The cliffhanger is one of the greatest tools in entertainment. I’ll explain why later.
Seriously though, we’ve all experienced the cliffhanger: It’s that tension-building moment of uncertainty at the end of a chapter or installment that leaves the audience impatiently awaiting the next one. Some of my favorite binge-worthy TV shows and page-turning novels have been defined by this quality.
A perfect example from modern cinema is the conclusion of 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. While I won’t give anything away, the movie ended with a shocking turn of events that seemed to leave little hope for the franchise’s heroic protagonists. In the 12 months that passed between Infinity War and its sequel, fans waited with rabid eagerness for answers and closure, reveling in theories and hyper-analysis.