In this day of competing film studios and their comic book publisher subsidiaries, there are two prominent “shared” movie universes, where the same characters appear across succeeding installments either alone or gathering as a team. These are the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) from Disney and Marvel, and the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) from Warner Bros. and DC. The former has been around for much longer, since 2008 in fact. But as the number of MCU films begin to pile up over the years, certain questions of story coherence have been popping up.

It makes sense, therefore, that Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, which produces the MCU, has proposed that they will develop an actual timeline tying the films together.

Universe confusion

The idea of creating a detailed timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is something highly welcome as of now. Already, existing MCU films produced and released by Marvel Studios number 16. "Thor: Ragnarok," is due to premiere next month, while four more movies are in various stages of production to arrive in the coming years. When the MCU begins referencing events from past installments that came out years ago, there are risks of inconsistencies in the narrative popping up.

For example, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” this year, was stated in the film’s captions to have taken place eight years after “Avengers” (2012).

But this wreaks havoc in the ages of the characters, especially Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who was 15 as of “Captain America: Civil War” which was released in 2016. Another point of confusion was Holland and Kevin Feige’s assertion that the kid in the Iron Man mask back in 2010's "Iron Man 2" was an eight-year-old Peter (a ret-con, as it came out before the MCU-Sony deal that allowed “Spider-Man: Homecoming” to come to be).

Timeline format

This tangle of inter-connected events will not do, according to Feige at a “Thor: Ragnarok” press event. He can confirm however that the storylines of certain MCU films did not happen in the years they were released in real life. Feige cannot yet finalize on when and how a timeline developed by the production will be presented, though he did propose that such a thing could be made available in a printed medium like in the comics.

The Marvel Studios head also hinted that the timeline’s format might be mirrored to that of its fellow Disney acquisition, “Star Wars.” That franchise reckons the dates of its events as happening before or after the Battle of Yavin IV in the first film (BY4/AY4).

As for what is up next in the MCU, “Thor: Ragnarok” will hit cinemas this November, and “Black Panther” in February of next year. And then there are the other Marvel properties being aired on TV with ABC, or streaming with Netflix.