Movies have been making use of post-credit scenes for decades. In the 1960s, James Bond movies usually included, “James Bond will return in…” at the end of the credits. This is a far cry from the full-blown stingers that we have all come to expect from modern comic book movies. In fact, post-credit scenes have become so common in recent years that some moviegoers use smart phone apps to check for post-credit scenes before they go to the theaters. Spoiler alert: here is our list of a few great post-credit scenes that you might have missed.
10. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
There are a number of films that occasionally penetrate the illusion of the fourth wall, which separates the audience from the fiction. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off completely shatters the fourth wall repeatedly throughout the film. In the very first scene of the movie, Ferris addresses the audience like they’re best friends. It is only fitting that he breaks the fourth wall one final time during the post-credit scene.
The audience is encouraged to stick around during the credits to watch the defeated principal, Edward Rooney, smell the inside of a school bus for the first time. Once the credits stop, Ferris appears again, walks up to the camera and addresses the audience one last time: “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go!”
9. The Muppet Movie (1979)
The Muppet Movie begins with all of the Muppets gathered together in a theater to watch The Muppet Movie. This film-within-a-film makes use of various meta-references, including breaking the fourth wall, as a way of making fun of itself and keeping the audience entertained. In the final scene, Sweetums, the nine-foot tall Muppet ogre, finally catches up with the other Muppets, breaks through the screen and stomps into the theater where the movie began. As the credits role, the Muppets converse amongst themselves, providing more jokes and additional heartfelt sentiments.
Once the credits finally end, Animal addresses the audience directly, telling them to “Go Home!” The Muppet Movie was the first film to use such a stinger and began the trend of using similar scenes that break the fourth wall.
8. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Napoleon Dynamite is an awkward high school student living with his grandmother, his older brother, and their pet llama. Kip, Napoleon’s 32-year-old brother, is an unemployed aspiring cage fighter with an online girlfriend named LaFawnduh. Napoleon, who is an easy target for bullies, is a listless teen that likes to draw imaginary magical creatures and make up ridiculous facts about himself. This absurd comedy concludes with a silly three-minute stinger.
The post-credit scene welcomes the audience to celebrate the marriage of Kip and LaFawnduh. After their vows, Kip sings a creepy little song with lines like: “We met in a chat room, now our love can bloom.” Then suddenly, Napoleon appears in the distance riding a horse. He claims that he was late to the wedding because he was busy taming the “wild honeymoon stallion.” This cult classic ends with the newlyweds riding horseback into the plains of Idaho.
7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
The Chamber of Secrets was the second installment from the Harry Potter movie series. Early on in the film, Harry meets a celebrity wizard named Gilderoy Lockhart at a book signing. Harry quickly learns that Lockhart will be the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Near the end of the film, Lockhart, who turns out to be a fraud, attempts to use Ron’s wand to erase Harry’s memory. The spell backfires and completely wipes Lockhart’s memory instead.
The post-credit scene offers a simple gag for Potter enthusiasts who might have wondered what happened to the amnesia stricken ex-teacher. A puzzled Gilderoy Lockhart is displayed in a straightjacket on the cover of his newest book titled, “Who Am I?”
6. Iron Man (2008)
Iron Man was the first Marvel film to include a post-credit scene. Since 2008, the Marvel movies have used post-credit scenes to combine various franchises and super heroes into one giant Marvel universe. The post-credit scenes almost always foreshadow future Marvel films. The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers all had post-credit scenes. At this point almost everyone knows to hang around at the end of a Marvel film.
Iron Man began the trend. In the post-credit scene, Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, steps out of the shadows and says, “Mr. Stark, you’ve just become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” It is this scene where Tony Stark learns that there are other superheroes in the world besides him, and the audience learns that Marvel was planning to create an intertwined cinematic universe.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
The world was first introduced to Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp, with the first release in the Pirates of the Caribbean series: “The Curse of the Black Pearl.” The story revolves around a group of pirates who have become near-immortal skeletons after finding and spending a chest worth of cursed Aztec golden coins. The curse can only be lifted when all of the coins and the blood of each of the pirates are returned to the chest. The post-credit scene suggests what might happen in the sequel.
The stinger shows Jack the monkey taking one of the coins from the Aztec chest. The monkey then transforms into some kind of monkey zombie. This explains why he is still a zombie in the sequel. Unfortunately, the sequel doesn’t offer a chance to watch Jack Sparrow fight against zombie monkeys.
4. The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
The original Matrix movie won four Academy Awards and is widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction films of all-time. The movie depicts a dystopian future where most of the human population is suspended in a simulated reality controlled by sentient machines that are harvesting billions of human bodies as an energy source. Hollywood, as well as the general public, loves to imagine the chaos that will ensue with the creation of artificial intelligence.
The two movies that complete The Matrix Trilogy were released within six months of each other. This allowed for an unprecedented post-credit scene at the end of the sequel, The Matrix Reloaded. After the credits finished rolling, those remaining in the audience were treated to a full-length trailer for The Matrix Revolutions. The final movie in the trilogy grossed less than half of what the sequel made.
3. Django Unchained (2012)
Quentin Tarantino wrote and directed Django Unchained, a critically acclaimed film inspired by Django and other spaghetti westerns from the 1960s. The film won an Academy Award for the film’s original screenplay. The story revolves around an African-American slave, Django, who works with a German bounty hunter to catch bad guys. Near the end of the film, Django is captured and sold to a mine where he will be worked to death. While being escorted in a cage with three other slaves, Django convinces his captors to release him with promises of a large bounty. The escorts are immediately killed when they hand Django a pistol.
Tarantino brings us back to this scene with a short post-credit stinger. The three other slaves, still bewildered in their unlocked cage, are staring off into the distance. One of them asks, “Who was that n****r?”
2. The Grey (2011)
The Grey is an adventure-thriller based on the short story “Ghost Walker” by Ian MacKenzie Jeffers. After a plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, seven survivors are left fighting against the elements and a merciless pack of wolves. John Ottway, played by Liam Neeson, is a skilled wolf hunter who works for an oil drilling company and one of the lucky few to survive the crash. The film ends with Neeson charging after the alpha wolf with broken bottles taped to one hand and a knife taped to the other. The screen goes black before the two collide.
If this ending wasn’t ambiguous enough, the post-credit scene leaves the patient viewer with even more questions. The back of Neeson’s head is seen resting on the stomach of the injured alpha wolf. Is the wolf dying? Is Liam Neeson dead? I guess the viewer gets to decide.
1. Zombieland (2009)
Zombieland is a one of the most commercially successful zombie comedies, or zomedies. A strain of mad cow disease somehow mutates into a “mad person disease” that eventually becomes a “mad zombie disease,” which spreads across all of America. Bill Murray makes a brilliant cameo appearance. Murray, playing himself, has survived the zombie apocalypse by dressing up and pretending to be a zombie. This allows him to move freely around town and enjoy the odd game of golf. Bill is inevitably mistaken for a real zombie and is shot and killed. It’s funnier than it is tragic.
Zombieland rewards the patient viewer, and Murray fans, with its post-credit scene. Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee, tries to recreate a scene from Caddyshack and provide a dying Bill Murray with some thoughtful final words: “In the words of the immortal philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, ‘Au revoir, gopher.’”