[SPOILERS for Doctor Strange ahead.]
The moment Nick Fury walked out of the shadows of Tony Stark’s home in 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel Studios’ signature move was born. Ever since that moment, audiences have been conditioned to expect a marvelous surprise at the end of their films. Over the past eight years, the post-credits scenes have varied in size and tone. But one thing has stayed consistent: They are always there.
The button scenes have had varied importance to the ongoing MCU story. The introduction of Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy is as an example of a sequence designed solely for laughs and nostalgia. While other end-credits scenes contain crucial beats, indicating what direction a given franchise is headed in — like the introduction of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver at the end of Captain America: Winter Soldier, or Hope Van Dyne looking over her Wasp costume and boasting, “It’s about damn time,” before the formal announcement of the sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp.
The release of Marvel’s Doctor Strange is right around the corner and the hype of the magical adventure is continuing to build. So much so, that many haven’t even seen it, yet are still looking forward to how the Sorcerer Supreme will fit into the larger fabric of the MCU. In an interview with Den of Geek, director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) explained why he saved the best scene for last and gave a detailed explanation about the two end-credits scenes in Doctor Strange. While Derrickson directed the scene featuring Baron Mordo, another director was responsible for the other scene:
“Taika [Waititi] shot that – I can’t say if it’s from Thor 3 or not, but we had our set up and were going to strike it after I finished shooting and it’s a very expensive set with the chamber of relics and the window and everything… I don’t know where they were on the script process, but it was before they were in production. Taika wrote that scene and came in and shot it.
We had no specific intention at that point to use it as the tag, but after we finished our movie we felt that it was kind of perfect. It plays really well, the audience likes the uplift of Strange being introduced to the wider MCU. Until then he’s not really a part of it, he’s just a story happening on his own – but after that tag, it’s all changed.”
Taika Waititi has already become a fan-favorite director within the Marvel fanboy community. The director of Thor: Ragnarok initially showed his humor with a series of memorable tweets between his MCU colleagues and won audiences over with the hilarious Thor mockumentary this past summer. It’s completely logical that the director wanted to cut his teeth with a warmup scene, before filming began on Ragnarok.
The Doctor Strange after-credits scene is said to feature Thor in search of Strange, in hopes of finding his father Odin. The Sorcerer Supreme agrees to help the Asgardian locate him, under the condition that he and his magical kind never return to Earth. This isn’t a throwaway scene like the Avengers eating shawarma following the battle of New York. It’s one that will impact multiple properties, namely the Thor and Avengers franchises, while setting up a conflict between Thor and Strange that will certainly come to a head at some point.
It would also make sense that the scene serves as a pseudo-sneak peek at Thor: Ragnarok. The Russo Bros’ scene in Captain America: Civil War, where the Winter Soldier is captured by Captain America and Falcon, was used as the end scene in Ant-Man so there is a precedent. There certainly is a developing methodology for Marvel’s end-credits scenes and we can’t wait to see where they lead us next.