The placement of Thor is pivotal to the chronology of the Phase One films, as it’s the last release that occurs in Fury’s Big Week. This is part 4 of a 20 part video series discussing when each film in the MCU takes place. So when does Thor take place.
“Your ancestors called it magic, and you call it science. Well I come from a place where they’re one and the same thing.”
The opening of the film begins with Laufey and the Frost Giants invading Tonsburg, Norway in 965 A.D. Then we get a short scene from some indeterminate year some century or two afterwards with Odin explaining how he saved Midgard from an eternal winter.
Thor is the first film in the series that has absolutely no modern dates attached to it in any form, so the present is open for some interpretation. Since it occurs during Fury’s Big Week, we can interpret that the first present day begins on May 30th, the day after Tony Stark’s birthday party. According to Fury’s timeline, Thor occurs over 4 days. But after thoroughly studying the film we can say with some certainty that it takes place over 3 days and nights, the last day being June 1st.
But what year does it take place? We’ve mentioned in the three previous parts that there’s a strong possibility of Fury’s Big Week occurring in 2011, instead of 2010, and it all revolves around Thor. In Avengers, which we explain in part 6, occurs in 2012, Fury has this to say: “Last year earth had a visitor from another planet who had a grudge match that leveled a small town.” At first I thought this may have been a mistake, considering he didn’t also mention the events of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2, which were far more potentially catastrophic than what we saw in Thor, and they supposedly occurred concurrently. But then this line from Thor: The Dark World, which we explain in part 8 occurs in 2013, said “Last time he was gone for, like, two years.” Both lines together would firmly retcon the events of, not only Thor, but The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 as taking place in May 2011. In total, 2.4% of the runtime takes place in 965, 1.6% in some indeterminate year, and 96% in 2011.
More collected notes from Thor:
–965: (2.4% of the runtime) Laufey and the Frost Giants invade Tonsburg, Norway (00:03:32), effectively trying to turn the world back into an Ice Age. Odin fought Laufey back and presumably the war, which also raged in Jotunheim, lasted the single year. It was the last great war with the Frost Giants.
– Indeterminate year: (1.6% of the runtime) Thor and Loki learn of their history, and the last war with the Frost Giants. In Infinity War, Thor claims that he’s 1500 years old, meaning that by the time he was roughly the age of the actor portraying Thor in this scene (Dakota Goyo, age 11), it would have been some short 100 or so years after the last war with the Frost Giants.
– 2011, divided into days based on their proximity to Tony Stark’s birthday on the “Fury’s Big Week” timeline for lack of dates featured in film: (96% of the runtime)
- Day 1 – May 30th: Thor’s coronation. Odin claims that he is his firstborn (00:09:02). Three Frost Giants sneak into Asgard’s weapon vault, but are quickly dispatched. Thor later, along with his friends and Loki, invade Jotunheim. The very same night, Odin banishes Thor to earth and strips him of his titles and power. He is subsequently hit by Jane Foster and her team. He spends the night in a hospital after being tranquilized.
- Day 2 – May 31st: Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, is found in New Mexico. Locals begin partying with it. Jane Foster picks Thor up from the hospital. Loki discovers he is Laufey’s son. S.H.I.E.L.D. claims possession of Jane Foster’s equipment, while Thor goes in search for his hammer. Thor attempts to reclaim his hammer from S.H.I.E.L.D., but is found unworthy. Dr. Selvig and Thor get hammered.
- Day 3 – June 1st: Sif and the Warrior’s Three arrive on Midgard, somewhere near Puente Antiguo. Loki sends the Destroyer to stop Thor from returning to Asgard, but in so doing effectively reboot Thor’s power, after proving he’s worthy. Loki brings Laufey and the Frost Giants into Asgard via the bifrost, only to double cross them in an attempt to seem as though he were protecting Odin. To protect Jotunheim from complete destruction, Thor destroys the bifrost.
– There are literally no discernable modern dates to be found on any screen, clock, page, or note in the entire film, so it’s the first film in the series that can truly be interpreted however one would like, though it clearly occurs over the course of 3 days, and not 4 (as Fury’s Big Week would have you believe).
– Supplemental info: Fury claims, in The Avengers, that the events of Thor take place the year prior to that film, which would make it 2011, but that brings to the fore new issues, as the rest of the films prior to The Avengers would need to be moved up, and that would be retconned in future films regardless. In Thor: The Dark World, Darcy claims it was two years that Thor had been missing since the first film, again placing it in 2011.