Director James Mangold isn’t too happy with movies tacking scenes (sometimes known as “stingers”) onto the end credits. Speaking at the 2018 Writers Guild Association Beyond Words Panel in Los Angeles on Thursday, Mangold said [via Digital Spy]:
“Now we’ve actually gotten audiences addicted to a fucking bonus in the credits. It’s f**king embarrassing. It means you couldn’t land your f**king movie, is what it means. Even if you got 100,000 Twitter addicts who are gambling on what f**king scene is going to happen after the f**king credits, it’s still cheating. [Post-credits scenes are] selling them the next movie while you’re making this movie, and kind of all that shit that I find really f**king embarrassing Like, that audiences are actually asking for scenes in end credits when those scenes were first developed for movies that suck, so they put something extra at the end to pick up the scores when the movie couldn’t end right on its own f**king feet.”
Mangold then took to Twitter to further explain his comments [which I’ve condensed for clarity]:
Many folks commented on my diatribe re: end credits scenes. Good points made by some who disagree. My vehemence comes from a belief these scenes r cinematic MSG/crack. Of course they feel good. They are designed to do that, like ads, as they hook you to buy the next film, and at the same time, I feel like the omnipresent expectation of them cheapens the integrity of a theatrical experience as the movie doesn’t stick its ending but rather dribbles to an end with a series of pleasing vignettes/ads for the thing they will sell you next year… So its not so much the scenes I despise as much as I fear that movies (an art form I deeply love) are not advanced when they are no longer functioning as a form with a beginning middle and end but rather as part of a serialized money machine. These scenes promote a slightly false sense of fully realized “universe” as if everyone behind scenes knows exactly what’s next in a saga, when the truth is a bit less charted despite what many tell a sycophantic press that makes $ on the “universes” & the gossip mill they create.
Lastly, the term “easter egg”‘s a bit infantile &, at least 2 me, feels condescending toward a thoughtful & intellectual audience that might be treated w/ more respect than imagining them as kids jumping around trying to guess storylines from breadcrumbs dropped by corporations.
One more thing. The argument that these scs. make people watch end credits is just lame. If you have to offer shiny objects to keep people watching the names of the crew, then they are not showing an ounce of respect for the crew. Just waiting like dogs for milk bones.
On the one hand, I can see where Mangold is coming from (and based on his strong feelings on the matter, I think we can safely assume that putting a teaser for Days of Future Past in the credits for The Wolverine was not his idea). A stinger is an ad, and while some could treat it as connective tissue, it’s really meant to get you excited for the next thing. And it can have a bad effect on audiences. I’ve been to multiple screenings where the audience clearly loved the movie, but when the entire credits rolled and there was no teaser for the next film, that same audience whined and groaned liked they’d just been denied dessert.
That being said, I can’t deny that I also find stingers to be fun when they’re done well. Although some teases have become a bit tedious or underwhelming, they also provide fun little notes that may not fit in the overall movie. But more than that, Mangold knows that he’s in a business, and while it would be nice if he could create a pure piece of art, commerce matters. It’s up for debate how much these ads help boost the next film, but I think the MCU speaks to creating a fanbase that feels like they’re following a big story. That doesn’t mean every movie needs stingers, but I wouldn’t rail against all of them in the same way I wouldn’t say “All superhero movies are for children,” or “Movies can only be one way.”
I think Mangold’s beef is legitimate and worth considering, and while I don’t think stingers are going away anytime soon, he makes a good argument. What do you think? Do stingers diminish the overall film or do they serve a purpose outside of just teasing a future installment? Sound off in the comments section.