Given that Spider-Man: Far From Home is a Sony film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rather than the usual Disney film (because Sony currently holds the film development rights to Spider-Man and his rogues’ gallery), it’s natural enough to wonder whether Far From Home sticks with the by-now-standard Disney MCU pattern of adding extra scenes in or after the credits to tease the next film in a series, or pay off plot points from earlier in the movie. In fact, Far From Home has both a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene, and both of them are unusually key to enjoying the film.
Warning: gigantic spoilers ahead for Spider-Man: Far From Home — and for Captain Marvel.
What happens in the mid-credits scene?
Spider-Man: Far From Home ends with Spidey, aka Peter Parker (Tom Holland), taking his lady-friend MJ (Zendaya) out for a pretty terrifying-looking web-swing around New York City. The mid-credits scene returns to them just minutes later, completing their swing with MJ, now frizzy-haired and shaken, suggesting that they should never do that again. But then both of them have their attention diverted by a news broadcast. A video clip has surfaced from the last confrontation between Spidey and Mysterio, Far From Home’s seeming hero, who revealed himself as a villain with a secret agenda earlier in the film. In this highly edited clip, Spider-Man appears to order Mysterio’s drones to kill people (the phrase “Execute them all,” out of context, now seemingly refers to victims rather than to shutdown orders). Mysterio claims Spidey “says he’s going to be the new Iron Man,” implying Spidey murdered Mysterio out of jealousy because Mysterio was stepping up into that role. And then he outs Spider-Man as Peter Parker.
So is Mysterio actually dead?
Let’s hope not! The MCU has a running problem with creating compelling villains with relatable goals, and Mysterio is one of the franchise’s best villains so far. Like Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he’s another victim of Tony Stark’s casual megalomania and disregard for other people, and he’s a strong counterweight to Spider-Man’s grief and loss in Far From Home. And his illusion tech enables some terrific scenes of fast-moving, disorienting environments that shift every few seconds. It’d be a shame to lose him this early.
But the video release doesn’t mean he successfully faked his death — given that he’s working with a team of smart, technologically savvy, grudge-holding people who could have edited and released that tape to avenge him. Still, it’s worth holding out hope. Yes, EDITH confirmed that all of her drones and projectors were offline when Peter asked if Mysterio’s death was another illusion, but that doesn’t necessarily prevent Mysterio from having another projector or other contingency plan that wasn’t tied to EDITH — and as we saw throughout the movie, he’s a careful long-term planner. Besides, the rule of sequels suggests he’ll be back regardless, if Far From Home makes the money it’s projected to make.
How does the scene improve the story?
MCU cutscenes often tease the next big film on Marvel’s docket, but usually, those connections are fairly unrelated to the actual movie that just played — they’re teases for a completely different film with different characters. In this case, Sony likely isn’t part of the next MCU movies that are lined up for Marvel’s presumed Phase Four, so it’s just teasing its next Spider-Man movie — which is apparently going to shift the focus away from Peter Parker’s school adventures and romantic life, and have him dealing with the fallout of being outed as a superhero.
Given how lively and jokey Far From Home is, it may be that the next Spider-Man movie will largely play off his outing as a joke. After all, Far From Home mines multiple gags out of Peter’s rival Flash (Tony Revolori) idolizing Spider-Man while sneering at Peter, and it’s always seemed like that dynamic was a setup for a big comic payoff when Flash finds out they’re the same person. But Far From Home also repeatedly makes it clear that the people Peter cares about — his Aunt May, his classmates, his newly minted girlfriend — are soft targets for his enemies, and his new prominence on the international stage just means more enemies to come after his friends now that his identity is public.
But that aside, it’s a fun scene because it so deliberately bookends the existing MCU movies, capping off more than a decade of filmmaking. Back in 2008, Iron Man kicked off Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it ended with Tony Stark proudly proclaiming to the world, “I am Iron Man!” This final film in Phase Three is so closely tied to Peter’s feelings about losing Tony, and about his attempts to measure up to Tony — which he arguably does in stepping up, saving lives, and reclaiming Tony’s tech. And then in the movie’s final moments, we get to see how far he still is from being Iron Man — he isn’t ready to publicly claim his identity, or to deal with the fallout. It’s a parallel scene to the end of Iron Man, but it’s also meant to show the vast gap between Iron Man and Spider-Man.
Besides, it finally sets up one of superhero comics’ most famous long-standing non-super rivalries: Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons, who played Jameson back in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films from 2002-2007) pops up to announce that Spider-Man is a public menace. Jameson’s classic hatred of Spider-Man is an integral part of the superhero’s classic world, and bringing Simmons back is a terrific in-joke for longtime cinematic Spider-fans.
What happens in the post-credits scene?
This one will instantly make sense to MCU fans who’ve seen Captain Marvel, and it’ll be baffling to everyone who only casually drops into the Marvel films featuring their favorite characters. In the post-credits scene, Nick Fury and Maria Hill are driving together when they both shapeshift into green, scaly, pointy-eared aliens. “How was I supposed to know the whole thing was faked?” one of them complains, referring to the elemental attacks around the planet. Ultimately, the two aliens agree they have to call up the real Nick Fury, who appears to be vacationing on a beach somewhere, although it turns out to be an elaborate hologram on a ship in space. (Perhaps it’s faux-Tahiti? As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. watchers know from the running joke on that show, Tahiti is a magical place.) “Everybody back to work!” Fury says, as he wanders out of the hologram and goes looking for his shoes, preparing to end his vacation early.
Wait, what’s going on here?
The two aliens are Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) and his mate Soren (Sharon Blynn), a pair of shape-changing Skrull introduced in Captain Marvel. Originally presented as villains who steal people’s shapes to infiltrate other cultures, the Skrulls were eventually revealed as refugees, desperately fleeing the persecution of the alien Kree. Toward the end of Captain Marvel, the remaining Skrulls end up finding a new home aboard the high-tech space-lab of Captain Marvel’s mentor, Mar-Vell, which is where Fury is vacationing after the epic battles of Avengers: Endgame. Apparently Talos and Soren were tasked with helping Fury out by keeping the home fires burning on Earth in his absence.
How does this fix Spider-Man: Far From Home’s biggest plot holes?
There are a lot of seeming problems with Far From Home, and they all revolve around Nick Fury’s weird actions and weirder inactions. Why does he fixate on a reluctant 15-year-old as the only possible solution to the elementals attacking Earth? He claims no other heroes are available to deal with the problem, but he only name-checks three of them, when Endgame has given us a big, intense look at the now dozens of heroes available on Earth. When Peter accidentally unleashes a missile at his romantic rival Brad and nearly blows up his entire class, Fury chides him for it, but doesn’t make any attempt to take the missile system away from Peter. During the climactic fight with Mysterio, Fury just stands by and watches, without taking any action — he even leaves Maria to snipe the drone that’s about to murder him. Since when is Fury so checked-out and incompetent?
The answer to every Nick Fury-related question in the film is the same: that’s not Nick Fury! It’s someone much less practiced in the job, someone who has Fury’s resources (assuming the real Nick gave him full access, which is a big assumption) but not his specific experience with Earth and its problems, and apparently not his insight. Stories about young heroes (like the Harry Potter books or some of the X-Men movies) often have to find ways to sideline the adults in the story so they don’t just neatly clean up all the messes and leave the protagonists with nothing to do. Here’s a novel approach: “Yeah, the adults who should be handling this problem are weirdly prone to bad choices. That’s because they’re probably handling the problem like they might have in their own culture, or on their own home world.” Poor Fury. He just wanted a little time off after more than a decade of stressful movies, and then getting Blipped for five years.