Warning: This post contains MASSIVE spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. Read at your own risk!
Thank goodness for post-credits scenes! With most installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you could take out the post-credits or mid-credits tag and it wouldn’t affect the preceding movie all that much. But that’s not the case with Avengers: Infinity War, which ends on a rather bleak note and allows the audience to sit with that feeling as the credits roll — until a final scene offers a glimpse of hope.
Again, major spoilers follow!
In the uber-sized Avengers: Infinity War, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), and nearly all the other MCU heroes assemble to defend the universe from Thanos (Josh Brolin), the Mad Titan on a quest to collect all the Infinity Stones. Alas, the good guys fail. Thanos acquires all six gems and uses the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half the universe’s population, including many of our heroes.
Thus, the great galactic conflict concludes with the surviving Avengers (and Guardians) defeated and broken, while Thanos returns to his home planet and rests. This is the first Marvel movie to end on an overwhelming victory by the villain.
But all hope is not lost!
In the film’s lone end-credits scene, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), who were just alerted to the battle in Wakanda, are driving through a city, which starts descending into chaos as Thanos’ universal purge claims its victims. A helicopter falls from the sky, cars crash, and it’s absolute madness out there. Unfortunately, the two former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents aren’t safe from the culling. Hill fades from existence, and Fury soon follows, but not before using a pager to send one last message asking for help. As the pager falls to the ground when Fury is vaporized, a star logo flashes on the screen, confirming that a hero we’ll meet in a year received the message.
Comics books fans (and anyone who’s been following MCU news) know that the starburst logo belongs to none other than Captain Marvel, a.k.a. Carol Danvers, who will make her long-awaited debut in next March’s Captain Marvel, played by Oscar winner Brie Larson.
For the uninitiated, Danvers is a U.S. Air Force and NASA officer who gains powers (flight, invulnerability, and energy blasts) after a freak accident splices her genome with alien DNA. In the comics she was initially known as Ms. Marvel, but in 2012 took over the name Captain Marvel, which was previously held by another hero. Throughout her history, this confident hero has been a member of the Avengers, Marvel’s all-female superhero team A-Force, and the universe-problem-solvers the Ultimates, and she recently played a major in Marvel’s crossover event Civil War II (which is a storyline we don’t talk about because it did ruinous damage to her character).
When Carol finally makes her big screen debut, however, she won’t immediately start fighting alongside the Avengers. Directed by Anne Boden and Ryan Fleck, Captain Marvel takes place in the 1990s, before the first Iron Man film, and follows Carol as she finds herself caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races. Not only will Captain Marvel star Jackson as Fury, but it will also see the returns of Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson and Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser.
Given what we know about the Captain Marvel movie, the biggest question we have about that Infinity War’s post-credits scene is, “Where has Captain Marvel been for the past 20 years?” The pager Fury uses to communicate with her looks rather high-tech, so maybe she’s been in space or somewhere else out of reach, and that’s why she hasn’t been around for Earth’s past crises. To be fair, though, that’s not important here. All that matters is that help is on the way, and the surviving superheroes won’t be on their own. We’ll have to wait until either Captain Marvel or Avengers 4 to find out what Carol has been up to for the past few years. Odds are it’ll be worth the wait.
Captain Marvel hits theaters March 8, 2019, and the untitled fourth Avengers movie opens May 3, 2019.