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Every Marvel post-credits scene explained

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The post-credits scene: Halfway through the credits it cuts to Wolfgang Von Strucker chatting with a couple of lackeys as they walk through a secret underground Hydra research base. The scene ends on a shot of the Maximoff twins, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, demonstrating their powers.

What it means: The Avengers will be going up against more than just Hydra agents. We also learn what happened to Loki's sceptre: it's being scrutinised by Hydra, which is also bad news for Earth's mightiest heroes.

The end-credits scene: Partly on his way to becoming his old self again, The Winter Soldier decides to enjoy his down-time by visiting a museum and boning up on history. It's during his casual jaunt to the Smithsonian that he lays his eyes on a Captain America exhibit that happens to include Bucky Barnes in a display.

What it means: Another silent stinger, it's still an important one. It's proof that the real Bucky isn't completely lost within the Winter Soldier. His memories begin flooding back, confirming what Cap said earlier.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

The post-credits scene: Inside the Milano, Baby Groot bops away to some jammin' tunes while Drax is sharpens his knife in the background. Each time Drax turns around, Groot stops dancing. then starts up again as soon as the big guy returns to his work. 

What it means: Groot lives! And he's really cute.

The end-credits scene: Right at the end, the camera pans across The Collector's museum - it looks like a bomb's hit it. That tends to happen when Infinity Stones are opened indoors. The camera pans through the wreckage, lingering on the ruined archive, as Cosmo the dog trots to his master and starts licking his wounds. "Why do you let him lick you like that," a voice chides offscreen. The camera pans to the speaker. "Gross," says Howard the Duck.

What it means: That James Gunn isn't scared to put in a pretty obscure Easter egg. Howard the Duck would turn up again in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and, remarkably, in Avengers: Endgame during a blink-and-you'll-miss it cameo.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The post-credits scene: Thanos is getting sick of his minions' repeated failures to get the Infinity Stones, so we see him grumbling in annoyance as he puts the Infinity Gauntlet on and declares that he'll get the Stones by himself.

What it means: If the first Avengers movie credits scene let Thanos' plans be known, this lets the world know that he's not messing around anymore. Watching him don the Infinity Gauntlet is a huge moment that pretty much confirmed (at the time) that the next Avengers movie would be strongly linked to the Infinity Stones. 

Ant-Man (2015)

The post-credits scene: Hank Pym leads his daughter Hope down into the basement, where he discusses with her the power of responsibility. A panel slides back to reveal a hidden compartment housing the Wasp's suit. Pym tells Hope about the last person to wear it; her mother Janet Van Dyne.

What it means: There's no two ways you can take this scene. It's a super blatant moment that reveals what we'd hoped for throughout the whole of Ant-Man - the introduction of the Wasp. Let's face it, there was no way that we'd see that iconic suit and not get to see her in action. Shortly thereafter the studio announced the true title of the sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

The end-credits scene: Tacked on at the end, Captain America walks into a dingy room where we see the Winter Soldier trapped in a vice. "This would have been a whole lot easier a week ago," says Falcon. Cap suggests calling Tony Stark for help and gets shot down. "Who knows if the Accords will let him help," his winged buddy responds. "But I might know a guy..."

What it means: In short? Team Cap is going to need help from Ant-Man in freeing the Winter Soldier. This plays less like a specifically-shot credits scene and more like an actual clip from Captain America: Civil War. That's because it is. Ant-Man eventually turns up on the side of Cap during the movie's big superhero fight scene.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

The post-credits scene: Even though Bucky’s name is cleared during the events of Civil War, the fact that he can still be activated means that he voluntarily decides to put himself on ice. His lab of choice just happens to be in Wakanda where Cap warns T'Challa that people will be looking for Bucky. “Let them try,” is the killer response as the camera shows us some more of the Wakandan jungle. Oh, and a giant panther statue.

What it means: As well as giving the audience their first proper look at Wakanda, this establishes that Cap trusts T'Challa. It also hints that Bucky might make an appearance in the Black Panther solo movie. Which of course he does, but more on that a little later... 

Read more: The most powerful thing about Captain America: Civil War is its human heart

The end-credits scene: Peter Parker is in his bedroom playing around with the sparkly new suit that Tony Stark made him, when he accidentally activates a bright light as Aunt May quizzes him on who he was fighting (some guy called Steve from Brooklyn). After giving him an icepack, she leaves the room and Peter aims the red light onto the ceiling revealing a projection of the Spider-Signal. 

What it means: In the comics, Tony also made Peter a new suit (albeit not in the same colours). The Spider-Signal is a comic-inspired upgrade for the MCU version of Spider-Man, who wears it on his wrist, rather than his belt. The scene is followed by the caption, “Spider-Man will return” in a nod to Spider-Man: Homecoming. But other than that, it’s just a cool shout out to the character’s origins, and a confirmation of Tony's involvement in Peter's solo movie. 

Read more: 26 Captain America: Civil War Easter eggs worth knowing about

Doctor Strange (2016)

The post-credits scene: Thor makes his first MCU appearance since Avengers: Age of Ultron (having sat out Civil War) to have a quick chat with Doctor Strange, who wonders why he’s come to Earth with his cunning brother Loki. Thor tells him he’s come to find his father Odin (“family drama”) and that they’ll all leave when he finds him. “Allow me to help you,” Doctor Strange happily tells Thor, who’s still a bit blown away by the refilling beer stein in his hand.

What it means: Like the second Ant-Man post-credits scene, this is a scene lifted straight from Thor: Ragnarok. At the end of Thor: The Dark World, it was revealed that Loki had shape-shifted into Odin, so Thor eventually figured out his brother’s trick and now needs to work out what he did with the real Odin. The Sorcerer Supreme is not a bad detective to have around. 

Read more: Doctor Strange’s magic is more real than you might think (and is based on Tutankhamun)

The end-credits scene: During the movie, Stephen Strange chats to a guy named Jonathan Pangborn, who has used magic to make himself walk again. He comes to regret that decision when Mordo, a bit annoyed with the whole sorcerer thing by this point, pays him a visit to rob Pangborn of his magic and leave him paralysed all over again. Poor guy.

What it means: Mordo is now set as a future Doctor Strange villain, potentially in Multiverse of Madness, the upcoming Marvel Phase 4 Doctor Strange sequel. This brings him more in line with his comic alter-ego where he is a constant thorn in Doctor Strange’s side. Mordo’s chilling final line that there are “too many sorcerers” hints that Pangborn isn’t the only person whose magic he’ll be taking. 

Read more: 12 Doctor Strange Easter eggs every Marvel fan needs to know about