The Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t invent the post-credits scene, but the super-powered superhero franchise has taken the concept to wild new ends, using them — and there always seem to be plenty of them — to hint at storylines to come, introduce new characters and have a little fun while doing it.
James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” goes all in on post-credits scenes, and boasts not just one, not even three, but five extra scenes that add both fun and a generous dose of groundwork-laying to the expanding franchise. Here’s what you can expect to see after the credits roll (and some hints as to what it could mean for the series).
(Spoilers ahead for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”)
1. Kraglin Gets a New Toy
During the latter half of the film, both Michael Rooker’s Yondu and Sean Gunn’s Kraglin play bigger roles than we’ve previously seen in the franchise. By the film’s final act, Yondu has all but joined up with the Guardians, and as Kraglin remains his only loyal pal from his Ravaging days, he’s along for the ride, too. Of course, the film ends with Yondu’s tear-jerking death, leaving Kraglin to basically keep on hanging with the Guardians.
And hang he does. The film’s first post-credits scene — one that technically takes place before the credits roll, though James Gunn himself has made it clear that he considers it a “post” scene, what a world we live in — sees Kraglin attempting to step into Yondu’s shoes by picking up both his fin (a new one that’s introduced during the course of the film) and his whistle-driven Yaka Arrow. Kraglin practices with the weapon in the hold of Yondu’s Ravager ship, which looks to be home base for the Guardians (at least for now), leading to some serious chuckles at his lack of grace with the finicky weapon. The final straw? Driving the damn thing right into Drax’s (Dave Bautista) neck. Oops.
2. The Original Guardians
“Vol. 2” folds in a subplot that explains why Yondu and his crew are persona non grata amongst the other tight-knit Ravager clans — basically, Yondu’s kidnapping and delivery of Ego’s various children, including Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), violated the Ravager code — and he’s only redeemed in death, when he sacrifices himself for Peter. The other Ravagers reunite for Yondu’s fireworks-filled space funeral, including Sylvester Stallone (officially credited as “Stakar Ogord” in the film, which just so happens to be the real name of the classic Marvel character Starhawk), Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Aleta (Michelle Yeoh) and Mainframe (uncredited Miley Cyrus).
If they look familiar together, that’s for good reason: They’re some of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, at least according to the 1969 comic book lineup (including Yondu!). While we don’t expect to see them again any time soon — and do not hold your breath for a spinoff — it’s a fine nod to the rich, weird history of the team.
3. Meet Surly Teen Groot
The Vin Diesel-voiced Groot spends nearly all of “Vol. 2” being irresistibly, almost painfully cute (at one point, a bad guy loudly reasons he’s “too adorable” to kill, and this is after said bad guy has happily tossed dozens of men out into space to die). If you thought the final shots of lil’ Groot from the first “Guardians” were charming, you’re going to have prepare yourself for the wall-to-wall sweetness of Baby Groot in the sequel. He’s coddled, squeezed, held like a baby, just generally doted on.
But babies grow up, even the tree-based ones, as evidenced by a post-credits scene which introduces what can only be deemed Surly Teen Groot. The scene opens with Star-Lord banging into a filthy spaceship cabin, filled to the brim with what appears to be large pieces of a shedding Groot. It’s no surprise they’re large, though, because Groot has suddenly shot up (like a weed?) to a much taller, though clearly adolescent height than we’ve seen throughout the rest of the movie. He’s predictably hunched over a computer, and his trademark “I am Groots” sound like the exact kind of grunts that would emerge from a very annoyed teen.
Meet Surly Teen Groot.
4. Get Ready for Adam
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” opens with our lovable space weirdos battling back at massive octopus-inspired monster who is threatening the gleaming alien group known as The Sovereign. The group has been hired for the job — a messy one that the literally gold and entirely genetically designed population wants no part in handling and is more than happy to have someone, anyone else do for them — and while they complete it admirably, Rocket filches a bagful of The Sovereign’s super-powered batteries on the way out, insulting their haughty High Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) for good measure. The Sovereign do not take insults lightly, and the group spends the rest of the movie chasing the Guardians around the galaxy, even hiring Yondu to capture them at one point.
Still, The Sovereign never really feel like a major threat (and they’re hardly the real Big Bad of the feature), but they keep coming, and when the film ends and they’ve been totally defeated, Ayesha snaps. The Sovereign are clearly in possession of some hardcore technology, and genetic engineering (they really, really hate the idea of having kids the old-fashioned way) is kind of their big thing. When we see a post-credits Ayesha, she’s totally unhinged, but don’t let that fool you — she’s used her brains and her anger to make a brand new weapon.
As the scene pans out, Ayesha introduces a giant gold sarcophagus (The Sovereign just love gold), while Ayesha explains to a terrified minion that it contains a brand new weapon she’s engineered herself. She calls him Adam. We’re guessing he’ll end up playing a major role in “Vol. 3.”
5. Stan Lee in Space
As ever, the Marvel mainstay pops up about midway into the film, camped out on a space rock (Thanos, are you there?) and chatting it up with some alien pals. That scene gets a little continuation during the credits, with Lee imploring his now-exiting new friends to stay awhile. Hey, aliens have busy lives, too.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” opens on Friday, May 5.