Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Beginning of the (Thing After the) End

After writing yesterday’s superheroic entry, it occurred to me that we’d already learned to watch for possible post-credits scenes before we all saw Iron Man in 2008 but that I couldn’t really remember when this tradition started, and in Googling, I found that it was (like so many things) a gradual process, including various comedic post-credits stingers in Airplane!, The Muppet Movie, and the Pirates of the Caribbean films, with an early example of the more recent teaser method being the bit at the end of 1985’s Young Sherlock Holmes that reveals the villain adopting the new name Moriarty (coincidentally, an element of another recent Robert Downey Jr. movie).

Daredevil apparently showed the villainous Bullseye stuck in a body cast after the credits (and I’m not sure I stuck around for that), and then — I think — our recent sense of post-credits entitlement really began with the bit at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand (two years prior to Iron Man) that revealed Prof. X is still alive.  (Sidenote: In reading about that teaser, I have only just learned that the new body into which he transferred his mind in that scene is supposed to be the twin whose mind he accidentally wiped out back when they were in the womb — meaning that the character is essentially Cassandra Nova, for the Grant Morrison fans out there, albeit a male Cassandra Nova.  Since the male body is at Moira’s facility in Scotland, perhaps we should henceforth refer to it as Cassandra Nova Scotia.  Ha!)

What the online accounts about post-credits sequences I read left out, though, was that the expectation that the post-credits bit will be something important rather than just a joke was probably created in 2002 by the widely-advertised alternate ending of the zombie movie 28 Days Later.  So, chronologically/causally, roughly: Muppets > ninjas > zombies > pirates > mutants > Robert Downey Jr., and the rest is…uh, contemporaneous.

How will next year’s Thor movie tease next year’s Captain America movie, though, that is the question.  Maybe it would be easier for both films to tease 2012’s scheduled Avengers movie.  To which I can only say: Avengers ensemble!


Eric Hanneken said...

For those who don’t know, MovieStinger.com will tell you which movies do and don’t have “post-credit scenes,” so you never have to sit through credits unnecessarily.

Todd Seavey said...

My own rough suggestion for a post-credits teaser on _Thor_, designed to get newcomers up to speed instead of being cryptic: show Nick Fury explaining that his organization SHIELD is assembling warriors with superhuman powers, and now SHIELD has a hammer (Thor’s), a suit of armor (Iron Man’s), a strong arm (a tamed Hulk), and just needs…a shield (show WWII photo of Captain America).

And this is why I should clearly be in Hollywood.

Jacob T. Levy said...

No mention of Ferris??