How Ferris Bueller Influenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Iron Man owes a debt to this ‘80s teenage sociopath
How Ferris Bueller Influenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Apart from his uncanny ability to trick otherwise sensible adults into believing that a mannequin, an ‘80s synthesizer and some fishing line are an infirmed human teenager, Ferris Bueller is a far cry from a superhero. Nevertheless, Ferris went on to inspire one of the most popular superhero franchises in movie history — and no, I’m not talking about how Batman’s Joker clearly stole his parade-disrupting dance routine straight out of Ferris’ hooky playbook.

Yes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would not be what it is today without John Hughes’ classic comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. While it featured no scenes of Ferris traveling through time, or battling Thanos, or soiling himself at a house party, the film did end with a post-credit scene in which Ferris breaks the fourth wall yet again to shoo stragglers out of the theater. 

According to Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige, this moment is what inspired the long-running trend of MCU post-credit scenes, from Nick Fury showing up at the end of Iron Man to recruit Tony Stark, to Harry Styles palling around with CGI Patton Oswalt to whatever it is that happened in the recent Marvel movies I didn’t bother to see. 

As Feige recounted to Entertainment Weekly, he was a “big movie nerd” back in the 1980s and would habitually stay for the entirety of the end credits, not to catch inevitably disappointing bonus content, but out of a genuine desire to appreciate the people who made the film, wondering to himself: “Oh my God, how can I be one of these people whose names are on a movie and get to work on movies?”

When Matthew Broderick reappeared at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Feige was overjoyed: “It was the greatest thing in the world. I thought it was hilarious. It was like a little reward for me for sitting through the credits” (apparently Feige had missed earlier post-credit scenes in movies like Airplane! and some comedy starring Dean Martin). 

The MCU further paid homage to Ferris Bueller with Spider-Man: Homecoming, which similarly found its protagonist briskly trespassing through his neighbors’ homes. One family is even watching Ferris Bueller on their poolside TV for some inexplicable reason.

And Ferris may have been the inspiration for the final note of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, where Bruce Campbell’s character stops punching himself Evil Dead 2-style and turns to the camera, proclaiming: “It’s over!”

Even before Feige’s admission, the post-credit scene of Deadpool (which admittedly wasn’t technically part of the MCU) featured the titular anti-hero in a bathrobe admonishing audiences, just like Ferris.

So if the next Captain America movie finds Cap making a detour to an art gallery and having an existential awakening while hyperfocusing on a Seurat painting, we’ll know why.

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