Welcome to our Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline 2.0. In it, we have tried to construct as definitive as possible timeline for all of Marvel Studio’s interconnected films. In updating from our previous attempt, we’ve also incorporated a number of comics that Marvel have established as canon and once again tried to extrapolate where things fit in when concrete clues weren’t available.
While many historical dates have been derived from various documents and newspapers glimpsed in the films, the dates for the modern section all spread outward from the May 1-2, 2010 running of the Historic Grand Prix Of Monaco as seen in Iron Man 2 and are extrapolated from internal evidence and dialogue. The comic Fury’s Big Week collapses many of the events of Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk and Thor into a tighter time frame than I had envisioned in version 1.0.
Dating for The Avengers stems from the museum reception that Loki attacks where the banners in the background giving the dates of the exhibition as May 4 through October 11. I am speculating that the reception is an opening night affair. Some promotional shots featured computer screens with the visible date of 12/2/12. However, in an email with one of the graphic designers who created the screens he stated that the date was just a placeholder and was removed for the film itself.
For further information on canonicity of sources and a key to sources used see the notes at the end. Where exact dating for sequences have proven to be impossible, I’ve gone with my best guess.
Going by the cosmology established by Marvel Comics for their fictional multiverse, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is designated Earth-1999999. (The main Marvel Comics universe is known as Earth-616 while their Ultimates universe is Earth-1610 and the Marvel Zombies universe is Earth-2149.)
The Time Line
965 AD – Armed with the powerful Casket of Ancient Winters, the frost giants of Jotunheim attempt to conquer Midgard/Earth. Their invasion point in Tonsberg, Norway becomes the site of an epic battle as Asgard’s ruler Odin leads an army to repeal the invasion. Odin and his forces push the frost giants back to Jotunheim where the AllFather discovers an abandoned frost giant infant whom he adopts, names Loki and raises as his own alongside his own son Thor. A truce is negotiated between Odin and the frost giant king Laufey.
July 4 – Steve Rogers is born to a young couple in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City. His father dies of injuries from being mustard gassed during World War One, leaving his mother to raise the boy. CA:FA
June – Steve Rogers’s mother dies of tuberculosis. Young Steve is placed in an Eighth Avenue orphanage. CA:FA, CA:FV#1
Sept. – A teenage Steve Rogers meets James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes and the pair quickly become best friends. CA:FV#1
1934 – Howard Stark and Abram Erskine briefly meet at an engineering conference in Geneva. CA:FV#3
February – Johann Schmidt meets the newly appointed German Chancellor Adolph Hitler at the Deutsches Operhaus in Berlin where he tries to convince Hitler of his theory that the Norse myths may actually be true. Hitler is intrigued, but Ernest Kaufmann, head of the Sturmabteilung’s (SA) Special Weapons Division, sees Schmidt as a potential rival and threatens him to not approach Hitler again with his theories. One of Hitler’s inner circle, Heinrich Himmler, sees some value in what Schmidt has to offer and befriends him.
June 30 – The beginning of the three-day “Night Of The Long Knives” during which Hitler and the Nazi Party purged Germany of many political enemies including the SA. Himmler allows Schmidt to personally kill Kaufmann. -CA:FV#2
July 1 – Schmidt takes control of the SA’s Weapons Testing Ground at Kummersdorf, an estate near Luckenwalde, south of Berlin, crushing the armed resistance from SA members loyal to Kaufmann. Possessing no strong political convictions but a strong sense of self-preservation, scientist Armin Zola pledges to work for Schmidt. Schmidt stops Zola’s development of an armored exo-skeleton battle suit and redirects the scientist’s energies towards biological enhancement. – CA:FV#2
September 14 – Spurred by rumors that Hitler was to announce draconian anti-Semetic laws, including the revocation of German citizenship for Jews, at the Nazi Party’s annual rally in Nuremberg the next day, biochemist Abraham Erskine attempts to flee Germany with his family. They are stopped at the Swiss boarder by Schmidt who wants Erskine’s work on ways to increase molecular density of cellular fibers through synthetic proteins. In order to ensure Erskine’s cooperation, Schmidt has Erskine’s wife Greta and his children Klaus and Marlene sent to the Dachau concentration camp. Zola is allowed to resume his work on exo-skeleton battle suits and various high-tech weaponry. – CA:FV#2
April 26 – The Bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. While the Nazis were assisting the forces of Generalissimo Franco, Hydra uses the battle to test a prototype tank and exo-skeleton battle suit. (See also February, 1940.) – CA:FV#3
February – Howard Stark demonstrates a prototype vibranium shield at famed Hollywood restaurant Ciro’s to an assemblage of high ranking military guests. Stark is approached by Col. Chester Phillips of Army Intelligence who shows him film footage of Hydra’s weapons testing at the Bombing of Guernica (See April 26, 1937).
Phillips extends to Stark an invitation to join the Strategic Science Reserve (SSR), authorized by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and who specifically asked for Stark to be recruited. At first, Stark declines but changes his mind after an encounter with a Hydra assassination team. – CA:FV#3
November – Schmidt tests Erskine’s formula on himself. The formula reacts with Schmidt on a base level, twisting and discoloring his face into a skull-like, red visage. Two days later, Erskine escapes his captivity with the help of the British Secret Intelligence known only as Agent 13. He is informed that his family had died in a typhoid epidemic that swept through the Dachau concentration camp in 1937 and that Schmidt had deliberately withheld that information from him in order to continue to manipulate him. Erskine is recruited by Howard Stark into the SSR. CA:FV#3
December 7 – The Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor kills thousands of US naval personnel and plunges the country into the conflict that has been slowly sweeping across the globe.
Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes learn of the attack on Pearl Harbor from a radio report while attending an art class in Times Square. Steve wants to enlist into the armed forces immediately, but Barnes states that the rail thin and sickly Steve would never pass the physical. Barnes spends the next two and a half weeks helping Steve get into better physical condition through boxing training, weight lifting and running. CA:FV#1
December 24 – Barnes’ training of Steve fails to pay off as he is still classified by Army doctors as “4-F,” Unfit for Service, when he tries to enlist. Barnes is accepted into the Army and the two men part. (CA:FV#1) Steve will make four more attempts to enlist over the next 18 months.
March – Schmidt traces the location of the Tesseract to Tonsberg, Norway and retrieves it, killing its guardian in the process.
June 14 (Flag Day) – Steve Rogers makes his fifth attempt at enlisting, this time at a Paramus, NJ recruiting station. He is again rejected as 4F status. Later in the day he is reunited with Bucky Barnes, now a sergeant who has been assigned to the 107th Infantry, the same unit that Rogers’s father had fought in during World War One.
That evening the pair head out to the World Exposition in Flushing Meadows, NY. Expositions there include Dr. Phineas Horton’s Synthetic Man and Howard Stark demonstrating his flying car prototype which utilizes “gravitic reversion technology.” Steve makes another attempt at enlisting and meets Dr. Erskine of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), who sees Steve’s potential as a candidate for the Super Soldier experiment and certifies Steve 1A, fit for military duty. (CA:TFA 0:10:37)
June 15 – Rogers arrives at Camp Lehigh, New York along with a number of other potential candidates for the SSR’s Super Soldier experiment. Over a period of a week, Col. Phillips and Peggy Carter of the SSR put the candidates through a series of physical tests. Meanwhile, Schmidt and Zola perfect a way to transfer the energy contained in the Tesseract to batteries to power the number of various weapons designed by Zola.
June 21 – Following a week of evaluation, Erskine picks Rodgers as the subject for the Super Soldier experiment based on his strength of character, knowing that the serum will react to that character. Phillips is not impressed with the choice.
June 22 – Steve Rogers undergoes Erskine’s Super Soldier treatment and undergoes a transformation that increased his strength and stamina. Heinz Kruger, an assassin sent by Schmidt, infiltrates the secret SSR laboratory in Brooklyn where the experiment is being held and kills Erskine. Kruger escapes but is captured by Rogers who is unable to stop Kruger from killing himself rather than be interrogated.
Schmidt separates HYDRA from Third Reich control.
June 23 – New York newspapers carry story of Rogers pursuit of Kruger through Brooklyn, but only identify him as a “Mystery Man.” (CA:TFA 0:47:33)
Rather than risk their only super soldier in combat, the military instead uses Rogers as a public relations tool, having him appear around the country at War Bond rallies and in comic books and a Saturday matinee serial. Wherever he makes an appearance, war bond sales spike. Meanwhile, President Roosevelt orders the SSR to concentrate its efforts on combating HYDRA.
Nov 2 - The 107th Division goes up against some of Schmidt’s new weapons and sustains heavy casualties.
Nov 3 – Rodgers’ War Bond show has been turned into a USO Tour show and sent overseas, where it is met with derision from soldiers who have actually been through months of grueling combat. When Steve finds out about the casualties sustained by the 107th, he plans an impulsive rescue mission and is aided by Carter and Stark. Flying behind enemy lines into Austria, Steve parachutes near one of HYDRA’s bases, sneaks in and frees 400 captured Allied troops including Barnes, Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth and Jacques Dernier all of whom will go on to form the core members of the Howling Commandos.
Nov 4 – Rogers leads the freed soldiers back with numerous captured examples of HYDRA weapons technology. Howard Stark designs and builds several prototypes of a gadget-laden new shield for Captain America, but Rogers instead takes a simple circular one made out of the world’s only known sample of vibranium.
Over the majority of the remainder of the war, Steve leads the Howling Commandos on several raids, taking out numerous HYDRA bases.
During a daring raid to capture Hydra scientist Armin Zola, Bucky Barnes falls off a fast moving Alpine railroad car to his apparent death. Zola is captured in the raid and under interrogation informs tha Allies that Schmidt is preparing to a plan to attack major US cities. Rogers, the Howling Commandos and the Army attack Hydra’s last remaining base in the Alps. Schmidt escapes in his large flying wing, but Rogers manages to make it on board as well. The two fight and Schmidt is consumed by the power of the Teseract. Unable to safely land the flying wing with its explosive cargo, Rogers sacrifices his life by crashing the aircraft into the Arctic Ocean. Unexpectedly, the frozen climate interacted with the Super Soldier serum in his blood and placed Rogers in suspended animation.
May 8 – V-E Day. As victory in Europe is celebrated, the Howling Commandos gather for a somber drink to remember their fallen comrade, Captain Steve Rogers.
Post-World War Two -
Howard Stark continues his work with the SSR and over time it restructures into what is now known as Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, SHIELD. While searching for Rogers and the crashed Hydra plane, Stark discovers the Tesseract on the floor of the Arctic Ocean.
Speculation – Due to the nature of their work, the SSR continued to remain classified and a cover story was arranged that Stark spent the war years contributing to the Manhattan Project. Did Stark’s study of the recovered Tesseract lead to an insight that allowed him to conceptualize the ARC reactor?
Work continued to replicate Erskine’s Super Soldier formula in what was now known as the Weapons Plus program. One serum developed by a Dr. Reinstein is cryogenically preserved when the program is ultimately discontinued. (IH 0:44:33)
1954 – Stark World Exposition
1963 – Anton Vanko defects to the US and begins work with Howard Stark in developing ARC Reactor technology. (Note – The dates for Anton Vanko’s defection and deportation are taken from Iron Man 2 dialogue. Close inspection of the old newspapers on computer displays and as props show that they place Vanko’s defection and deportation at 1966 and 1967. I’ve chose to ignore the props and go with the dialogue as canon.)
1964 – Stark Expo held in conjunction with the World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY
1967 – Stark has Anton Vanko deported as a spy. Vanko returns to Soviet Union but is sent to exile in Siberia for two decades. Presumably he is able to return to Moscow following Premier Gorbachev’s call for democratization in January 1987.
December 18 – Bruce Banner born (IH 0:02:02)
May 10 – Tony Stark born (The Iron Man novelization states that Tony Stark was born in 1973, but in order for young Tony to be the age we briefly see him in Iron Man 2 and to still not be old enough to assume of Stark Industries when Howard Stark dies in 1991, I have moved his birth year to here.)
1974 – Last Stark Expo until 2010. Howard Stark hides secret to perfecting ARC reactor in layout of the Expo for Tony to find. (IM2)
1975 – Tony Stark Builds his first circuit board.
1977 – Tony Stark builds his first engine.
1988 – Tony Stark graduates MIT at age 17 at top of class (IM)
1988 – 1991 -Bruce Banner meets Betty Ross while undergrads at Harvard. They begin dating and at one point volunteer for an experiment involving hallucinogenics.
December 16 – Howard and Maria Stark die in car accident on Long Island. (IM)
Speculation – Was Howard Stark’s death orchestrated/ordered by Obadiah Stane in order to gain control of Stark Industries?
1992 – Tony Stark inherits Stark Industries becoming, at age 21, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. (IM) In addition to the company’s numerous military contracts, Stark Industries also does pioneering work in medical technology and in combating world hunger with their Intelli-Crops program. In the process he becomes somewhat of a media celebrity.
2002 – 2006 – In the wake of 9/11 attacks (Speculation), General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross convinces military to revive the BioForce Enhancement Project, aka the “Super Soldier” program, as a subprogram of the Infantry Weapons Development Program. (IH 0:32:15, 0:32:36)
Dr. Bruce Banner joins the group at Culver University in Willowdale, VA in southwestern Virginia working on way to strengthen cellular resistance to radiation, possibly at insistence of girlfriend Dr. Elizabeth “Betty” Ross, daughter of General Ross.
Ross lies to the scientists on the project, informing them that their work will help protect soldiers from depleted uranium. (IHD)
Unspecified Thursday in January – Under the threat of funding cuts, Banner volunteers to test process on himself resulting in the accident that turns him into Hulk. (IH, 0:02:04, partially obscured Washington Times newspaper dateline reading “Friday (Obstructed) 2006”; see also below February 7)
Gamma pulse combined with serum that Betty was developing triggers mutation. Later, gamma pulses somehow stored in Banner’s brain’s amigdala and released during high stress moments will trigger mutation.
Betty is injured and hospitalized. Ross admits to Banner that project is being developed as weapon, not just defense. Banner goes on the run. In the wake of the accident, the military closes the entire lab building for a year and shuts down the entire Bio Tech Force Enhancement project. General Ross secretly holds onto some material, Dr. Betty Ross also secretly holds onto project data, remaining at Culver University as a professor of cellular biology. Betty also ceases speaking with her father (IH 0:44:00), angry at his treatment of Banner.
February 7 – Banner tries to contact Betty one last time, but the email is intercepted by the military. She never receives it. (IH 0:02:41)
At some point during his run from the military, Banner travels through the Dakotas (IH 0:02:06) and towards Idaho where an encounter some State Troopers leads to violence.
May 27-28 – Banner spotted via satellite recon photo in Canada (IH 0:02:10) and Hulk sighted by locals along the US/Canada who mistake him for a “green Sasquatch.” (IH 0:02:27)
The military looses Banner, who eventually arrives in Eastern Nunavut near the Arctic Circle to commit suicide in a place where his body would not be found. The attempt fails.
October 21 – Last sighting of Banner for at least five months (IH 0:02:54, I’m placing Banner’s suicide attempt before this date, or even possibly at this date, as I’m sure that the Hulk’s rampage in the Arctic would have been detected by satellite.)
2007 – 2010
At some point, the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistic Division (SHIELD) is brought in to help Ross and his task force recover Banner. Ross requisitions some high tech weaponry he knows will be required to bring Banner/Hulk down. (IH 0:02:35) Stark Industries sells them Jeep-mounted sonic cannons. (IH 0:02:36) (Is the sonic cannon an off-shoot of the same technology behind the sonic weapon used by Stane to paralyze his Ten Rings collaborators?)
Banner wanders the world avoiding population centers, eventually heading to South America.
May – Following the successful demonstration of the new Jericho missile weapons system outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, the military convoy escorting Stark is attacked by the Ten Rings terrorist group under the leadership of Raza, who were working at least in part on the part of Obadiah Stane. Stark is wounded by Stark Industries-manufactured weapons and is captured.
During his three months of capture, Stark is forced to build version of Jericho for the Ten Rings terrorist group. He instead builds an armored, exo-skeleton battle suit (Iron Man armor, MK I) and uses it to escape. Following his being found by the US military, Stark is taken to Germany where he is checked out by Army doctors and then subjected to debriefings from the CIA, NSA and others.
Late August – Upon his return to the US, Stark buys cheeseburgers and then pulls Stark International out of the weapons business, terminating all contracts with the military. SI stock prices tumble nearly 60 percent. Hammer Industries maneuvers itself to pick up many new contracts.
September – Stark continues to develop a more refined version of the armor he used to escape from the Ten Rings. Stane uses Stark’s change of heart concerning what business he is in as leverage for a takeover attempt. Besides boardroom maneuvering, Stane develops his own high tech battle armor using the remains of the MK I armor recovered by his Ten Rings confederates.
October 17 – Unspecified Hulk incident (See April 1, 2010). Presumably news of Stark’s announcement that he is Iron Man overshadowed any media coverage this may have received.
Soon after, Banner heads into the Rio De Janeiro favela known as Rocinha, to find a way to clandestinely contact Dr. Samuel Sterns, professor in Cellular Biology Department at NYC’s Grayburn College (IH 1:09:11) on the Upper East Side, for help in developing a cure. They communicate using codenames of “Mr. Blue” and “Mr. Green.” Sterns is noted for his work with trimethadiones, used in the treatment of epileptic conditions. (IHD)
Acting on a suggestion from Mr. Blue/Sterns, Banner starts to research Amazonia Tracheophytes (plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water, minerals, and photosynthetic products through the plant) for a lead on a cure. – (IH 0:02:16, IHD )
Banner also studies calming techniques at a nearby temple, gets a job at a soda bottling plant as a handyman and begins teaching himself Portuguese.
October 20 – At a benefit for the Firefighters Family Fund Stark is told by journalist, and former one-night fling, Christine that Stark weaponry has been used by the Ten Rings in Gulmira, Afghanistan. When Stark confronts Stane over this, Stane reveals that he is behind the attempt to remove Stark as head of the company.
October 21 – Stark tests his newly completed Mk III armor by driving Raza’s Ten Rings group out of the Afghan village of Gulmira.
October 24 – Under Stark’s direction, Pepper Potts uncovers proof of Stane’s collaboration with the Ten Rings. Stane and Stark eventually come to blows in their respective armors. Stane is killed. The conflict is seen by the public and the press name the mysterious hero “Iron Man.”
October 25 – At a press conference the day following his showdown with Stane, Stark rejects SHIELD’s constructed alibi for the events of the previous evening and admits to the world that he is Iron Man. That evening, SHIELD director Nick Fury approaches Stark about a project called the “Avengers Initiative.” Stark declines, Fury calls in Black Widow (IM, IMC2) to keep Stark under surveillance.
Anton Vanko dies in poverty in Moscow. His son Ivan vows revenge on Stark. He begins building his own portable ARC reactor to power an energized whip/body harness.
December 16– Iron Man named Time magazine’s Person Of The Year, narrowly beating out Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve. (IM2, In real life, Bernanke was named PotY in Time’s December 16th issue.)
As Tony Stark continues to operate as Iron Man, he manages to bring about a period of relative peace and is credited by some press as having stabilized East-West relations. Stark realizes that the paladium core of Stark’s ARC reactor is slowly poisoning him. He begins searching for a cure but keeps his condition a secret. (IM2)
March 25 – 158 Days since last “incident” – Banner has accident that leaves drop of blood in soda. (IH 0:32:12) Also, he sends sample of blood to Sterns who will conduct further experiments with it outside of the analysis that Banner needs.
April 22 – Stark Expo 2010 opens with plans to run for one year. (IM2, “Six Months Later”)
April 23 – Stark appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Weaponized Suit Defense Program Hearings chaired by Pennsylvania Senator Stern. Stern pushes Stark to turn the Iron Man suit and technology over to the military but Stark refuses. Stern calls Justin Hammer, CEO of Hammer Industries and Lt. Col. Rhodes to testify against Stark. Stark testifies that although other countries, including North Korea and Iran are working to replicate the technology, they are years away from being able to do so. He also reveals that Hammer Industries have also had their share of lack-of-success, leading to the cancellation of Hammer Industries’ contacts with the Department of Defense. (IM2)
April 24 – CSPAN footage of Stark’s testimony from the previous day becomes overnight sensation with a YouTube posting of it managing nearly 1.9 million views in less than 24 hours. Hammer Industries stocks plummet while Stark Industuries jump to a 52 week high.
Perhaps spurred by concerns that the palladium poisoning he is suffering has reached 24% toxicity, Stark appoints Potts Chairman and CEO of Stark Industries. (IM2 0:20:44, Stark Expo website displaying “362 Days Left” to attend Expo)
An agent of the Ten Rings supplies Vanko assistance in infiltrating the Monaco Grand Prix.
April 25 – General Ross’s task force raids Rochina favela is search of Banner under the field command of Emil Blonski. Banner transforms into Hulk, defeats the raiding party and escapes. (IH 0:29:02 Days with out incidence counter moves from 190 days backwards.)
April 27 – Banner wakes up in Guatemala. Over the next 17 days, he will make his way from Chiapas, Mexico to Willowdale, VA and Culver University to see if any data still remains from his original experiment.
April 29 – Stark signs paperwork to transfer power to Potts, meets “Natalie Rushman” unaware that she is SHIELD agent Natasha Romanoff. Stark promotes her from the legal department to be his new personal assistant.
May 2 – Stark arrives at the Historic Grand Prix of Monaco and in a moment of spontaneity quips “What’s the point of having a car if you don’t drive it,” and replaces Team Stark’s regular driver DiFilipo in Race G. Ivan Vanko attacks Stark along the section of the Circuit de Monaco between turns 16 and 17 along the harbor. Switching into a portable, lightweight Iron Man armor (Mark V), Stark defeats Vanko.
Later that evening, Stark visits Vanko in prison before flying back to US with Potts.
May 3 – Senator Stern appears on several news channels to spin support for the military seizing the Iron Man armor technology.
May 5 – Hammer orchestrates Vanko’s escape from prison to have him work on Hammer Industries own weapons suit program.
May 6 – Media speculation continues about Stark’s fitness to continue as Iron Man. Rhodes tries to convince Stark to hand over the Iron Man technology to the US military, but Stark continues to refuse. (IM2, date on screen at 0:45:11)
May 7 – Hammer and Vanko arrive at the Hammer Industries facility in Queens, NY. Vanko begins revamping Hammer’s own battle suit prototypes into unmanned, remote-controlled drones.
May 10 – Tony Stark’s Birthday.
Romanoff reports to SHIELD on Stark’s condition. Within several hours, SHIELD scientists work up a possible antidote from lithium that would at least slow the advancement of Stark’s palladium poisoning. SHIELD scientists also first detect strange electromagnetic disturbances over New Mexico, the same ones that Jane Foster has already discovered and is observing. SHIELD agent Sitwell superstitiously facilitates Banner’s crossing over the Mexico/US boarder. (FBW #1)
Depressed over his inability to solve his palladium poisoning dilemma, Stark gets drunk which leads to a confrontation with Rhodes, who dons the Mark II Iron Man armor. The ensuing fight wrecks a portion of Stark’s Malibu home. Rhodes leaves with the Mk II suit. (IM2N pg 136 places the night of Stark’s party three days after Vanko’s arrival at Hammer’s Queens facility.)
May 11 – Rhodes delivers the Mk II suit to the military at Edwards Air Force Base. Stark goes for donuts and has a conversation with SHIELD director Nick Fury who injects him with the lithium compound developed by SHIELD scientists. Fury mentions a situation in the southwest but confines Stark to house arrest.
At Hammer Industries, Vanko continues revamping the battle suits in to unmanned, remote-controlled drones.
Physicist Jane Foster, working in the small town of Puente Antiguo, New Mexico, contacts her mentor Dr Erik Selvig about a series of electromagnetic flares which are causing gravitational lensing which could result in the creation of possible Einstein-Rosen Bridge (wormhole) in the nearby desert. (Note: Puente Antiguo is Spanish for “Ancient Bridge.”) Her message is intercepted by SHIELD. Selvig heads to New Mexico to help Foster with her work.
The Mk II suit is turned over to Justin Hammer for weapons upgrading on the order of General Meade, though not before Rhodes secretly removes the suit’s ARC reactor.
Tony visits Potts at Stark Industries, makes intuitive breakthrough on how to fix his palladium/ARC reactor problem through the creation of a new element theorized by his father and hidden in the layout of Stark Expo.
May 12 – In the midst of Thor’s coronation ceremony on Asgard, Odin senses a break-in in one of the palace treasure rooms. Theintruders are dealt with by the Destroyer although since they were frost giants attempting to steal back the Casket of Ancient Winters, Thor impulsively sees the attempted theft as an act of war.
Stark builds a small cyclotron to create the element his father had left clues about. (Some material donated by SHIELD from their stores at Project Pegasus.)
Banner arrives at Culver University and spies Betty.
Nick Fury reassigns Agent Coulson from his detail with Tony Stark to investigate the New Mexico atmospheric disturbances. Coulson leaves in the early afternoon from California for New Mexico.
7:00 pm – Hammer’s Stark Expo presentation is hijacked by Vanko, who uses drones to attack crowd and Stark. After receiving a call from Vanko, Stark skips over tests on new ARC reactor element in order to race across country and stop Vanko. Stark/Iron Man defeat Vanko’s drones with help from Rhodes in modified Mk II armor, SHIELD Agent Romanoff and Stark’s driver Happy Hogan. Vanko apparently killed in explosion that destroys the Oracle Pavilion. Hammer is arrested for his part in engineering Vanko’s escape.
While Romanoff is in Hammer Industries’ Brooklyn facility she hacks the company’s mainframe, steals what development files she can and then destroys the building. – FBW #2
Banner goes to old friend and pizzeria owner Stanley to hide out. He offers him the Pizza Shop’s upstairs spare bedroom. (IH 0:34:25)
At a SHIELD outpost on the outskirts of Roswell, NM, Coulson marshalls a taskforce heading for Puente Antiguo.
Thor, Loki, Sif and the Warriors Three head to Jotunheim to confront King Laufey of the frost giants over the incursion into Asgard. A battle breaks out but Odin’s arrival puts a quick end to it. Angered that Thor’s impulsiveness has nearly started a war between Asgard and the frost giants, Odin strips him of his power and enchants his hammer Mjolnir to only be able to be lifted by someone worthy enough to wield it. He then exiles Thor to Earth to learn to temper his feelings.
Jane Foster detects another possible Einstein-Rosen Bridge (wormhole) in the nearby desert. Racing to the site with her mentor Dr. Selvig and her assistant Darcy, they discover Thor. Thor is tasered by Darcy and taken to a local hospital.
May 13 – While driving overnight to Puente Antiguo in advance of the SHIELD taskforce, Coulson stops at a 24-hour Roxxon mini-mart and foils an armed robbery attempt – FTHWTH
Director Fury orders SHIELD Agent Clint Barton off of his vacation and to Puente Antguo to support Coulson. – FBW#2
A Punete Antiguo local discovers Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, in a crater about 50 miles east of town. Unable to lift it, he calls several other people to give it a try. Coulson arrives in New Mexico. SHIELD quickly quarantines the area and erects a portable laboratory over the site to study the hammer.
Jane helps Thor escape from the hospital where he is being held. That evening they head towards the site of the SHIELD installation erected around Mjolnir. Thor is captured trying to sneak in.
In Asgard, Loki discovers his true heritage as a frost giant. Odin collapses into one of his periodic mystical comas known as the Odinsleep. Meanwhile, Sif and the Warriors Three begin to suspect that they were being manipulated by Loki.
Loki appears before Thor being held at the SHIELD installation and lies to him that Odin is dead. In the evening, Dr. Selvig goes to the installation and manages to get Coulson to release Thor into his custody. Later in the evening, Thor explains the concept of the Nine Worlds to Jane.
Banner poses as a pizza delivery man to get access to Culver University’s computer labs and research database. He decides to leave that evening but as he prepares to leave Stanley’s he is accidentally seen by Betty. She has him stay the night at the home she shares with new lover Dr. Leonard Sampson. Sampson informs the military of Banner’s whereabouts. Meanwhile, Blonski receives an unauthorized “low dose” injection of Super Soldier Serum from General Ross.
Concerned over what lengths General Ross will go to apprehend Banner, Fury orders Agent Romanoff to Virginia and Culver University to follow and observe Banner. – FBW # 2
May 14 – The Warriors Three and Sif head to Midgard to find Thor. Loki sends the Destroyer after them.
At Culver University, Betty walks Banner to bus station in the early morning. As they are crossing the campus, they are attacked by the military and Betty becomes aware of the true extent of Banner’s condition. Blonski seems to adapt well to Super Soldier upgrade, but still gets beaten by transformed Banner, getting nearly every bone in his body pulverized. Banner/Hulk escapes the military with an unconscious Betty to a cave deep in the Great Smoky Mountains.
News of the battle can not be contained and quickly spreads across cable news channels and the internet. Culver U. journalism student and campus newspaper reporter Jack McGee, who witnessed and captured the fight on cell phone video. McGee’s friend Jim Miller names the transformed Banner “the Hulk” in an interview with WHIH news. His remarks will be played repeatedly over the next several days. (IH 1:04:42, IM2 1:53:10)
Meanwhile, Stark has a debrief with SHIELD Director Fury. Stark is offered an advisory position with the Avengers Initiative on one condition.
SHIELD continues to monitor the Hulk incident, the situation in Puente Antiguo, New Mexico as well as several other hot spots in North America and Europe.
Thor and his fellow Asgardians fight the Destroyer. During the battle, Thor proves himself worthy of his godly heritage and his powers are restored, allowing him to turn back the Destroyer. Thor, Sif and the Warriors Three head back to Asgard where Thor reveals Loki’s plan to seize the throne of Asgard. Unfortunately, in the ensuing battle between the two, Thor is forced to destroy the Bifrost to prevent Loki from destroying Jotunheim and committing genocide against the frost giants. This action strands him in Asgard, unable to return to Midgard/Earth. Loki falls into space.
Barton and Coulson recover the remains of the Destroyer and transport it back to the SHIELD installation at Roswell. – FBW#3
Banner and Betty hide out in a motel outside of Ashwood, North Carolina in the foothlls of the Smokies. (IH 1:43:41 – Based on return address on package Banner receives from pawnshop. I am placing Ashwood here on the western side of the state for geogrpahical proximity to the Smokies. Although there is an actual Ashwood in North Carlona, it is on the eastern most side of the state along the Atlantic coast. Getting Betty and Bruce across the state some 400 to 500 miles in such a short time in order for them to procure the pickup truck is problematic.)
News of the previous day’s battle continues to spread. Within 36 to 40 hours of his on injuries, Blonski has recovered. (IH 1:07:30)
May 15 – Ross has meeting with taskforce staff. (IH 1:08:51, Ross states that Banner has been on the run “for five years” but I’m assuming that Ross is rounding up.)
SHIELD helps with search by adding the recently discovered “Mr. Blue” and “Mr. Green” code names to their email searches and quickly detect communication between Banner and Sterns.
Banner and Betty plan their trip to New York and Sterns. Betty pawns her mother’s necklace to finance purchase of beat-up pickup truck. They drive to NYC.
May 16– Banner and Betty arrive in NYC, bypassing roadblocks at the Holland Tunnel by bribing a boat owner to take them across the Hudson River, leaving them in lower Manhattan. They head uptown to meet with Sterns. Sterns and Banner try an experimental process to cure him, though it only succeeds in reversing the transformation, not ridding Banner of it completely.
The military captures Banner, but Blonsky forces Sterns to inject him with blood products Sterns had developed from Banner’s blood sample. Blonsky is driven insane and mutates into the Abomination. Sterns is infected with Banner’s blood through an open wound, possibly gaining his own mutation.
Banner convinces Ross to let him try and stop Blonsky. The two fight in Harlem, with the Hulk finally defeating Blonski before being allowed by Ross to flee.
Romanoff, who has followed Banner and Betty to New York City, discovers Stearns undergoing a mutation of his cerebral cortex in the ruins of his Grayburn College laboratory. He is taken into custody to be studied by SHIELD. – FBW#3
May 17 – Given the events of the past week, the World Security Council reverses its funding decision for SHIELD and increases the organization’s budget in order to expand their research on the Tesseract and to further fund the Avengers Initiative. The WSC insists that Blonski be made a part of the Avengers Initiative over Fury’s protests.
A few days later, impressed with his work on Einstein-Rosen bridges and other cutting edge theoretical physics, Nick Fury approaches Dr. Selvig to join SHIELD in an advisory capacity to study a powerful cube-like object in their possession. Fury is unaware that Selvig is under the control of Loki.
Troubled by the idea of Blonski on the Avengers team, Coulson and Sitwell conspire to send Tony Stark to discuss the prospect with General Ross. The following day, Tony Stark meets with Ross about “putting a team together.” However, Stark’s flippant attitude so enrages Ross that he refuses to release Blonski from Army custody to SHIELD. (TC)
June 16 – Banner has settled in a cabin deep in the woods of Bella Coola, British Columbia. He apparently is gaining control over the Hulk. SHIELD interferes with General Ross’s task force from discovering Banner’s whereabouts.
At some point Agent Romanoff is assigned to track bootleg Starktech stolen from Hammer Industries. He search leads her to Russia where she discovers that the 10 Rings had been buying components to build Stark Industries Jericho missiles through a number of fronts including billionaire industrialist Richard Frampton’s Sojourn Enterprises. Romanoff destroys the missiles and Frampton and a spy named Sophia who fashioned herself after Romanoff’s more bloody, pre-SHIELD career are killed. A:BWS
April – Unspecified Hulk incident as referenced by Romanoff on May 2, 2012. Possibly incident on India/ Pakistan boarder when Banner encountered a group of bandits, transformed into the Hulk and stopped them from harming a local village. – A:TAA
May – Steve Rogers is found cyrogenically preserved in the crashed Hydra airship in the arctic by two snowmobilers who are part of a Russian oil expedition. SHIELD dispatches a recovery team and brings Rogers back to their Manhattan. Meanwhile, SHIELD scientists discover a way to channel Tesseract energy through the remains of the Asgardian Destroyer. Fury assigns Barton to security at Project PEGASUS and shares his concerns that Dr Selvig has been reportedly acting a bit oddly of late.
Natasha Romanof is on a deep cover assignment in Asia. (Speculation – Possibly related to the Ten Rings?) – Date based on “One Year Later” epilogue to FBW #4
At some point, Rogers is revived and told that he has been in suspended animation for nearly seven decades. He remains hidden from public view while he struggles to assimilate into modern life and overcome the loneliness of being a man out of time.
Unknown – The World Security Council reverses its funding decision about funding Fury’s Avengers Initiative.
May 1 – Loki is given a scepter-like device from a mysterious cloaked entity known as the Other. The Other grants Loki the use of the Chitauri, a war-mongering alien race, to help him subjugate Earth in exchange for retrieving the Tesseract. Loki uses the small amount of dark energy that the scepter posses to remotely activate the Tesseract and teleport to Earth, arriving inside Project: Pegasus. He steals the Tesseract, ensnaring a small handful of SHIELD agents in his mental control including Dr Selvig and Clint Barton. The SHIELD base is destroyed during the escape but Coulson and Fury manages to save material that is part of Phase Two of their Tesseract research. Fury reactivates the Avengers Initiative
Once one relocated to the East Coast with the Phase Two materials, Coulson contacts Agent Romanov in Russia and instructs her to cut short her current mission in order to retrieve Banner and bring him to SHIELD. She finishes her interrogation of Georgi Luchkov and heads to India.
May 2- Romanov meets Banner in Kolkata, India and recruits him to help in the search for the Tesseract.
Fury gives Rogers his orders to report to the Helicarrier the next morning.
That evening, Tony Stark brings a miniaturized ARC reactor online to power the newly opened Stark Tower in midtown Manhattan, a high tech remodeling of the former Pan Am building. Agent Coulson calls on Stark with Selvig’s research on the Tesseract and requests that Stark review it.
May 3 – Black Widow arrives on the SHIELD helicarrier with Banner while Coulson arrives with Captain America. Banner begins a search for the gamma radiation signature put off by the Tesseract. Intelligence points to Loki being in Stuttgart, Germany.
Rogers and Romanoff head to Stuttgart where they engage Loki. Stark arrives in his Iron Man armor and helps capture Loki. But Loki’s appearance in Germany is a diversion in order for Hawkeye to steal iridium needed by Dr Selvig to build a device for Loki.
While transporting Loki back to the SHIELD helicarrier, the group is intercepted by Thor who wishes to take Loki back to Asgard to persuade Loki from his plan to attack the Earth and a brief skirmish between Stark and Thor ensues.
May 4 – Captain America, Tony Stark and Thor return to the Helicarrier with Loki. Fury places Loki in a cage originally made to hold Banner. In separate investigations, Banner and Stark and Rogers discover that SHIELD’s “Phase Two” is a plan to create Tesseract-powered weapons similar to the ones Hydra used in World War Two as defense against any alien threats. Loki is able to subtly influence the group, playing up their mistrust of each other in an effort to keep them fractured and unable to form a cohesive defense when his army invades.
When tensions hit their highest, a squad of SHIELD soldiers and Barton, all still under the influence of Loki, attack the helicarrier. While Stark and Rogers race to repair one of the helicarrier’s damaged turbines, Banner loses control of the Hulk who rampages through the helicarrier before leaping at one of the ship’s escort fighters and falling. Romanoff manages to free Barton from Loki’s influence through a sharp blow to the head. Loki escapes, killing Coulson in the process. Fury uses Coulson’s death to nudge the heroes into acting as a group.
Meanwhile, Selvig is able to finish the Tesseract-powered device which opens a portal to allow Loki’s army pass through. In a fierce battle in and over midtown Manhattan, the Avengers – Rogers, Stark, Thor, Romanoff, Barton and Banner in more control of the Hulk than has been previously seen – are able keep the Chitauri from establishing a beachhead on Earth but are having trouble driving them back through the wormhole. Fury defies the orders of the World Security Council to launch a nuclear strike on New York, but a SHIELD fighter pilot acts on that order and launches the device. The nuclear missile is intercepted by Stark who redirects it through the wormhole to destroy the Chitauri’s command ship. (With Stark’s passage through the wormhole he becomes the first recorded human to travel beyond the confines of the Earth’s solar system.) The Chitauri on the Earth side of the wormhole collapse as the worm hole is closed when Slevig and Romanoff destroy the Tesseract-powerd device. (Speculation – The Chitauri were biological/mechanical constructs that ran on broadcast power emanating from the other side of the wormhole.)
Afterwards, the Avengers go for shwarma while the Other reports to his master, Thanos, that to attack the humans would be “to court death.”
May 6 – Thor takes Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard. Banner accompanies Stark back to Stark Tower where Potts is overseeing repairs. Fury defies the World Security Council’s orders to continue monitoring the Avengers’ individual whereabouts.
A: TAA – The Avengers: The Avengers Initiative one-shot comic
A:BWS – The Avengers: Black Widow Strikes three-issue comic book mini-series
CA:FA – Captain America: The First Avenger film
CA:FV – Captain America: First Vengeance four issue comic book mini-series
FBW – Fury’s Big Week four issue comic book mini-series
FTHWTH – A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer short film
IM – Iron Man movie
IMD – Iron Man deleted scene
IMN – Iron Man novelization by Peter David
IMC1 – Iron Man comic adaptation issue 1
IMC2 –Iron Man comic adaptation issue 2
IM2 – Iron Man 2 movie
IM2N – Iron Man 2 novelization
IM2P- Iron Man 2 promotional/viral
IM2F- Iron Man 2 filmmaker comment
IH- Incredible Hulk movie
IHD – Incredible Hulk deleted/extended scene
IHN – Incredible Hulk novelization by Peter David
TA – The Avengers movie
TC – The Consultant short film
TH – Thor movie
A Note On The Canonicity of Sources: As this is a chronology of the united Marvel Movie Universe*, the films themselves are the final authority as to what is “official” in this unofficial timeline. Of secondary authority are comments from the filmmakers clarifying things presented in the films. Finally, other sources such as deleted scenes, novelizations, viral promotions and comic adaptations are considered tertiary and can be revised or completely discarded if later contradicted by a primary or secondary source. Example – While the events of the deleted opening sequence of Incredible Hulk were originally included in the timeline, events in Captain America have called for some revision.
* This is only for the properties that Marvel Studios owns film rights to and intend on including in their shared universe. Unfortunately, this means no X-Men, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Blade, Punisher or Howard The Duck.