An official Disney website has finally confirmed that Captain Marvel is set in 1995. Until now, it had only been confirmed that this film was set in the 1990s; this gives a first concrete sense of where Captain Marvel should be placed in the MCU timeline.
Marvel's Phase 3 has taken place completely out of sequence; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is set in 2014, and both Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming are based in the immediate aftermath of Captain America: Civil War. But the timeline is most surprising when it comes to Captain Marvel, which is essentially something of a prequel story for the entire Avengers franchise. It's previously been confirmed that the film is in the '90s, and features a younger Nick Fury and rookie S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson. But the question of where exactly it sits in the timeline has remained a mystery.
The official Disney Japan website has answered that question at last; it specifically states that Captain Marvel is set in 1995. This fits perfectly with the trailer itself, which had offered clues as to the film's setting. In one scene, Carol came crashing down to Earth in a Blockbuster Video store; given Blockbuster rebranded in 1996, that confirmed that the movie couldn't take place in the late '90s. Towards the end of the trailer, in an infamous scene in which Captain Marvel punched an elderly lady while they were on a subway train, a map for the Los Angeles Green Line is visible in the background; the Green Line only opened in 1995. Thus, the trailer had strongly suggested a late 1995/early 1996 setting.
Ironically, this does cause some minor continuity problems in terms of the overall design. Set photos have shown "Rock the Vote" posters on various walls, featuring designs used by MTV for their 1992 campaign. It's likely that Marvel just used stock posters dated back to the '90s, of course, and didn't think about the specific year they were released; in-universe, it's easy to simply assume nobody bothered to take them down or replace them.
The Disney Japan website also contains a very interesting reference to the plot of Captain Marvel; it describes this as the story of "the birth of the Avengers." It's clear that Nick Fury's encounter with Captain Marvel will itself be the event that inspires him to pursue the Avengers Initiative all those years later. That's a smart move, essentially turning Captain Marvel into the secret origin of the Avengers and tying it in to the main brand ahead of Avengers 4.
Source: Disney Japan
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019