The MCU‘s official timeline can finally resolve the franchise’s greatest continuity question – whether the old Marvel Television shows are considered canon. Continuity is an important part of any shared universe; at its most basic level, the concept of continuity ensures everything relates to everything else. That’s certainly the case in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most successful and high-profile shared universe of all. Jessica Gao, the head writer of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, recently revealed that a dedicated Marvel employee keeps track of the timeline and serves as a resource for creatives.
Disney+ contains an option for viewing the MCU in chronological order, but the Disney+ timeline is frankly broken. It now seems an official MCU timeline book will be published in September 2025, released by Penguin Random House and created after close consultation with Marvel Studios. This doesn’t necessarily mean the book should be considered definitive – Marvel Studios has worked closely with publishers in the past, only to brand them non-canon because plans changed. Still, the publication should surely settle one of the most difficult questions in the lore; whether Marvel Television’s old shows are considered part of the canon, or part of another timeline.
Nobody Really Knows Whether Marvel Television’s Shows Count To The MCU
Marvel Television’s flagship TV show, Agents of SHIELD, was originally envisioned as tying closely in to the movies – as were the various other series, including those originally released on Netflix. But the connections were only ever one way, and Agents of SHIELD‘s timeline pulled away from the main MCU narrative as the years progressed. This was largely because of changes behind the scenes; Marvel Studios was pulled out of the wider Marvel Entertainment group in 2015, and the corporate restructure removed lines of communication between the film and TV division. Marvel Television was ultimately closed down when Disney commissioned the film studio to kick off a new series of big-budget shows for Disney+ that would tie in to the movies more directly. For a time, it really did seem as though the old Marvel Television productions had effectively been erased from continuity.
More recent decisions at Marvel appear to have complicated the issue, however. Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio are now reprising their Marvel Netflix roles, raising the question of whether the Daredevil series is considered MCU canon. Amusingly, even the former Daredevil stars don’t seem particularly sure, let alone viewers. The situation has become something of a mess, and an official MCU timeline should give an indication one way or another.
The MCU’s Official Timeline Can Settle The Issue At Last
Previous Marvel Studios stories have carefully avoided commenting on this. The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for example, deliberately focused in only on things produced by the film studio; its author Tara Bennett took to social media to insist she had deliberately avoided commenting on questions of canon. But there’s simply no way an official timeline can do the same, particularly when it comes to discussing characters like Daredevil and Kingpin. Any past relationship between the two characters will surely be discussed, and Marvel will need to decide whether it aligns with the Daredevil Netflix series.
Interestingly, the official MCU timeline book will apparently include alternate timelines – a comment that may be indicative. The inclusion of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfirle’d Spider-Men in Spider-Man: No Way Home surely means all previous Marvel productions are part of the same multiverse, so the timeline could well discuss shows like Agents of SHIELD and the Marvel Netflix series as canon in a very different way. Hopefully it won’t be long until the true nature of MCU continuity becomes clear at last.