Massive spoiler alert warning: We're breaking down what that end-credits tease means for the future of the MCU and which fan-favorite superhero it introduces.
Massive spoilers for "Avengers: Infinity War" below.
Have you collected your jaw from the ground yet? The final minutes of Avengers: Infinity War are a full-on gut punch. After Thanos (Josh Brolin) completes his Infinity Stones set and half the heroes we know and love have dissolved to ash, the Mad Titan looks out over a lush hillside and smiles. Then the credits roll.
There is no mid-credits scene in Infinity War, only the title appearing onscreen and then slowly disintegrating to dust, a too-soon reminder that Earth's mightiest heroes now consists solely of Iron Man, Steve Rogers/Captain America, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, War Machine, Okoye, M'Baku, Nebula and Rocket. If they are going to defeat Thanos, they'll need a little help. Which brings us to...
The End-Credits Scene: An eye-patched Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and his S.H.I.E.L.D right hand woman, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), neither of whom has appeared on the big screen since 2015's Age of Ultron, are driving through New York City. "Still no word from Stark?" Fury asks.
"No, not yet. We're watching every satellite on both hemispheres but still nothing," Maria tells him. Beeping alerts her to "multiple bogeys over Wakanda," clocking 10-times bigger energy signatures than what the Q-Ships piloted by Thanos' minions. All of a sudden, an SUV spins out and crashes in front of them, but when Maria goes to check on the passengers, there is no one behind the wheel. Then, off in the distance, a helicopter spirals downward into a skyscraper.
"Call Control," Fury instructs. "Code red."
Except Maria has already started going to ash. Fury runs to the car and grabs some sort of beeper-like comm device. "Oh, no," he says as he too begins to flake away. "Mother f--" He's gone, the transmitter falling to the ground as the distress signal is...
". . ."
And then a star-like logo appears onscreen.
It's Captain Marvel! Unlike the green and grey suit Brie Larson's Carol Danvers was seen wearing on the set of Captain Marvel, the logo in Infinity War is her signature scheme of red and blue. The point of the tag is fairly clear: Captain Marvel is out there, somewhere, and she may be our heroes' only hope.
(A small behind the scenes tidbit: While principal photography on Infinity War wrapped at the end of last summer, Jackson and Smulders did not film their scene until January of this year.)
Captain Marvel will seemingly be a major player in Avengers 4, when the movie arrives May 3, 2019. The Russo Brothers already confirmed she would be appearing in the film during ET's Infinity War set visit, when they said they were "really proud of being able to introduce" her, later clarifying that they were "speaking about both films as if they were one film in our minds."
Larson will make her official debut in Captain Marvel's solo film two months before then. That movie, out March 6, will take place decades before the events of Infinity War, however, in the '90s, when she and (a de-aged) Nick Fury first cross paths.
"It's really fun…to see Nick Fury with hair and two eyes and a completely different demeanor before he realized there were superheroes in the world, before he realized there were threats from above," Kevin Feige recently told me. "He was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent coming out of the Cold War and thinking his most exciting days were behind him."