Howard the Duck in 'Guardians of the Galaxy': Is he ready for a comeback?

Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:40 PM ET

We’re going to talk about the Guardians of the Galaxy end credits scene. And yes, I can hear your sighs already.

Why the sighs? Three reasons: 1) The Guardians of the Galaxy end credits scene has already been discussed to death. 2) Marvel movie end credit scenes, as a whole, have absolutely been discussed to death. 3a) THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD. Stop reading now if you haven’t seen the film and still want to be surprised. 3b) As Marvel movie end credits go, it was a complete joke.

And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

If you care about such things, by now you’ve probably heard that the post-credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in the ruined museum of The Collector (Benicio del Toro) and features a brief cameo by none other than Howard the Duck.

The reaction by audiences has been decidedly mixed. Some have been delighted. Most have been baffled. Many have said, “That’s it?”

Yeah, that’s it. And I tip my Star-Lord space helmet to Guardians director James Gunn, for not only giving the awesome-yet-maligned Howard the Duck a brief moment in the spotlight, but for also saying a hearty “phhbbbt” to moviegoers who have grown increasingly obsessed with these post-credit teases.

For those who’ve never heard of Marvel’s anthropomorphic waterfowl, Howard the Duck is a feisty, horny, cigar-chomping citizen of the planet Duckworld, brought to Earth against his will. He had his own (surprisingly successful) comic in the 1970s, and his own (diabolically awful) live-action, George Lucas-produced movie in 1986, co-starring Back to the Future’s Lea Thompson. He still pops up as a guest star in Marvel comics from time to time.

How he ended up as a prisoner of The Collector isn’t clear, and probably isn’t important. (Fun fact: If you look closely over The Collector’s left shoulder in the scene where he’s being introduced to the Guardians, you can see Howard languishing in his glass cage in the background.)

Despite the pipedreams of some fans, he’s not there to set up a standalone Howard the Duck movie. While Marvel’s slate of films leading up to The Avengers 3 in 2018 hasn’t been fully announced yet, there’s no way a Howard the Duck flick is on the books, not when Marvel has a huge stable of other heroes they’ve already expressed interest in reviving. One franchise about unknown misfits and a talking animal is enough for Marvel right now, and given how rapturously audiences have reacted to Guardians’ computer-generated rodent, a Rocket Raccoon prequel spinoff would be more likely than a Howard the Duck movie.

I honestly believe Howard the Duck’s inclusion in Guardians of the Galaxy is simply James Gunn’s way of saluting one of comicdom’s most unique heroes, while also telling fans that just as not every superhero movie has to feature earthbound heroes in capes and tights, not every superhero movie has to have a post-credits scene that teases another instalment. Sigh with contentment, not with exasperation.

Twitter: @stevetilley

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca


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