When Spider-Man: Homecoming started with an "eight years later" stamp on a scene tied to 2012's The Avengers, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe scratched their heads about the timeline's accuracy. Finally, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has addressed the issue.
With Spider-Man: Homecoming released in 2017 and The Avengers released five years earlier, fans were lead to believe the two films would be set somewhere close to their actual release dates. This, however, was not the case. Instead, Marvel Studios' creatives have a clear layout of each film's timing in relation to others with the MCU.
"All of that debate has made us go, 'Okay, at some point, I'm not sure exactly when, we're going to publish a timeline and see what it all is,'" Feige told CinemaBlend. "It wasn't meant to flummox anybody exactly, and I'm not sure I'd do it again the same way, but it does all connect to where we placed it. Other than very particular instances where there's a newspaper, or verbal reference to years, we never date the films. And I think there's a presumption, 'Well if the movie came out in November 2017, it must take place in November 2017' -- which is not the case."
While Feige dodged actually revealing when The Avengers and Spider-Man: Homecoming are set, the idea of a clear road map to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's events is one which fans of the Marvel Studios franchise will likely get excited about.
Most films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe don't lock themselves down to a certain date or timeframe. Exceptions include Guardians of the Galaxy and its Vol. 2 sequel, which clearly called 2014 home, and Daredevil which labeled the Battle of New York from The Avengers as taking place in 2012.
Either way, the timeline will likely be further explained in Avengers: Infinity War when the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man come together for the first time.
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters November 3, 2017, followed Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War in February and May of 2018, respectively.