I spend a lot of time mapping the timeline for the MCU. Consider it an unhealthy obsession. So I was excited when I found out we were getting a Black Widow period piece (the period being pre 2024 (the current year date for the MCU). The film has been said to occur between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, which is great. It’s a two year period between April 10th, 2016 to Roughly April-June 2018.
But after seeing the first trailer for Black Widow, I find that I have some issues with that being the proposed main timeframe. For starters, we know we’ll be jumping around the timeline. If we see spend less than 5 minutes watching her grow as a child spy, that would be a true surprise. We also see a young General Ross, digitally de-aged to a period prior to his earliest appearance in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk purports itself as occurring in 2007, though through a series of retcons, it can occur no earlier than in 2011. But this young General Ross still appears to be a good 5 to 10 years younger than his appearance in The Incredible Hulk. So let’s place this scene in the early 2000s. My issue is the setting doesn’t fit the age of the character. Note the tenth generation Chevy Suburbans, first introduced in January 2006. If that’s the case, I expect that scene to occur around the time period before The Incredible Hulk, but any earlier than a scene from 2006 and you begin to lose the credibility of the props department, or whomever is in charge of in-universe/chronological consistency. It looks inconsistent, but it could be explained away in film. I hope it will be.
But perhaps the biggest confusion comes in the way of Romanoff’s personal props; the IDs, passports, and visas she uses to get from one country to another. Fascinatingly, there’s a Vietnamese visa with an issue date of January 2019, and an expiration date of 14 January 2021.
If you cross reference sample Vietnamese visas (as seen above), the dates are pretty clearly issue and expiry dates. That denotes one of two things: either part of the film occurs during the 5 year gap between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, or the prop department royally screwed the pooch in terms of dating the film appropriately. But the strange thing that denotes that this could be a mistake, or an intentional misdirect, is Natasha’s hair. It’s long, red, and inconsistent with the hair she grew out between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
What do you think? For more information and my personal thoughts, please see the video above.