Marvel Finally Addresses Its Biggest Canon Mistake — And Fuels a Wild MCU Theory

Is everything we see in the MCU told from a familiar perspective?

Marvel Studios

Sometimes it feels like just yesterday that the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended the Infinity Saga and entered the Multiverse Saga, but the reality is that Marvel has spent the last few years bending and merging all sorts of different timelines and universes. This has allowed three different Spider-Men to co-exist, but there are other benefits too.

A new MCU sourcebook has used the multiverse to solve a huge timeline issue, and in doing so, it’s inadvertently added more evidence to one of the most intriguing MCU fan theories. It may just be a throwaway line in a book, but it could have giant implications for the franchise as a whole.

Adrian Toomes caused a major timeline headache with a single line.

Marvel Studios

It’s been a while since Spider-Man: Homecoming hit theaters, but it introduced a plot hole that’s been bugging fans since 2017. Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture, alludes to the Battle of New York seen in The Avengers when commenting on the wreckage that’s still lying around, saying, “Eight years, and not a word from the Feds.” We also saw a title card that read “8 Years Later” after the opening scene, which would set Homecoming in 2020, after the events of Avengers: Infinity War.

This is obviously untrue. Infinity War ended with half the universe being snapped into non-existence, and it took a few years for the Avengers to sort that little conundrum out. Homecoming, however, is set before all that drama. The MCU timeline was later clarified, but why did Toomes get it so wrong?

Well, in the new book Marvel Studios’ The Marvel Cinematic Universe - An Official Timeline, the TVA’s Miss Minutes herself comments on the slip-up, saying, “Redline alert! Hi again! Adrien Toomes says the Battle of New York was eight years ago, but that event was only four years prior. This one’s a real head-scratcher for us—I reckon an analyst misplaced the case file.”

Mobius shows Loki the past through Avengers publicity stills.

Marvel Studios

This echoes what Kevin Feige says in the book’s foreword, that what we see in the MCU is the “Sacred Timeline.” This concept could go further than you think: in Loki Season 1, Mobius shows Loki glimpses of his past, from The Avengers all the way up to his death in Infinity War. These flashbacks are shown through clips pulled from MCU movies, which implies that everything we’ve seen so far in the MCU is, canonically, the TVA’s record of the official Sacred Timeline.

If so, Homecoming’s title card is inaccurate because someone at the TVA made a clerical error, like if you were reading a history book with a typo that said World War II ended in 1955. Mistakes happen, even in the TVA’s official timeline, and this is a clever little way to cover up a real-life error. If anything, it’s a testament to the TVA — and the real-life creators at Marvel — that this is one of the few prominent mistakes in such a vast timeline.

That doesn’t, however, explain why Toomes got it wrong, unless everything we’ve ever seen in the MCU has secretly been a big-budget TVA recreation. The more likely explanation — aside from the fact that it’s just a movie — is that Toomes simply misspoke. He’s a busy, stressed-out guy with a lot on his mind, and his goons didn’t care enough to correct him. They had work to get to, so they just let it go. Maybe those goons can teach us all a lesson about timeline quibbles.

Marvel Studios’ The Marvel Cinematic Universe - An Official Timeline is available now.

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