We imagine you were spellbound throughout the end credits of Marvel's Black Panther, gripped not only by Kendrick Lamar's rocking soundtrack but also the possibility of end credits goodness.
Director Ryan Coogler's record-shattering movie maintains this Marvel tradition by presenting us with two extra sequences, one that alludes to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and another which... Well, why don't you scroll down to find out?
SPOILERS! GO NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN BLACK PANTHER
The United Nations
Black Panther touches on a host of intriguing topics that play to the heart of current global concerns. At the heart of the movie is a tension between isolationism and globalisation, as the African kingdom of Wakanda struggles between maintaining its rich historical traditions, and opening its borders to the outside world. And little wonder, given that they sit upon the world's richest source of vibranium – the strongest metal in existence – which could spell disaster if found in the wrong hands.
Following the defeat of insurgent villain Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), rightful heir T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) re-ascends to the throne. He then makes the decision for Wakanda to integrate more effectively with our planet as a whole. To that end, he establishes the first ever Wakandan outreach centre in Oakland, on the site where Killmonger's father was killed by T'Challa's father, King T'Chaka. Spearheading this move will be spy Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and T'Challa's gadget-tastic sister, Shuri (the scene-stealing Letitia Wright).
Pausing briefly for the first bout of credits, we then get a brief sequence as T'Challa briefs the United Nations in Vienna. He sets out the stall for both Wakanda and the future Black Panther movies as a whole, announcing that his vibranium-rich home will no longer hide from or resist outside influence. With CIA agent Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) watching closely, T'Challa is asked what Wakanda could possibly offer the rest of the world.
Our title character responds with little more than a sly smile before we cut back to the credits.
This is sure to set up Black Panther 2, already in the planning stages with Coogler set to return. What would be the consequences of Wakanda establishing itself as a global power? As we've already seen from the Avengers: Infinity War trailer, the landscape comes under attack from the forces of Thanos (Josh Brolin), forcing T'Challa to team with the likes of Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans).
Is this a direct result of Wakanda coming out to the world? Are they risking too much exposure to both real-world and intergalactic threats? If so, we can possibly expect the topicality and rich themes of the sequel to deepen in complexity as the franchise moves forward.
Cast your mind back to 2016's Captain America: Civil War. Rogers' old pal Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) was implicated in the Vienna bombing that claimed the life of the aforementioned King T'Chaka. This put him on a collision course with the vengeful T'Challa – until it was revealed that Bucky wasn't in fact responsible. Instead, he was brainwashed by the insidious Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), forcing him to go on the run from the authorities.
A truce is finally established during the mid-credits scene, during which time Bucky is granted asylum in Wakanda and put into cryogenic sleep as a cure for his brainwashing is sought. Rogers warns T'Challa about the consequences of people coming for his old friend. "Let them try," is T'Challa's response.
Fast forward to Black Panther. Bucky wakes up in lush and vibrant surroundings of Wakanda itself, watched over by Shuri. As he emerges from a hut and comes to terms with his new environment, she informs him that there is "much more to learn." Cut to black.
If we marry this up with the action teased in the Infinity War trailer, it seems like Rogers' dire prophecy may have come true. Is fugitive Bucky's presence in Wakanda placing the entire kingdom under threat? Even if that is the case, there's also a positive uptick to all this: by helping Bucky, it shows how Wakanda is now willing to embrace outsiders, and how it's growing as a nation.
But there may also be wider implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. With speculation raging as to whether Rogers will make it out of Infinity War or its 2019 sequel alive, there are rumours that somebody else may take up the Captain America mantle. This includes actor Sebastian Stan himself.
"I would love that one day, absolutely [but] I don't know when that day would be," Digital Spy reports him as saying. "It would be a very different Captain America. You wouldn't be able to have the same Captain America as you have him now because he's a different guy. And again, there's this issue where we gotta get [Bucky] to be trustworthy enough for them to give him that responsibility, to fill those shoes... and those are hard shoes to fill."
He adds: "I think it's possible one day, I really do. I just think it has to make sense and we might need a little more time."
Given Bucky's history is so closely bound up with that of his super-soldier friend (we were introduced to them both back in 2011's The First Avenger), perhaps this isn't such a massive leap of faith as it seems. Whatever the consequences, by being granted his own end credit scene it surely re-affirms that Bucky will be a key player in the upcoming Infinity War.