Ever since Avengers: Endgame jumped five years into the future, the chronology of the MCU has been a bit confusing, especially with the addition of Disney+ series and Marvel Studios Special Presentations.
However, some of the latest MCU projects and their place on the timeline have raised new questions about Phase 4's chronology.
In response to this uncertainty, a Marvel Studios director attempted to clarify how much time passed between Endgame and his characters' first Phase 4 appearance.
James Gunn Reveals Time Span Between Endgame and Thor 4
When asked online about the whereabouts of the Benatar and how much time has passed between the Guardians' role in Thor: Love and Thunder and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, James Gunn responded, saying, "a fairly long time," as the God of Thunder wasn't with the team for more than "a few weeks:"
"It's in the garage. The Bowie is much bigger. A fairly long time. They weren't with Thor for more than a few weeks."
Since Thor joined the Guardians at the end of Endgame, and they were only together for mere weeks, this indicates that Thor 4 begins shortly after the 2019 Avengers film.
This contrasts with the "four years" that director Taika Waititi believed separated Endgame and Thor 4, although his answer sounded far less certain:
“I think probably the number of years since we’ve seen [Endgame]. It’s probably four years. Is that right?”
Is the Disney+ MCU Timeline Inaccurate?
If the Disney+ order is to be believed, Love and Thunder is one of the most recent Phase 4 projects, taking place after the events of Ms. Marvel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and even She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
If so, this suggests that the bulk of Phase 4 happened within a few weeks and all around the same time, which is hard to believe.
Now, the most likely explanation is that Thor and the Guardians parted ways shortly after Endgame, but the bulk of the Thor film took place much later.
However, there's another problem.
The She-Hulk finale referenced Jane Foster's Mighty Thor, despite the fact that the timeline claims She-Hulk takes place before Thor 4.
So who's right and who's wrong?
Well, if Gunn is correct, it looks as if the Disney+ timeline is wrong. And, if so, it wouldn't be the first time.
However, the continuity issue highlights how difficult it's become to keep so many MCU stories straight, especially when they each cover lengthy extents of time.
In all fairness, Tony Stark did warn that "when you mess with time, it tends to mess back."
Who knew that those words of warning wouldn't just apply to events within the MCU, but also to Marvel Studios and those trying to keep up?
For now, fans looking ahead to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 should trust Gunn in that quite a bit of time has passed since the team left Thor in Love and Thunder.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if Marvel Studios makes any attempts to clarify its contradicting timeline and whether any films or shows will be reordered on Disney+.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special is available to stream on Disney+; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023.