One of the problems in creating a massive cinematic universe, especially one that spans many years, is that it takes a lot of effort to make sure that everything fits together in a cohesive manner. This is something which Marvel has worked hard on and generally been successful in achieving through careful planning… until Spider-Man: Homecoming came along.
Traditionally, most Marvel films take place in the year in which they are screened, except in specific cases, like with the first Captain America film taking place in World War II. However, this got a little confusing with Spider-Man: Homecoming when <mild potential spoiler alert> it took audiences back to the events immediately preceding the first Avengers film, contextually 8 years before the present. Considering the first Avengers film took place in 2012, many people would then assume the Spider-Man story would take place in 2020, except only it was a story that was clearly following on from recent events in Captain America: Civil War, which took place in 2016. Confused yet? Well, you along with everyone else.
Marvel is adamant that this is not a faux pax on their part with Marvel-head Kevin Feig speaking to Screen Rant ensuring that they will be releasing timeline soon to try and clear everything up:
All of that debate has encouraged us. We are going to be publishing an official, and I’m not sure when, or in what format, an official timeline. It’ll probably be a part of ah, I don’t know, a part of an in print that you can fold out and look at. But suffice to say, only in limited cases do we ever actually say what the actual years are because we never want to be tied down to a particular year and I think people assume that whenever the movie is released is when is when the movie is taking place, and that is not the case.
Personally, it sounds to me like a little bit of a cover-up from Marvel who are now claiming their movies are not as clearly defined chronologically as we all thought they were. Still, I am interested to see how they claim everything still fits together and I wouldn’t be surprised if they even start displaying the actual year at the bottom of all their movies to start clearing up the confusion that will now exist in fans’ minds.
Previous movies that have run into these problems have generally avoided too many questions from pondering fans because they released sequels several years later in which time many fans may have forgotten certain details of the previous plots. Marvel’s problem, however, is that with them releasing so many movies closely together all the story details remain fresh in everyone’s head and allows them to more immediately pick up their continuity errors.
It still doesn’t detract from the fun of their films though and even if things don’t always add up chronologically, we can still enjoy them for the fun that they offer. I’m keen to see how they piece everything together though. So, if there was really an 8-year gap between Spider-Man and the first Avengers film, when did the rest of the movies take place? Any guesses?
Last Updated: October 12, 2017