If you’ve seen Ant-Man – and, as per tradition, stayed right to the end – then you’ll have seen its post-credits scene. If not, then *spoilers* ahead.
Fresh from fighting Ant-Man earlier in the film, the scene sees the re-appearance of the Falcon – albeit in gloomier spirits. It appears that he and Captain America have finally found Bucky Barnes, otherwise known as the titular Winter Soldier from Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. It’s a dark basement in an undisclosed location, where Barnes is stuck in a vice-like contraption. It’s all very mysterious.
“Should I call Stark?” Falcon asks, mysteriously. “No,” Cap replies, also mysteriously. Falcon then says he knows a guy in reply, suggesting that Ant-Man could be the guy for whatever Cap needs. The screen then fades to black, promising an Ant-Man return.
“We had actually cut together a group of end credit tags we were going to do,” explains director Peyton Reed. “Most of them were non sequiturs and comedic things with [Paul] Rudd and [Michael] Pena or somebody but it felt like we had done that in the body of the movie and we didn’t want to go back to that well.”
Instead, according to Reed, they used a scene from Captain America 3: Civil War, which will see the Marvel Cinematic Universe split between the factions of Iron Man and Captain America.
“When Civil War dallies started coming in, I had talked to [Marvel president] Kevin Feige and said, ‘I want to see what Rudd’s like in the movie’. I was envious, I was like, ‘what are they doing with this character I helped create!’ I got really proprietary about it! So I watched the dallies and Rudd is fantastic in it.
“At the same time, Kevin was watching some unrelated dallies and said, ‘I think I have an idea for a tag’. We all came in and looked – nothing was cut, it was just the raw dallies of that scene – and it seemed like we could cut a really quick tag that would build on what we did with Falcon. So we cut that together from the footage. I love it, and I love that it’s followed by that James Bond-esque ‘Ant-Man will return.’ It felt like a vote of confidence for the movie.”
As for what the ominous scene actually means, Reed was keeping tight-lipped.
“[Compared to the comic Civil War], there’s some major differences in the movie, obviously. But the fundamental idea is the same: that there will be a couple of factions. It remains to be seen which side Ant-Man’s on or how he’s going to figure into it but they reference the core superheroes in that same sequence. It was more about letting you know that he’s going to continue on in this universe.”
Reed goes on to say that the two films were actually written with each other in mind, with the Falcon’s appearance in Ant-Man feeding into what role he would play in Civil War (which would then feed back into the post-credits sting of Ant-Man – simple.)
“There were no requirements [from Marvel] about slotting in anybody else,” he says. “The Falcon was something Adam McKay pitched early on, purely because the comic book nerd in both of us was like, ‘it would be great to see these two guys come up against each other.’ And it felt organic to the heist structure of the movie that before this big heist there’s this trial by fire where you got to send Scott in [to Avengers HQ], relatively untrained, to get this device.”
“But there was no mandate about this ever. In fact, when we decided to do that – and when we decided to get into the post-credits ending of ‘hey, the Falcon is looking for him’ – it was late in the game. As [directors] the Russos and [co-writer] Stephen McFeely were developing Captain America: Civil War, there were a lot of question marks about all the pertinent issues of ‘Who’s in it? Who would be on what side? Could Ant-Man be a part of that?’ as we were shooting this movie. That stuff only happened later on and by that time Falcon was an organic part of our movie.”
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