With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios did the unthinkable: it recreated the shared continuity of superhero comics on the big screen. Just like the source material it’s based on, the MCU feels like a cohesive reality, complete with a rich history.
Unfortunately, the MCU also has something else in common with the comics: namely, its timeline is a bit of a mess. It’s easy to see how this has happened – thanks to the growing number of films and TV shows in the franchise, it’s virtually impossible to make these competing stories fit together neatly.
Of course, for most viewers, this isn’t much of an issue – all they’re interested in is watching an entertaining story. This stance is shared by the studio itself, which – as illustrated by the Phase Three slate of movies – is clearly focused on storytelling first, and accurate time-keeping second.
While this is the right approach to take, part of the MCU’s appeal is its interconnected nature. When the overall sequence of events in the franchise doesn’t add-up, it’s a bit disappointing.
With this in mind, here are 15 things that make no sense about the MCU’s timeline.