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A big mystery from Spider-Man: No Way Home and Eternals has been solved

Published Jan 13th, 2022 12:21PM EST
Marvel's Eternals
Image: Marvel Studios

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Eternals is finally out on Disney Plus, which means we know exactly where this MCU Phase 4 movie sits in the MCU timeline. We always knew, thanks to the comments from a Marvel exec, but the Disney Plus listing confirms it all. And now that we saw both Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home, we know how these two movies connect. But before we get into the Eternals timeline, you should know that big spoilers will follow below from both films.

The MCU present day

Since Marvel started releasing the first MCU Phase 4 adventures, we’ve paid close attention to the official timeline. It’s important to know when the events in one movie or TV show occur in relation to other Phase 4 projects and Endgame.

With that in mind, after a year of MCU movies and TV shows, the MCU’s present time is December 2024 at the end of Hawkeye, right around the holidays. No Way Home took place right before Hawkeye, with most of the action happening over the course of two days in November. That means Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) has already forgotten who Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is by the time the events of Hawkeye unfold.

No Way Home starts right after the events of Far From Home, which takes place during Peter’s summer vacation in 2024.

Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore placed the events of Eternals around the same time as Far From Home. However, he might have been slightly wrong about the Eternals timeline.

Given the new revelations, it’s more likely that Eternals happens right around the same time as No Way Home, and we’ll explain why.

Eternals Final Trailer
Arishem, a Celestial in Eternals. Image source: Marvel Studios

The Eternals timeline

Now that Chloé Zhao’s film is out of Disney Plus, the movie’s place in the MCU timeline is official. The film sits between Shang-Chi and Hawkeye. You won’t find No Way Home on the list because the new Spider-Man movie isn’t available to stream.

And Spider-Man: No Way Home does start streaming, Disney Plus won’t be the first to get it.

Eternals bounces between various moments in time to tell this complicated story. The planet’s first superheroes arrived on Earth 7,000 years ago, and they have defended the planet from Deviants ever since.

But the bulk of the story happens over the course of seven days. That’s how long it takes between the Ajak (Salma Hayek) and Ikaris (Richard Madden) conversation at the farm and the failed Celestial emergence at the end.

We also see the aftermath of the failed emergence some two weeks after the Eternals battle that humans are yet to explain. That’s when some of the Eternals fly off into space to save other planets. Others remain on Earth where Arishem (David Kaye) appears to give humans instant PTSD.

Imagine seeing a massive red being in the sky roughly a year after the fight against Thanos (Josh Brolin). That’s the kind of development in the MCU that everyone will be talking about, and we can’t wait to see some reactions from the Avengers.

How is all of that relevant to No Way Home?

Marvel's Eternals
A scene from Marvel’s Eternals suggests Halloween 2024 must be close. Image source: Marvel Studios

There is a critical detail in Eternals that tells us exactly when the movie takes place. When Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris come to recruit Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) in Chicago, we can tell it’s the middle of fall. More important is the detail in the background.

As the three talk about Superman’s powers, we see a Halloween pumpkin on a bench. That tells us the events in Eternals happen sometime around Halloween 2024.

This must be when the Eternals stop the emergence. That means Arishem shows up in the Earth’s sky some two weeks later, around the middle of November. It’s still relatively cold outside from what we see in London.

Getting back to No Way Home, Peter gets the idea to visit Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) while he’s at the coffee shop where MJ (Zendaya) works. They just found out they’re not going to MIT because the university apparently doesn’t appreciate affiliations to Spider-Man.

Petter sees the Halloween decorations that MJ hasn’t taken down. That’s how he gets the idea to visit the sorcerer. It’s unclear how long after Halloween the coffee shop meeting happens, but MJ’s boss wants her to take down the decorations.

That means the events in No Way Home happen around the same time as the events in Eternals.

We don’t have a definite timeline here. The failed emergence must have happened before Peter saw the Halloween decorations. But it’s unclear if Arishem shows up in the sky before or after the No Way Home battle.

Why is the Eternals timeline important?

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in coffee shop scene from Spider-Man: No Way Home. Image source: Sony

Ultimately, the sequence of events isn’t that important. But it’s still a fascinating detail given a big MCU Phase 4 plot hole so far. The Avengers are generally missing in action when it comes to some of the events we’ve just witnessed.

Some of them do show up in Shang-Chi, but we don’t see the same scrutiny from Earth’s mightiest heroes when it comes to the events in Eternals.

Moreover, they do not react to the entire Peter Parker identity crisis. That’s from summer 2024 (Far From Home) to November 2024 (No Way Home). It’s quite puzzling that the Avengers did not show up in Far From Home to help Peter. And they could have definitely defended him against the murder charges, given that people love the Avengers right now.

Hawkeye makes that point crystal clear with the Rogers musical.

Also, it’s fascinating to imagine what life on Earth is like in 2024 in the MCU. The blip affected everyone on the planet. And many people are still coping with everyone returning from the dead in October 2023. From there, they experienced the Mysterio scare in London (summer 2024). Then they witnessed the scary earthquakes, a strange apparition in the ocean, and a red giant showing up in the sky (October-November 2024).

People on Earth must be on edge after all these events. And yet these events aren’t even hinted at in No Way Home or Hawkeye.

As the MCU is expanding and the timeline is getting more complicated, Marvel might want to connect these stories better. That’s especially true if some of them deliver massive developments, as is the case with Eternals.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.