Summary

  • The Disney+ timeline was surprisingly accurate in providing the order of events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with only a few minor mistakes.
  • The official timeline book clarified that Iron Man 3 takes place in Christmas of 2013, resolving contradictions within the film about the year it was set in.
  • The events of the She-Hulk series spanned an entire year of Jennifer Walters’ training, according to the official timeline, adding depth to her character’s development.

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s official timeline has clarified several facts about Marvel’s sprawling entertainment franchise. As a long-running series with such a rich cinematic history, the series has woven an intricate timeline across over 30 of the MCU’s films. Though generally consistent, the MCU has been plagued by a few continuity errors over the years, a sure result of the many directors, writers, and showrunners the universe has been passed between.

On October 24th, Marvel Studios finally released the hotly-anticipated MCU official timeline book. At long last, many debates revolving around the placement and canon status of many Marvel projects have been put to rest. However, the definitive map of Marvel’s chronology has also unearthed some surprising reveals and clarifications that the films haven’t been able to state so bluntly, making the gorgeously illustrated art book an important keystone in understanding the MCU timeline.

10 The Disney+ Timeline Was Surprisingly Accurate

Loki in the Avengers and the MCU Sacred Timeline

Before the release of the official MCU Timeline, the Disney+ menu was the closest thing to a definitive order of events. Because of the tumultuous chronology of the long-running movie franchise, complete with flashbacks, time travel, and multidimensional shenanigans, the accuracy of this list was unclear. However, it seems as though the streaming service’s version of events was shockingly accurate when compared against Marvel’s own records.

Related: Every MCU TV Show Ranked Worst To Best

The only major mistake the Disney+ timeline conceded was the inaccurate placement of Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Some had previously raised objections to The Eternals also taking place around the same time, considering Ajak’s repeated statements that it had been 5 years since Thanos’ snap. However, it seems Ajak was only guesstimating, and considering her lifespan of millions of years, it’s easy to forgive.

9 Iron Man 3 Takes Place In Christmas Of 2013

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Iron Man 3 giving the Mandarin his address

Iron Man 3 had many contradictory statements within the film as to the year in which the action was taking place. The fuzziness comes from many characters referencing that it had been “13 years” since New Year’s Eve, 1999, putting the film around 2012. On paper, the New Year of 2000 to 2013 makes the math check out, but in reality, barely entering the year 2000 would put the difference as closer to 13 years. To add to the confusion, a newspaper seen briefly in the movie is dated 2013.

Thanks to the art book, the year of Iron Man 3 is finally clarified as taking place in 2013. This is supported by one of Tony’s quips in the film, jokingly asking Maya if she has a 12-year-old in the car, which she corrects. If she had been pregnant, their hypothetical kid would’ve been 13 after their last meeting on New Year’s Eve, 1999.

8 She-Hulk Trained For A Year

She-Hulk-Episode-1-Bruce-Banner-Jennifer-Walters-training-on-beach-island-1

The events of the exclusive Disney+ shows have often been murky when retroactively applying their longer chains of events to the pre-existing movie timeline. Thanks to the new book, it seems that the longest-running series in terms of chronology was actually She-Hulk. Along the official timeline, Jennifer Walters is given a placement in the early months of 2025.

At first glance, it seems this entry must refer to her origin, as depicted in She-Hulk’s eponymous show. But the end of the series remains the same along Marvel’s calendar, meaning that her training with Bruce, though feeling like only a few months, actually spanned the course of an entire year. The only other possible explanation is that Jennifer Walter’s namedrop in the book refers to some other significant event between her origin and the main events of the show.

7 Thor Had Come To Earth In Between Civil War And Infinity War

Thor: Love and Thunder included a heartbreaking montage chronicling Thor and Jane Foster’s relationship. However, Thor being on Earth caused some confusion. The montage includes times when Thor was previously thought to be off-world, following the events of Captain America: Civil War and the subsequent break-up of the Avengers.

This lines up with Thor’s own breakup with Jane being listed on March 17th, lining up with his painfully accurate memory in Thor: Love and Thunder. Though Thor was likely infrequently present on Earth, his absences being fuel of their breakup, he was at least on Earth during several points after the Avengers’ feud. This also means that Groot had a massive growth spurt in between the mere two months between Thor’s film and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

6 Cosmic Intervention During The 40s, 50s, and 60s

Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt's Red Skull in Captain America The First Avenger

The MCU has explored little of the Earth’s past prior to the events of Iron Man in 2008. Other than the obvious period piece in Captain America: The First Avenger, the earlier parts of the twentieth century are given little spotlight. It seems a lack of divine intervention is to blame for this lull in activity, as defined by The Marvel Cinematic Universe – An Official Timeline.

The book explains that, while the Earth had become more powerful during this time, it hadn’t yet reached notoriety on a galactic scale. The section covering the 40s, 50s, and 60s goes on to explain that Cosmic intervention was “believed to have been minimal during this period”. This careful word choice is interesting, considering the clarity with which the book approaches other topics, meaning that more intergalactic activity may have taken place in the earlier days of the MCU.

5 Old Marvel Shows & Movies Are Canon… To The Multiverse

MCU's Avengers and Fox's X-Men

The MCU was never the only player in town when it came to storytelling using characters from Marvel’s comics. Sony’s Spider-Man films and Fox Studios’ X-Men series were always providing healthy competition, the legal aspect of using these characters making them inaccessible for Marvel Studios under Disney’s umbrella. Now that the MCU has greater unfettered access to Marvel Comic’s full catalog than ever before, the official timeline takes the time to retroactively include their past competitors into their own world.

This had already been explored with the inclusion of past Sony Spider-Men in Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, it seems the MCU isn’t stopping there, with that film as well as the Loki series providing a great avenue to canonize all of Marvel’s live-action offerings thanks to the multiverse. Kevin Feige himself hinted at big plans to include more of these characters in a massive multiverse crossover saga.

4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Canon Status

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson with the cast of Agents of SHIELD

The superhero spy-thriller series Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. has long held a curious spot in Marvel’s official canon. Though it included returning Marvel alum, Agent Coulson, as a primary antagonist and frequently made references to the larger MCU, the favor was never returned. The utter lack of consequence or appearance of any character or event in the long-running show made it a questionable inclusion when laying out the MCU at large.

It seems as though The Marvel Cinematic Universe – An Official Timeline has put the final nail in the coffin for the possibility of the series being canon. Agent Phil Coulson’s death is solemnly remembered in the book without any mention of his resurrection or continued efforts to protect the world from superhuman threats. However, this only applies to the main “Sacred Timeline” along which the MCU runs, meaning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could exist within the multiverse as a branching path.

3 The Official MCU Universe Name

Sacred Timeline breaking open in Loki season 1

With so many divulging timelines and budding universes, the MCU can be difficult to even discuss without proper terminology. Luckily, The Marvel Cinematic Universe – An Official Timeline has finally provided the language with which fans can use to discuss the series without heads spinning. The Earth which audiences have grown familiar with over the course of the films has been designated Earth-616 by the official timeline.

Numbering the various incarnations of Earth across the multiverse had become common practice in Marvel Comics for a long time. Even other, non-MCU films, like Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse have done so, with that movie even using going so far as to use its own designation for the MCU’s “Earth-19999”. But according to Marvel’s own bookkeeping, the MCU’s Earth-616 is the number to watch.

2 The Spider-Man 8 Years Later Mistake

Tom Holland's Peter Parker in Spider-Man Homecoming

Of all the MCU’s errors in continuity, none are more grievous than the “8 Years Later” title in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Despite only taking place a few weeks after the Avengers’ Civil War, putting the film firmly in 2016 along the main timeline, a title card in the film claims the action begins 8 years after the Battle of New York in the first Avengers film. Unless the brilliant Peter Parker was held back four times in high school, there was simply no way this title could’ve been accurate.

This had long-confused fans, not knowing whether to believe the caption or their own math. The official timeline has cleared this up once and for all, a cheerful Ms. Minutes of the TVA explaining Spider-Man’s 8 years as an error. The framing of the book as an explanation by the TVA to cover their tracks in-universe is a great tongue-in-cheek way to even canonize the blatant mistakes of the MCU’s timeline around Spider-Man.

1 Scarlet Witch Is Dead

MCU's Scarlet Witch in WandaVision

Beyond the clarification of clerical errors or canonization, The Marvel Cinematic Universe – An Official Timeline has been bold enough to solidify one of the most important events to happen in recent years to the MCU. At the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the spiraling Scarlet Witch destroys the mystical Mount Wungadore, collapsing it upon herself. Though the collapse seems fatal, many fans called the off-screen death a bluff, not believing such a powerful being could perish in this way.

However, it appears that the official MCU timeline confirms Wanda’s death beneath the falling rocks of the mountain. Specifically, the timeline describes the event, as Wanda “destroys Wundagore – and collapses it upon herself – ending two great threats to all of the Multiverse.” This came as a shock to some, as the Scarlet Witch could’ve played a valuable role in the upcoming introduction of the X-Men to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet it seems as though the powerful sorceress had sealed her fate once at for all.

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