ENTERTAINMENT: No More Post-Credit Scenes?

 

Wonder Woman (2017) and The Mummy (2017) have pulled off fantastic feats in their formats, and I think they're going extraordinary places with it: without stomping in spoil territory, I can confidently announce that neither film contains a mid-credits sequence or a special post-credits scene. What does this say about big-cinema mindset and customer acquisition? It's an interesting curve, especially for films locked into larger-than-life shared-film universes.

Divine heroine-goddess Diana Prince made her debut in the 2016 controversial epic Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, premiering as the Trinity and Justice League member Wonder Woman in a small but enticing supporting role, meant nothing more than to expand the universe set by the standalone, rigid Man of Steel (2013), which featured no references to, and no indication of, the existence of other top-tier DC Comics superheroes. That film was never meant to...but BvS was, and went so far as to abandon the original plan for a standalone trilogy for Superman in order to advance the genesis of the DC Extended Universe, DC's own silver-screen shared world of heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses. The character of Wonder Woman, specifically, felt brought in to matriculate fans to the concept, potentially even more than the DCEU's brooding new lead himself, Batman.

Woman Woman was cripplingly successful. The Mummy, however, was slammed for a myriad of reasons--apparently even the combined star power of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe couldn't save this monster movie rehash--and the most evident point of contention appears to be how it should have (and how intent it was on) opening the doors to a wider world, reviving of the original cinematic universe brought by Universal's Monsters films in the 1920's all the way to the 50's. At nearly every turn, the film reminded the audience that there are "other Monsters" out there both verbally and visually, so much so even that it hardly felt like its own movie and rather just an entry point to this new "Dark Universe". At least seven films are planned for the Dark Universe already, with big names like Javier Bardiem and Johnny Depp attached to future roles. 

The DCEU is a years-tardy game of catch-up to Marvel's groundbreaking cinematic universe, the MCU, which prides itself on fun, often-mysterious post-credit scenes that give off a whiff of what's next to come. Not quite as blatant as James Bond's captions of which movie he would definitely return in from the earlier 007 titles, but just enough to keep steady the audience until the next go-round, whatever hero would star in it. More recent MCU films have christened tradition to include both a mid-credits scene and a post-credits scene. (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 went full-atomic and included a total of five mid- and post-credits scenes!!) So, it came as a huge surprise to me that shared-universe titles like Wonder Woman (the 4th film in the DCEU) and The Mummy (the 1st film in the Dark Universe) had no mid- or post-credit scenes.

Admittedly, I loved the omission of post-credit scenes in both films. What a breath of fresh air. Seriously.

I reckon the post-credit-scene method of keeping the audience reeled for future films is really Marvel's game, anyway. Was it was not both exciting and intriguing when this was executed early on? In the first Iron Man film, it wasn't Iron Man 2 that was teased....it was the Avengers. And lo and behold, four years and four films later, The Avengers finally arrived in 2012 to attempt to lay waste to The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises. Obviously, the method worked. With repeated post-credits scenes in The Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Captain America all regarding the then-future Avengers film (Iron Man 2's post-credit scene teased the then-upcoming Thor instead), it went on to become the first MCU film to generate over one billion dollars in ticket sales. So why wouldn't DCEU and Dark Universe replicate MCU's formula to the tee? Because originality matters. Nowadays, more than ever.

The Mummy did not need post-credit scenes. It spent most of its running time hinting at the larger universe anyway. The only thing a post-credits scene could do is say exactly what the film itself had said, and nothing more. Besides, it'd be quite a challenging feat if they were able to somehow to tie in The Mummy to the Dark Universe's reportedly next entry, The Bride of Frankenstein. Wonder Woman didn't need one, either. Part of what made the movie magnificent was its ability to exist on its own. Unlike BvS--overloaded with heroes and villains in the form of lead roles, supporting roles, and cameos--Wonder Woman existed simply onto itself, comfortably within the confides of its own context, without reaching too far vertically for easter eggs, cameos, and references into November's release of Justice League, or horizontally (i.e. Suicide Squad) to beat audiences over the head with the fact that somewhere out there, while Diana is collecting ancient artifacts, the Flash is simultaneously saving lives, Batman is grumbling, and dirt is still levitating off of Superman's grave. 

Even with the mostly-unfortunate lineup of future film projects in Fox's own X-Men universe coming up, this year's Logan--a loosely conclusive entry in the 17-year-long-plus franchise--stayed on the definitive course and omitted any type of post-credits scene as well. Personally, I'm hoping major Hollywood studios and directors catch on and take heed. The over-saturation of post-credit scenes seems non-existent, and only because we've been desensitized by quality scenes for ten years now, but seeing The Mummy, Wonder Woman, and (to a lesser extent) Logan have absolutely no mid- or post-credits scenes really snapped me awake. It all gave me hope for a film that doesn't have to ever rely on them, and maybe---just maybe---we can rely on quality films that know how to do squats and work those legs, and run on their own.

Maybe.