20th Century Fox
Spoilers ahoy! If you haven't seen "The Wolverine," turn back now!
Director James Mangold wasn't always too keen on the idea, though, or at least he wasn't a fan of them in other movies. As he told reporters on a set visit to Australia last year, "The 'tags after the credits' thing has never been my favorite thing in movies. In theater, there's the idea of the encore and I'm not opposed to it, but what I'm really focused on at this point is the majesty of the best films I see are films that don't panhandle for an extra laugh later, but actually deliver the goods."
When he was in New York City two weeks ago, Mangold elaborated. "When I spoke about that, the question that was asked of me when I was Australia was more about outtakes and jokes and things in the end credits, and what I was getting to is that I feel like we made a dramatic experience with integrity that comes to an end. And I do feel like the birth of some of these kind of buried scenes in the credits, the birth of them came from an effort to actually bolster weak-ending movies. That it was a way of kind of goosing people when you felt like something -- they could use an extra goose on the way out."
Mangold cited comedies of the recent past that had included outtakes and riffs as examples of this sort of Hail Mary move made "from an effort [to raise] their preview scores."
The decision to film the post-credits scene for "The Wolverine" came together once "X-Men: Days of Future Past" went into production. "When I was shooting in Australia, 'Days of Future Past' hadn't even come together yet," said Mangold, "So when I came back, the opportunity presented itself and I worked with ['Days of Future Past' screenwriter] Simon Kinberg on a little scene-lette, and then went up to Montreal and shot it one weekend between -- one weekend while they weren't shooting with Bryan [Singer]."
Those in the know are well aware that Hugh Jackman wasn't the only one in on the joke. Our lips are sealed, but let's just say that rousing an audience of jaded journalists to applause is no small thing.