“Save us all from the state we’re in.”

I can do this all day

'Hawkeye’s post-credits scene is way more important than you think

Post-credits scenes are a Marvel institution. From Nick Fury appearing in Tony Stark’s penthouse to Harry Styles as Eros in Eternals, there’s always room for a shocking reveal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But with Hawkeye, the bonus scene was nothing but a full-length version of “Save the City,” the big ensemble number from Rogers: the Musical, the Broadway show Clint takes his kids to in Episode 1.

That’s right, the final piece of content from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2021 was a musical number starring a bunch of unknown actors cosplaying as the Avengers. Some fans might be annoyed (others delighted), but beyond being a victory lap for Marvel, Hawkeye’s only post-credits scene could be setting a new precedent with major ramifications.

Hawkeye’s post-credits scene, explained

“Save the City” was Hawkeye’s little nod to the greater MCU, a way to juxtapose Clint’s quiet demeanor and family life with the glitzy mythological existence of the Avengers. Captain America is the ideal hero, and Hawkeye is... also there. And so is Nat, which prompts Clint to reflect on his grief.

So why bring this story back to “Save the City” in its final moments? Well, it’s a musical theater staple that goes back centuries: an encore. After serving as nothing but glorified set dressing, the song is brought back to take the spotlight. Not only does this give Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman’s hilariously tongue-in-cheek lyrics the attention they deserve (“We’ll blame you then, but you’re good for now,”) it also allows the real stars of the song, narrators Adam Pascal (Roger from Rent) and Ty Taylor (the voice of Lester from Vinyl) to get their credit.

“We love all kinds, but Loki, you don't belong.”

This is probably the first MCU post-credits scene to look backward instead of forwards. It may seem strange, but it’s exactly what Hawkeye calls for.

The entire series reflects on the past: Kate’s experience during the Battle of New York, Clint’s past as Ronin, and Natasha’s sacrifice. The only logical choice is a look back at a fan-favorite moment from the show.

Hawkeye may set a precedent within the MCU, at least on the streaming side. Without post-credits teasers, these self-contained TV shows can actually stand apart from other projects, allowing them to succeed (or fail) on their own merits. Maybe WandaVision is required viewing for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier provides essential context for Captain America 4, but Hawkeye feels more like a fun bonus prelude for the next step in Kate and Clint’s (and Echo and Yelena’s) journey, not a necessity.

Hawkeye never took itself seriously, so why should it be paired with a grimdark post-credits scene?

Marvel Studios

The Inverse analysis — If there’s one thing that Hawkeye never did, it was take itself seriously. Between the holiday cheer that permeated throughout, the banter between Yelena and Kate, and the whole concept of the Tracksuit Mafia, the series used levity to cover its themes of loss, grief, and trauma. The best way for it to sign off is with a self-aware victory lap of its funniest moment.

This isn’t the end for huge post-credits reveals (Spider-Man: No Way Home proves those aren’t going anywhere), but it does fix a major issue with them. Shocking moments have become so expected they’re basically compulsory, but Hawkeye throws a wrench into Marvel’s machine. Maybe post-credits scenes can just be a little bonus content. It’s not groundbreaking, but it is fun.

Hawkeye is now streaming on Disney+.

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