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Book Review: ‘The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline’

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Since the inception of the MCU in 2008, with the release of the first Iron Man, there have been 33 films and 10 shows released to date. Specifically, 23 films that comprise the Infinity Saga, with 10 films and 10 series comprising the Multiverse Saga thus far. Whenever these projects are released, one thing Marvel fans enjoy is plotting and charting events of these films on a linear timeline, to keep track of every canon event that’s occurred in chronological order. However, the time frame is often not clear, if ever specified at all. Well, after years of having unofficial timelines and attempts at charting the MCU timeline, Marvel Studios finally decided to release an official timeline book: Marvel Studios The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline. Read on for some of my thoughts on the new book.

Breaking down the new official MCU timeline book

Marvel Studios The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline serves as an official guide for fans of the MCU. This book, written by MCU Experts, Amy Ratcliffe, Anthony Breznican, and Rebecca Theodore-Vachon, is designed to help fans explore the complex and interwoven events of the MCU, covering the events of the first three phases that comprise the Infinity Saga. The book also covers the events of Phase 4 of the Multiverse Saga, all the way to the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.

The book begins with an excellent foreword by Kevin Feige, addressing fans with gratitude for their love and dedication over the years and an explanation of what the book is, and ending on a Multiverse Note that teases the future to come.The book thoroughly covers the events of the MCU, dividing it into years and seasons when key moments of the MCU occurred, as well as events that were mentioned in passing, such as the creation of the Universe, the rise of Chthon and Mount Wundagore and more.

Marvel Studios' The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline.
A page from Marvel Studios’ The Marvel Cinematic Universe An Official Timeline (Marvel)

Multiversal teases and important notes about past Marvel projects

Right off the bat, in Kevin Feige’s foreword, he confirms that… “there are stories—movies and series—that are canonical to Marvel but were created by different storytellers during different periods of Marvel’s history. The timeline presented in this book is specific to the MCU’s Sacred Timeline through Phase 4. But, as we move forward and dive deeper into the Multiverse Saga, you never know when timelines may just crash or converge (hint, hint/spoiler alert).”

That singular tease confirms that Marvel projects made outside of the Marvel Studios brand carry a level of canonicity to the whole Marvel Multiverse, but are not necessarily canon to the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nevertheless, with the Multiverse Saga in full effect, there is a higher chance than ever that these projects could collide with the MCU in future projects.

Throughout the guide, you have small pop-up notes from everyone’s favorite TVA assistant, Miss Minutes, as she addresses the discrepancies that have been often questioned by fans, such as the positioning of the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming, which are now confirmed to have taken place in 2016. Miss Minutes jokingly addresses the “8 years later” discrepancy as a simple “case misplacement” by a TVA analyst. 

Marvel Studios The Marvel Cinematic Universe an official Timeline

The book also confirms that the MCU timeline is designated as Universe-616 (Sorry Iman Vellani). In addition, they cover the events of the first season of Loki established on a separate timeline. They also establish the dates of the events of What If…? and the years in which their branches began. 

My conclusions on The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline

The book in itself is a good official source of information to have when addressing the events of the MCU on a chronological timeline. However, I can’t help but note this book at times feels like a more extensive and elaborated version of the articles that most pop culture sites write when tackling the events of the MCU in chronological order. Even our unofficial timeline article comes close to the events described in the book, with little discrepancies and mistakes but a near match to the events covered in the pages of The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline.

I do commend Marvel’s boldness in attempting to cover for their mistakes in their films by using Miss Minutes as cover and leaving her “notes” stating it was an “analyst error”. It was a good in-universe explanation for how certain discrepancies take place in their films and ultimately rectifying it with this book.

All in all, the book serves as a good investment for those who study the MCU and want an official confirmation of when certain events take place. However, to the common MCU fan or moviegoer, the book may not be a necessity when it comes to enjoying the films and the shows.

My Rating: 7.5/10

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline is available now! Do you plan to purchase this one or have you already? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord what you think of it. 

The MCU Timeline: An In-Depth Look

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