Open endings are not for everyone, but sometimes the assurance that there is more to come can be more exciting than a satisfying conclusion. Most of the time, when a new character is introduced at the end of a movie, it means the story will continue, and although it can cause frustration sometimes, the anticipation is usually worth it.
On the other hand, the opposite can also be true, especially when it comes to mysteries and thrillers. Usually, it’s not until the climax near the end that the true culprit is revealed, bringing an exhilarating sense of closure. Either way, mysterious new characters add an interesting new layer to movies, and here are some very clear examples.
Iron Man – Nick Fury
The movie that inaugurated what became one of the biggest and more successful cinematic universes that ever existed, the MCU, came out in 2008, and introduced the world to some of its favorite superheroes. Iron Man focuses on billionaire Tony Stark’s journey not just to become a hero but to become a better person. At the beginning of the show he was an incredibly brilliant scientist but a selfish and inconsiderate man. He only cared about living in excess and paid no mind to the harm the machines he created were causing. But after he’s kidnapped, tortured, and betrayed by the man who had been like a father to him, he’s transformed in more ways than one.
He changes his company’s business completely, he starts using his genius to change the world for the better, and of course, he tells the world he’s become Iron Man.
At the end of the movie, after he’s revealed his great secret, he finds a strange man waiting for him in his house. He introduces himself as Nick Fury, and says he’s there to talk to him about something called the Avenger initiative.
Friday The 13th – Jason
Friday the 13th kicks off showcasing a group of young counselors arriving at Camp Crystal Lake, an eerie spot deep in the woods, portrayed as an idyllic summer getaway that is, of course, the complete opposite.
As the counselors set about preparing the camp, both them and the viewers are informed of how cursed that place’s past is. There is a legend about a young boy named Jason Voorhees who tragically drowned at the camp years before due to the negligence of the counselors. The group pays little mind to the warnings and set out to make the best of their time there, but as the sun sets, the surrounding strangeness becomes impossible to ignore.
One by one, each of the counselors fall victim of the most violent murders, terrorizing the few that are left, and the question of who’s behind them fills everyone’s mind, on and off-screen.
The identity of the killer is unveiled at the end, when Jason’s mother reveals herself, seeking revenge for the death of her son by killing the hapless teens trying to reopen the camp. After she’s defeated, the movie sneaks in one final scare, revealing Jason (looking like a skinny pre-teen) to still be lurking at the bottom of the wake, kicking off a now legendary franchise.
Empire Strikes Back – Lando
The Empire Strikes Back, also known as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, picks up after the rebels’ triumphant but costly victory against the Death Star in the first film. Luke Skywalker, of course portrayed by the brilliant Mark Hamill, is perfecting his Jedi skills under Yoda’s guidance. Meanwhile, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and the droids C-3PO and R2-D2 are hiding out at the ice-covered planet of Hoth.
This movie has one of the most epic battles in cinematic history, as the Imperial forces seek revenge on the rebels by ruthlessly attacking the icy outpost on Hoth and causing significant damage. The iconic AT-AT walkers and snowspeeders go head-to-head in a visually stunning showdown.
With the rebels scattered, they are left alone to face their own challenges. It’s when Han Solo and Princess Leia seek refuge in Bespin that they encounter an old friend, Lando Calrissian, who is the charismatic governor of Cloud City, where they’re hiding. This meeting adds an extra layer of mystery to the story. The tension ramps up quickly towards the end, with Darth Vader growing more and more desperate to capture Luke Skywalker and crush the rebellion.
The Avengers – Thanos
The first incident that brought everyone’s favorite superheroes together in The Avengers was a lot bigger than viewers realized at the time. Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk, Hawkeye, and Thor join forces (somewhat reluctantly at first) when Thor’s brother Loki, the God of Mischief and fans’ favorite villain of the MCU, uses the Tesseract to invade New York and, from there, use his alien army to take over Earth.
There are hints through the plot that tell viewers that there is a more powerful force behind Loki’s plan, but it isn’t until the very end of the movie, after the villain has been defeated, that the real mastermind is revealed. In a scene that lasts but a few seconds, Thanos (though not named) is finally shown, saying that he would “do it” himself, while wearing a gauntlet that, many movies later, the world would come to know.
The Collector – Thor: The Dark World
Thor: The Dark World is as chaotic as a movie can be, with a mix of supernatural problems, grief, and romance. Villains range from resentful brothers to otherworldly creatures, and it is also one of the first introductions of the Infinity Stones, objects that will become essential to the MCU. At the end of the movie, Thor’s crew is tasked with finding a safe place for the reality stone, and they end up finding a man called The Collector, who promises to guard it with his life. Let’s see how that goes.
The Matrix Reloaded – The Architect
The Matrix Reloaded starts right where the first Matrix left off, with Keanu Reeves’ character Neo is coming to terms with his newfound powers as “The One.” Alongside his crew, Neo makes it his goal to destroy the machines that keep humanity enslaved in a simulated reality. It is, of course, not an easy task, and in addition to what he’s already expecting, new challenges come his way. Neo finds the enigmatic Oracle, who gives him a cryptic message that, instead of clarifyin things, just adds more mystery about his role as The One.
The climax is, however, near the end, when Neo finally encounters The Architect. With his cool and calculating demeanor, The Architect finally reveals the truth about the Matrix and Neo’s role in it.
Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is very emotional for a superhero movie. In it, Steve Rogers becomes very disillusioned with the state of the world he’s living in. In spite of the technological improvements and all the superficial changes, he’s disappointed to see how much the injustices of the world have stayed the same. Especially when he finds out that HYDRA, the Nazi organization he thought he had defeated back in the 1940s, turned out to not only have survived but had kidnapped and brainwashed Bucky, his best friend, to turn him into a killing machine known as the Winter Soldier. He destroys HYDRA and sets to find Bucky again, but what he doesn’t know is that one of the last active HYDRA bases in Sokovia is still experimenting with humans in the worst way. At the very end of the movie the audience is introduced to “the twins”, who will then become key players in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
J. Jonah Jameson – Spiderman: Far From Home
When Spider-Man: Far From Home ended, it seemed everything would be okay. Peter Parker had finally told MJ his secret identity, and the two of them were starting a relationship. He had also begun properly dealing with his grief from Tony Stark’s death, and accepting his new role as a full-time superhero. But at the very end, while he was having fun with his girlfriend, he was shocked to find that Mysterio had revealed his identity to the world, and scheming journalist J. Jonah Jameson was ready to help take him down.
Clea – Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was one of the most anticipated movies last year. Not only because the world finally got a sequel for the 2016 Doctor Strange movie, but also for the highly awaited return of the Scarlet Witch after the ending of WandaVision left everyone wanting more. A witch who lost everything, including her remaining humanity, and a self-sacrificing sorcerer who has more than once almost given his life for the greater good make their way through the multiple universes with very different goals in life. A new character, America Chavez, owns the power of traveling through the multiverse, and ultimately is the only one with the strength to defeat the Scarlet Witch.
After a conflicting ending to the adventure, when it seemed like Stephen Strange’s life might go back to some semblance of normalcy, a new power that remains unexplained emerges from him, along with a new character names Clea, who will aparently become very important in the future.
Candyman – Daniel Robitaille
The 2021 movie Candyman tells the story of an artist named Anthony McCoy (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who lives in Chicago with his girlfriend, gallery director Brianna Cartwright. In his search for new inspiration for his work he becomes captivated by the local legend of Candyman after Brianna’s brother tells him about it. Supposedly, saying “Candyman” five times in front of a mirror will summon a vengeful spirit who will bring the most horrid death upon the summoner.
As he keeps researching Anthony uncovers the horrifying story of Daniel Robitaille, a talented African American artist from the 19th century. He fell in love with a white woman and was mutilated and burnt alive for it. The Candyman legend ignites his creativity, and Anthony starts to create macabre and gruesome art pieces inspired by it. In true horror film fashion, as Anthony feeds into the legend, the line between reality and fiction blurs, and the sinister presence of Candyman grows stronger.
As his obsession continues, the artist discovers a disturbing connection between himself and Daniel Robitaille. The urban legend becomes a horrifying reality when a series of horrifying and inexplicable deaths terrorize the neighborhood.
The movie is the perfect thriller, but it’s also a great social commentary, addressing issues such as racism, gentrification, and the brutal reality of historical and intergenerational trauma. Director Nia DaCosta keeps everyone at the edge of their seats, and all the yearning and anticipation pays off at the end, when Daniel Robitaille finally emerges, terrifying and vengeful, showing the world that he was not a simple ghost story, but the reflection of the horrors inflicted by an unfair system that echoes through generations.