Hanging around after a movie is finished to check out a potential post-credits scene has become pretty normal — but you don’t need to worry about that for The Mummy.
[Warning: The following contains some spoilers for The Mummy.]
The Mummy sets up the beginning of the Dark Universe, a cinematic world based around the Hollywood monsters that Universal Pictures owns the rights to. As an action movie — and one that’s trying to set up a series of films to come — a post-credits scene doesn’t just seem likely, but necessary. Instead, nothing appears after the credits finish rolling, and that’s for one very specific reason.
The kind of scene that would traditionally serve as a stinger actually exists halfway through The Mummy.
Think of the post-credits scene that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tony Stark, now Iron Man, is in his home when he sees S.H.I.E.L.D director Nick Fury standing by his window. Fury, played wonderfully by Samuel L. Jackson, asks Stark if he believes that Iron Man is the only superhero that exists.
“Mr. Stark, you’ve become a part of a bigger universe,” Fury said. “You just don’t know it yet ... I’m here to talk to you about the Avenger Initiative.”
With that one sentence, the setup for an entire universe was born. This trend would continue with every single Marvel movie that was released within the newly founded cinematic universe. After the credits roll on The Incredible Hulk, Fury doesn’t show up, but Stark does. It’s a reminder that Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk are connected, teasing the first time the heroes will meet one another.
Marvel has become an expert at teasing the next movie and, considering that Universal Pictures is looking to replicate that formula (and hopefully its success), the post-credits tease seems like a big inclusion. Whereas Marvel waits for the end of the credits before teasing anything, Universal Pictures and director Alex Kurtzman waited about an hour before introducing the Dark Universe’s version of Nick Fury: Dr. Jekyll.
Like Marvel’s Fury, Jekyll — played by Russell Crowe — leaves less than subtle hints that there’s more to come. The most outright comes toward the end of the movie, where he suggests that the only way to combat evil is to pit monster against monster. This alludes to main character Nick Morton’s (Tom Cruise) role to come in a bigger battle than the one he faces in The Mummy, a battle that will see the inclusion of new monsters.
Prior to that, however, Jekyll has a conversation with Morton about a secret organization that exists to hunt, capture and study evil in supernatural beings. There are drawings and anachronistic tools situated around the room, teasing what people can expect. The entire scene exists as a way for Jekyll to introduce Morton and the audience to the idea that a secret organization dedicated to fighting monsters exists — and the hunt isn’t over yet.
Everything that takes place in this conversation is what the concept of a post-credits scene was built on. It’s why there are detailed explainers breaking down what each stinger is alluding to — like this one that Polygon did for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. The post-credits scene is the ultimate cliffhanger for fans to hang onto, but if the movie does what the post-credits scene should, it’s not really necessary.
If anything, it seems like Universal is taking a page from Warner Bros.’ book and not including post-credits scenes just because it’s the trendy thing to do. DC Extended Universe producer Charles Roven told Cinema Blend that although they included a post-credits scene in the past, they weren’t going to add one to Wonder Woman for that exact reason.
“I'm not going to say we'd never do one ... There was one in Suicide Squad. But I don't think that we want to feel that we're forced to do something just because we didn't in the past,” Roven said.
Universal could decide to tease out future movies with post-credits scenes, but for now, having Jekyll at the center of the film replaces that need entirely.
The Mummy will be released into theaters on June 9.