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Marvel Studios has changed Hollywood in many ways since 2008, but certainly one of the most notable is the use of post-credits sequences. Ever since Nick Fury popped up at the end of Iron Man, audiences have been trained to stay in their seats after the end credits start rolling during the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe chapter. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues this tradition, but does so in a completely new way: it actually features five different post-credits sequences.
Joss Whedon blew everyone's minds when he delivered two post-credits sequences in 2012's The Avengers, but James Gunn decided to more than double that number in the making of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As you would expect, they are a nice blend of future planning and funny bits -- and we've put together this guide to help explain exactly what's going on.
SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains major spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know important details about the ending, please bookmark this page and return after your screening!
Kraglin Tries Out His New Arrow
Rather than hat-tipping towards the future or adding any fun Easter eggs, the first post-credits scene in the first Guardians of the Galaxy was simply a funny moment -- featuring Baby Groot dancing to the Jackson 5 while trying not to get caught by Drax. James Gunn kept that as a growing tradition in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is why we have a nice moment where Kraglin is trying to get a handle on using Yondu's special fin and whistle-controlled Yaka Arrow.
As the Ravager who remained loyal to Yondu until the very end, Kraglin got his own very sweet moment at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and is given his captain's special arrow. Unfortunately, it turns out that Kraglin isn't a guy who is big on safety when practicing with deadly weaponry. With Cheap Trick's "Surrender" playing in the background, the post-credits scene has him standing in the hallway of a ship trying to get a handle on his new gear with a stable whistle, but the arrow winds up getting away from him... and impales itself in Drax's shoulder. While Kraglin has no idea what to do, the Destroyer screams in pain to weirdly comedic effect, and the Ravager slinks away before sprinting off.
Being a simple bit featuring familiar characters, there isn't a ton to break down here -- but it is a funny moment. We asked actor Sean Gunn about the possibility of seeing Kraglin with the fin in The Avengers: Infinity War, but thus far all of his work on the Joe and Anthony Russo-directed blockbuster has been as the on-set reference actor for Rocket. Still, it's entirely possible that we will see Kraglin with some master whistle-arrow skills when he shows up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in a few years.
The "Original" Guardians Reunite
While Yondu is briefly initiated as a member of the titular gang alongside Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Mantis and Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in the comics he was originally part of a very different roster of anti-heroes with the same name. Back in 1969, writer Arnold Drake and artist Gene Colan featured him as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy team from the year 3000 in an alternate dimension... and it's a version of that same unit that comes back together in the second post-credits scene of James Gunn's second Marvel movie.
The sequence picks up shortly after Yondu's funeral, and primarily focuses on a speech delivered by Stakar Ogord a.k.a. Starhawk (Sylvester Stallone). While acknowledging his not-so-great history with the notorious blue Ravager, he notes that Yondu's death did manage to unite a team that was for the longest time divided: a crew including the crystalline Martinex (Michael Rosenbaum), the hulking Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), the beautiful Aleta (Michelle Yeoh), the just-a-helmet Mainframe (the voice of Miley Cyrus) and the serpent-esque Krugarr (a CGI character). Of course, now that they are back together, they plan on staying together, and the scene ends before we can hear their first move.
Though it's not exactly the original roster from the comics, this Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scene brings together what is commonly referred to as the Guardians of the Galaxy 3000 team, clearly setting them up for a larger part in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Like just about every other Marvel Cosmic character introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, their histories have been seriously altered -- as they are no longer from another dimension/the future and were initially brought together as Ravagers -- but it's still very exciting for fans to see such obscure characters get live-action adaptations. The a few of the characters are individually shown before the end of James Gunn's movie, each in separate ships at Yondu's funeral, but we will soon see them fighting together.
We got confirmation from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige that this post-credits scene has nothing to do with The Avengers: Infinity War, and is exclusively pointing towards Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 -- but beyond that we really don't know much about the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy 3000 unit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One thing that's worth mentioning is that by the time we catch up with them again at least four years will have passed because of the way the timeline of the franchise works. We'll have to wait and see if writer/director James Gunn has his next blockbuster fill us in on what Starhawk and Co. have been up to since the conclusion of this sequence.
Adam Warlock Is Coming
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ayesha is dealt a series of losses consecutively. Sure, she gets a win at the very start when the eponymous heroes successfully slay the Abilisk and protect the Sovereign's precious batteries... but hiring the gang also allows Rocket to steal from the batteries from them, and then Ayesha repetitively fails to destroy the Guardians as punishment. As such, when we catch up with her in the third post-credits scene, she is quite dismal and facing discipline herself -- but she has a plan.
The sequence begins with Ayesha looking dismal, still internally dealing with the fiasco surrounding the battle in and around Ego The Living Planet. She is told by an approaching underling that the council is waiting for her, and she admits that she has wasted resources in her mistakes. She reveals that she has been keeping a secret, however, and has been using a new kind of birthing pod to develop what she describes as the next step in Sovereign evolution -- creating a being who could help destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy. And she is going to name him "Adam."
This post-credits scene is basically Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's way of announcing that Adam Warlock will soon be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 to be specific, according to Kevin Feige). A character with a long and complicated history, he was first introduced in 1967 -- though was originally only identified as "Him," and didn't go by the name Adam Warlock until 1972). Slightly different than what we'll see on the big screen, the comic book counterpart was created by a group called The Enclave to be a perfect being who would do their willing -- but it didn't take long for Adam to break from their sinister clutches. Outside of his conflicts with Thanos, he is best known for his clashes with what is called the Universal Church of Truth, which is run by a corrupt leader known as the Magus, who is revealed to be a future version of Adam Warlock himself.
So what can we expect from Adam Warlock in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? Well, Ayesha's warnings certainly suggest that he will be born as an antagonist for the titular crew, but his history in the comics suggests that it will not take an excessively long time for him to break from his chains and join the good guys. As a result, the film could put a battle between Adam Warlock and Ayesha front and center (literally Him vs. Her) -- but given the aforementioned time gap, it's also possible that the blockbuster will catch up with Adam long after both his birth and rebellion, and will find a different narrative to craft around him.
Groot Is Growing Up
Thanks to the four year gap between Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Avengers: Infinity War, Groot will likely look a lot more like he did in the first Guardians than Baby Groot when we see him next on the big screen. The good news, however, is that James Gunn didn't spare us the sight of Groot growing up, as the fourth post-credits scene in the 2017 blockbuster focuses on what we'll call Teenage Groot.
Picking up some time after the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the sequence begins with Peter Quill finally assuming a parent role as he finds his way into Groot's quarters -- which are a total mess. As Peter steps over piles of flora and trips on vines, he complains to his growing crewmate about his attitude and hygiene, but Groot couldn't care less, as he is far more interested in playing his video games than doing anything else. The scene concludes with the great line, "And now I know how Yondu felt."
James Gunn has previously described Baby Groot as having the mentality of a two year old, and given the fact that Vol. 2 takes place two months after the first Guardians of the Galaxy, it seems that his maturity rate approximately equivalates a month as a year. As such -- and this is far from scientific -- we can estimate that this scene takes place about a year after the events of the sequel, which means about three years before he turns up in The Avengers: Infinity War (where, according to this math, he will be about 48 years old).
Vin Diesel has said that audiences really haven't actually seen "full-fledged working-man Groot" on the big screen yet but it's possible that's what we'll be getting when we meet him again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Will he be a different kind of being due to being raised in a completely new kind of environment? We'll have to wait and find out.
Stan Lee Needs A Ride
The final Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 post-credits scene is the only one to take us back to a scene earlier in the movie - similar to the first Guardians, which returned audiences to the decimated lair of The Collector. In this case, the blockbuster goes back to one of the best cameos we've seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Stan Lee hanging out with The Watchers.
As we have described in other articles, The Watchers are ancient aliens who have existed since the dawn of time and live to observe the universe (specifically showing up during times of great importance). We learn in Guardians 2 that Stan Lee is an associate of these beings, and that each of his big screen cameos have featured him playing the same character. The post-credits scene continues Lee's interaction with the aliens and ends with The Watchers leaving the Marvel Comics co-founder alone and stranded without a ride off the barren celestial body (which may or may not be the blue area of own Moon).
There has been a rumor floating around among Marvel fans for years now that Stan Lee has been playing the same character in every movie -- including the non-Marvel Cinematic Universe titles -- and his part in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does its part to confirm the truth in that idea. We don't really expect it to have any kind of lasting impact on the future of the franchise, but it certainly will change the way we watch all of Lee's cameos from now on.