Su­per­heroes are com­ing to the big screen faster than a speed­ing bul­let, and there’s no stop­ping them. Just how did it come to this?

HWM (Malaysia) - - THINK -

If you feel like you can’t hit the cinema these days with­out see­ing a su­per­hero movie, you’re right. This year alone, we’re sched­uled to have Dead­pool, Bat­man v Su­per­man, Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War, X-Men: Apoca­lypse, Sui­cide Squad, and Doc­tor Strange play­ing in the the­aters — that’s six su­per­hero movies in just one year!

And there are many more com­ing. The var­i­ous stu­dios in­volved have re­leased time­lines from now un­til 2020, and if ev­ery­thing works out, 27 more su­per­hero movies will be com­ing in the next four years, which makes an av­er­age of six to seven movies a year. Not to men­tion all the spinoff su­per­hero TV shows that are al­ready on the air, or yet to come.

If you think this is all too much, you have one movie, and one post-cred­its cameo, to blame.

How a sin­gle post-cred­its scene changed ev­ery­thing

There have al­ways been su­per­hero movies and TV se­ries. The list ranges from clas­sic (if painful), like the campy Bat­man TV show from the 1960s, to for­get­table (if beau­ti­ful), like Helen Slater as Su­per­girl in the 1984 movie, to land­mark (if, well, Michael Keaton), like Tim Bur­ton’s 1989 Bat­man movie.

And while movies in this cen­tury, like 2000’s X-Men, and 2005’s Bat­man Be­gins did well at the box of­fice, it was re­ally Iron Man that changed ev­ery­thing, in 2008. Un­til Iron Man, the movie stu­dios had been con­tent to take char­ac­ters from comics, and run them as in­di­vid­ual movies. While char­ac­ters and cast might make a re­turn in se­quels, like in the X-Men movies, they never tied to­gether across sep­a­rate ti­tles; Christo­pher Nolan’s Bat­man Be­gins never even hinted at Su­per­man’s ex­is­tence, much less had him ap­pear in a cameo.

Iron Man, though, in­tro­duced some­thing that au­di­ences take for granted to­day — the por­ten­tous post-cred­its end­ing scene. Af­ter the cred­its fin­ish rolling on Iron Man, a mys­te­ri­ous Nick Fury sug­ges­tively asks Tony Stark if he thinks he’s the only hero in the world (hint), omi­nously tells Stark that he’s just be­came part of a big­ger uni­verse (hint, hint), then di­rectly name­drops the “Avengers Ini­tia­tive” on him (hint, hint, hint!).

Keep in mind that this is a full four years be­fore the Avengers movie ac­tu­ally hits the screen. This years-long story arc is pos­si­ble be­cause of that uni­verse Nick Fury talks about —

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