If you haven't seen Guardians Of The Galaxy, hie thee to your nearest multiplex / local independent cinema and watch it - not only because it's a good film, but also because you'll need to have seen it before you read the rest of this article, talking as it does about the final credit sting for Marvel's latest blockbuster. In short, here is your spoiler warning. Those who have seen the film, read on.
Recently we spoke to director James Gunn, who explains just how (whisper it) Howard The Duck not only ended up in The Collector's Lair, but at the end of the film, calling out Benicio del Toro's space Liberace for letting Cosmo The Space Dog lick his face. You can read everything he had to say about the tag in full in our Guardians Of The Galaxy Secrests feature over here, but here is just a taste of what to expect.
"I think it was some combination of me and the editor Fred Raskin who said, 'Let’s put Howard The Duck in there. What if The Collector looks over and sees Howard The Duck sitting there?' And I wrote down the line, 'Whaddya let it lick you like that for? Gross.' Fred and I thought it was hilarious, but we weren’t sure that (Head of Marvel Studios) Kevin Feige would go for it. But we told Kevin and Kevin couldn’t stop laughing, so that’s how it came about."
The question is, can a throwaway gag really blossom into something bigger?
"I’ll be honest with you, I was just talking about it with my assistant right now," laughs Gunn. "It’s possible Howard could reappear as more of a character in the Marvel Universe. But if people think that’s going to lead to a Howard The Duck movie, that’s probably not going to happen in the next four years. Who knows after that?"
Guardians Of The Galaxy is in cinemas now, with a sequel set for July 27, 2016.