Five Reasons Why One Glaring Mistake Hurts the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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T'Challa with Okoye and Shuri

Credit: Marvel Studios

One mistake for the Marvel Cinematic Universe has hurt the franchise in ways fans might not even expect.

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in 'Black Widow' on Disney+
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Marvel Pulls the Plug, Jonathan Majors Loses MCU Role

From Iron Man (2008) to The Marvels (2023), Kevin Feige and co. have told quite a story. The MCU has covered the Infinity Saga and is now starting to delve deeper into exploring the Multiverse, but the main problem for fans isn’t staying caught. It’s figuring out when each project is happening. Back when the MCU was small, it was easy. Whatever year it was, that was when the movie fit into the timeline. The problem with this format wasn’t easy to spot, but as time passed, it became clear that the mistake would cost Marvel Studios a lot of headaches and narrative sessions to fix everything.

5. Marvel Cinematic Universe Prequels Are Impossible

Black Widow using a LG Lotus Elite LX610 in The Avengers
Credit: Marvel Studios

In Marvel, you can’t do Prequels. Some of you might immediately point out Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow (2021) and fail to realize that the movie really didn’t do much in the MCU, and that’s because of how the Timeline works. Due to bigger events dictating the timeline in a linear story, prequels are basically useless. First of all, they confuse fans because they contradict the main rule for Marvel movies.

Then, they can’t tell a story that isn’t referenced or talked about later on because the story has to fit into the MCU, which tells many stories every year. The room for a story to fit in earlier on the timeline is tough and difficult to pull off, causing projects like Black Widow to feel lackluster. For Marvel to start doing prequels, it would have to be for stories set far into the past because of how many stories are happening right away in the present day, leaving little room for stories with big events to happen without being mentioned.

4. Big Marvel Cinematic Universe Stories Can’t Take Risks

The Avengers gathered together on the promotional poster of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Kevin Feige Must Abandon the ‘Avengers’ Franchise

Due to the timeline’s restrictive nature, all big movies must handle their stories in a quick manner. Months don’t happen in between major moments in the Avengers movies. Characters don’t take time to make wrong decisions that will take a long time to realize. At first glance, this might seem like no problem, but what it does is make MCU movies fast-paced. This leads to characters always on the move, in the action, and making fast decisions, which doesn’t lead to characters having a lot of slower moments to reflect on their decisions until afterward.

If Marvel took more risks in their storytelling and left the formulaic structure for a bold story every now and then, fans would enjoy the breath of fresh air, but this isn’t what fans can always depend on in the MCU. Sometimes, Marvel gets blamed for doing the same thing over and over, and taking more risks without having to worry about the timeline could be really good for Marvel. One way this can happen is by creating more content that isn’t super interconnected with other characters to give the story enough time without rushing through it with action. This change could really help make the MCU’s stories stand out in a way fans want.

3. Future Additions Become A Confusing Mess

Nick Fury talking to Iron in Iron Man 2
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Iron Man’ Was Censored By the US Military

It’s clear that adding super hero teams like the Eternals and X-Men and Fantastic Four. In a world faced with big moments like the Blip, it’s obvious when a new super hero group pops up and says they have been around for a long time that it feels wrong. It’s not great seeing characters exist when the world needed them most and suddenly decide to help later on.

Marvel obviously can’t introduce every Marvel super hero right off the bat and some of them weren’t acquired until years later, but that doesn’t mean that their introduction won’t be easy for fans or Marvel.

2. High Chance of Timeline Errors

Tom Holland as Peter Parker grieving Tony Stark's death
Credit: Marvel Studios

As revealed by Miss Minutes recently in the latest MCU timeline book, some MCU projects can’t keep up with the universe. For example, Tom Holland‘s  Spider-Man: Homecoming says the present day is, “8 years later,” after the battle of New York when the movie takes place four years later.

With all the projects, which are now above 30 different titles, it’s obviously hard to ensure each story doesn’t hinder another project. There’s so much material that it can be very easy to get mixed up on when certain dates or details happen and because of how Marvel tries to intertwine each story it makes sense how some of them might get the details slightly wrong here and there.

1. Avengers: Endgame Ruined the Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline

Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man getting ready to fight Thanos in Endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Spider-Man May Fade Away From the MCU Amidst Marvel Overhaul

Avengers: Endgame (2019) made things impossible for the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. After seeing “Five Years Later,” Endgame took a risk that paid off, but the consequence was that fans no longer know when things fit in the timeline. Does WandaVision happen before or after Falcon and the Winter Soldier? It happened in 2023, yet the project was released in 2021, giving fans a rough time trying to understand when things actually released, and that’s why fans aren’t happy with the timeline anymore.

It may have worked ten years ago, but Marvel has to find some way to make it easier for fans to understand when stuff is happening because context is key. Knowing that a project happens before something else helps fans understand what to expect because heroes die, and it’s confusing seeing them around if they are supposed to be dead. From now on, fans won’t be able to tell if the next story happened right afterward or not because of how many projects are released. For example, is Ms. Marvel truly gone for a year before appearing in The Marvels? No, but the timeline allows those two projects to be very close to each other despite the year gap.

Catch up on the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+!

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