Here's what we know about what's coming in Phase 4.
Major "Spider-Man: Far From Home" spoilers below.
How do you follow a movie like Avengers: Endgame? For Spider-Man: Far From Home, it was by deep diving into a meditation on grief and superherodom that deals with the fallout of Endgame while also remembering to have plenty of fun along the way. Now, how do you follow a movie like Far From Home?
In the most immediate sense, that means end-credits scenes, which are largely used to tease what's to come in the MCU. But the Spider-Man follow-up faces something of a quandary: It is the final film of Marvel's Phase 3, and presently, we don't know any of the studio's slate beyond it. (Not officially, at least.) Would Spidey be tipping his hat to Black Widow and her upcoming movie? Or linking up with his fellow Avengers to reveal the new line-up?
How Far From Home utilizes its post-credits real-estate is nothing short of mind-blowing, and below, ET breaks down both scenes and what each might tell us about Phase 4:
What is the mid-credits scene?
The mid-credits sequence continues the final scene of the movie, with Spider-Man (Tom Holland) giving a thoroughly freaked out M.J. (Zendaya) her first swing through the city. As they go to part, with M.J. declaring she's "never doing that again," Peter Parker perches atop a streetlight just as a Breaking News alert sounds on a nearby video billboard, revealing...
J.K. Simmons as classic comic book antagonist J. Jonah Jameson. Never have I ever heard an entire theater scream for J.K. Simmons, and I was there for the opening night of The Meddler. This take on Jameson runs the Inf*W*rs-esque DailyBugle.net, a blowhard "news" personality who claims to have footage of Spider-Man orchestrating the movie's attack on London.
The footage is courtesy of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and is doctored to look like it was Spider-Man who executed the drone orders. It's like Mysterio said all along, the truth doesn't matter. "People will believe anything."
If that weren't trouble enough, Mysterio also broadcasts that he knows Spider-Man's identity. "Spider-Man's name is P--" The camera cuts out. Phew. But the image flickers back to life in time for Mysterio to announce, "Spider-Man's name is Peter Parker." A photo of Peter appears onscreen before the film cuts to black.
There are two massive revelations here that must be discussed:
First, Simmons is, indeed, the MCU's J. Jonah Jameson, after playing the role in the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy. (The character is referenced but not seen in Andrew Garfield's Amazing Spider-Man films.) Ostensibly, this is a completely different Jameson than the one in the Sam Raimi series, but Simmons is still the man behind the mustache.
ET's Ash Crossan has been lending her voice to that specific cause for years now, asking Simmons about the possibility of reprising the role all the way back in 2016, ahead of Homecoming, when a fan petition lobbied for the actor to be cast. "I'll never close the door on anything," Simmons said, reiterating a year later, "Never say never." It's safe to say Simmons is back, and this won't be the last we see of him.
Secondly, after Peter spent the entirety of his European vacation worried that his secret identity would be revealed, the world now knows who's behind Spider-Man's mask. Homecoming threw us a curveball when Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) discovered Peter's super-secret, but now that everyone knows, the MCU is heading into uncharted territory. In retrospect, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) kicked off this Infinity Saga by publicly declaring his identity as Iron Man, and now Peter ends it by having his identity declared for him.
What is the end-credits scene?
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) drive through New York, vaguely discussing the need to tell somebody something. "This is just embarrassing for a shape shifter," Fury says, before turning green and morphing into Talos (Ben Mendelsohn). That's right: It was actually Talos who gave Peter the E.D.I.T.H. glasses from Tony, who ran point throughout this entire mission. Fury is a Skrull!!! Sort of. (Maria, meanwhile, is actually Talos' wife, Soren.)
The real Fury is still accounted for, as Talos phones him on a tropical beach. "You have to come back," he warns Fury, at which point Fury abandons the sun and sand and it's revealed he was looking out on a simulation aboard a massive spaceship full of Skrulls. "Everybody back to work," Fury calls to them.
It's a quick sequence, but one that will fully boggle your mind. I recently spoke with Captain Marvel directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck about a popular theory their movie inspired, that all this time (or at least since the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron) Fury is a Skrull. Here's what they said:
Fans are speculating that at some point Fury becomes a Skrull, because of a certain diagonally cut sandwich scene in Age of Ultron. What was the backstory of the toast line?
Boden: Well, there are two options here. Either Fury became a Skrull or he got over his weird fear of diagonally cut toast, and we'll never know the truth. [Laughs]
Fleck: He actually became okay with people calling him Nick. So, you know, either he's a Skrull or he just changed, like we all do.
Were you surprised by how deeply the fans dug into canon to break down that moment? Or were you expecting it?
Boden: I guess you always kind of expect that that's going to happen, and the folks at Marvel, who've had a lot more experience with this than we have, they did warn us that on every single movie they discover something about their own universe.
Fleck: That the fans tell them.
Boden: Or the fans have dug up that they didn't know about until the movie becomes part of the public. But really, isn't that the beauty about this kind of an art form? Is that it's about more than the filmmakers' intentions. It's always about what it becomes after it's part of the public.
So, how long has Talos been assuming Fury's identity? And where in the cosmos is Fury, exactly? Is he with Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), in cahoots on some other galactic mission? And could his presence aboard the ship tease the introduction of extraterrestrial security group S.W.O.R.D., aka the Sentient World Observation and Response Department?
One thing we do know for sure about what the scene reveals of Marvel's grander plans for Phase 4 is that the Skrulls are very much still in the picture and there are far more than were accounted for at the end of Captain Marvel.
Knowing what we know now, there is a line earlier in the movie that proves especially interesting, an almost throwaway bit of dialogue before Fury and Maria are interrupted by Spider-Man, when we can hear them say, "I thought Kree having sleeper cells was top secret." It seems as if the Kree and Skrull war rages on -- despite Carol's best efforts -- so could the MCU be setting up for a new take on Secret Wars?
"Like the Kree and like humanity, there are good Skrulls and there are bad Skrulls," Marvel Studios president and super-producer Kevin Feige told me about the possibility of adapting that storyline in the future. "I do think to continue fleshing them out and making them these three dimensional actual beings, the Skrulls, you would encounter good ones and bad ones."
The most obvious connection here is that this scene might tee up Captain Marvel 2, though that film has yet to be officially announced and we still have no idea whether a sequel would be set in the '90s or present day. "She went flying off at the end, and then we jump many years into the future," Feige teased. "What happened in that intervening time is something that would be a lot of fun to explore at some point."