The timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be, well, confusing to say the least. One of the biggest issues for fans in recent memory came from a title card in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which placed that film eight years after the Battle of New York in Avengers and thus in 2020. Luckily, Avengers: Infinity War director Joe Russo stepped in earlier this year to explain that the title card was incorrect. Marvel Studios released an official timeline for the films in November to clear up confusion, but there are important dates in the MCU that no film explicitly shows.
Characters have histories that affect their stories and, in many cases, intersect with those of others to form major plot points. The MCU is much older than just what appears in the movies, and we all need some help now and then with placing the cinematic universe's most important events. Check out the video below to get an explanation of the timeline from the beginning of the universe until present.
The trailer for Avengers: Endgame hinted at a time jump, and there have been a lot of fan theories that the movie will involve time travel. If time travel does occur, the timeline is certainly going to be much more difficult to follow, especially depending on what does and doesn't change.
The MCU's upcoming Phase Four will likely complicate the timeline even more. The studio is currently set to create a movie based around the Eternals. Exactly where that will take place in the timeline -- especially considering the destruction of Thanos' home planet Titan -- will likely create some complications. There's also a movie centered around Black Widow in development, which is expected to be a prequel, much like Captain Marvel.
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