How amazing was SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING?! It was worth all the hype in my eyes. Everyone involved did a great job bringing a 15-year-old Peter Parker to life. At the same time, it feels that Spider-Man belongs in the larger MCU. Balancing Iron Man in the movie as a supporting character must have been tricky, but it was executed well. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is still a Spider-Man movie at heart. Overall, it was everything a high school superhero movie should be. What’s more, HOMECOMING gave us some dates and a timeframe for Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Here’s a look at the MCU Timeline and what we know so far!


The “first” AVENGERS movie would have to be CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. Steve’s origin story happened back in World War II, hence why he is called “the first Avenger.” Throughout the 1940s, Steve Rogers would become Captain America and fight for the American army. In 1945, Cap crashed his plane into the Artic, leaving him frozen until THE AVENGERS.

2008 is famously the year when the first IRON MAN was released, and also the year when Tony Stark becomes Iron Man. Tony gets kidnapped for three months in Afganistan, builds the Mark I with the help of Yinsen Ho, and then returns to Manhattan a new man. IRON MAN 2, a direct continuation of the first movie, happens in the same year.

But, Wait, There Is More!

The second movie reveals that the arc reactor, the device keeping Tony alive, is killing him at the same time. At the end of IRON MAN 2, Tony gets together with Pepper Potts. He also officially accepts the position of consultant for the Avengers Initiative, offered to him by Nick Fury.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK starring Edward Norton is the forgotten child of the MCU. It also takes place in 2008, in parallel to IRON MAN and IRON MAN 2. While Tony was getting kidnapped and becoming a superhero, Bruce Banner was on the run from General Ross.

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In an attempt to take down the Hulk, Ross creates the Abomination. However, Bruce teams up with Betty, Ross’s daughter, to defeat the Abomination and escape capture. At the end of THE INCREDIBLE HULK, we see Tony make contact with General Ross to throw him off Banner’s trail.

Amusingly enough, Thor was also making his way to Earth in 2008. This makes a lot of sense because we see that Agent Phil Coulson called away from monitoring Tony in IRON MAN 2. The end credit scene revealed that the urgency involved Mjölnir, Thor’s hammer. Tony’s line about Fury’s “super secret boy band” is starting to become clearer if all of these elements were happening concurrently.

MCU Timeline


Now, this is the surprising twist! According to SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, the Chitauri Invasion occurred in 2008. We see Adrian Toomes gathering artifacts left over from the battle with a November 2008 timestamp. Despite its 2012 release date, THE AVENGERS movie happened in the same year Tony became Iron Man. No wonder the man was suffering from PTSD and anxiety in IRON MAN 3 (we get it now!)

If the AVENGERS happened in 2008, that means while Tony was busy fighting off palladium poisoning, Bruce was evading General Ross, and Thor was getting his magical powers back, SHIELD was secretly defrosting Captain America.

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I bet Nick Fury was already nursing a massive headache from all the superhumans suddenly appearing all at once, and then the aliens had to come. As we know, the Avengers banded together and defeated the Chitauri, but not before Manhattan was facing imminent danger of becoming a nuclear crater.

Directly following THE AVENGERS is IRON MAN 3, which in MCU canon happens in 2009, not 2013. As we know, at the end of IRON MAN 3, Tony gives up his suits and retires from being a superhero. This is where it gets interesting.

Is AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Part Of The MCU????

If AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is a part of MCU canon, then that means THOR: THE DARK WORLD happens in late 2013 or early 2014. In season one of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., there is an episode that directly deals with the consequence of Thor’s battle with Malekith.

That means after THE AVENGERS, it took Nick Fury a couple of years to bring Phil Coulson back to life. It also means that Iron Man was retired for 5-6 years. It’s understandable why Tony could not help Steve and Natasha in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. That movie was set in 2014 and Tony did not have any suits.

MCU Timeline

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.1 and two both take place in 2014. Peter Quill was kidnapped in 1988, and the movie itself marked a 26 year time leap. With AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, the MCU timeline starts catching up with time in the real world. AGE OF ULTRON was released in 2015 and takes place in 2015 as well.

Tony starts rebuilding suits after being targeted by Hydra in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER. Also, he starts making the Iron Legion. The Hulkbuster, aka V.E.R.O.N.I.C.A., also wasn’t some nifty trick that was magically churned out. Bruce and Tony probably had been working on prototypes for a while before they sent something to store in space. Bruce and Natasha also had five years to cozy up.

It also makes sense that Pepper wasn’t in the second AVENGERS, despite being in the first one. She’s probably pissed off; she and Tony were in a relationship for 5-6 years before Tony puts on the suit again. Creating Ultron, that line of “Isn’t that why we fight? So we can end the fight? So we get to go home?” and Tony’s stance on the Accords is a lot more powerful we take into the account that he does not want to be an Avenger anymore.

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Steve and Tony also had five years to form a close friendship. Since CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER happens in 2014 and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR happens in 2016, that means Steve had two years to tell Tony about his parents.

Present-Time MCU

MCU Timeline

ANT-MAN takes place after AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, neatly welcoming Scott Lang into the MCU in 2015. ANT-MAN also gave a cameo to Sam Wilson and showed off the Avengers Compound introduced in AGE OF ULTRON. Around this time, Stephen Strange was discovering magic in DOCTOR STRANGE.

In 2016 the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR happened and introduced the new Spider-Man. Two months later, Peter Parker is taking down The Vulture in SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. The movie is in theaters now, and it’s a fun ride, I promise.

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