Okay, considering that Marvel’s “The Avengers” brings together more than a half a dozen superheroes, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the movie — which is already playing internationally and opens wide in the U.S. this Friday — doubles down on Marvel’s practice of surprise end credits scenes.
Beware: Spoilers ahead (if Internet accounts are to be believed; I won’t see the movie until Friday). I’ll give you a countdown to the spoilers, though.
In 2008, “Iron Man” sparked the trend for end credits scenes — sometimes called stingers or buttons — in modern superhero movies.
There was plenty of precedent for post-credits scenes, in all kinds of movies, from “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off” to “Young Sherlock Holmes.” The latter, of course, showed Ferris shuffling out, addressing the audience and telling us to go home because the movie was over. “Airplane” returned after the credits for a final joke.
For real added-value after-credits scenes, “Young Sherlock Holmes” established the practice of offering a twist to the plot by revealing that Sherlock’s teacher would one day be his rival, James Moriarty.
When Samuel L. Jackson showed up as Nick Fury at the end of “Iron Man” and mentioned to Tony Stark “the Avengers initiative,” fans loved the glimpse it provided into Marvel’s plans for its expanded big-screen universe.
Stark himself showed up a couple of months later at the end of “The Incredible Hulk,” while trusty SHIELD agent Coulson appeared at the end of “Iron Man 2.” “Thor” and “Captain America” brought Fury back into play and the latter nicely set up “The Avengers” with what amounted to a commercial for Joss Whedon’s team-up movie.
Last year, “Green Lantern” showed how not to do a credits scene, with Sinestro abruptly embracing his dark — um, yellow — side early in the credits.
So it’s no surprise that “The Avengers” would have an end-credits scene. But after the world premiere a few weeks ago, Robert Downey Jr. teased that the cast was getting together that very night to shoot more footage.
It could only mean one thing: Another credits scene.
If you’re still reading and want to know — at least what little I know — read on.
Otherwise, veer off now!
Still here? Okay.
The mid-credits scene in “The Avengers,” as seen in international screenings, shows Thanos, the Marvel Comics god of death. It’s pretty strongly implied that Loki and his alien army were testing the Avengers for a future offensive on Earth by Thanos.
And the end credits scene? If it is what is depicted below, it’s a lighthearted moment of the Avengers, in costume, getting together to have a bite to eat.
This might surprise fans, but knowing Whedon’s whimsical sense of humor, it makes perfect sense. Of course, it could be a big Internet prank.
Here’s the shot. We’ll see soon if it’s true.