The following story contains spoilers for the very end of The Marvels (2023), through the credits scene. So, like, the very end.
YOU KNOW THE drill. You’re watching a Marvel movie (or, these days, just about any potential franchise flick), and you stick around for the credits scene. Sometimes, these scenes can contain world-shaking revelations (think Nick Fury’s first appearance in the original Iron Man), other times they can just be a joke (think Captain America’s PSA at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming), and more and more frequently, they can be scenes setting up something that will likely never be touched on again (uh, looking like you Harry Styles in Eternals).
We’re hoping that the credits scene we got in The Marvels figures the most into that first group—and that Marvel Studios has enough foresight to come back to it sooner rather than later.
Think back to the early days of the MCU: Iron Man 2 ended with S.H.I.E.L.D. finding Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, in a field, and the very next movie was Thor. It was a simple tease and lead-in that didn’t require remembering a million different threads, and it worked well. The MCU has gotten quite complicated through the years, and it would be served well to go back to the simplicity that got it here.
Just to set up where The Marvels leaves things before the credits begin to roll: by grabbing both bangles (Quantum Bands, as we learn), Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) gets far too much power, and accidentally obliterates herself, simultaneously ripping a hole into the space-time continuum. Monica figures out that the only way to reverse this is to absorb power from both Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), and use it to shut the rip that has just been open. So they make it happen.
With one minor issue—in order to completely close the rip, Monica is forced to stay on the other side of the rip in space-time. And so the rip closes, and she’s nowhere in sight. We have to wait for the credits to see where she’s ended up.
Credits Scene 1: Monica and The Beast
Monica wakes up in a hospital bed, not unlike when she was un-blipped in WandaVision Episode 4—except this time, she wakes up and her mom, Maria (Lashana Lynch) isn’t long dead, but very much alive. Monica is overjoyed, blubbering with happiness at the prospect of seeing her departed mother again. Except this Maria doesn’t have any idea who Monica is. From off-screen, a voice begins to explain to Monica what, exactly, is going on.
That voice belongs to Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy, otherwise known as “Beast” of the X-Men, and he’s played here (in some uncanny CGI design, rather than his original prosthetics) by Kelsey Grammer, reprising his role from X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Days of Future Past. Beast explains to Monica that Maria (going by the name “Binary,” who in the Marvel Comics is an alternate version of Captain Marvel) found her and brought her in, and that she’s now in a new universe that exists parallel to her own (he also says that this, which has happened, is impossible). “Confusion is but the first step to knowledge,” he tells Binary, before Maria says she can take things from here. Beast drops one last name on the way out: “Charles asked for an update,” he says. We all know that’s he’s talking about Professor X, but which Professor X is the question.
Keep in mind that in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness we did already get a peak at a different universe where the X-Men (and the Fantastic Four, for that matter) do exist. In that universe, we saw a Professor X that was played by Patrick Stewart (like in the FOX movies), but rode a yellow vehicle around (like the ’90s animated series).
All that tells us with certainty is that while we’re certainly seeing an X-Men universe—the signature latch door is seen on the left side of the screen as Beast exits the room—we can’t definitively say that this is the same X-Men universe as from the FOX universe, or, really, any in particular at all.
What we can do now, though, is just hope that Marvel continues on this thread sooner rather than later. Because it’s quite interesting, and quite compelling, and it would be a shame if this was left dangling for as long as some of the other open threads that have been left dangling.
Credits Scene 2: Welcome Home!
OK, not quite a credits scene. But at the end of the rolling credits, as the Marvel logo returns to the screen, you can hear the many Flerkens spitting the people they ingested back up. See, we knew those cutie pies wouldn’t actually eat the good guys.
Evan is the culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.