It’s truly a miracle that something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe exists. One of the key reasons behind that is due to its sheer scope—every project has to adhere to a mind-bogglingly complex and ever-expanding continuity. It seems like it would be impossible to keep up with.
To make matters even more confusing, with the Multiverse Saga, storytellers have to keep a litany of alternate realities in mind while playing in the Marvel sandbox. That’s not to mention making sure stories don’t go against any established rules in terms of how timelines or various universes work.
Needless to say, it’s a lot to handle. So how exactly does Marvel Studios stay on top of everything? Well, unsurprisingly, it looks like they have a dedicated person just for that.
The MCU Time-Keeper
In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Pamela Gores, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law head writer and producer Jessica Gao commented on where the show falls on the MCU timeline.
Gao confirmed that She-Hulk is “after-post-Endgame” while confirming that “a Marvel person whose job it is to trace the timeline of everything” in the MCU:
“It’s definitely after– post-Endgame. There actually is a Marvel person whose job it is to trace the timeline of everything. And we checked with him a lot about where the timing is. And so it’s like… the show is a few years after Endgame."
This isn’t the first time the subject of timeline-keeping has come up. Back when he was promoting Spider-Man: Homecoming, director Jon Watts revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he was shown “an actual scroll” which Marvel used to keep everything in line with one another.
“There’s an actual scroll that they unrolled for me… one of my producers, Eric Carroll, it was his first job at Marvel to work on a timeline and see where things line up and see where things didn’t quite line up. Like, ‘Oh, that’s when Captain America is born.'”
Watts continued, revealing that the physical timeline is “very long” and “starts… at the beginning of time:”
“… it’s very long. It’s the most amazing thing because it starts, honestly, at the beginning of time — I don’t remember specifically, but I think it has something to do with Thor.” He laughs. “It is truly an amazing document.”
Following Homecoming's title card mistake which led to a debate among fans about when the Spidey movie takes place on the MCU timeline, producer Kevin Feige promised in late 2017 that Marvel Studios would be publishing an official chronology:
"All of that debate has made us go, 'Okay, at some point, I'm not sure exactly when, we're going to publish a timeline and see what it all is.' It wasn't meant to flummox anybody exactly, and I'm not sure I'd do it again the same way, but it does all connect to where we placed it."
Jumping forward to 2022, a studio-sanctioned timeline has yet to be publicly released.
Protecting the Timeline at all Costs
There’s no official word on when this timeline keeper may have been hired by Marvel Studios, but they likely have been in this position for a long while now.
Maybe the big title card mistake in Spider-Man: Homecoming was the incident that made Marvel Studios invest in something more than a casually updated scroll. It was certainly needed by the time Avengers: Endgame started messing with time and the Sacred Timeline was introduced in Loki.
With the Multiverse Saga underway and how the MCU has intrinsically linked alternate universes, this employee is undoubtedly a busy person. They’re likely dreading the day work begins on Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars.
When it comes to more current projects, the timeline keeper’s work can in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. It doesn’t seem that they have all too many conflicts to worry about, besides establishing itself after Endgame and worrying about where Bruce Banner is (literally and figuratively) in the MCU.
They probably also had to figure out how to handle Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, whose previous canonicity in his Netflix series has not yet been officially figured out—no matter how much fans seem to think it is. Maybe that’ll be one of the cases that Jennifer Walters solves.
She-Hulk is now streaming worldwide on Disney+, with new episodes every Thursday.