Weaving together the byzantine storylines of the Marvel superhero universe has become a cinematic feat in and of itself.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which premieres in US theaters on May 5, will have five—that’s right, five—mid- and post-credit scenes. The count was confirmed by director James Gunn this week, after the movie was screened for the media.
Post-credit scenes are nothing new for Marvel. They date back to the first Iron Man film in 2008, which introduced Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury—the man who eventually assembles the Avengers. But no other Marvel movie has had more than two.
The full details are under embargo for now, but Screenrant reported that at least two of Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s five post-credit scenes set up the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And with the looming Avengers: Infinity War preparing to unite Marvel’s superheroes, those scenes could help tie the franchises together ahead of the movie’s release next May.
The third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, due out in 2020, will also bring us to phase four of Marvel’s film slate, of which little is currently known. That gives fans more reason to stick around for and after the credits. Director James Gunn said this week that he’s staying on to direct Vol. 3, so audiences could get a glimpse of what’s next. (Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige previously said phase three would take us through 2019.)
Marvel’s post-credit scenes have given fans a gateway into other franchises. Yet, the strategy has its downsides, too, said Logan director James Mangold, in a recent episode for the podcast The Business. (To make things more confusing, Logan was the third Wolverine film, outside of continuity, that belongs in 20th Century Fox’s rival X-Men superhero film universe—even though they are part of the same world in the comic books.)
“Tentpole movies in general, they are not movies, generally—they are bloated exercises in two-hour trailers for another movie they are going to sell you in two years,” Mangold reportedly said. “There are so many characters that each character gets an arc of about 6 1/2 minutes at best, and I’m not exaggerating. You take 120 minutes, you take 45 of it for action, what are you left with, divide it by six characters, you have the character arc of Elmer Fudd in a Warner Brothers cartoon. That formula is empty for me.”
Mangold’s R-rated movie was praised for elevating the superhero genre and he was able to do that, in part, because the film was conceived as a standalone story.
But, given that we’re talking Guardians of the Galaxy, audiences can also expect Gunn’s post-credit scenes to be quite fun. Vol. 1 nodded to Howard the Duck, one of Marvel’s strangest superheroes. And this time around there will reportedly be an epic Stan Lee cameo.