A post-credits scene
(also called a stinger
, or coda
) is a short clip that appears after some or all of the closing credits
of a film
have run. It is usually either included for humor (where it may be called a "stinger gag") or to set up a possible sequel
The use of stingers may be traced back to the 1963 James Bond
film, From Russia with Love
, which was the first in the series to show the ubiquitous "James Bond will return in..." at the end of the credits. The 1978 film Superman
featured a tagline promoting the film's sequel
, due out the following year. However, these were simply text at the end of the credits, and did not include clips or teasers from the upcoming films (although the original shooting script for Superman
contained a stinger that featured General Zod
, and Non
being freed from the Phantom Zone
following the credits).
One of the earliest appearances of a true stinger in a mainstream film was in The Muppet Movie in 1979, and use of such scenes gained popularity throughout the 1980s at the end of comedy films. The Muppet Movie also began a trend of using such stingers to break the fourth wall, even when much of the rest of the film had kept it intact. The scenes were often used as a form of metafiction, with characters showing an awareness that they were at the end of a film, and often telling the audience directly to leave the theatre. Films using this technique include Ferris Bueller's Day Off (in which the title character frequently broke the fourth wall during the movie) and The Producers (in which it was not so common). The stinger of the latter movie also includes the film's only cameo appearance of producer Mel Brooks. Stingers also appeared on the long-running TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000, introduced in episode 205 ("Rocket Attack USA"), continuing until the end of the series. The stingers, with a few exceptions, highlighted moments from the films that were either particularly nonsensical or had simply caught the Brains' attention.
The 1903 film The Great Train Robbery ends with leader of the outlaw band taking aim and firing point blank at the audience (after having been killed in the previous scene). After the credits of 1985's "Young Sherlock Holmes", the villainous schoolmaster Rathe is revealed to have survived his drowning and taken the name Professor James Moriarty.
Stingers lacking the metafictional aspects also gained prominence in the 1980s, although they were still primarily used for comedy films. Post-credits scenes became useful places for humorous scenes that would not fit in the main body of the film. Most were short clips that served to tie together loose ends—minor characters whose fates were not elaborated on earlier in the movie, or plotlines that were not fully wrapped up. At the end of the Disney animated made-for-video film Aladdin: The Return of Jafar
, Abis Mal asks for his third wish while in its sequel, towards the end of the song "Welcome to the Forty Thieves", which plays over the credits, the Genie
is seen squished between the black background and the credits with a bit of dialogue at the very end. During its wide release
, Napoleon Dynamite
features a stinger that reveals that Kip and LaFawnduh get married.
Even when post-credit scenes started to be used by films with little comedy development, the same format of giving closure to incomplete storylines or inconsequential characters remained in use. Using humor in such scenes is also still common for more serious films, as in the film Daredevil, in which Bullseye is shown after his defeat by Daredevil in a full body cast. Another example happens in Hellboy when Tom Manning is shown still wandering around the catacombs when he was last seen previously in the film when the other major players have left. Other films eschew the comedy in favor of a twist or revelation that would be out of place elsewhere in the movie, as in X-Men: The Last Stand's post-credits scene, which suggests that Professor X may have transferred his mind to the body of a comatose patient, and in the film Constantine, which shows the character Chas as a half-breed angel leaping from his own grave. In Iron Man (film) Stark is visited by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who warns him that he is not the only 'super hero' in the world, and states he wants to talk to him about the "Avenger Initiative".
Post-credit scenes in video games
, particularly the ones that make use of complex stories, have begun using post-credits scenes.
- 1987's Castlevania II: Simon's Quest had no end credits, but after the final epilogue text scrolls off the screen and the music ends (which takes considerable time), Dracula's hand is shown reaching out of his grave.
- In Mega Man X, after the credits have rolled and the "Thanks For Playing" message has been on the screen for a few minutes, a box in the background activates, showing Sigma's face. He then goes to says that while X defeated him, that was only a temporary body and he will return.
- In 1994's EarthBound, Ness awakens to knocks on the front door just like the beginning of the game, and finds Porky's brother Picky with a message from Porky, indicating that he did not die and plans revenge.
- The post-credits scene has been a recurring motif in the Metal Gear since the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake for the MSX2, which featured text-only epilogues after the closing credits. Metal Gear Solid followed this by playing a voice-only conversation between two characters and subsequent Metal Gear Solid followed this convention. Metal Gear Solid 4 has an important post credits scene where it is revealed that Snake did not commit suicide and Big Boss is alive. He encourages Snake to live the rest of his life peacefully after killing Zero, then succumbs to the modified FOXDIE virus within Snake. A voice-only (unless subtitles are added) "post-cutscene scene" after that reveals that Snake plans to live out the rest of his life, while Otacon determines that he and Sunny should be with Snake to the end.
- Another example is the Kingdom Hearts video game series, in which Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II include a post-credits epilogue, along with an unlockable, highly enigmatic scene depicting possible events in a future installment of the series (The Final Mix versions of both games also include another unlockable scene that takes off where the previous ones left).
- The post-credits scenes of Halo 2 and Halo 3 also double as cliffhangers.
- In "Version one" (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Windows) of Splinter Cell: Double Agent, if the player completes the game still on the side of Third Echelon, a post-credit level begins allowing the player to finish the game. Another example of this would be in The Warriors, in which one can fight the Rogues as the Riff leader during the game's end credits.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Halo 3 are rare examples in video games where a crucial twist is unveiled: for Twilight Princess, the title character Midna shatters the Mirror of Twilight before jumping into the vortex herself, leaving Link and Zelda standing alone in the desert and breaking the only known link between the normal and Twilight realms. Halo 3's post-credits scene reveals that Master Chief actually survived the events of the ending scene and sees him entering suspended animation to await his rescue. If the game is completed on Legendary difficulty, a longer scene is played which show Master Chief's ship drifting toward an as yet unknown planet.
- In the Infinity Ward game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, there is a short interactive stinger involving a VIP rescue on a hijacked airliner that hints at the next game by having one of the SAS soldiers call out, "See ya next time, mate!" at the end. A picture is then shown of the protagonists who had been killed by the game's end.
- In the game Half-Life 2 after the credits roll and logo display there's a short scene in which Dr. Kleiner's once again lost pet headcrab Lamarr is seen jumping through an opening in the screen and attacking the player as the screen fades out.
- In Wing Commander 3 Tom Wilson (who plays 'Maniac') asks Jennifer MacDonald (playing 'Flint') if Christoper Blair is 'the guy from Star Wars'.
- Two games of the Final Fantasy series have used stingers. In Final Fantasy VII, the stinger, set five hundred years in the future, shows Red XIII (identified by his tattoo) running with some youg cubs from his tribe towards a cliff. When they reach the cliff, they see the city of Midgar, now abandoned and covered in foliage. Also, in Final Fantasy X, the main character Tidus, who had been shown to disappear from the modern world and time, is shown swimming towards the surface of the ocean and then the scene ends. In a special ending at the end of Final Fantasy X-2, this resumes and Tidus makes his way to the surface and is reunited with Yuna, Rikku, Wakka, and Lulu.