Marvel’s Past Credits Scenes Don’t Pay Off After Doctor Strange 2

The following story contains spoilers for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 so far.

Anyone who has seen Iron Man going to remember that very first post-credits scene. The Powers That Wasted No Time in the very first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Samuel L. Jackson, in full Nick Fury eye patch and costume, had something to say to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark ( and, by proxy, the entire audience). “I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative,” he said, making it very clear what the next four years of projects from the then burgeoning Marvel Studios would be like.

Over the next several years, Marvel would bring fellow heroes Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Captain America (Chris Evans) to the big screen, eventually bringing them all together to fight another world. threat in 2012 The Avengers. The path was short and clear, and the filmmakers chose to follow it. This movie introduced another character, Thanos, in his own credits scene, who would prove to be a primary superhero foe through the franchise’s first 22 films.

At that time, Marvel was keeping its goal airtight. These kinds of teasing always led directly somewhere. An example: in 2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the credits scenes revealed the existence of twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Audiences met these characters properly the following year, in Avengers: Age of Ultron. In Captain America: Civil War, a post-credits scene found Captain America bringing his friend, Bucky/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), somewhere to hide out with T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Where was he heading? Wakanda, which we would see in detail less than two years later in Black Panther. And while all of this was going on, it was always clear that Thanos (Josh Brolin) was looming; after The Avengers, Brolin debuted as the character with a cameo appearance in guardians of the galaxy before also appearing in Ultron upcoming credits scene. While Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were technically the actor’s only credited appearances as the character, viewers had been seeing and hearing about Thanos the Mad Titan for years.

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In the years since End of Game, the way forward for Marvel has become much less clear. And after a pretty miraculous streak of making a movie story arc spanning over 20 years, the question was always going to be how they could possibly follow it.

After the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel has now released six feature films and six TV series on Disney+. And while some of them teased things that might potentially follow in the future, Marvel apparently forgot the key ingredient for audiences to care about Thanos all this time in the first place: reminding them that he exists.

Just in the past couple of years, let’s think about the talks Marvel has teased and left unattended:

  • White Vision, which flew into the sky at the end of Wanda Vision
  • Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) meets the Skrulls in space (presumably we’ll pick this up again in 2023 Wonders)
  • Val by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who seemed to create some kind of vigilante/anti-Avengers team (which in comic book lore might be analogous to the Thunderbolts or the Dark Avengers) in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Black Widow, but has not been seen or mentioned since
  • Sharon Carter, who for some reason was the Power Broker and I guess she’s kind of evil now?
  • Everything About Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror (and all its variants)
  • Whatever happened with Shang-Chi’s rings at the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Whatever happened with Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) at the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Whatever happens with Eros (Harry Styles), featured in Eternals
  • Whatever happens with Black Knight and Blade, teased at the end of Eternals
  • We’ve got plenty of potential young avengers – from Billy and Tommy Maxmioff to Eli Bradley, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), America Chavez, Joaquin Torres and more – with no clear indication of when any of them will happen. them will reappear

    Clearly, Marvel is taking a slightly more ambitious path than just cutting to the chase. But perhaps the most puzzling lack of follow-up here has to be the one surrounding Kang the Conqueror, played so convincingly (like his He Who Remains variant) by Jonathan Majors in the Season 1 finale of Loki.

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    Obviously Majors is a major talent and deals, he has movies like Dedication and Creed III come in addition to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, as of now, his only official upcoming appearance in Marvel. But following Loki, we got a message as clear as ever that Kang is set to succeed Thanos: a quote from Michael Waldron, Lokis chief writer. “Knowing that Kang was probably going to be the next big crossover movie villain, and because he’s a time-traveling multiversal adversary, it always made so much sense,” Waldron said., in an interview that is now almost a year old. We haven’t seen Kang since, and only saw one small Easter egg in Moon Knight.

    I like to call these kinds of problems – apparently stemming from a lack of cohesion – The Abrams Conundrum. This is a reference to the three films of the star wars sequel trilogy (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker), which don’t work together and instead feel like a writer is trying to overwrite the previous one. With Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige at the helm, that’s never been a problem; Feige is known as a master at making sure all the puzzle pieces fit exactly where they’re supposed to.

    It is therefore surprising that Waldron could not continue his Kang introduction of Loki in its own script for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It would have made sense for a villain who is whole thing travels through universes and causes mayhem here, but he’s not mentioned or referenced in the movie at all. Even one of this film’s central characters, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, seems to have skipped a step between her previous portrayal in Wanda Vision (which makes sense; the movie was already well into production when Wanda Vision was starting to air. Director Sam Raimi said rolling stone that he only saw the key elements of the series before starting.). Olsen said in a recent interview with Variety that she is uncertain about her character’s future and the film leaves her in an uncertain place; it would be a mistake for Marvel to leave behind what became its most popular post-Tony Stark character, but, again, the way forward is unclear.

    julia louis dreyfus falcon and winter soldier

    marvel studios

    Even the discussions that are followed are not so clear. The appearance of Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Black Widow, meeting Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova at Natasha Romanoff’s grave, was clearly intended to directly set up Pugh’s appearance in Hawk Eye. And while Pugh’s appearance in the Hawk Eye the series was well done and gave him a delicious jolt, there was no direct reference to his previous encounter with Val, and there’s no clarity on how this part of the story will be affected by the aftermath of the series. We have to assume that Val will continue her story with John Walker (Wyatt Russell) in the upcoming-but-not-officially-announced Captain America 4 movie (which will star Anthony Mackie), but, again: who knows.

    The future of the MCU doesn’t seem much clearer. We still gotta get Taiki Waititi Thor: Love and Thunder and Ryan Coogler Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in 2022, and while this duo is at the forefront of Marvel directors and both films have the potential to be outstanding, it’s also unclear if they will follow any of the open threads listed below. above. Multiverse of Madness features Reed Richards (played by John Krasinski, in a role that may or may not mean anything for the future) and reintroduces Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), but gives us little on the direction these might take from here. For all the flair and excitement the film brings, these cameos ultimately feel like fan service (saved by the brutal and imaginative way in which Raimi allows Wanda to take them all down). We come out of Multiverse of Madness essentially knowing nothing more about the future of the MCUs The Fantastic Four or x-men than we did on entering.

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    At the very least, it’s good to know that at least some of our open threads will be addressed again, which gives some hope for the future. Majors will appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. It’s confirmed. The same for Monica Rambeau in Wonders. A Blade the movie is on the way, although we don’t know exactly when.

    maybe when Secret Invasion finally brings our old friend Nick Fury back to planet Earth – oh yeah, Spider-Man: Far From Home established in 2019 that he’s been hanging out in space for some undisclosed time – we’ll start to get a better look at where all this is going. If anyone can do it, they might be the one who put this train on the rails in the first place.

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