How The Avengers: Endgame Time Jump Is Complicating Things Behind The Scenes At Marvel Studios

The timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe used to be relatively simple. With some notable exceptions – like Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain Marvel, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – the majority of the films feature events that take place in the release year of the given film (i.e. Ant-Man was in theaters in 2015, and it’s set in 2015).

But then the snap happened. In Avengers: Endgame, the MCU took a surprising leap into the future with a five-year time jump, and it means that all of the movies and shows in Phase 4 (not including Black Widow) have been set in the not-too-distant future. It’s not only made it a bit harder for fans to follow the order of everything in the ever-expanding continuity, but it’s also been creating some confusion behind the scenes at Marvel Studios.

I interviewed producer Nate Moore this past weekend during the Los Angeles press day for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and one of the topics of discussion was the Marvel timeline. I directly asked if it’s trickier to keep track of things in the franchise because events are taking place in 2023 and beyond, the filmmaker had blunt response. Said Moore,

Yes. Yes. Certainly the snap between Infinity War and Endgame and that five year period is a little bit of a brain teaser sometimes of being like, 'Wait, how old is this character now? Wait, how long has it been going on? Who actually was snapped? Who wasn't snapped?' And so some of that timeline stuff can get a little sticky.

Sometimes it’s easy to figure out where a Phase 4 project lands on the timeline. WandaVision, for example, specifically notes that the action takes place three weeks after the 2023 battle against Thanos and his army. With Spider-Man: Far From Home being set during summer break after the snap, we know that it must take place in the year after the aforementioned battle (a.k.a. 2024), and it’s mentioned in Spider-Man: No Way Home that Halloween has just passed – pinning its action to November of that same year.

Other Marvel Studios projects aren’t quite as specific, however. Shows like Moon Knight and She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, for example, don’t make dates super clear, nor does Thor: Love An Thunder. The filmmakers at Marvel Studios are evidently making an effort to maintain a firm continuity, but it’s understandable that things are trickier now that the franchise can’t use the pre-snap model of tracking everything.

Continuing, Nate Moore highlighted the effort that is made, and added that the circumstances are making Marvel filmmakers think hard about how future events will line-up with what they are planning:

We try to respect it as much as possible, but we certainly, you know, sometimes we're like, 'Oh yeah, this movie technically is happening in 2028, so who's... is there an election this year?' Like, that kind of stuff is sort of fun and frustrating.

Fans will get the opportunity to dive back into the complicated continuity soon, as Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be in theaters everywhere on November 11. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from my interviews with the cast and filmmakers behind the film, learn more about it via our Black Panther 2 What We Know So Far guide, and learn about everything that is on the way from the MCU via our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV features. To revisit the best that the franchise has to offer, check out our ranking of all 29 Marvel films.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.