There are plenty of fun surprises and important reveals before the credits roll on Spider-Man: Homecoming: Michelle (Zendaya) off-handedly says that her friends call her M.J., the same nickname as Peter Parker's longtime love, Mary Jane Watson. There is a glimpse of what might be the Iron Spider suit, as well as a (standing?) invitation for Spidey to join the Avengers. Plus, Pepper Potts returns after an off-screen split with Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War -- and who knew it would feel so good to see Gwyneth Paltrow again? All that before a single credit appears, and then there are the post-credits scenes.
In the mid-credits scene, Adrian Toomes aka Vulture (Michael Keaton) is behind bars when he encounters Mac Gargan (Better Call Saul's Michael Mando), an associate who was part of a guns deal gone bad aboard a ferry earlier in the movie.
"What are the odds you and I would end up at the same summer camp?" a bloody-eyed Mac asks, and then threateningly intones to Toomes that he has some "boys on the outside" who would love to "meet" Spider-Man.
"If I knew who he was," Toomes lies, "he'd already be dead."
The tattoo on Mac's neck -- a scorpion -- is the only clue needed to know which villain he is set to become in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Mando confirmed on Instagram: "Stiinggg !!! Over the moon to be playing my favorite Super Villain THE SCORPION!!!"
So, who is Scorpion and when will we see him next? Mac Gargan made his first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man #19, a private investigator tasked by the Daily Bugle publisher, J. Jonah Jameson, with exposing Spider-Man. Mac later subjects himself to lab experiments that infuse him with arachnid DNA, and he ends up losing his mind a bit. (That first part, at least, has seemingly been retconned, as the last time we saw Jameson was when he was played by J.K. Simmons in the original Spider-Man trilogy.)
Despite appearances by an embarrassment of classic Spidey villains -- Tinkerer (Michael Chernus), Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine) and the Prowler (Donald Glover) -- this sting, no pun intended, is indication that Scorpion will be one prominent villain for Peter in 2019's Spider-Man: Winter Formal (or whatever they end up titling Homecoming 2).
There is, however, another option: Mando's Instagram includes the hashtag #spidersmakegoodappetizers. Perhaps his appearance in a Spider-Man movie is his formal introduction before continuing on to Sony's upcoming Venom movie with Tom Hardy (fun fact: in the comics, Scorpion is eventually exposed to a Symbiote and becomes Venom, and later a villainous version of Spider-Man) or as some rumors claim, the Black Cat and Silver Sable teamup, Silver and Black. Yet, seeing as neither of those movies will take place within the MCU -- technically, they are set in an adjacent SpideyVerse seemingly without a Spider-Man -- I can't imagine Marvel Studios would be so generous as to establish a baddie just to pass him off. Only time and a few more Spider-Man movies will tell.
The after credits sequence (yes, there are two tags) involves Captain America and needs no explanation. So, on the off chance that you're reading this without having seen the film, I'll hold off from speaking much about it. Because the surprise is absolutely worth the wait.