Avengers: Age of Ultron ending and post-credits scene explained

Avengers: Age of Ultron's ending teased new beginnings and the ultimate endgame. Here's what it all means.
Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..L to R: Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015
Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..L to R: Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015 /

When The Avengers first united on the silver screen, it was one of the biggest success stories in movie history. Marvel Studios would have certainly been happy with a major hit to cap off the first phase of its relatively fresh shared universe, but few could have forecast just how much of a success it would become, as it went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office. A sequel was inevitable.

Marvel went back to the drawing board to launch Phase Two, giving three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's primary heroes their own standalone sequels so that they could lay the groundwork for the next installment in the Avengers franchise. It worked like a dream all over again, as Avengers: Age of Ultron was released in 2015, bringing together some of the stories that were left over from Phase One and the new ones that began in Phase Two.

The Avengers had quite the battle with the artificial intelligence known as Ultron and if it left you feeling perplexed or in need of some answers, let's dive into what its ending (and its pivotal post-credits scene) all means.

Meet the New Avengers

With Ultron defeated, Tony Stark finally decided it was time to retire Iron Man. He was halfway there already, vowing to take a significant step back in the conclusion of Iron Man 3, but he was always available if his buddies on The Avengers needed his help. But having done that already, he now decided it was time to call it quits. That, and the fact that Hawkeye had also retired and the Hulk had gone missing, meant that The Avengers were in the market for some new teammates.

We met the new team in the closing moments of the movie, as Captain America and Black Widow made their way through the new Avengers Facility (located in Upstate New York) to begin training the new recruits. Those members were: Vision, James "Rhodey" Rhodes (a.k.a. War Machine), Sam Wilson (a.k.a. The Falcon), and Wanda Maximoff (a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch).

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel 2015 /

The first generation of The Avengers has ended at this point, allowing some of the franchise's newer heroes to join the fray. It was a wise choice that ensured the team of heroes would continue on past Tony and Clint's apparent retirements, while also giving characters like Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff (who were somewhat lost in their lives at this point in time) a purpose.

Rhodey and Sam had proven themselves to be trusted allies over the course of the previous films, with the former's status as one of Tony's best friends and the latter's as one of Steve's best friends making them incredibly loyal and welcome additions to the newer Avengers. And then there's Wanda and Vision, both of whom proved themselves as incredibly powerful allies in the fight against Ultron, making them both valuable to the new team.

As Steve and Natasha watched the team assemble before them, Steve simply uttered "Avengers... " before the screen cut to black. If you don't know, he was going to say "Avengers Assemble", but it became something of a running gag for the MCU films not to have him say it on-screen. At least at that point...

The Avengers: Age of Ultron post-credits scene reveals Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet

The mid-credits scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of the shortest in the entire MCU, but it's also one of the most effective. It showcases a brief glimpse of a golden gauntlet that is seemingly locked away before Thanos himself enters the vault and lifts the gauntlet, simply saying "Fine, I'll do it myself."

Throughout the movie we learned more about the power of the Infinity Stones. Vision himself possessed one of them in his forehead; the Mind Stone, a.k.a. the stone from Loki's sceptre. After defeating Ultron, the Avengers converse about the power of the stones and the dangers that they possess, with Thor pointing out that it's no coincidence that four of them have crossed their paths over the past few years. Interestingly, we've only seen them encounter three at this point (The Mind Stone in the sceptre, the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger, the Aether in Thor: The Dark World), so perhaps Thor was familiar with the fourth and didn't reveal which one.

Thanos dons the Infinity Gauntlet in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron
Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Thanos (Josh Brolin) Photo: Film Frame ©Marvel Studios 2018 /

The God of Thunder is right; it is no coincidence at all. Thanos has been waiting for the stones to reveal themselves to him in the hopes that he can unite them and enact his evil plan. After the events of the movie, he decides that it's time to stop waiting and do it himself. The Infinity Gauntlet is the first step to doing that.

This was a pivotal moment for the MCU. Up until this point, we had only met Thanos twice. The post-credits scene of 2012's The Avengers officially introduced him while 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy featured a more in-depth look at him. Bringing him back into the fold in Age of Ultron's post-credits scene did two things: First, it confirmed that the Guardians' story is still directly linked to the rest of the MCU, and it reminded us that he was the biggest threat of all; the endgame of the Avengers franchise that it was building towards.

Needless to say, this sets up the next two Avengers movies, as he goes on to play quite the role in the MCU, dominating Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

What to watch after Avengers: Age of Ultron

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War..L to R: Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) ..Ph: Zade Rosenthal ..©Marvel 2016 /

Avengers: Age of Ultron is one of the most important movies in the MCU franchise. While it doesn't often get the credit for being so (due to the first uniting the heroes for the first time, and the third and fourth officially introducing Thanos' endgame into play), it is responsible for officially presenting the Infinity Stones as the saga's central premise, with Thor telling us of the importance - and the danger - of them.

Wherever you go next in the franchise depends on the reason that you're watching this one. If you're in the midst of your MCU journey and want to view the next movie, then Ant-Man is your next choice as it closes out Phase Two, but there are other routes to take if you'd prefer to catch up with the heroes again.

Ant-Man: The next film in Phase Two of the MCU's Infinity Saga is Ant-Man. Released in 2015, the movie stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang; a former con looking to start afresh after being released from prison when he's presented with an opportunity to do that by renowned scientist Hank Pym. It's an incredibly fun adventure that features an impressive ensemble cast, including Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Anthony Mackie, and Judy Greer. It's also the final movie in Phase Two and, fun as it is, it's an important part in the set-up of Phase Three.

Captain America: Civil War: The first movie in Phase Three is Captain America: Civil War and it's one of the most important movies of the entire franchise as it adapts one of Marvel Comics' most groundbreaking storylines. The majority of the Avengers return here, as they are presented with an ultimatum by the government and it creates tension among the heroes, as Cap and Iron Man strongly disagree on how things should be done. The result is a thrilling film that sets the stage for some of Phase Three's biggest characters.

I strongly recommend watching Ant-Man before this one, however, as the character's introduction plays an important part in this story.

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