Iron Man (2008) Edit
With this film, Robert Downey Jr. revived his career and kicked off the MCU. The single post-credit scene is about as self-explanatory as it gets: Nick Fury came to invite Tony Stark to join the Avengers Initiative and get the team off the ground. And it started with a little meta humour: Fury says, "You've become part of a larger universe," referring to the MCU, of course.
The Incredible Hulk (2008) Edit
Looking back, Phase 1's second entry appears a bit out of place due to Bruce Banner's recast. But the scene of the end credits fits nicely with the previous one. After the film's events, during which the government allowed Banner to flee, General Ross sits in a pub, lamenting his loss, smoking and drinking. In Stark runs, who repeats Iron Man's letter to him about the Avengers Initiative from Fury.
Iron Man 2 (2010) Edit
In the Iron Man trilogy, the second instalment ended with another nod to a new character. Agent Phil Coulson is riding through the desert of New Mexico, where he sees a giant crater. He talks on the phone to someone (presumably Fury), only saying, "We found it." Then the camera zooms in, revealing Thor's hammer, and prefacing the next franchise film.
Thor (2011) Edit
This is where things begin to become more interesting. We see Dr. Selvig walking through the SHIELD building, where he encounters Fury, after a title card announcing that Thor will return to The Avengers. The manager reveals to Selvig that the crazy things he's just seen (gods, another dimension) are related to history and open up a titanium case, showing what we later discover is the Tesseract. Curiously, Selvig asks Fury what it is, and Fury suggests it may be "unlimited power." Then we see Loki's reflection, which we had just seen drop into a black hole, saying, "Oh, I suppose it's worth a look," and Selvig repeats those phrases. Here is the takeaway? On Selvig, Loki uses his mind control powers and now has a way into SHIELD's back-the-scenes operations. This sets up Loki as The Avengers ' villain, and is also our first introduction to the Infinity Stones.
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) Edit
The MCU has now officially primed its audience for a team-up adventure after five solo movies. In his post-credit sequence, Director Joe Johnston did something different— instead of hinting at anything, he just revealed a teaser trailer. The scene begins with the work of Steve Rogers pounding at a punching bag. He hits it so hard that it breaks off its chain and, broken, flies across the room. Just then, Fury goes into the room and asks Steve if he has trouble sleeping. Rogers knows he's for a mission. Our short dialogue leads to a 30-second teaser showing The Avengers scenes.
The Avengers mid-credits (2012) Edit
This film is the first to feature a mid-credit scene in the final film in Phase 1. We're taken away from Earth, somewhere off in the world, after the big, flashy credits roll. A hooded man, known as The Other, tells his master that Loki has lost, calling people "unruly." Then we see another being, this one very big and covered in armour, transform, showing us his raw purple eyes. This is Thanos, and knowingly he smiles, cracking the fourth wall. For a number of reasons, the scene is significant. Thanos ' appearance was a signal that the Gaurdians of the Galaxy were on their way. But the most important thing is that this was the setup for the whole of this giant storyline — Thanos is clearly going to be a villain, perhaps his coyness and determination prove that he's in it for the long haul, suggesting that he and his quest for the Infinity Stones are going to be the ultimate battle to end all battles.
The Avengers end credits (2012) Edit
While there was much more to think about about the introduction of Thanos, the first post-credit "throwaway" scene received quite some popularity. A moment towards the end of the final battle of the film, Tony saw his comrades wondering if they were checking out a shawarma place he had seen while fighting. It comes back when the credits stop rolling, in a scene showing our six main heroes sitting at a table in a restaurant that was a battle casualty. The video is nearly silent, hearing only the sounds of chewing. Fans noted that Joss Whedon (the author and director of the film) was quintessential humour.
Iron Man 3 (2013) Edit
With Phase 2 kicking off, Iron Man 3 was the last solo tale of the original character. And the following post-credit scene takes a much lighter approach than before. Beginning with a voiceover as the final credits roll, we hear Stark restart the war we've just seen on the screen. Instead we slice him with his eyes closed, thanking for listening to his storey by a just-awoken Bruce Banner. He thinks nothing of it when he realises that his pal had been snoozing, and continues to tell a childhood memory, even after Banner explains that he is not "that kind of doctor."
Thor: The Dark World mid-credits (2013) Edit
The second film of the Asgardian hero revolves around the Aether, when it takes over Jane Foster's body. Warriors Sif and Volstagg, after securing it, take the Aether to the Collector to keep it safe, but separate from the Tesseract. This is the first time we hear mention of the two items as Infinity Stones, with both the Aether (the Reality Stone) and the Tesseract (the Space Stone) as such being referred to by the collector. The Collector, whose appearance is a surprise for the Guardians of the Galaxy, then inevitably tells his wife, Carina, "One down, five to go," exposing his own mission to retrieve the Stones.
Thor: The Dark World end credits (2013) Edit
The post-credits scene, in keeping with the new tradition, aims not to educate, but merely to entertain. As Jane Foster looks out the window and sees a door opening, she stays in her bedroom. She rushes out, running for a kiss into her beloved Thor's arms. The camera then fades out and turns back into a flock of flying birds. Suddenly, a Jotunheim Beast races through the video, wreaking havoc in its wake, like the one Thor killed in the first film.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier mid-credits (2014) Edit
After the Captain's second solo movie activities, we get a jam-packed mid-credit scene with juicy information. Let's get it broken down. Baron Wolfgang Von Strucker, a major player in the HYDRA war, informs his colleague that it's not about bringing SHIELD down anymore — there's a bigger goal in mind. In reality, this is the film where the definition of good vs. evil starts to get much less cut and dry, so it's fitting that Von Strucker has hammered the point home. He points rapidly to the sceptre of Loki, which is shown in a protective case. The Chitauri Scepter, which contains the blue Mind Stone, plays a role in Avengers: Age of Ultron when a new home is found in the stone. Von Strucker states that while other HYDRA facilities are causing problems for the Avengers, he will continue to work on his new project: the twins. The camera shifts to show two glass chambers to the audience, one containing a distressed Quicksilver zipping around, and the other Scarlet Witch sitting on the floor making blocks float with her powers. As far as Age of Ultron was concerned, this was also a major revelation.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier end credits (2014) Edit
Unlike those of previous instalments, the very brief post-credit scene of the movie is a glimpse of the future. Although for a few films we won't see him again, we see Bucky Barnes as he passes through a museum looking at an exhibit about himself.