The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been going strong for almost a decade now. The idea of a series of interconnected movies like this had really never been done before and with Thor: Ragnarok set to the 17th movie in the series overall, things were bound to get a little confusing at some point. The timeline of the MCU has been getting a little messy and with Thor 3, it isn't going to get any less messy.
Screen Rant recently revealed a conversation they had with Marvel producer Brad Winderbaum during a set visit for Thor: Rangarok. Winderbaum was asked about the movie fits into the overall MCU timeline and his answer was a bit vague and may present some conflicts with statements made about previous movies. Here's what he had to say about it.
"It's not like, five minutes after Ultron ends we start this movie. It's a couple years later... This movie takes place basically...You know, it's hard. In the timeline of the MCU, things kind of happen on top of each other, especially now in Phase Three. They're not as interlocked as they were in Phase One, you know, during Fury's Big Week and everything. So [Thor: Ragnarok] happens maybe on top of Civil War, on top of Spider-Man [Homecoming]. Somewhere in that park."
Even Brad Winderbaum admits it's hard with the MCU timeline at this point. At one point, Captain America: Civil War directors Joe Russo and Anthony Russo say that their movie takes place about a year after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. According to this statement, Thor: Ragnarok takes place "a couple years" after Ultron. But yet, it happens on top of Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Considering Homecoming takes place right after the events of Civil War, that wouldn't quite make sense. The point is, things are getting a little muddy.
Doctor Strange also needs to be factored in here. We know that Thor is going to be teaming up with the Sorcerer Supreme for at least a little bit during Thor: Ragnarok, which is likely to be the only portion of the movie that takes place on Earth. So how long as Stephen Strange been the Sorcerer Supreme when Thor and Loki head to New York looking for Odin? Doctor Strange basically took place during Captain America: Civil War, so he likely will be relatively new in his position during Thor: Ragnarok.
At some point, it was going to be impossible for Marvel to meticulously manage every detail over the overall timeline without compromising the stories they want to tell. In this case, director Taika Waititi is more or less telling a standalone story that doesn't really take place on Earth. So giving a relatively vague timeline gives them some wiggle room in order to make things work. Perhaps we'll get some solid answers and a better understanding after seeing Thor: Ragnarok, which arrives in theaters on November 3. Or maybe the movie will be so good we just won't care.