What Year Is Captain Marvel Set In?

Captain Marvel 1990s Timeline Problem

What year is Captain Marvel set in? The Marvel Cinematic Universe's first solo female superhero film, Captain Marvel introduces Oscar-winner Brie Larson as the movie's namesake, aka. Carol Danvers. It also winds the clock back in the MCU to the 1990s, in order to explore SHIELD's early days and show how Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) evolved into the eyepatch-wearing warrior that audiences were introduced to in the original Iron Man. Jackson even underwent CGI de-aging in the film, in order to look more like he did back when he was starring in mid-90s movies like Pulp Fiction and Die Hard with a Vengeance.

Indeed, '90s nostalgia has been an important part of the marketing for Captain Marvel. The film's original trailer famously opened with a scene where Carol crash-lands through the roof of a Blockbuster Video store, and subsequent TV spots have featured songs like Hole's hit '90s tune "Celebrity Skin". Captain Marvel's creatives, which include co-writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind), have also acknowledged that they drew inspiration from '90s action movies like Terminator 2 for their MCU film. But when, exactly, in the 1990s does the movie take place?

Related: Read Screen Rant's Captain Marvel Review

As it were, Captain Marvel takes place in 1995. This was semi-officially confirmed last November, when the Disney Japan website specifically listed the film as being set that year. Fortunately, there are details and clues in the actual movie that further confirm the date. For example, the film reveals that Carol disappeared from earth six years earlier in 1989. That means the bulk of the story must take place in 1995 (unless math works differently in the MCU).

There are other contextual clues in Captain Marvel that indicate the film takes place in 1995. For starters, the Blockbuster corporation rebranded in 1996 and its retail stores were renamed Blockbuster, so the presence of a Blockbuster Video confirms that the film takes place before then. There's also a True Lies VHS poster in the Blockbuster Video store where Carol crash-lands; since the Arnold Schwarzenegger action-thriller hit theaters in 1994, that suggests the movie takes place later (namely, 1995). Other details include the presence of the LA transit system's Red and Green lines - which were introduced in 1993 and 1995, respectively - and the film's soundtrack, which includes songs like TLC's "Waterfalls" (which was released in 1995).

Naturally, Captain Marvel's representation of 1995 isn't flawless and there are a few details that feel out of place (namely, the presence of "Rock the Vote" posters that look pretty new, even though they would've been three years old when the film gets underway). At the same time, early reviews have indicated that the movie embraces the spirit of mid-90s anti-establishment rock songs, especially feminist anthems and girl power tunes from that decade. That's to say, the 1995 backdrop serves a narrative purpose that goes beyond simply allowing Captain Marvel to take children of the '90s on a jaunt down memory lane or have Carol wear a Nine Inch Nails T-shirt.

MORE: Captain Marvel: Every Update You Need to Know

Key Release Dates
  • 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
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