Warning: Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness spoilers ahead
The teasers and set-ups in the MCU’s end-credits scenes have long been a staple for the franchise, but Spider-Man: No Way Home refreshingly redefined their immediate significance and approach for future projects. While the MCU certainly didn’t invent end-credits scenes, the franchise set forward a trend in requiring nearly every blockbuster film or series to include a follow-up scene that sets up the future of its story. With the vast characters, realms, and specific objects within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, every end-credits scene in the franchise has become their own event, as they typically either set up in-universe connections for future projects or tease a surprise twist.
Spider-Man: No Way Home featured two post-credits scenes, both of which had the difficult task of following up the poignant ending where Peter doesn’t keep his promise to MJ and Ned, instead letting them continue their lives without knowledge of Peter Parker. The mid-credits scene sees Sony’s Eddie Brock/Venom in a bar being caught up on the happening of the MCU. He’s quickly zapped back to his own universe, but not without leaving behind the black goo that could infect an MCU character. No Way Home’s post-credits stinger wasn’t a scene at all, as it served as the official teaser trailer for the upcoming MCU film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Unsurprisingly, Spider-Man: No Way Home’s credits scenes were divisive among fans, as they weren’t the type of jaw-dropping teasers that the MCU is known for. While No Way Home’s credits stingers were different from most in the MCU, the film’s novel approach to future and past credits scenes may actually inspire future projects in the franchise to follow suit. Spider-Man: No Way Home’s credits were a refreshing change to the MCU’s formula, and may even change the way they operate in the franchise’s future.
Spider-Man: No Way Home Makes Far From Home’s Post-Credits Scene More Important
One of the most important deviations from the MCU’s typical post-credits legacies in Spider-Man: No Way Home was its reuse of Spider-Man: Far From Home’s mid-credits scene. The stinger in Far From Home (2019) saw Peter swing down with MJ into the city, only for Mysterio’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) twist video exposing Peter Parker’s identity to broadcast on every screen. Spider-Man: No Way Home then uses this exact scene to open its movie, with Peter Parker seeing the broadcast, avoiding angry crowds, and immediately swinging MJ out of there. This was brand new territory for the MCU, as stingers always felt like their own entities that wouldn’t reappear in future projects. Instead, No Way Home makes Far From Home’s scene one of the most important post-credits stingers in MCU history. There was no explanation beforehand of the incidences in Spider-Man: No Way Home – viewers had to have seen the post-credits stinger from Far From Home to realize the events were picking up not directly after, but in that moment.
No Way Home’s Credits Scenes Are Different To Most In The MCU
The MCU’s post-credits scenes have always been short teaser scenes, a post-ending gag scene, or an important setup for characters within the same movie or the wider cinematic universe. Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s credits scenes deviate significantly from this MCU norm, as neither of its stingers features a teaser scene for a No Way Home character, MCU character, or significant set-up. The mid-credits scene of Venom connects to an entirely separate universe of Sony’s Spider-Man movies in which he’s zapped back to his own universe, thus it isn’t technically a reveal that Eddie Brock is joining the MCU. The only aspect in which it could be considered a twist is the goo he leaves behind, but this may not even come to fruition for a very long time, depending on when the next MCU Spider-Man story happens.
No Way Home’s after-credits scene was completely different as it’s not a teaser or a “scene” at all: it was the trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This is the second time that the MCU has used a trailer for an upcoming movie as an after-credits scene immediately upon release, with the first being Captain America: The First Avenger‘s post-credits trailer for The Avengers. was mostly just a treat for in-theater viewers until the trailer was released online only five days after No Way Home premiered. Spider-Man: No Way Home’s post-credits scenes are different from the MCU’s norm, but that’s not a bad thing. On the contrary – it’s refreshing after a decade of receiving the same type of teasers that often overshadow the film’s events, aren’t of good quality, or fall into a trap that over-excites fans.
No Way Home’s MCU Credits Changes Were Needed For Phase 4
The disappointing quality of the MCU’s Phase 4 credits scenes have needed a change-up for quite some time, and Spider-Man: No Way Home’s stinger approach was exactly what the franchise deserved. Instead of letting viewers have breathing room for decompression, celebration, and reflection on what happened in the movie, the MCU immediately presents audiences with a set up for the next film, a major universe twist, or a jaw-dropping event based on whoever or whatever appears, all of which Phase 4 has been a repeat offender. Having credits scenes with such high expectations and connections is distracting, and is often a disservice to the two-hour-long movie that audiences just watched. While there have been plenty of exciting, funny, and important post-credits scenes that felt ultimately rewarding, such as Far From Home’s, others are just fairly low quality or end up not meaning anything if whatever event they’re setting up takes too long to happen, like Spider-Man: Homecoming’s Scorpion credits scene.
Phase 4 itself has been a frequent culprit of low-quality post-credits scenes that repeat the norm or stingers that overshadow the entire movie. Black Widow began this trend with its Yelena and Valentina credits scene, as it ended up feeling like a greater event than what actually occurred in the movie. After Eternals was released, the major news was that its post-credits scenes had Harry Styles’ Eros and Mahershala Ali’s Blade joining the MCU, with much less discussion about the film. Similarly, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a phenomenal movie, but audiences largely left the theater discussing the mid-credits appearance of Bruce Banner and Carol Danvers rather than the movie’s compelling themes and excellent work of the cast and crew.
No Way Home thankfully doesn’t suffer from this problem, partially because of the enormity of its film as an event bringing together Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Men, but also because its credits scenes offer a completely different approach. This doesn’t inherently make Spider-Man: No Way Home’s post-credits scenes good, as the Venom stinger is fairly low-quality and the Doctor Strange 2 trailer is hardly even a “scene,” but they’re at least different. After the slump that the MCU has been in since Avengers: Endgame, it’s refreshing to see the biggest Phase 4 movie of them all reinvigorating the franchise’s most significant staple. Spider-Man: No Way Home was the perfect movie to begin the MCU’s post-credits change, as hardly anyone is walking away from the momentous emotional ending and multiversal nostalgia to reflect on the stingers.
Will Other Phase 4 Movies Copy No Way Home’s After-Credits Approach?
It seems that as long as the quality of the MCU’s Phase 4 movies stays high like No Way Home, the franchise will be able to continue taking risks and deviating from the norm more often. The after-credits scenes shouldn’t be a bigger talking point than the MCU movie, but they should still either be important or have a purpose. No Way Home’s Venom stinger, while not particularly great, still had a purpose in its connection to alternate Spider-Man universes, possibly even setting up an Andrew Garfield Spider-Man return after No Way Home. The Doctor Strange 2 trailer quickly gave audiences the next look at where Doctor Strange was headed after No Way Home’s events, as well as its connection to the after-credits scene of the MCU’s Phase 4 TV show WandaVision. The manner in which Spider-Man approached the MCU’s post-credits signaled a new direction for the franchise, which is exactly what it needs after the earlier Phase 4 stingers that were arguably harming the films.
Doctor Strange 2 Took Yet Another Post-Credits Approach
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ post-credits scene is also a major departure from what MCU viewers can generally expect. Though the first mid-credits scene does introduce the sorceress and Dr. Strange’s potential love interest Clea (Charlize Theron), the after-credits scene is played more for comedic effect and a nod to Sam Raimi’s style of filmmaking. In the scene, Bruce Campbell, who often cameos in Raimi’s films, plays multiverse vendor Pizza Poppa recovering from Dr. Strange’s self-punching spell. He breaks the fourth wall, looks into the camera, and yells, “It’s over!” It makes sense, considering Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness does skew more towards horror, and Raimi is known for blending horror with camp. The Doctor Strange 2 post-credits scene is refreshing (if silly) because it teases no further Phase 4 content, just over-the-top entertainment. The MCU could benefit from including wackier, more nonsensical post-credits scenes in future installments.
While Doctor Strange 2 ended up diverting from Spider-Man: No Way Home’s formula, Guardians of the Galaxy 3 will likely stick to James Gunn’s typical gag end-credits scenes. Phase 4 MCU movies also have the new avenue of setting up Disney+ TV shows, so it’s hard to believe that all of its stingers will follow the unconventional approach of No Way Home. Spider-Man: No Way Home is also in the unique position of being a Sony movie, not Disney, which means it had much more lenience to connect to Sony’s Spider-Man universe with less allegiance to twists for Disney’s other MCU movies. Spider-Man: No Way Home was better able to reinvent the wheel of MCU post-credits scenes as an entity that’s half-in and half-out of the franchise, but it still signals hope that Marvel will choose to do something different from the norm more regularly.
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