One thing that’s often unclear about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the exact timeline for when films take place in relation to each other. For the most part, it’s easy to assume that the films take place in roughly real time, but there are some instances (such as the overlapping timeframe of Thor, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2) that don’t quite follow that pattern. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, for example, will take place only a few months after its predecessor. And while only a year of real-life time will pass between Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has confirmed that there will be a four-year gap between when the two movies take place, and will feature a noticeably different Guardians:
“Yeah. They will have evolved slightly, in some recognizable ways. But really they’ll be the Guardians and dealing with the shit storm they have to deal with.”
Feige also commented on the often ambiguous timeline of the MCU, with Guardians of the Galaxy being one of the only films of the MCU that explicitly states the year in which it takes place, and why it was important that Vol. 2 happen so soon after Vol. 1:
“Yeah, knowing that outside of the Guardians franchise, we don’t necessarily always date the movies. You don’t always know, we don’t say, ‘2012, 2013…’ We do in the Guardians because you do the math and 1988, and it’s 26 years later. But we never say, ‘Oh, this takes place in 2018, this takes place in 2017.’ But it was important for the story that James wanted to tell that they’re still relatively fresh in their new group.”
This does open up the possibility of seeing other films in the MCU take place out of order, and leaves the door open to prequel films such as a Black Widow origin story, a retro Ant-Man movie featuring a young Hank Pym, or even a Howling Commandos film set during WWII.
What are your thoughts on the matter? What storyline would you like to explore that takes place in the past of the MCU?