Of all the exciting and entertaining moments in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the one that has probably garnered the most discussion is a brief phrase that flashes across the screen following the opening introduction of Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes: “8 years later.” Wait, what?
Fans could be forgiven for any subsequent confusion. The implication that it had been eight years since the events of The Avengers—meaning the new Spidey movie took place around 2020—seemed to throw a wrench in the timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So much so, in fact, that Marvel has decided to address the issue head-on. In a new interview with Screen Rant, MCU head Kevin Feige reveals the company takes very seriously the number of days that go by between brightly colored heroes punching things, and will prove it by publishing an official MCU timeline. He just doesn’t know what format that will take yet:
“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, a part 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.”
This backs up Homecoming director Jon Watts’ previous statement that Marvel does indeed have a big timeline somewhere deep inside the guarded halls of their operations, laying out exactly when everything happens so as not to make a mistake. In other words, nice try, nerds: Marvel meant for it to say “8 years later,” and it isn’t a continuity error. Unless they fucked up and this is all a long con to convince us otherwise. Regardless, the end of phase three is probably going to put a fairly definitive stamp on a particular date, so that once Darkhawk or whoever starts running around in 2024, we won’t have any of this uncertainty.