruction they’ve caused, but hell, they’re just so lovable!
Space Jam (1996)
Space Jam has an abnormally long credit sequence, clocking in at an astounding eight minutes – which happens to be the amount of time to process the fact that you just watched a movie starring Michael Jordan. Like all Loony Tunes cartoons, the movie ends with a crowded “That’s All Folks!” and an impatient Jordan who would love to make it to the bank before it closes. That check wasn’t going to cash itself.
Scary Movie (2000)
While the stinger on Scary Movie calls back previous jokes involving the mentally handicapped cop Doofy and a vacuum, the moment plays more like a scene from a lost Harmony Korine film. Somehow watching a guy be impaled through a glory hole is less disturbing than this PG-rated sequence.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The scene that plays at the end of POTC: The Curse of the Black Pearl is not just a sequel tease, but a false sequel tease. How kick ass would a movie about Jack Sparrow fighting monkey zombies have been!? Very. But instead, we got whatever happens in POTC 2: Whatever It’s Called, one of the more incomprehensible movies ever produced (which had its own bewildering post-credits stinger to match).
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The Matrix sequels had an unprecedented advantage when it came to a post-credits stinger. Released a mere six months apart, fans of the series waited out the names of Reloaded‘s cast and crew for their first peak at the November trilogy-ender Matrix Revolutions. The trailer was a zippy blast of whiz bang pow visuals that would make even Michael Bay require a sedative – and the full movie remained true to the tease. In fact, it’s rumored that Revolutions was just a two hour trailer for a version of the movie audiences never saw. To this day, film scholars continue to debate, “what the hell they just watched.”
Finding Nemo (2003)
Pixar loves throwing small gags or easter eggs into their credit sequences, but Finding Nemo is one of the only films that has a true post-credit scene.
The terrifying angler fish from earlier in the film returns to prey on another wee little sea creature…who has a much bigger jaw then the anyone expects. But did anyone stop and think what that angler fish’s dad must be thinking right now?! I smell a sequel. Get Randy Newman on the phone.
Iron Man (2008)
Comic book nerds (this one included) let out a collective, giddy “EEEEEEEE” when Jon Favreau fan-serviced them in the back of a movie theater with a cherry-on-top scene at the end of Iron Man. Very kinky.
Marvel solidified their plans to create an intertwined cinematic universe like no other by tying in Nick “Sam “Bad Ass Mother” Jackson” Fury’s grander plan: The Avengers Initiative. Heck, he could have been recruiting Tony Stark to kill snakes on planes – a Jackson cameo alone is guaranteed to prompt enthusiastic hooting and hollering.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine wins back a few points for having twice the post-credit action. Audiences were treated to one of two alternate stingers, either a scene revealing that headless Deadpool (aka Weapon XI) is still alive or a scene in which Wolverine drinks at a bar in Japan, hinting at a possible sequel. A third scene in which Hugh Jackman apologized for people spending money to see the movie was filmed, but never released.
What’s your favorite post-credits scene?