Whenever the credits roll on a movie showing these days, you’ve probably noticed that while some people get up and leave, a lot—perhaps even yourself among them—stay put. Whether it’s Marvel, DC, or any other big franchise, audiences have been trained to wait for a little snippet at the very end. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, one of the driving architects behind that decade of behavior modification, had no idea that’d be the case at first.
Looking back on 10 years of post-credits tomfoolery with Entertainment Weekly, Feige reflected on how Marvel’s decision to tease a wider, connected world of movies came about. And at first, apparently, he thought that movie-going audiences who had no idea what the presence of a man in an eyepatch named Nicholas Fury actually meant wouldn’t be that interested:
We wanted Nick Fury to be the character to intertwine characters, but we didn’t want to interrupt the movie. You know, if Sam Jackson in an eyepatch showed up in the middle, it might be jarring. I presumed the only people who would stay through the credits were people who would know who the guy in the eyepatch was.
Well, turns out Feige thought wrong. A decade on, there’s practically a whole cinemagoing culture around post-credit scenes, websites dedicated to being there for you when you’re furtively flicking at your phone at the end of a movie to see if it’s worth sticking around or not. Even in franchises that don’t typically have them, like Star Wars, people still stick around, just in case. As Feige goes on to reflect, being part of that change is perhaps one of his fondest memories when it comes to 10 years of teasers:
It was the same thing [with credits]: Sometimes there would be three people left in the theater for a tag, and now it’s like, it varies, but it could be three-quarters of a theater staying, or as people start to leave, they’ll go, “Where are you going?” which I find very entertaining. So I would say the Fury one because it was our first. We planted our flag on that. And the shawarma one [from Avengers] just because we pulled it off. [Laughs] It felt so perfect.
Long may the post-credit scene reign.