The Time Variance Authority is facing their biggest challenge yet. It’s not Sylvie or Kang, it’s a threat Marvel fans know all too well – continuity errors. The TVA has their work cut out for them, because nobody has ever been able to successfully stop continuity errors. They’ve been plaguing every major pop culture franchise since the dawn of serialized storytelling.
DK has published a book titled Marvel Studios – The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline. The book, which was organized under the direction of Marvel Studios, is a complete catalog of the MCU timeline through Phase 4. The sourcebook was compiled by Anthony Breznican, Amy Ratcliffe, and Rebecca Theodore-Vachon, but it’s written from an in-universe perspective as if it was a TVA guide.
So, how does this timeline deal with some of the MCU’s continuity errors? Every time a discrepancy comes up, we get a text box from Miss Minutes, who does her best to explain the chronological contradictions. Sometimes this means a clever explanation, other times it means her shrugging her shoulders. Like I said, continuity errors are pretty hard to defeat.
Here are some examples found within the book.
- What year was it when Bucky fell from the train in Captain America: The First Avenger? Armin Zola claims it was 1945, but the museum exhibit from Captain America: The Winter Soldier says it was 1944. Miss Minutes doesn’t give an answer either way, stating that the TVA analysts will look into it.
- When did Tony Stark take over Stark Industries? The Las Vegas sizzle reel in the first Iron Man movie stated that Obediah Stane took over Stark Industries after the death of Howard Stark, because Tony had to wait until his 21st birthday. However, Iron Man 2 stated that Tony was already 21 when his parents died. According to Miss Minutes, the sizzle reel fudged the details of Tony’s age for dramatic effect.
- During the first Avengers film, Thor states that he had only recently come to Earth for the first time, referring to the events of his 2011 solo film. However, in the 2021 film Eternals, the Celestial known as Kingo claimed that a young Thor had followed him around centuries ago. According to Miss Minutes, Thor’s statement in Avengers was only in reference to his “recent adventures.”
- In Spider-Man: Homecoming Adrian Toomes states that the Battle of New York (as seen in Avengers) took place 8 years ago. The official timeline lists it as 4 years, which matches up to the gap the films had in the real world. So why did Toomes say 8 years? Miss Minutes isn’t sure, stating that a TVA analyst misplaced the case file. (Couldn’t she just say that Toomes misspoke?)
- If Mysterio was a fraud, then how did he know the main MCU timeline was designated as 616? According to Miss Minutes, Mysterio probably studied Dr. Erik Selvig’s writings. Don’t forget, Dr. Selvig wrote 616 on a chalkboard in Thor: The Dark World.
This is a small sampling of the continuity errors Miss Minutes and the TVA attempt to untangle in the book. I appreciated this touch, because not only did it resolve some of the MCU’s discrepancies, but it added a sense of personality and fun to the book. The TVA might not be able to solve every continuity problem the MCU throws their way, but it sure is fun to see them try.
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