Warning: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
It’s safe to say that Avengers: Endgame is making a splash, even by Marvel standards. One of the many twists of this particular viewing experience is the post-credits scene — or rather, the lack of one. Fans who patiently waited through an exhaustive credit sequence were disappointed to learn that this film didn’t include additional footage. It did, however, include a certain sound.
If you stay until the very end of the credits, you’ll hear a clanging: the sound of “a hammer banging metal.” Disney has confirmed that this is the sound of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) building his first-ever Iron Man suit — a poetic touch for a couple reasons. Iron Man was the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, back in 2008. As the end to the Avengers sequence, it seems fitting that Endgame would pay tribute to where it all began.
Then there’s the emotional resonance: Tony Stark doesn’t make it to the end of Endgame, but the post-credits nod demonstrates how important he is to the Marvel universe. His death is a heroic moment: having stolen the Infinity Stones from Thanos, he quickly creates a “makeshift gauntlet” that fits into his Iron Man suit. He snaps his fingers, wiping out Thanos and his army but killing Stark in the process as well. His battle call? “I am Iron Man,” the same line he closed out with in the first 2008 film.
By foregoing the traditional post-credits scene, Marvel is signaling that this chapter of MCU is really, truly over. But by including the sound of Stark’s hammer, they’re bringing the Avengers story full circle, and assuring us fans that Stark’s spirit lives on.