Spoiler! What Does That 'Guardians of the Galaxy' End-Credits Scene Mean?

August 1, 2014

By now, every fan knows the rule: when you see a Marvel movie, you stay for the credits to roll. The studio usually hides one or two quick scenes in the final minutes of the film, often hinting at story arcs that will be explored in movies to come. So what do the end credits of Guardians of the Galaxy tell us about the future of Marvel’s movie universe? If you’re avoiding spoilers, stop reading now!

The unfortunate news for hardcore Marvel fans is that there is only one bonus scene at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy – and it doesn’t contain any big reveals about the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron or Ant-Man. 

The good news is, it’s fun. The scene opens on The Collector (played by Benicio Del Toro), looking beat up and dejected as he sits in the middle of his laboratory – or what remains of it, after the events of the movie. He’s sipping a green drink with some sort of alien-plant garnish. Then a dog in a spacesuit comes up to him and licks his face. Given how few dogs-in-spacesuits inhabit the Marvel galaxy, it’s a safe bet that this is Cosmo, the super-powered dog who started out as a test animal in the Soviet space program. 

Then another voice pipes up, asking The Collector why he lets the dog lick him like that. The camera pans over to Howard the Duck, a new CGI incarnation of the exile from Duckworld. It appears that Howard, whose comic storylines mainly take place in Cleveland, has somehow ended up an artifact in The Collector’s space gallery. 

So that’s it: a quick “whoa, Howard the Duck!” moment, and then back to the credits. Unlike, say, the two scenes at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which explicitly set up the next Captain America and Avengers films, this one seems like it’s mostly inserted for laughs. On the other hand, the presence of Cosmo may hint at the direction of the next Guardians of the Galaxy film – perhaps a further move into the Annihilation storyline

As for Howard the Duck, we wouldn’t rule out a comeback – but he’s unlikely to play a major role in any forthcoming Marvel film. Maybe he’ll pop up in a few more cameos, like a feathery Stan Lee. Or maybe he’ll just float around in The Collector’s lab until the world is ready for him again. 

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