Warning: This article contains spoilers for Charlie’s Angels.
Elizabeth Banks wrote a line for Charlie’s Angels that didn’t make it into the final cut (hello, DVD extras!) but seems to encapsulate the last 20 minutes of the film perfectly: Charlie isn’t a man, it’s a movement.
Viewers with enough patience to stay past the first few ending credits (Charlie’s Angels does not a Marvel movie audience make) will be rewarded with a flash-forward scene that further solidifies the sequels that the film’s narrative hints at — but first, they manage to slot in a veritable tidal wave of cameos, kicked off by [we said spoiler alert before, but now we really mean it] original Angel Jaclyn Smith‘s Kelly Garrett introducing herself as Charlie, swiftly followed by Danica Patrick, Ronda Rousey, Laverne Cox, and more.
“I had specific people in mind [for the cameos] for a year before filming,” Banks, who wrote, directed, and plays Bosley in the movie, explained at EW’s digital cover shoot. “You never know if it’s going to line up with everyone’s schedules and desires but I pretty much got everyone I wanted.”
In the social media age, placing cameos in a movie can quickly devolve into a cheap traffic ploy or attempt to (don’t make us say it) break the internet. Filmmakers’ best efforts can wind up feeling forced or leaving the audience thinking: huh? Like Patti Lupone being in Last Christmas for seemingly no reason whatsoever. Banks used a very, well, Banksian, criteria in choosing her actresses: Since Charlie had to see something in the Angels, she wanted to see something in all the women she brought in.
“To me, it could have gone a very different way of, who’s popular on Instagram?” added star Naomi Scott. “But it was very much hand-picked by a love of what [the women] represent. And it felt good to be a part of something like that.”
The premise of the mid-credits scene is an indoctrination of sorts: Scott’s character Elena is completing her training at the Townsend Agency’s HQ outside of Los Angeles, and Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska‘s characters come to surprise her. It was a real-life reunion of sorts for the actresses — principal photography had wrapped and Sony gathered everyone back for an additional day of shooting. Like something (literally) out of a movie, Stewart was flown in to the set via helicopter.
“When I landed, it was very close to where they were shooting so the whole crew stopped what they were doing and watched and clapped,” Stewart said. “I was like, why is this happening? But then I got off and was like, this is Charlie’s Angels, these are my girls.”