If you're wondering where the Marvel Cinematic Universe will go after Avengers: Endgame, the answer may have been high-fiving away in the background all along. Before I get any more specific, be advised that this article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel. Scroll past this delicious pizza if you dare!
There was no traditional Avengers: Endgame post-credits scene, but some secret direction for the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may still have gotten a sneaky nod just minutes before the credits rolled. Reddit user teegrez made a compelling observation about one of the background characters seen when Peter Parker returns to high school.
It's difficult to say for sure, but it looks quite a bit like the man standing and high-fiving students in the background of the scene is Ben Mendelsohn - the stature, the hair, and what we can see of his face all line-up. Mendelsohn played Talos, the leader of the Skrulls in Captain Marvel who (spoiler alert) ended up being good guys when we learned that they were refugees trying to find their families. Talos used his Skrull shapeshifting powers to take the form of Nick Fury's boss Teller, who also happens to look a lot like the guy in the background of the scene. He could even be wearing the same suit.
But wait - Talos left Earth on good terms by the end of Captain Marvel in the '90s. Why would he be back on our home planet and once again infiltrating human society in 2023? There are a few potential explanations: he could have taken a heel turn (his comic book counterpart skews toward the villainous side) and is helping to set up an invasion of the planet. Or perhaps he's helping SHIELD keep an eye on Peter Parker by posing as a member of his high school's faculty.
Either way, the secret presence of Skrull on modern-day Earth could be a big teaser for the next potential movie-spanning MCU plotline: a late 2000s comics crossover event that set the Marvel heroes against each other as Skrull used their shapeshifting powers to cause chaos and distrust across the Earth called Secret Invasion. Think all the internal conflict of Captain America: Civil War with an extra layer of "they might actually be an alien". With Spider-Man: Far From Home now all set to give us some post-Endgame closure, we may be seeing more of Talos soon.
See what else is on the way with our detailed look at new Marvel movies. Or watch the video below for some questions we had after the end of Endgame.