Captain America: Civil War: What the Surprise Credits Scenes Mean (SPOILERS!)

This post contains spoilers about Captain America: Civil War. Consider yourselves warned.

Ever since Nick Fury popped up at the close of Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has used bonus credits scenes to set up future films and/or provide fan-service Easter eggs. And Captain America: Civil War does not disappoint. The latest installment in the MCU, in theaters now, contains both a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene that are definitely worth sticking around for.

The first sequence features Captain America (Chris Evans), Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and T'Challa/The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in a lab in the latter’s fictional country of Wakanda. Bucky agrees to be placed under T'Challa’s protection in a state of suspended animation until Cap figures out how to ensure his buddy is completely deprogrammed. The scene underscores T'Challa’s compassion and ability to realize he was mistaken in believing his father, King T'Chaka, was killed by the Winter Soldier’s bomb. It also establishes the Panther’s fearlessness. When Cap says that enemies might try to track down the Winter Soldier, T'Challa replies: “Let them come.”

The segment then gives us a sneak peek at T'Challa’s technologically advanced civilization hidden in Africa. Previously, Wakanda was teased in a map in Iron Man 2 and a mention in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when weapons trader Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) is tasked by the titular android to secure Wakanda’s precious Vibranium to make his body virtually impervious. (Klaue is a key figure in the Black Panther mythos, and is the kind of villain who might reappear in a standalone Black Panther.) Now we get our first look at the land and its blend of tech and mystique.

Related: Meet the Black Panther — the MCU’s New Breakout Hero

In the Marvel world, Wakanda is the sole location of Vibranium, the wonder metal that comprises both Captain America’s shield and the Black Panther’s bulletproof costume. Aside from T'Challa’s laboratories, we also get a glimpse of the sacred Panther idol, whose significance will undoubtedly be revealed in the Black Panther solo film, directed by Ryan Coogler (Creed) and slated for a February 2018 release.

Aside from establishing the Panther’s home base, the mid-credits scene suggests that the Winter Soldier might not be one of the bajillion heroes directors Anthony and Joe Russo will try to cram into the Avengers: Infinity War movies set for 2018 and 2019.

“We had to figure out where to leave Bucky,” co-writer Stephen McFeely explains to Yahoo Movies. “His story has been told in a way —
not completely, but for the moment.” Adds co-writer Christopher Markus: “It’s like Steve Rogers has closed a three-movie book by the end of this. And where he goes next is,” he lowers his voice to a whisper, “up to Thanos.”

The post-credits scene, meanwhile, takes us back to the Queens apartment of Peter Parker (Tom Holland). Our new Spidey is in his bedroom fiddling with a gadget that emits streaks of red light. Enter his abnormally attractive Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), who brings an icepack to soothe his wounds from the recent superhero smackdown. Peter, now with a black eye in full view, tells her the damage came courtesy of a bully named Steve “from Brooklyn” (meaning Captain America), and that he had a friend with him who “was huge, like really huge” (meaning Scott Lang’s new alter ego, Giant Man).

Once May exits, Spidey reveals the gadget to be a watch — almost certainly a parting gift from new friend Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). We then follow its emitting red lights up to the ceiling, where we see a hologram of a Spider-Man head.

It’s a slick callback to the vintage symbol Spidey used in the comics to let baddies know he was on their trail.

“Spider-Man will return,” then flashes on the screen. The sequence is clearly meant to set up next summer’s web-slinger reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, which Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures will co-produce after reaching a character-sharing deal last year.

Related: The Long Fight to Land Spider-Man in ‘Captain America: Civil War’

The sequence works for a couple reasons. First, while the feel-good ending of the film closes out most of the arcs for the supes involved, the last we saw of Spidey, he was lying on a tarmac nursing his wounds with Iron Man telling him, “You’re done, kid.” The apartment scene drives home the fact that really, he’s only getting started.

Second, after the last three relatively disappointing Spider-Man solo films, fans have reason to celebrate after Marvel’s triumphant use of the character in Civil War. The film itself felt like a victory lap to the deal Marvel was able to strike with Sony, and the post-credits scene is the exclamation point.