The first scene of the movie is presumably set in the immediate aftermath of The Avengers. The movie then fast-forwards to '8 years later'.

But Spider-Man already appeared in Civil War as a high school student, which he still is in this movie. So what's the timeline here? If Avengers was set in 2012 and Civil War in 2016, how can Homecoming be in 2020?

Or am I wrong in assuming the canonical timelines of the other movies?


9 Answers 9


This confused me as well. If we are to assume that the first Iron Man came out in its release year, 2008, which is pretty much universally agreed-upon.

According to this link which was published all over the place including Entertainment weekly as promo material for Avengers, it looks like Avengers happens only 6 months after Iron Man, which would put it in 2008.

enter image description here

Then Vision says in Civil War, "In the 8 years since Mr. Stark announced himself as Iron Man, the number of known enhanced persons has grown exponentially. And during the same period, a number of potentially world-ending events has risen at a commensurable rate." That has to put Age of Ultron in 2016. Civil War and Homecoming take place at the same time.

According to the Russo Brothers, "We like to say that the amount of time that has passed in between films is the amount of time that has passed in the movies" which is a year, so that would put both Civil War and Homecoming in 2017.

So Iron Man (2008), 6 months later (2008-09?) Avengers, Age of Ultron (2016) beginning of Homecoming, 8 years later Spider-Man: Homecoming/Captain America: Civil War (2017).

  • If Iron Man 2 didn’t take place during Stark Expo 2010, that’d all make sense. Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 21:05
  • Ah — however, Iron Man 2 does start at the same time as Iron Man 1 ends. We then get a montage of Vanko making his own arc reactor, then Star Expo begins “six months later”. Iron Man seems to have done some stuff in-between too (e.g. stabilise East-West relations, according to a headline), but it’s unclear exactly how long has passed since Iron Man 1. However, that makes it unlikely that the events we see Avengers occurred six months after Iron Man, as Iron Man 2 (which pre-dates the Avengers) occurred more than six months after Iron Man 1. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 22:09
  • According to the Fury's Big Week comic, that block in the timeline graphic that says "BEFORE AVENGERS" spans an entire year.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 22:16
  • 1
    The graphic posted in this answer doesn't show Avengers happening six months after Iron Man. It shows Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk happening six months after Iron Man.
    – Nathan K.
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 1:06
  • 1
    @WayfaringStranger I think you misunderstand. One of the many jobs of a writer is to ensure a self-consistent story, or to otherwise explain away inconsistencies. The lifetime of the consistency of story may vary (e.g. The Simpsons is consistent per episode. The reboots of spider-man are explained away by each one happening in a multiverse), sure, but it has to be consistent, or explained away. The Cinematic Universe is presented by Marvel as being a single self-consistent universe. To wonder about, and seek resolution for inconsistencies in a story is only a natural response to finding them.
    – Aster
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 2:11

tl;dr: The short answer is, if we go by the one single explicit date that appears in the movie, and we take Spider-Man as a stand-alone movie, then it's happening in September of 2017.

The long answer is: It's is basically impossible to make sense of the MCU timeline if we assume everything in all the official Marvel MCU material (movies, tie-in comics, etc) are true. The most likely explanation is that the time-frame stated in Spider-Man: Homecoming is just a mistake, but whether or not it can now be retrofitted into the MCU timeline is still a bit of a debate.

What The Movie Says

The movie itself gives a few clues to when it takes place, all pointing to September of 2017. These clues include:

  • According to its poster, the Decathalon takes place on Sept. 14; their school trip takes place over a "long weekend". Sept. 14, 2017 is a Thursday, and Sept. 14, 2018 is a Friday. The real Decathlon takes place in April, but starts on either a Thursday or Friday, so either of those years would make sense.

  • The AI in Peter's suit pulls up the criminal record of one of the guy's Peter's chasing -- he was born in April 1984 and is 33. That definitively puts the movie in 2017.

  • According to reports from people on the set:

In place of ads touting real N.Y.C. tourist spots, there are posters hawking the 2018 Stark World Expo

The Problem

Generally speaking, with a couple of notable exception, the MCU movies are assumed to take place on, or very near, their release dates. (The exceptions so far as The Incredible Hulk, which occurs after it was released, and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, which occurs about three years prior to it's release). According to the filmmakers, Spider-Man: Homecoming is another movie that is set earlier than it's release date, in order to better tie it in with Captain America: Civil War:

There will be some awkward chronology in that the movie comes out almost two years after Civil War, but we’re playing it like it’s a few months after Civil War. [...] If we say that it was actually two years after Civil War then he’s moving on, he’s a senior, and when the next movie comes out, it’s his sophomore year of college, and we really wanted to do multiple movies where he’s in high school.

Beyond that, if we assume that everything we've seen is true, then here are the specifics of the MCU timeline that we can pin down:

  1. We know that that Civil War takes place 8 years after the final scene in Iron Man, because Vision tells the Avengers, when they're first learning about The Sokovia Accords, that its been 8 years since Tony revealed himself as Iron Man.
  2. We know that Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk all take place on the same week, based on the prequel comic Fury's Big Week that ties them all together.
  3. We know that Avengers takes place at least a year after The Incredible Hulk, because the epilogue to Fury's Big Week, in which Fury is notified that Steve Rogers has been found, is stated to occur "one year later" than the rest of the comic.
  4. We know that Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place very soon after Civil War (two months, if we believe that title card) because we see Peter return home immediately, then go right back to school.
  5. We know that Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place 8 years after Avengers, because both the title card and Toomes's dialogue claim it's been 8 years that Toomes has been building weapons from alien tech.
  6. We know that Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place at least 8 years after Iron Man 2, because that's how long Happy claims he's been holding Tony's engagement ring. Tony and Pepper only officially became a couple at the end of Iron Man 2.
  7. We know that Iron Man comes chronologically before Iron Man 2, based on Tony being Iron Man. (It's actually a 6 month gap)
  8. We know that The Avengers comes chronologically after Iron Man 2, based on Tony not knowing Natasha.
  9. We know that Iron Man 2 takes place in April of 2010, because it's Tony's birthday, and during the lead up to Iron Man 2, Marvel put out promotional material related to the "Stark Expo 2010".

The only way that #1, #4, #5, and #6 can all be true at the same time, is if Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Avengers happened within the same year. The only way #3, #7, and #8 can all be true at the same time is if Iron Man takes place at least 18 months before Avengers. Obviously, both of those can't be true, so one of our assumptions must be wrong.

Option One: New Timeline

One option is, we can ignore all of the official material that didn't actually appear on screen, even if it was officially produced by Marvel. If we do this, we can set Iron Man in late 2008, Iron Man 2 in 2009, and Avengers in early 2010. That then puts Civil War in July 2017 (8.75 years since Iron Man) and Homecoming in September 2017 (7.5 years since Avengers, 8 years since Iron Man 2). Assuming we allow for a bit of extremely convenient rounding, that can be made to fit both movie's timelines.

While this does seem to fit with the details of the movie n, but it requires us to really stretch credulity. Just based on how much has changed with all the various characters between our first, a single year seems a stretch. It also requires us to discard the idea that these movies generally happen in "real time", which has otherwise made a lot of sense even within the broader MCU (e.g. the Agents of SHIELD and Netflix shows).

Option Two: An Oopsie

Alternatively, we can accept that Fury's Big Week is canon, and instead assume that either Civil War or Homecoming made a mistake in the timeline. Ignoring the title card as a production mistake is pretty easy. Ignoring the characters contradictory statements is a bit harder: it means that either Vision was wrong, and none of the Avengers (or Ross) noticed; or else, Toomes was wrong, and no one in his crew noticed. Given the circumstances, and the people involved, I think it's far more likely that Toomes made the mistake here.

Since option #2 seems far more likely than option #1, and since the "8 years" detail contradicts almost everything else we think is true, I think we are justified in assuming that's a mistake on Marvel/Sony's part.

  • 4
    That's what I suspected. Well put. But let's see what others think.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 11:35
  • 2
    ugh, did he? :\ well that screws things up.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 21:09
  • 2
    @PaulD.Waite wow. That... is annoying.
    – user64742
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 23:16
  • 3
    given how much changes with Stark Industries between 1 and 2, it kind of is. that's aside from the fact that, before now, the general assumption was that the movies happened in whatever year they were released, and everything seemed to fit that assumption.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 0:32
  • 4
    In the opening of The Avengers, Natasha mentions Banner having gone "more than a year" without an incident.
    – Izkata
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 20:56

In a promotional Q&A for Infinity War, Joe Russo says that "8 years later" in Spider-Man "a very incorrect eight years."

Chanchlani: What was the time gap between the events of Avengers and Spider-Man Homecoming?
Russo: Oh it was it was 8 years I believe.
Chanchlani: And it was quite controversial.
Russo: Yes, it was a very incorrect eight years.

This is especially true, since Tony Stark clearly states it has been 6 years since The Battle of New York (i.e. Avengers) in Avengers: Infinity War, and Spider-Man Homecoming takes place before that.


8 years earlier refers to the time at which that particular scene took place, the scene where Adrian Toomes' company is muscled out of their city-contract for cleaning up all Avengers collateral by the Stark-NYC joint Damage Control. This particular scene is 8 years prior to 2018 (where the rest of the movie takes place), and places it perfectly in-line with The Avengers movie.

We then jump back to the present (2018), where Adrian's new venture of alien-weaponry is flourishing.

To surmise, 8 years earlier refers to the clean-up operation for the Chitauri invasion from The Avengers movie. Specifically to Damage Control essentially ruining Adrian Toomes' livelihood and setting him down the path of villainy!

  • So you're saying Avengers is set in 2010 and Spiderman in 2018 (along with Civil War)?
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 13:48
  • Yes, Spider-Man homecoming is set pretty much directly after Civil War. One of the major themes of the movie is Peter dealing with going back to 'regular life' after such a big event, allow me to find the quote from the director
    – Stormie
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 13:49
  • I apologise, it wasn't a quote.. It was from the movie synopsis: imdb.com/title/tt2250912/plotsummary
    – Stormie
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 13:50
  • 2
    @Stormie The part I think in question is, what established that Homecoming was taking place in 2018? Nothing in the movie does, and everything we know about previous movies should put it in 2016 (when Civil War happened, according to Vision). If you can find good evidence that Homecoming definitely happened in 2018 that would answer this question -- and also mean we need to do a big overhaul to the previous MCU timeline.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 16:27
  • 2
    Homecoming is explicitly placed directly after Civil War -- two months after, according to the title card on-screen. It's just impossible for both of those movies to be happening in the same year and both of them be "8 years after" two different previous movies.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 16:16

Aaron Davis, the criminal Spider-Man tracks down, is stated to be 33 years old and to have been born in April 1984 by Spider-Man's suit readout. This would set the film in 2017 or 2018. This, as well the factors mentioned in other answers, means the title card must be an error.

  • this unfortunately supports the idea that the movie happens in 2018 :\ (If he was born in e.g. December 1984 he'd still be 33 when school started)
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 20:15

Sony/Marvel simply goofed. And, Vision clearly made an error as well.

  • 1945: CaptainAmerica1
  • 2010: IronMan1
  • 2011: IronMan2, TheIncredibleHulk & Thor
  • 2012: Avengers
  • December of 2012: IronMan3
  • 2013: Thor2
  • 2014: Gotg Vol 1 & 2, CaptainAmerica2
  • 2015: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man.
  • February 2nd 2016: Dr.Strange: Begins (according to his watch) then stretches out (assuming) into 2017
  • 2016: Civil War & Spider-Man Homecoming take place 2 months from each other within 2016 as Dr.Strange is Stranging about through 2017.
  • 2016-2017: Black Panther most likely timeframe.
  • 2017: Infinity War and all films in between leading to Avengers 4 most likely take place in 2017 with Spider-Man Homecoming 2 taking place "just minutes after" Avengers 4 to continue his 2017 Junior year...

Remember, Sony/Marvel want Peter to stay in High School. They soooo goofed. We as fans notice this stuff and wonder how they goofed but hey at least we all know whats up.

OR! Dr.Strange's usage of the Time Stone messed everything up! BOOM! Fan theory. You're welcome.

  • 2
    What are your sources for those? Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 13:11

Canonically, Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place in the fall of 2016, 4 years after The Avengers.

Section of Marvel Studios’ The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline stating that Spider-Man: Homecoming took place in Fall 2016

According to Marvel Studios’ The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline, which tells the official chronology of the MCU, Spider-Man: Homecoming is actually set in 2016, not 2020, as the movie suggests.

The book states that it was an error when Homecoming showed that it took place 8 years after the Battle of New York in The Avengers, which, according to the same book, occurred in the spring of 2012.

The book is presented as an in-universe guidebook written by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) (introduced in the Loki TV series). It has a note from Miss Minutes, the TVA’s AI mascot, who says that Adrian Toomes was wrong about the 8-year gap and adds that a TVA analyst might have misplaced the case file, causing the error. Hopefully, there will be no further errors by the time Loki (or Sylvie) takes over the TVA.

Miss Minutes commenting on the discrepancy.


Hi again! Adrian Toomes says the Battle of New York was 8 years ago. but that event was only 4 years prior This one's a real head scratcher for us—I reckon an Analyst misplaced the case file.


2010: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor

2011: The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World

2013: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

2014: Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

2014/5: Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Ant-Man

2016: Doctor Strange

2018: Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War

  • 3
    Please add sources for those. Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 12:22

2008- Iron man; Incredible hulk
2009- Iron man 2, thor
2010- Avengers
2014- Thor 2
2015- Iron man 3
2016-CapAmerica 2
2017- Avengers2
2018- CapAmerica3, Spider-Man Homecoming

  • 5
    Source for these dates? Many of them don't line up with the commonly accepted years, as MCU movies are mostly dated close to "real time".
    – phantom42
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 14:34
  • 3
    If Vision said "in the past 8 years when Tony Stark was active as Ironman" in 2018, then the first Ironman should take place in 2010 not 2008. I'm so confused.
    – Sara V
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 18:06

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