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The Marvels’ post-credits scene brings back [spoiler]

The latest from the MCU teases a comic book superhero team.

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, one of The Marvels and not to be confused with Ms. Marvel.
Marvel/Laura Radford
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.

This post includes spoilers for The Marvels.

The Marvels had everything: the return of Captain Marvel a.k.a. Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), the big-screen debut of Ms. Marvel a.k.a. Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), and the ascension of Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) to full-fledged superhero. It had that illustrious trio teaming up, becoming The Marvels, and saving the day from Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), a beautiful Kree alien with a giant hammer and a maniacal thirst to drain worlds of their natural resources. It had a bunch of aliens that look like cats, with a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s feline musical to boot.

Given all that, you’d think that Marvel might hold off on introducing more stuff. But this is Marvel, a studio that can’t help but attach a teaser or some kind of Easter egg to its films. And for longtime superhero fans, this movie has a huge one.

Image reads “spoilers below,” with a triangular sign bearing an exclamation point.
Spoilers for The Marvels below...

The Marvels credits scene teases the introduction of the X-Men, again

In the movie’s finale, Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, and Monica Rambeau have to fix Dar-Benn’s mess.

Before perishing, Dar-Benn uses a massive amount of power to tear through space and time, creating, as Monica describes, a wormhole into another universe. Yes, it’s back to the multiverse for the MCU, but thankfully it’s very simple here: No one needs to know Kang or quantum realms or any of the complicated stuff found in this year’s Quantumania. Monica has to use her light powers to patch up the hole so that each universe remains intact.

Monica is able to seal them shut, but in doing so, she crosses over to the parallel universe. Captain Marvel tries to save her, but she’s too late. The movie ends with Monica separated from Carol and Kamala.

In the credits scene, Monica wakes up in what appears to be some kind of medical unit. She looks over and sees a woman who appears to be her dead mom, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). The woman doesn’t recognize Monica and pulls away. Monica slowly starts to put together that even though this woman looks like her mom (after all, it’s the same actress), she isn’t the Maria that Monica knows. She might not even be Maria at all.

Monica Rambeau in a spacesuit.
In the comic books, Monica Rambeau once held the codename “Captain Marvel,” which makes The Marvels even more confusing.
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

While both women are trying to piece together what’s happening, someone unseen enters the room and starts briefing them. The male voice explains that Monica was found floating in space by someone called Binary, and Binary took Monica in for medical care. Monica, the voice says, seems to be from a different universe. The camera pans up and reveals that the person speaking is Beast a.k.a. Hank McCoy a.k.a one of the X-Men. Kelsey Grammer, who played Beast in Fox’s X-Men movies, reprises his role.

Beast tells Monica that Charles (as in Charles Xavier, head of the X-Men) wants to speak to all of them and that the woman she thinks is her mom is Binary, the hero who saved her. The scene cuts as Monica puts it all together that she’s trapped in a parallel timeline and has to figure out how to get back home — probably with the help of Beast, Binary, Charles, and possibly the X-Men. The X2 theme from the 2003 movie plays as the scene ends.

What The Marvels’ post-credits scene means

The scene is significant for a number of reasons, but the biggest one is that it teases the possibility of the X-Men finding their way into the MCU sooner than later. Since Marvel re-acquired the film rights to X-Men (as part of the Fox acquisition), fans have been waiting to see when and how the company would bring mutants into the MCU. Before Marvel turned the Avengers into a multibillion-dollar movie franchise, the X-Men, along with Spider-Man, were the company’s most recognizable and profitable heroes.

If the X-Men exist in a parallel universe and Monica Rambeau is there too, it stands to reason that there could be a storyline in which one or two of our merry mutants tag along with her when she gets back to the main timeline.

But that’s not all.

Monica Rambeau making a battle snarl and extending a glowing hand to the camera.
Monica Rambeau might need the X-Men’s help to get back to her home timeline!
Courtesy of Marvel Studios

This is now the second time an X-Man has appeared in an MCU movie. In 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Charles Xavier a.k.a. Professor X (Patrick Stewart), appears in, yes, a parallel universe. But Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) kills him in a fit of rage. Professor X’s death in that previously seen universe would indicate that Monica is actually in a different world from the one we saw in Multiverse of Madness. That means there are at least two parallel universes in the MCU in which X-Men exist and have interacted with the main MCU timeline. And if there are X-Men in these alternate realities, it could suggest there might be some variation of the X-Men and mutants already present in the main MCU timeline.

The other shocking thing that happens in the credits scene is the reference to Binary. In the comics, Binary is Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers’s most powerful form. Carol becomes a cosmic entity and this allows her to travel at the speed of light and command the power of the stars. While this comic book incarnation possesses Carol’s human consciousness, their Binary is referred to as a higher or more powerful autonomous being. She’s an ally to the X-Men (mainly because the X-Men are in space a lot and because the X-Men are friends with Carol) but prefers to travel and adventure solo in the cosmos, zooming from galaxy to galaxy. The X-Men usually stick close to Earth.

Given that Binary is associated with Carol Danvers, it could be that the woman Monica thinks is her mom (and again, played by the same actress) is actually that universe’s variant of Carol. Or, perhaps in that universe, Maria Rambeau becomes Binary herself, which would explain why she doesn’t know Monica.

What’s clear is that the introduction of Binary and twisty reprisals of all these X-Men characters are going to spur fan theories and speculation — and that’s something Marvel needs given the lackluster state of the MCU. It’s an exciting crossover with a lot of potential. The rub is that we’ll only find out exactly how the X-Men will factor into the MCU when Monica and the trio reunite — whenever that may be.