The end of a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn't really the end, as almost all fans of the mega-franchise know by now. The MCU always leaves a scene at the end of the credits, and sometimes there's one in the middle of the credits as well. Marvel has used these scenes to set up characters (The Collector, Scarlet Witch, Adam Warlock), locations (Wakanda), and has also given them comedic spins, such as the reveal Tony Stark's Iron Man Three narration was being had been given to his fill-in psychiatrist, a sleepy Bruce Banner.
Though they have become standard and important parts of the MCU movie-going experience, they came from somewhat simpler beginnings. Though director Jon Favreau was responsible for the first of these scenes at the end of Iron Man (the film that kicked off what became the MCU), he did not necessarily intend them to become as big as they are. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Favreau admits that the whole thing was "a bit of a lark."
Nobody could believe it when it happened— if you happened to stay through the credits for 2008's surprisingly great movie, then you were rewarded with an appearance from none other than Nick Fury himself. Not just Nick Fury, but Fury played by Samuel L. Jackson, the man who the Ultimates comic version of the character was based on.
As Favreau says, "I wanted to include Easter eggs that the fans would appreciate and we thought the idea of a post-credit scene it could be fun." He reveals that the scene was not in the original script, but that he thought the idea of Jackson playing the part was "really fun" because of the added relevance to anyone familiar with the Ultimates comics. Marvel executive (and now head of the MCU) Kevin Feige, was into it.
"Kevin really lit up," Favreau says, adding, "We worked on that dialog together. We were very careful how we selected the words." We can see why they'd have to be careful, because Nick Fury actually name drops "the Avengers Initiative." Suddenly, we felt like we were a part of the "bigger world" that Fury was telling Tony about.
Does this mean that they had a solid plan from this moment forward? Favreau said that it "laid breadcrumbs for what was to come" and that they "had the idea that we would somehow group these characters together." He makes it plain that "a lot of things had to go right" for that to work, but that the scene still laid out "a basic mission statement of purpose, to show our intent."
It certainly did that, because it most certainly led to the Avengers assembling, as well as an unprecedented string of interconnected hits. Though it may have begun as a lark, more than "a lot" of things went right, and other filmmakers were able to follow Favreau and Feige's breadcrumbs to box-office glory.
While Iron Man wasn't the first film to use a post-credit scene (all of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have them, as does the 80's live-action Masters of the Universe, if you can believe it), but they have made them, for lack of a better way to put it, a thing. Most genre films have them now (Justice League, Deadpool) and even if they don't, it's not uncommon to see devoted fans staying in the seats and watching the credits...just to be sure. Favreau and Feige didn't just start the Avengers Initiative— they got audiences to sit and take notice of who the caterers were. That is one powerful lark.
(Via: Entertainment Weekly)