The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Update Proves Marvel Can’t Keep Its Own Timeline Straight

Marvel's official timeline undercuts the main plot of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

By TeeJay Small | Published

marvel falcon and the winter soldier

Despite the impending threat of a Disney-ordered budget cut and an ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, Marvel’s biggest hurdle still seems to be its own timeline. According to a new officially licensed guidebook, The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline, the premiere episode of the 2021 Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place in 2024, much further in the future than fans had initially thought. This information, as reported by CBR, is the latest of many glaring discrepancies in the MCU timeline.

The guidebook, which is set to arrive in stores this coming September, recently released a series of preview images that confirm Anthony Mackie‘s Sam Wilson first donated the iconic Captain America shield to the Smithsonian in the year 2024, placing The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s first episode squarely within that year. This information seems to clash with what Marvel fans had previously understood to be the proper timeline for the series, following shortly after the events of Avengers: Endgame, which takes place in the year 2023.

The book, written by Anthony Breznican, Amy Ratcliffe, and Rebecca Theodore-Vachon, promises to deliver a definitive timeline vigorously fact-checked by the most up-to-date information the collective of Marvel filmmakers could gather to properly place the whole of the universe’s sprawling, interconnected story. With time travel paradoxes, multiple timelines, and a fractured multiverse, the trio of authors surely had their work cut out for them, almost guaranteeing at least a few retconned time placements throughout the dozens of films and shows in the Marvel catalog.

anthony mackie

While more precise timeline details will surely be outlined in the Marvel guidebook, fans have begun to locate a number of timeline inconsistencies across the MCU, which span far outside of the usual limitations of Hollywood, such as recasting and scheduling conflicts. Some MCU continuity errors include Spider-Man: Homecoming claiming to take place eight years after the events of 2012’s The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Gamora, claiming to be the final surviving Zehoberei after Thanos is said to have wiped out only half of the race’s population, and Captain America’s shield showing up in Tony Stark’s workshop in Iron Man 2, while Steve Rogers was still frozen in the ice.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, with the seemingly inconsequential nature of the show’s plot taking center stage in many complaints. Now, the updated Marvel timeline makes the series even more irrelevant by proxy, taking the plot of the show and removing it from the immediate aftermath of the blip, which wiped out half of all life in the universe before being reversed five years later in Avengers: Endgame.

Perhaps with a restricted budget and fewer projects set to be released each year, Marvel will have an easier time balancing the multiple timelines in their expanding universe’s many tendrils. Of course, Disney has the power to go back and digitally alter previous films and shows to update them for timeline consistency using VFX if they so choose. For now, we’ll have to wait and see what the 320-page Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline book has to say about all this.