WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, once known for building and maintaining continuity in a way that few other extended franchises have accomplished, has officially destroyed its own continuous timeline in the course of just one year, sources confirmed. We at Marvelous Movies had a chance to interview Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about the choice to depart drastically from consistent continuity.
MM: The Marvel Cinematic Universe built its success for the first ten years on having just one consistent timeline. The shows and movies were all interconnected; they affected each other in real ways and didn’t contradict. It was quite a feat to accomplish over the span of 20 movies and several shows! Nothing quite like this had ever been done on such a large cinematic scale. So why this sudden departure in handling the continuity?
KF: We decided 2019 was the year to throw all of that carefully-crafted continuity out the window once and for all. I mean, you gotta keep the fans on their toes. Too much consistency may lead to cohesive and high-quality storytelling, but we think it’s actually predictable and boring. And nobody wants that, do they?
MM: Avengers: Endgame featured heavy usage of time travel and a number of changes to the MCU’s timeline, specifically surrounding the events of The Avengers in 2012. What brought about this decision?
KF: Ultimately, time travel just seemed like a cheap and easy way to bring back popular characters who we had killed off. Present Gamora is dead, but past Gamora is in the present now, still out there somewhere. Present Loki is dead, but past Loki escaped with the tesseract and is getting his own spin-off series. Present Thanos is dead, but past Thanos came back to menace our heroes again!
MM: But if past Thanos died in the future before he ever collected the stones, then how did the snap ever even happen?
KF: Well, time travel, clearly. Weren’t you paying attention?
MM: This also brings up another point about the recent seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Because Agent Fitz died at the end of season 5–
KF: Yeah, but, you guessed it, past Fitz is still out there in space somewhere and comes back in season 6! It’s like he was never even gone!
MM: Right. But again, what about the snap?
KF: What about it?
MM: Well, one of the last episodes of season 5, shortly before the release of Infinity War in 2018, mentioned that Thanos was coming to Earth. Up to that point, S.H.I.E.L.D. had done a great job of staying consistent with the timeline of the movies.
KF: That’s right! “It’s all connected,” you know? That was even the show’s tagline for a while there!
MM: But season 6 takes place a year later, in the middle of the five-year time gap shown in Endgame. So why does the season contain no further mention of Thanos or what his snap did to the universe?
KF: Well, we’re going with a new direction here. In fact, the writers are about to unveil a new tagline for the show. I think they’re going with “It’s All Convoluted.” Or “Some of It Is Kinda Connected,” though that one doesn’t roll of the tongue quite as well. Look, viewers will just have to suspend disbelief a little and assume that the 10+ main characters of S.H.I.E.L.D. all just happened to survive the snap.
MM: Along with all of the Defenders, the Runaways, Cloak and Dagger, and all of their supporting characters? They’ve all had seasons since Infinity War that didn’t acknowledge the snap at all either.
KF: Yes. Exactly. Along with all of them. Just assume they all survived and that their lives weren’t affected in any way by this cosmic event that wiped out half the universe. It might be a lot, but hey, our heroes have faced tougher odds than that, right?
MM: Is it too much for viewers to hope that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might still address and resolve any of the timeline discrepancies in next year’s season 7?
KF: Resolve? Heh. No way. They’re going to the past this time to meet up with Agent Carter, who’s already harboring a time-displaced Steve from the future! Isn’t time travel great?
MM: Can we expect any other big changes to the Marvel Universe in light of these decisions?
KF: Well, now that Disney’s got Fox under its wing too, we’ve got the writers of the X-Men films on our side. Let me tell you, those guys are pros at utterly destroying any semblance of a continuous timeline to a shared universe. And we also hired Steven Moffat from Doctor Who for the exact same reason. In fact, he’s the one who keeps bringing everyone back to life!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 7 will premiere in 2020, unless it’s already premiered in the past.
Photo: Marvel Studios