Finishing strong with a post-credits tag isn’t just for superheroes anymore. This year, across genres and on screens big and small, extra scenes became the new norm. Ahead, we’re highlighting our non-Avengers favorites, each of which taught us something about how to let the good times, like the credits, roll.
Most Unsettling: Sharp Objects (HBO)
The grim series about toxic mothers and daughters played its last bone-chilling hand after the credits rolled, showing Amma (perfectly cast newcomer Eliza Scanlen) as the Woman in White. It’s the perfect, haunting image of Wind Gap to end on.
Takeaway: Some mysteries should remain scary even after they’re solved.
Most Improved: Maniac (Netflix)
Annie (Emma Stone) and Owen (Jonah Hill) pass by Dr. Mantleray (Justin Theroux) and Dr. Fujita (Sonoya Mizuno), as both pairs drive toward fresh starts. Just call it the beginning of two beautiful, real friendships.
Takeaway: A happy ending can be stronger than any drug.
Least Likely to be Overlooked: Castle Rock (Hulu)
In the Stephen King-based drama’s end-credits tag, Jane Levy’s Diane “Jackie” Torrance — yes, of those Torrances — announces her intention to head West and dig into her family history. Could season 2 be a reinterpretation of Doctor Sleep? The creators discuss…
Takeaway: Save your best Easter egg — and your cast’s supporting MVP — for last.
Most Mysterious: Homecoming (Amazon)
Viewers still pondering this thriller’s ambiguous ending witnessed enigmatic Audrey (Hong Chau) grabbing a strange vial to calm herself down after a tense situation. (We certainly pondered it when asking the EPs our burning questions.)
Takeaway: We’ll have what she’s having. (Alternatively: The mystery continues, hopefully with more Hong Chau in season 2!) —Darren Franich
Least Expected: Ballers (HBO)
Yep, Ballers did a post-credits scene. The season finale unexpectedly got in the game by returning for a hippy-filled, drug-fueled party, which set up a partnership between the show’s strongest comedic forces: Rob Corddry and Russell Brand.
Takeaway: Prepare for a lot of Russell Brand being Russell Brand in season 5. —Derek Lawrence
Class Clown: Ralph Breaks the Internet
Of course this meta Disney romp would have the most meta of closings. The credits teased a “first look” at Frozen 2, which — spoiler alert — turned out to be a clip of Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) rickrolling the audience. Thanks, you two!
Takeaway: A rickroll is never gonna let anyone down.
Best Meet-Cute: Crazy Rich Asians
…Or is it a re-meet-cute? We’ll have to wait for the Crazy Rich Asians sequel to see if it adapts the books directly when it comes to Gemma Chan’s Astrid and Harry Shum Jr.’s Charlie Wu. For now, their dialogue-free, charming mid-credits scene is enticing enough.
Takeaway: A little eye contact goes a long way.
Most Rousing Family Reunion: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
The feel-good musical wraps up with Cher leading the entire cast — including Meryl! — on a rollicking, time-bending singalong of “Super Trouper,” along with an outtake of Omid Djalili’s passport officer serenading Harry (Hugh Skinner). Ending on a high note, indeed.
Takeaway: The more — and the more Meryl — the merrier.
Peppiest Prison Party: Paddington 2
Actor-slash-archvillain Phoenix Buchanan heads to jail, where he stages a joyous rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Rain on the Roof.”
Takeaway: Hugh Grant’s performance is so good, it’s criminal. —Devan Coggan
Most Memeable: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Okay, fine, we’ll make an exception to the “no superhero end credits” rule for this one, just because it’s too good not to mention. The movie full of Spider-Men added one more Spider-Man: Miguel O’Hara, a.k.a. Spider-Man 2099, who uses his futuristic technology to go back in time to visit the 1967 cartoon iteration of the hero, and help re-enact the “Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man” meme.
Takeaway: There is no such thing as too many Spider-Men. —Dana Schwartz