The Marvel Cinematic Universe's continuity was put in question this summer with Spider-Man: Homecoming's unclear placement in the timeline, but Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige says an official timeline is on the way. In Marvel and Sony's first joint-venture bringing the third version of Spider-Man to the big screen, many wondered what potential problems could arise as two studios try to work together for the greater good of the character. What was not highly considered thanks to Marvel's involvement was Homecoming messing up the MCU timeline, but it sure seemed like it did.
The problem did not come with just a single scene, but the overall timeline of the story. Thanks to an eight-year time jump between the events of The Avengers and Spider-Man: Homecoming's as revealed in first act, fans immediately were taken back by the movie's primary story presumably taking place in 2020 - and not 2017 or 2018 or earlier where it seemed Captain America: Civil War (which directly precedes Homecoming) actually occurred.
We, and many other curious fans, have attempted to connect the dots to understand the current MCU timeline - including in our breakdown of how things may shake out - and so we went into our interview with the mastermind of the timeline himself today.
Screen Rant spoke to Kevin Feige as part of Thor: Ragnarok's media junket today and asked what the deal is with the timeline and how Spider-Man's time jump makes sense. Feige admits that they were taken aback by the confusion and obsession over the timeline, so much so that they are planning on releasing an official timeline in the near future which will make things clear.
Spider-Man: Homecoming had some ramifications in the MCU continuity in the form of the 'eight years later' moment. This has created debate with fans over what the timeline really is. Everything seemed linear previously You had Iron Man 3 in 2013 Captain America: Civil War in 2016. How is this all working out timeline wise?
Kevin Feige: 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 apart of ah, I don’t know, apart 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.
Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts previously made it known that somewhere in the halls of the Marvel offices an official MCU scroll exists that plots out ever incident to occur in this universe, just so they don't make any mistakes. If Marvel were to release a version of this that covers all of the released films and Marvel One-Shots it would certainly help ease the minds of those worried that continuity is somehow broken.
With Marvel Studios currently producing three feature films a year beginning here in 2017, making it clear when each takes place is not just beneficial, but necessary to allow the stories to interconnect. Earlier this year for instance, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 took place back in 2014, Homecoming at some point in the future presumably, and Ragnarok's placement is unclear too outside if us knowing it's "a couple of years" after Avengers: Age of Ultron.
That said, Marvel's need to address this issue at all comes from the grand plan, the interconnected universe used to tell this long-form story that culminates with Avengers 4 in 2019. As great as the shared universe is, situations like these continue to bring up debates over just how connected these movies should be (not to mention the Marvel TV programming which is ignore by the film side). The less connected they are to each other, the more wiggle room the movies have for creative freedom and to stand alone however, but since the MCU has thrived (in part) due to that continuity, it can't go back on it now.
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017) release date: Nov 03, 2017
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019