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From “Iron Man” to “The Avengers” – A guide to Marvel’s post-credits scenes

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You have to hand it to the Marvel Studios team. They know how to keep an audience in the seats right through the credits.

What started as a bonus scene in “Iron Man” has now become the norm for Marvel movies, with each film in the series offering up a brief, extra scene long after the main narrative ends and the credits begin rolling. And what’s more, the extra scenes haven’t simply been outtakes or scenes recovered from the cutting room floor — in nearly every case, they’ve provided the connecting line from one Marvel movie to another, and advanced the over-arching narrative of Marvel’s cinematic universe.

So, just in case you might’ve missed one of these along the way — or simply want a refresher on what each of them entailed — I’ve put together a brief guide to Marvel’s post-credits scenes in each of the six Marvel movies.

Iron Man

Marvel used its very first post-credits scene to introduce the world to Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, who Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) finds waiting for him in his home after he tells the world, “I am Iron Man.” In a wonderful bit of foreshadowing, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. tells the billionaire superhero, “Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” The scene closes with Fury dropping the tease heard ’round the world: “I’m here to talk to you about The Avengers Initiative.”

The Incredible Hulk

The final scene in this film tied the activities of the famous green behemoth into the greater Marvel cinematic universe, with Tony Stark approaching a drunk, defeated General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) after his efforts to take down Bruce Banner’s rampaging alter ego end in failure. “I hate to say I told you so, but that super-soldier program was put on ice for a reason,” Stark tells Ross, a statement that also connects Stark and Ross to the program that originally gave the world Captain America. “What if I told you we were putting a team together?” Stark asks Ross, offering up yet another hint of the crossover to come.

Iron Man 2

This time around, it’s S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) who serves as ambassador of the post-credits crossover, with the agent arriving at the site of a massive crater in New Mexico. “Sir, we found it,” he announces into his phone — most likely to Nick Fury. The camera then pans out to reveal Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir resting in the center of the crater.

Thor

Nick Fury returns to the post-credit Marvel movie-verse at the end of “Thor,” introducing scientist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) to what we’ll later learn is the Tesseract, a mysterious cube of immense power that features prominently in “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Loki’s appearance at the end of the scene foreshadows his return in “The Avengers” and the role the Tesseract will play in that film as well. This scene also serves as the most direct link to the narrative of “The Avengers,” which picks up during Selvig’s subsequent study of the Tesseract.

Captain America: The First Avenger

In addition to the final scene in the main arc of “Captain America” that features Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) waking up in the modern era, the film’s post-credits scene teased the character’s introduction to The Avengers. “Trying to get me back in the world?” Rogers asks Fury when the S.H.I.E.L.D. director approaches him after a particularly intense workout. “Trying to save it,” responds Fury.

The Avengers

Marvel didn’t cut the post-credits party short after “The Avengers,” though, and dropped not one but two scenes into the credits of the blockbuster team-up film. In the first scene, it’s revealed that Loki’s return and his alliance with the Chitauri invaders was actually orchestrated by a far greater villain: Thanos. As the powerful titan is told that threatening Earth is to “court death,” he smiles — confirming that Marvel’s plans for the superhero team could very well bring them into conflict with one of the universe’s most dangerous beings.

The second post-credits scene in “The Avengers” was significantly lighter, and played on Tony Stark’s earlier line about wanting to try some shawarma. The scene is silent, save for the sounds of the entire team chowing down on shawarama around a large table.

What was your favorite post-credits scene from the Marvel movies? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…