WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War. Proceed at your own risk.
Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok had two and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had five. And while Avengers: Infinity War may have stuffed a huge number of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters into one film, by contrast it yielded just one post-credits scene. Although it may seem pretty straightforward on the surface, this tantalizing coda actually opens up some questions about the future of the MCU.
But before taking a dive into those, let’s first have a look at what happens.
So What Happens?
Fury says, “Still no word from Stark?”
Hill replies, “No, not yet. I’m watching every satellite on both hemispheres but still nothing.”
Hill receives three beeps from her device.
“What is it?” asks Fury.
“It’s multiple bogeys over Wakanda,” she says.
Fury: “Same energy signature as New York?”
Hill: “10 times bigger.”
Fury: “Tell Klein we’ll meet him…”
Hill: “Nick! Nick!”
A car skids in front of them and they crash into it.
Fury: “They ok?”
Hill: “There’s nobody here.”
In the background, a helicopter spirals out of control and crashes into a high rise.
Fury: “Call Control. Code Red.”
“Nick,” says Hill as she begins to disintegrate, like we’ve just seen happen to countless Avengers and Wakandans.
Amid the sirens and widespread panic, Fury also starts to disappear as he’s paging someone.
“Oh no. Mother—,“ says Fury before vanishing.
And then comes the final, crucial shot – a close up of the dropped pager and a ‘Sending’ message. Before a superhero symbol appears on the screen.
Gone For Good?
So firstly, it seems that Fury and Maria Hill – along with other unidentified people, including the driver of the car they smash into and the chopper pilot – have gone the way of Spidey, Black Panther, Bucky ‘Winter Soldier’ Barnes et al and disappeared into the ether. The implication is that big bad Thanos has succeeded in his plan to kill off half the universe, and Fury and Hill are also victims. By the way, it’s worth mentioning that when Fury mentions New York, he seems either to be referring to the alien ship hovering over the city at the beginning of the film or potentially the Battle of New York seen in 2012’s The Avengers.
But back to disintegrating superheroes. It seems unlikely that those who have apparently gone will remain gone. However, we won’t know the final outcome until Avengers 4. Presumably, if one of the remaining Avengers, Guardians, or Wakandans gets his or her hands on Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet – and specifically the Time Stone, perhaps, which gives the bearer power over time — things can be undone. We saw both the Time Stone and Reality Stone put to effective use during the film, and both could come into play in the next instalment.
Secondly, that symbol. It’s associated with Captain Marvel. In publicity shots from the upcoming standalone film, we see Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel sporting the familiar iconography across her chest. It’s a way of introducing the character into the MCU, sure, but it also sets up the next Avengers team-up movie, due for a 2019 release. The suggestion is that she will be the key to thwarting Thanos and potentially undoing his misdeeds in Avengers 4.
But while this scene is apparently taking place in the same timeline – present day — as the events of the rest of the film, and Captain Marvel is due to be set in the 1990s, it begs the question: where has Captain Marvel been all this time? And why is Fury only calling on her now?
It could be that he’s been saving his MVP until there’s a real threat to existence. Helmut Zemo wasn’t a big enough deal, and neither was Ultron, or so it would seem. And now the Mad Titan aka Thanos has come along and apparently obliterated 50% of the universe’s population, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring out the big guns, in the form of the extremely powerful Carol Danvers. Who has, in the interim, probably been in space protecting Earth, the universe, or both from intergalactic threats. After all, she is — or rather will be — the most powerful Marvel superhero ever to appear on screen, according to Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige.
In the comics, Captain Marvel is a human with Kree DNA, the technologically advanced blue alien race that featured prominently in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Her powers include a Seventh Sense — the ability to anticipate the moves of her opponents. She can also absorb energy to enhance her own already impressive powers temporarily. Skills which will no doubt come in very useful against Thanos.
The other question you’re probably asking is “why does Nick Fury still use a pager?” Look closely, and you’ll see it’s been modified. The archaic pager could make an appearance in the Captain Marvel film, which will essentially serve as a prequel to the MCU as we know it. We know that Samuel L. Jackson is reprising his role as S.H.I.E.L.D. boss Nick Fury in Captain Marvel – could Danvers hand it over at the end of that film as a way of keeping in touch?
We’ll find out when Captain Marvel hits screens next year and when Infinity War concludes in Avengers 4.