Captain Marvel is set in the 1990s, but what year exactly does Marvel's next movie take place in? Like Captain America and Wonder Woman before her, Brie Larson's Carol Danvers will be a superhero out of time, coming from the past to join her team in the future.
That past is a nostalgia-heavy take on the 1990s. This was confirmed by Kevin Feige at SDCC 2017 and a host of Captain Marvel set photos have shown off Carol's love for bands like Guns N' Roses and Nine Inch Nails, as well as Samuel L. Jackson looking more like Pulp Fiction's Jules than the modern-day Nick Fury. However, none of this has really helped us figure out the exact year. Thankfully, the trailer drops some more specific clues.
Related: Captain Marvel Trailer Breakdown
The Captain Marvel trailer opens with Carol falling from the sky into a Blockbuster Video store. While this may seem like effortless millennial pandering, it actually really helps place the film: Blockbuster Video stores were rebranded as just "Blockbuster" in 1996, meaning Captain Marvel must be set before that. Shortly after, we see Carol in the 7th Street/Metro Center LA subway station (evidenced by signs pointing towards the Blue and Red Lines, which only intersect there). The Red Line was opened at this station in 1993. Later (when she punches the old lady), she's on a train with a Green Line map, which opened in 1995. All of this means Captain Marvel has to be set in late 1995 or early 1996.
Before the Captain Marvel trailer, the range of potential years the film could be set in was much wider. Carol's bands of choice were actually from the 1980s, while the only clear reference to 90s pop-culture was Coulson's love of M.C. Hammer, who rose to fame in the year 1990. James Gunn did once hint at 1992 trend of backward jeans (although in a jokey sense) and photos allegedly showed campaign posters for Clinton/Gore of that same year, but these new details from the trailer would seem to override that.
Of course, it's worth noting that all of the details discussed are ephemera, rather than concrete parts of the narrative. It's entirely possible that Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden's film is going for a more evocative sense of 90s nostalgia, and these details are done for feel over accuracy: using 7th Street station, for example, could supersede when it was actually open. Anachronisms like this aren't uncommon in period movies, especially those that tell otherwise fictional events. Only time will tell.
What's important, for now, is that whenever Captain Marvel is set we're yet to see anything that directly contradicts the potential years it takes place in. Hopefully the same will be true of how it fits into wider Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity...
- 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