WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel, the 21st film in the seemingly endless Marvel Cinematic Universe, is now in theaters. Despite what most of the promotional materials for the film have indicated, it is a far more cosmic movie that general theatergoing audiences may expect. It’s also, depending on who you ask, a typically fine Marvel Studios offering that, despite its main plot and subplots, spends a great deal of time setting up things to come. That’s where Captain Marvel‘s two after credits scenes come in.
Technically, Captain Marvel has a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. The first is essentially a preview for a forthcoming Marvel Studios project, while the second is more of a humorous callback to a previous joke or scene from the movie. This has quickly become the standard operating procedures for most MCU films (except for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War), and Captain Marvel proves the rule rather than the exception.
So what happens after Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) saves the ’90s and suddenly disappears from the MCU timeline for several decades?
Carol Danvers returns to Earth
She returns to earth, of course. Specifically, in the mid-credits scene, audiences will find themselves back at the Avengers headquarters. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) are all that’s left following the snap, and they’re panicking because Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) weird-looking pager has stopped working. Before they can come to a consensus about what to do, however, Danvers shows up and immediately asks for Fury.
The scene itself feels like it was taken directly from Avengers: Endgame, and that’s not strange at all. Ant-Man did the same thing when it used a scene from Captain America: Civil War as one of its two after credits scenes. More importantly, however, Carol’s arrival at Avengers HQ seems to confirm several fan theories about Endgame‘s Super Bowl teaser. Someone was apparently edited out of several shots, and that missing person may very well be Captain Marvel herself.
cat flerken pukes a cosmic hairball
It wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without at least one callback to a previous joke in the after credits scenes. Hence Captain Marvel‘s second bonus, which sees Goose the cat resting on Fury’s desk at S.H.I.E.L.D. By this point audiences already know that Goose is not actually a cat, but an alien called a “flerken” that is feared by the Skrulls and the Kree alike. He takes a liking to Danvers and Fury, so when they are threatened toward the end of the film, Goose literally swallows their enemies whole.
He also consumes the Tesseract, which Mar-Vell (Annette Bening) was secretly using to develop faster-than-light space travel, for safekeeping. Or, at least he’s able to keep it safe until this after credits scene when, while sleeping on Fury’s desk, Goose suddenly wakes up and coughs up a cosmic hairball. It doesn’t quite explain how the Tesseract made it from Howard Stark’s hands in Captain America: The First Avenger to Mar-Vell’s in Captain Marvel, but it at least lays the groundwork for the first Avengers film.