Warning: Contains spoilers for Peacemaker.
The DCEU has fixed a problem with the post-credits scenes of the MCU through Peacemaker, but it might be worse off for doing so. Both franchises have tried their hand at post-credits scenes over the years with differing amounts of success, and for a while, the post-credits scenes, especially the MCU’s, have had a problem with how much engagement they require from the audience. Recent efforts from the DCEU make it seem as if they’re changing that, but it comes at the cost of giving people less reason to care about them.
Ever since Iron Man‘s post-credits scene in 2008 teasing the formation of the Avengers, it’s been common for superhero movies to end with a post-credits scene teasing a future development in their franchise. Post-credits scenes quickly became an integral part of superhero movies that many moviegoers looked forward to. But as the years went by, the stingers started to go from fun little supplementary add-ons to becoming required viewing by laying out vital parts of the future story that needed to be seen to understand whatever came next. The post-credits scene became as important as the movie that preceded it, and not only was that not what they started out as, the evolution had the effect of creating even more material for audiences to keep up with, which could be extremely draining.
The DCEU’s Peacemaker seems to have fixed that problem with its post-credits scenes. Every episode of Peacemaker so far has had a post-credits scene, and unlike a lot of modern-day post-credits scenes, they harken back to the older post-credits scenes that were largely miscellaneous content that could be skipped over. At the same time, however, Peacemaker‘s post-credits scenes don’t give people as much reason to watch them.
Peacemaker’s Post-Credits Scenes Are What They Used To Be
Every episode of Peacemaker has had a post-credits scene so far, and all of them have just been extensions of scenes from earlier in the episode. Episode 1’s post-credits scene adds on to Peacemaker getting his new helmet, episode 2 shows more of Peacemaker‘s Auggie Smith being framed in a lineup, episode 3 adds more banter to a scene between Peacemaker, Harcourt, and Vigilante, and episode 4’s post-credits scene has Peacemaker and Vigilante arguing about if it’s possible for a duck to wear a human suit. Each post-credit scene adds more to the story, but all that’s really being added is a goofy scene that’s largely inconsequential and doesn’t need to be watched to understand the larger story.
This is what most of the MCU’s post-credits scenes used to be: bonus scenes that added more to the story but weren’t essential viewing for the franchise. Some of them were short gags like the Peacemaker ones, but others were merely short scenes about the MCU movie next in line, like Iron Man 2‘s tie-in to Thor. Initially, they could be skipped without missing out on too much. It makes sense that Peacemaker’s post-credits scenes would harken back to that style since the show was created by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, and many of the post-credits scenes for those movies were also just gags that didn’t advance the overall plot of the franchise.
Marvel’s Post-Credits Scenes Have Become A Problem
Peacemaker’s post-credits scenes are a breath of fresh air from those of the MCU, which have simply gotten too big. As previously mentioned, as the years went on, fun post-credits scenes started devoting their time to setting up major plot points of future films. The post-credits scenes became essential to understanding what would happen next in the MCU and where the franchise would be going next. While that’s a definite draw to watch them, it just piles on the number of things the viewer needs to keep track of.
What makes it even worse is that there’s sometimes no way of knowing how long it’ll be until there’s any payoff. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had a post-credits scene teasing the appearance of MCU’s Adam Warlock, something undoubtedly important to the series, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 not coming out until 2023 means that six years will go by before the post-credits scene is paid off. Part of that wait is due to COVID and Gunn briefly being fired from the project, but it’s a long wait, regardless. More recently, the Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene ends with a fraction of Venom’s symbiote abandoned in the MCU, a clear setup for a symbiote story in the MCU, but there’s no way of knowing how many years it’ll take for that to happen.
The MCU’s post-credit scenes force people to take in even more knowledge than what they gained from the movie alone and expect them to hold onto it for years at a time. That’s not a problem for people who are highly invested in the MCU, but for the casual moviegoer, it adds an element of inaccessibility to the movies that asks for more investment than they’re willing to give. As exciting as post-credits scenes can be, they shouldn’t need to be essential viewing for upcoming projects that don’t even have a proper release date.
Peacemaker’s Post-Credits Scenes Will Not Be As Popular
Peacemaker’s post-credits scenes are far less vital than those of the MCU, and while that’s ultimately a good thing, it also means that they’re likely to not be as popular. The MCU’s post-credits scenes require a high degree of investment, but that’s also one of their draws, as many people, especially hardcore fans of the MCU, get excited to know what’s next for the franchise. With Peacemaker’s post-credits scenes being nonessential gags, there’s less reason to care about them because they basically amount to a deleted scene or a blooper reel; it’s nice that they’re included and are available for viewing, but they don’t need to be there for the story to make sense. Ultimately, James Gunn’s Peacemaker shows the DCEU doing a lot to fix the MCU‘s post-credits scenes problem, but it comes at the cost of making them less engaging, and that makes it hard to tell if this is for better or for worse.
More: Peacemaker Episode 4’s Ending Creates A Huge Butterfly Plot Hole
Peacemaker releases new episodes Thursdays on HBO Max.
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