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Thor: Ragnarok’s 2 end-credits scenes, explained

Spoiler alert.

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

There are two credits scenes at the end of Thor: Ragnarok. The mid-credits scene figures into the future Marvel films, particularly 2018’s big Infinity War team-up, while the end-credits scene is a playful — but worthwhile — joke featuring one of the movie’s more memorable characters.

Mid- and post-credits scenes have become a Marvel tradition, something fans look forward to every time the studio releases a new film. Sometimes they contain huge reveals that hint at future movies (see: Black Panther showing up at the end of Captain America: Civil War, or Groot becoming a teenager at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2). Other times, they serve as little winks from Marvel to its biggest fans, or call back to the company's history (see: Howard the Duck dropping by at the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, or Captain America musing on the virtue of patience at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming with the implication that post-credits scenes won’t always feature big reveals). They're fun. They can be exciting. And sometimes they give us something to chew on until Marvel’s next big release.

Here's what happens in Thor: Ragnarok’s two credits scenes, and how one of the scenes is significant to both Thor’s and Marvel’s future stories.

1) Thor, Loki, and the Asgardian spaceship encounter Thanos — the Marvel universe’s biggest bad

In Ragnarok’s first credits scene, Thor and Loki are trying to figure out where to go next, now that their homeland of Asgard has been vaporized. They decide to set out for Earth, which involves some smirky reassurance from Thor that everything will be okay even though everyone on Earth remembers what happened when Loki last visited the planet (see: The Avengers).

But as soon they embark on the journey, their ship encounters a bigger, darker, more ominous one.

What it means:

Though we don’t see who’s driving the ship, it appears to belong to Thanos, the big bad villain that the Avengers will face in 2018’s Infinity War. The next two Marvel movies slated for release are Black Panther in February and Infinity War in May, and this Ragnarok credits scene is definitely a tease for the latter.

What makes the scene especially intriguing is that it seems to corroborate past descriptions of Infinity War’s yet-to-be-released trailer. Those who were present for a screening of the trailer at San Diego Comic-Con in July have said that it begins with the Guardians of the Galaxy encountering Thor floating through space, with “the Asgardian being flung against the windshield” of the Guardians’ spaceship. In concert with Ragnarok’s first credits scene, it seems likely that Thanos will attack the Asgardian spaceship and throw Thor off of it. (It’s not yet clear what might happen to Loki in such an attack.)

The Infinity War trailer reportedly also sees Thor and the Guardians travel to Earth together. Because Marvel hasn’t released an official Infinity War trailer to the public, the one that eventually comes out could show us something different. But Ragnarok’s credits scene appears to be setting the table for Marvel to bring the Guardians and Thor to Earth, where they can team up with the Avengers to fight Thanos.

Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that Thanos could be attacking the Asgardian ship because he and Loki have dealt with one another before. Back in The Avengers, Loki mentioned a being known as the Other, who functioned as the middle man between himself and Thanos. The Other later appeared in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, where we actually saw him speak to Thanos. But in The Avengers, Loki said the Other had threatened him, telling him that if he failed to secure the Tesseract for Thanos, Thanos would find him no matter where he was hiding:

Loki failed to obtain the Tesseract for Thanos in The Avengers, and the film ended with Thor returning it to Asgard, along with Loki. We actually see the Tesseract in Odin’s vault in a couple scenes in Ragnarok, so it’s possible that Loki stole it and used it (the Tesseract can open rifts through space) to get onto the Asgardian spaceship or took it with him while flying the Grandmaster’s ship to “Asgard.” (This would make sense with Loki being on the ship as Ragnarok ends, even though we don’t see exactly how he escaped Asgard as it blew up.)

Further, since the Tesseract contains one of the Infinity Stones, and since the stones will play a huge role in Infinity War, it stands to reason that the Tesseract wouldn’t have been destroyed during Asgard’s annihilation.

2) The Grandmaster takes credit for Thor’s revolution against him

Ragnarok’s second credits scene opens with Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster — the secondary villain of the movie and ruler of the planet known as Sakaar — popping out of a blue space chamber where it seems like he’s been hiding out. He’s greeted by a roving gang of Sakaar rebels, in keeping with the events of the film, in which Thor and his crew stage a revolution against the Grandmaster and usurp his power.

The scene is very short, and ends with the Grandmaster jokingly suggesting that he played an important role in the revolution because you can’t have a revolution without someone to revolt against. “It’s a tie!” the Grandmaster declares, before the screen cuts to black.

What it means:

This second credits scene doesn’t have much to do with Marvel’s upcoming movies; it’s more of a last goodbye to Goldblum’s hilarious turn as the Grandmaster — who, unless he’s spared by the rebels, might not be back for another round of fun.

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