It’s showtime once again for Marvel’s best A-holes. In Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the bounty hunter group led by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), takes on a dangerous job which leads right into the path of Ego (Kurt Russell).
The Guardians will eventually team up with the Avengers in Infinity War, but for now, they’re continuing their own story line out in space. As Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige told the press, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not set in the MCU present day.
That means, in order for the Avengers to show up, they’d have to meet the Guardians before the events of Captain America: Civil War. If Iron Man had met, say, Baby Groot just before getting in a fight with Cap, that’s probably something he would have described to the whole crew.
Thus, we can assume that during the events of Guardians Vol. 2, the Avengers are occupied doing whatever they were up to just before Civil War. After the Guardians time jump, Star-Lord and the A-hole gang will experience yet another off-screen time jump before showing up in Infinity War.
While we’re all reeling from the MCU’s complex timeline, here’s a reminder of what each of the Avengers are up to, just after Civil War, before Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and before the next films leading up to Infinity War. That list of Phase 3 Marvel movies, post-Guardians, begins with Homecoming and Thor Ragnarok and ends with Black Panther.
Hulk and Thor
First, a brief reminder as to where Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Thor Odinson (Chris Hemsworth) are. The two have been away since Avengers: Age of Ultron and sat out of the big brawl in Captain America: Civil War. At the end of Age of Ultron, Thor returned to Asgard to find out what was behind the Infinity Stones while Bruce Banner — knowing how dangerous and destructive his alter-ego can be — leaves off in a Quinjet, with no destination in mind. The two will find each other later this year, in November’s Thor: Ragnarok.
Captain America and the Avengers
The Avengers are fractured. At the end of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) squashed their beef, but Steve dropped his shield — and thus, his Captain America identity — and broke out the rogue Avengers imprisoned on General Ross’s Raft. The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are now all fugitives on the run.
Also likely: Their hi-tech gear is under guard in Stark’s base, so except for Wanda and Steve, these runaway Avengers can be considered powerless.
On the flipside, Iron Man could have saved the Guardians like he will a Staten Island ferry later this year in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But Iron Man is just — as he puts it — a man in a can, while those who fought on his side are just as likely to be ill-equipped as they are unavailable.
Black Panther? Back in Wakanda. Rhodey? Paralyzed and in physical therapy. Vision? Probably not a fan of Tony Stark after how he treated Wanda. Spider-Man? Too young. The Avengers are just a disparate group with a name. They’re hardly a team anymore.
Like Captain America, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) is also on the run. After she allowed Cap and Bucky to slip past her guard during the big fight in Civil War, Black Widow becomes a ghost to evade General Ross. While Black Widow will surely be back for Avengers: Infinity War, Natasha’s hiding in plain sight until she’s needed once again.
At the center of Captain America: Civil War was Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Accused of assassinating the Wakandan king, T’Chaka, Bucky is handed over to Wakanda for cryogenic imprisonment in the mid-credits scene. Although Baron Zemo was the real culprit, T’Challa took in Bucky in for his own protection.
During the events of Guardians, Stephen Strange isn’t actually finished with his training. However, in the post-credits scene for Doctor Strange, we saw Stephen talking with Thor about the events of Thor Ragnarok, which cements Steven’s place in the MCU timeline.
They’d all be outclassed, too. What, would Daredevil parkour the danger faces by the Guardians away?
Not much a Spirit of Vengeance can do against Ego with a ‘69 Dodge Charger, even if it is on fire. Plus, given the rough shape of the MCU timeline, he’s still battling his uncle in the dark dimension. So, he’s kind of busy — at least until the season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will hit theaters on May 5.
This post has been updated significantly to reflect confirmed issues with Marvel’s timeline.