Black Panther is a new kind of Marvel movie. It's the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature a predominantly black cast, the first not to star a white male superhero, and the first to be rooted in a country other than the U.S. (not including space). It's a pretty big departure from the Marvel formula, but not so much that it does away with one key MCU feature: the post-credits scene. How many Black Panther post-credits scenes there are perfectly follows the model set forth by Avengers. Like Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming before it, Black Panther has two post-credits scenes. However, unlike those films, both post-credits scenes could be crucial to the MCU going forward.
Slight spoilers ahead! Black Panther had to do two things with its post-credits scenes: 1) make fans long for a Black Panther sequel, and 2) tease Avengers: Infinity War. This means that instead of going for one MCU tease scene and one punchline scene, like the Grandmaster scene in Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther had to go for two more serious, plot teasers. The first post-credits scene (or mid-credits scene) accomplishes the first task by continuing the final events of the film, just in a different scene. The second, however, pushes the story towards Infinity War, similar to how the mid-credits scene in Thor: Ragnarok seemed to hint at the beginning of the next big Avengers movie.
That said, just because the Black Panther post-credits scenes hint at future Marvel movies doesn't mean that the studio was super involved in their creation. MCU head Kevin Feige revealed that post-credits scenes, or "tags" as he calls them, aren't always mandated by the studio, even when they do lead into other films. "Sometimes we conceive of the tags during development, sometimes during production, sometimes during post-production," Feige said in an interview with /Film.
Post-credits scenes might feel calculated to fans, but it turns out there's actually quite a bit of creative license when it comes to making them. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler confirmed that Marvel never told him he had to make a specific post-credits scene to feed into Infinity War. "We weren't asked to do it," he told Radio Times. "Obviously it ties in, but the studio didn't force our hand, or tell us what the post-credits scene should be."
Without going into spoilers, it's safe to say that both Black Panther scenes will have significant weight for the MCU going forward, but how will they rank among Marvel post-credits scenes past?
As far as Infinity War information goes, the second Black Panther post-credits scene is most akin to the Captain America: Civil War post-credits scene in which Captain America dropped Bucky (a.k.a. Winter Soldier) off in Wakanda. Not only did the scene set the stage for a Cap-Black Panther alliance that could potentially feed into Infinity War, it also gave fans their first look at Wakanda and it's advanced technology. Where a potential Black Panther sequel is concerned, the first post-credits scene is more like the post-credits scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming. In other words, it plays into a potential conflict in the sequel, not a future Avengers movie.
With so much anticipation building for Avengers: Infinity War, fans are hanging on to any little bit of information they can get. Unfortunately, for non MCU fans, that means staying in the theater to watch the post-credits scenes will be mandatory. And fortunately for MCU fans, the two Black Panther post-credits scenes will keep you entertained until Infinity War hits theaters on May 4.
May the Marvel post-credits scene tradition live long and prosper.