All about “stingers”

The Avengers, exhausted from saving the world, eat shawarma in a bombed-out diner.

“Stingers,” aka “post-credit scenes,” are those awesome little clips that reward the patience of that intrepid moviegoer who, resisting his or her comrades’ rush to the parking lot or the restroom, remains seated for the entire credits of a motion picture. Just when this film fan thinks it’s all over…a little gem of a scene pops up, giving much satisfaction and perhaps a slight feeling of superiority.

The term “stinger” is also applied to extra scenes or bloopers shown during the credits, which are also a ton of unexpected fun, but to me, they’re not as gratifying as true post-credit scenes.

A stinger is the sign of filmmakers who really love movies. I can picture these people wanting to share that feeling of not wanting to leave the cinema. The stinger becomes an in-joke between the makers of a film and its fans, and may also complete the story or hint at further developments taking place after the time included in the movie.

Text advertising the next installment of a movie series (“James Bond will return in…”) had been around since From Russia With Love (1963), but according to Wikipedia, “[o]ne of the earliest appearances of a true stinger” was in The Muppet Movie (1979). The earliest movie stinger I can remember is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, in which the main character, having demolished the fourth wall throughout the film, appears and says to the audience, “It’s over. Go home!”

Comedy and action-adventure seem to provide the majority of post-credit scenes, although some horror films have them. The Avengers cycle has delivered a few of my favorites.

The Avengers (2012) actually had two stingers, one involving The Other and Thanos, and this one:

Recently I ran across MediaStinger, a site which exhaustively catalogs scenes that run during and after the credits in movies and video games. Consult this site before going to the theatre and you’ll never miss another stinger. Details and spoilers are thoughtfully hidden behind a link. Comments are not hidden though, so don’t scroll down too far if you want to preserve the surprise.

The most recent post-credit scene I’ve seen (I don’t think this is a spoiler anymore) is the very fleeting one in Django Unchained. What is the first stinger you remember seeing, and what are some of your favorites?

8 thoughts on “All about “stingers”

  1. Great post, Paula! I had no idea “post-credit scenes” is called “Stingers”! I LOVE the hidden ending of Thor, I mean anything with Loki me likey, ahah. I have to check out Media Stinger, great find, doll!

      1. Ahah yes indeed! He’s not classically beautiful but yet sooo fetching. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I mean Hemsworth is gorgeous but he’s more of a physical presence y’know what I mean? But Hiddleston has got that sexy intellectual thing going on, a bit like Branagh in a way, perhaps that why they got along so well!

  2. Wow, I was very “meh” on House on Haunted Hill (and I’m a sucker for a ghost story), but that stinger was great.

    I laughed pretty hard when I saw the one at the end of Idiocracy, with Upgrayedd going all the way to the future to collect his money.

    1. As luck would have it, I haven’t seen either of those. I appreciate the heads up, you just never know what you’re going to see 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, John!

  3. Two stingers for the price of one. So Wolverine was pretty terrible as a piece of filmmaking, but with the post-credit scenes it was almost as if Gavin Hood had realised things had gone badly wrong and tried to make up for it.

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