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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's 5 end-credits scenes, explained [spoilers]

Warning: Spoilers!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Marvel Studios
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.

Spoiler alert: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s five post-credits scenes will be discussed here. Many of the scenes directly refer to major plot points in the movie. Please skip if you don’t want to be spoiled.

There are as many credits scenes attached to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 as there are actual Guardians of the Galaxy.

All in all, there are five extra scenes that play after the movie, with some far more tantalizing — and some more esoteric — than the others.

Mid- and post-credits scenes have become a Marvel tradition, something fans look forward to every time the company releases a new film. Sometimes they contain huge reveals that hint at future movies (see: Black Panther at the end of Captain America: Civil War). Other times, they serve as little winks from Marvel to its biggest fans and call back to the company's history (see: Howard the Duck at the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy). They're fun. They can be exciting. And if we're lucky, they give us something to chew on until Marvel’s next big release.

Here's what happens in Guardians 2’s five credits scenes and their significance to the Guardians’ and Marvel’s future stories.

1) Kraglin practices with Yondu’s arrow

At the end of Guardians 2, Yondu (Michael Rooker) sacrifices himself to save Star-Lord’s (Chris Pratt) life. It’s the movie’s most heartbreaking scene, in that it really epitomizes the movie’s themes of family and fatherhood. But Yondu wasn’t just a father figure to Star-Lord, he was also one to Kraglin (Sean Gunn), his loyal crew member. And in one of Guardians 2’s last scenes, Star-Lord gives him Yondu’s arrow.

The film’s first credits scene — which technically plays between the end of the movie and the very start of the credits — follows up on that. We see Kraglin trying to master Yondu’s arrow of death. He’s not very good at operating the weapon, and has trouble wrangling control of it. Finally, just when you think he’s getting the hang of the thing, he gets it to fly … straight into Drax’s (Dave Bautista) neck, leaving the Destroyer screaming in pain. It’s not really a seismic, ooh-inducing scene, and it’s not like Kraglin’s poor whistling arrow skills shift the Marvel universe, but it is pretty funny.

2) Stakar reunites his own Guardians of the Galaxy


The second credits scene is a Marvel deep cut.

Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) tells his fellow Ravagers that Yondu’s death taught him life is too short to hold onto grudges and baggage, and that they should put differences aside and reunite for old times’ sake. The set of Ravagers he’s talking to only makes sense if you’re familiar with the 1975 Guardians of the Galaxy team from the comic books, which varies slightly from the original 1969 team.

Stakar is speaking to a group of characters who are all either part of that 1975 roster or who are important characters to the Guardians universe.

The 1975 characters first appear in Giant Size Defenders no. 5 written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gene Colan; the group includes Yondu, Martinex (the crystalline character played by Michael Rosenbaum in the movie and the credits scene), and Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames). Stakar and Aleta Ogord (played by Michelle Yeoh in the credits scene) debut in later comic books.

Stakar a.k.a. Starhawk.

Stakar is also speaking to a red creature named Krugarr and to Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus), who are major characters of the Guardians comic book universe. With how crowded the Marvel universe is, it would be a shock to see Stakar’s team get major screen time heading into 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, but seeing them onscreen again would be a treat for fans of the comic book.

3) Marvel hints that Adam Warlock will appear

At the end of Guardians 2, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and the Sovereign have been humiliated and defeated. They’re supposed to be perfect, precise beings who always follow through on their purpose. Their loss to the Guardians is not only embarrassing, it also makes them question whether they’re as infallible as they think they are.

In the movie’s third credits scene, Ayesha tells one of her handmaidens that she’s figured out a way to make a more perfect being than herself. She calls him “Adam,” as the camera pans over to one of the Sovereign’s birthing pods.

Comic book fans will be the first to tell you that the “Adam” she refers to is Adam Warlock, a character who lives in Marvel’s cosmic universe. Warlock’s comic book origin story is slightly different than this cinematic tease, as he’s created by scientists on earth, rebels against them, travels into space, and obtains the Soul Gem, one of the Infinity Gems (called “Infinity Stones” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

Infinity Gauntlet no. 2.

In the comic books, Warlock is one of Thanos’s adversaries. What makes this credit scene such an “omg” moment for comic book fans is that Warlock plays a big role in the battle against Thanos in the comic book event known as The Infinity Gauntlet. In that series, Thanos assembles all the Infinity Gems and threatens to destroy the universe, and The Infinity Gauntlet is essentially comic book source material for Avengers: Infinity War Part I and Part II.

Before Warlock fans get their hopes up, it’s important to note that Guardians director James Gunn has said that Warlock isn’t in Infinity War. However, he’s promised that Warlock will eventually be a major part of Marvel’s cinematic cosmic universe.

4) Groot will probably be a teenager the next time we see the character in a Marvel movie

At the end of the first Guardians movie, in which Groot died and was replanted as a sapling, we got a Baby Groot credits scene which featured the little twig dancing. Then, Guardians 2 gifted us with lots of screentime for the cuteness that is Baby Groot.

In Guardians 2’s fourth credits scene, we see Star-Lord trying to discipline an adolescent Groot who utters the character’s “I am Groot” catchphrase in the tone of a snarly, annoyed teen. Star-Lord is mad at Groot for making a mess, but Groot is busy playing video games and ignores him.

If tradition holds, this credits scene with Teen Groot suggests that Groot will be a teen for the character’s next movie appearance, just like the Baby Groot credits scene after the first Guardians movie teased Baby Groot’s appearance in Guardians 2. The only drawback is that while Teen Groot has the potential to be funnier, there’s no way it’ll be cuter than Baby Groot.

5) The post-credits scene might explain all of Stan Lee’s cameos


Guardians 2’s final credits scene features comic book legend and former Marvel president Stan Lee in an astronaut outfit talking to a bunch of weird-looking bald-headed dudes with capes — it actually builds off his cameo in the film (which takes place during Rocket and Yondu’s jump to Ego). He’s regaling them with stories, but they start to walk away. He yells that they were his ride home — wherever that may be — and tells them he has more stories to tell before the scene fades to black.

This final scene gave me melancholy vibes considering Lee’s age (he’s currently 94) and that he’s starting to retire from the comic convention circuit (his 2016 appearance at New York Comic Con marked his final appearance at that event). The message of the scene is clear: The grandfather of Marvel comics still has stories to tell despite his time running out.

In Marvel’s comic books, the weird dudes that Lee is regaling are a part of an entity known as the Watchers, the most famous of which is Uatu. The Watchers are spread out all around the universe, and exist to observe civilizations and life progress. They see and record everything, but they aren’t allowed to interfere.

Uatu is especially significant to the Marvel universe, because Uatu is the Watcher who observes Earth and Earth’s solar system, and though he’s bound by the Watcher credo of never interfering, he has broken those rules in the past and even faced punishment for doing so.

What’s sort of fascinating about this final Guardians 2 credits scene is that Lee is telling the Watchers stories, and it’s implied that those tales are from his many different Marvel movie cameos, meaning that he’s the same guy in all those different films. That he’s telling the Watchers what he’s observed could signal that he might be also one of them — and that all along, he’s been observing the Marvel universe that he’s been tasked to help care for. That would certainly be a perfect way to remember Lee’s vast and unrivaled comic legacy.

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