The Marvel timeline is a funny thing these days. In the past the basic rule of thumb was that stories were set roughly around the release dates of their movies (with some exceptions), but in the wake of the big five year jump in Avengers: Endgame everything is different. Fortunately, we have been able to piece some things together from context clues and interviews. We know that Spider-Man: Far From Home is set during the summer after the battle with Thanos, and that WandaVision is set three weeks later – and now we have been given some clarification regarding the setting of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier.
With the first episode of the new Disney+ original set to arrive at the end of this week, I had the pleasure of interviewing head writer Malcolm Spellman this past Saturday during the series’ virtual press day, and my very first question in our conversation was about the timeline. The filmmaker didn’t provide a specific number of days/weeks/months in the aftermath of the so-called Blip, but he did explain how the status of the world in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a massive influence on the story being told. Said Spellman:
It's close enough that the Blip or snap, whatever you want to call it, defines every single thing that happened in the series. Basically, I don't know what half the world's population is, maybe three and a half billion people, have been gone for five years. They have suddenly reappeared; that has created a global crisis, which sounds, I'm sure, familiar. That's my go-to line. And all the villains are born from that, and all the heroes are responding to that. So it's close enough that it's still very real.
The plot-centric Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn’t really engage too much with the political-socio-economic impacts of The Blip, and WandaVision is mostly contained to the events in a single town that has its reality rewritten. As a result, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is the story that is going to provide Marvel fans with their first look at how the world in the franchise has responded in the wake of half of life in existence returning after five years away – and the blunt answer is that things are awful. Everything has to essentially start over, and the challenges in doing that successfully are enormous – particularly with many people having vastly different ideas about how things should be rebuilt.
Being conservative, this suggests that The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is probably set within, at most, six months of the ending of Avengers: Endgame. Having had the chance to see it, I can tell you that the first episode of the series doesn’t provide any specific clues that narrows it down, but maybe there will be a line of dialogue or some production art in upcoming chapters that will narrow it down.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, you’ll be able to watch the premiere of the new Disney+ original when it goes live on Friday, March 19 at 12am PST/3am EST. After years of bright, shiny superhero action in the past few years, The Falcon And The Winter Soldier is definitely an interesting shock to the system with its portrayal of a whole new world in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I can’t wait to see where it all leads.