We’re No-Prizing SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING’s MCU Continuity Error
This week, Spider-Man: Homecoming is getting a digital release ahead of the official Blu-ray and DVD, which are coming on October 17th. To set the stage for the home video roll out, Sony dropped the first ten minutes of Spider-Man: Homecoming online. It’s a really fantastic sequence that does more to develop Adrian Toomes than anything in the comics from the last few decades, while also giving us a hilarious intro to this Peter Parker/Spider-Man. There’s just one thing that it does wrong: the “8 Years Later” transition.
Eight years later?! That just doesn’t work with the MCU’s timeline! In Captain America: Civil War, the Vision explicitly said that eight years had passed since Tony Stark outed himself as Iron Man. That tracks, since the first Iron Man movie came out in 2008. Which means that The Avengers occurred in 2012, the same year it was released.
If the Homecoming director/producers had only written “5 Years Later” or “6 Years Later,” then this whole screw up could have been avoided. There were even some theories that the home video release would subtly change that transition sign and retroactively correct it. As you can see in the video above, that didn’t happen.
Now, if Marvel won’t clean up its continuity mess, then we will! Do you remember the old Marvel No-Prizes? That was where Marvel would give out a No-Prize when fans would point out continuity errors and then provide an explanation as to why it was never a mistake at all. As a joke, Marvel mailed out empty envelopes that had “No-Prize” written on them. We’re going to get less than that for this mental exercise, but it’s good for the sake of our collective fan sanity. Although we really shouldn’t have to do Kevin Feige’s job for him. He’s the guy who is supposed to keep all of this straight. We're also going to take the Vision at his word, because if we can't trust an android in a sweater, then who can we trust?!
Let’s start with what we know to be true: Civil War takes place eight years after Tony Stark became Iron Man, while Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place eight years after the Battle of New York in the first Avengers movie. There’s a simple, if not entirely satisfying explanation for that: if every Marvel film prior to The Avengers takes place in 2012, then it’s possible. Given the gaps in time between Iron Man and Iron Man 2, as well as the skipped months in Incredible Hulk, it may not be entirely feasible.
So let’s try again. Say that Civil War starts in May 2016, eight years after Iron Man’s debut. Technically, Spider-Man: Homecoming never says that the entire film is eight years later, just the scene with Toomes and his crew. It then immediately cuts back to Peter Parker’s misadventures in Civil War, two years (or so) earlier. What we could be looking at is the end of Peter’s freshman year in high school. There’s a gap of two months between Spidey’s recruitment and the rest of the film. Let’s say that takes Peter into his sophomore year. Homecoming covers most of the events of Peter’s second year in high school, and it’s possible that it ends about one year after Civil War. That would make it seven years, or even seven years and a few months since the Battle of New York. It’s not exactly eight years later, but it’s a lot closer than just six years. However, it’s not like Marvel has never fudged its numbers for the sake of a story.
The next Spider-Man movie is likely to feature Peter’s third year in high school. And if there’s a third MCU Spidey movie, then it would probably be set in his senior year. Considering that the next Spider-Man film won’t be out until 2019 or 2020, it may why Homecoming so definitively came down on 2020 as its time frame. That way, Spidey gets a trilogy set in the “now” that keeps him from aging out of the role as the MCU’s youngest and most inexperienced hero. We may not have a perfect explanation for this goof, but it's the best we've got at the moment. If all else fails, blame Thanos or Doctor Strange.
Images: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios