Those Captain Marvel post-credits scenes, explained
Warning: This post contains spoilers for Captain Marvel and its credits scenes.
It’s been almost a year since we saw Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) hit that button at the end of Avengers: Infinity War to page his intergalactic ally Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). The ’90s-set Captain Marvel (in theaters now) explores exactly how a rogue SHIELD agent and a superpowered Air Force pilot from outer space became BFFs, and it ends with Carol making some much-needed upgrades to Fury’s pager, telling him the range will be “a couple galaxies” if he ever needs to contact her for help. But, she warns him, it’s only to be used in emergencies.
That emergency came at the end of Infinity War, and the first of Captain Marvel’s two credits scenes finds a few familiar faces still reeling from Thanos’ universe-altering snap. The scene comes about midway through the credits, and we see Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) huddled together in the present day, watching the global death toll rise.
“This is a nightmare,” Steve says quietly, as the numbers click up.
“I’ve had better nightmares,” Natasha replies.
They have apparently retrieved and been monitoring Fury’s pager. (Bruce has even managed to bypass the battery.) No one’s sure exactly what the pager does, but Steve insists that they keep it running: If this was the last thing Fury did before he disappeared, it has to be important.
Suddenly, however, the pager dies, and the signal it’s been sending craps out. As they try to figure out how to reboot it, a mysterious figure arrives: Captain Marvel herself. She’s got longer hair and she’s looking a little shell-shocked, but she hasn’t aged since we last saw her back in 1995. She also gets right down to business, as Steve, Natasha, Rhodey, and Bruce realize this must be the mysterious figure Fury tried to contact.
“Where’s Fury?” she asks.
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige tells EW that directors Joe and Anthony Russo shot the Captain Marvel mid-credits scene while filming the upcoming Avengers: Endgame, and that the plan had always been to introduce Carol by seeing “that call being made in the tag of Infinity War, and then seeing that call answered in a surprising, unexpected way in Captain Marvel.”
He adds, “One of the great things about introducing a new character is the anticipation of getting to see their interactions with existing characters.”
We’ll have to wait for Avengers: Endgame (in theaters April 26) to see exactly how those interactions play out.
As for that second credits scene? Captain Marvel’s scene-stealing cat — or rather, flerken — gets a few more seconds of screen time.
The film reveals that Carol’s adorable orange tabby, Goose, is actually a highly dangerous alien called a flerken, with enormous, Cthulu-like tentacles hidden inside its stomach. It’s a ridiculous, delightful twist lifted straight from Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel comics, and it’s one that Feige and directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck knew they had to include from the very first moment they started work on the film.
“In the early days on the movie, we’d go, ‘Well, we know there’s Carol Danvers, and we know there’s the cat. Let’s fill in the rest,’” Feige explains with a laugh.
Goose not only helps Carol and Fury take down some bad guys, but he proves to be a helpful ally in other ways: Over the course of Captain Marvel, Carol learns that her mentor Mar-Vell (Annette Bening) has borrowed the infamous Tesseract (yep, the one with the Space Stone inside) from SHIELD and tried to use it to build a powerful light-speed engine. Goose helps keep the Tesseract safe from the invading Kree by swallowing it whole.
The post-credits scene reveals exactly how Fury gets the Tesseract back: We see Goose hop up on Fury’s desk at SHIELD, before leaning over and making a retching noise that will sound horrifyingly familiar to anyone who’s ever lived with a cat. He then proceeds to cough up the Tesseract.