Detailed Theories About The MCU Timeline That Make Some Sense

Voting Rules
Vote up the most interesting (and believable) fan theories.

Since 2008's release of Iron Man, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown to become the most successful film franchise in history. Now that Endgame is behind us, the MCU timeline has exploded into a fractured mess of retcons and amazing content spread across the Marvel Multiverse.

Making that work requires a great deal of work, ensuring that each entry makes sense within the whole. A ton of care and attention is put into the MCU's timeline, and the fans take notice. Because of this, there are tons of fans, many of whom have come up with some incredible fan theories.

Every so often, fans will take their theory to the FanTheories subreddit to share their thoughts and ideas about the MCU's timeline. Some fan theories actually make a lot of sense, and the best of them have been compiled here.

  • 1
    70 VOTES

    Old Cap Lived Through The Entire MCU Timeline

    Old Cap Lived Through The Entire MCU Timeline
    Photo: Avengers: Endgame / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    From Redditor u/Razi219:

    The screenwriters of Endgame did state that there was indeed 2 Steve Rogers running around in the main MCU timeline, the one under the ice and the older one who time-traveled in Endgame. But there was much debate about it, including by the Directors of Endgame.

    However, did Black Widow just prove that Old Cap was living in the main MCU timeline all along?

    Red Guardian boasted about having a rivalry with Captain America in the prison scene. This might seem like a one-off joke, and the story was also challenged by another inmate in the very same scene, saying that Captain America was still under ice.

    But why would Alexei be asking Natasha if Captain America has talked about him if it didn't happen? There is no point in him bragging about it to Natasha while trying to live his glory days and asking about a thing that didn't happen. There would be no sense of glory in lies, so he must have believed in it himself, or it must have happened.

    What if he actually had a rivalry with an older version of Steve Rogers who went back in time and lived out his days in the past, like in the ending of Endgame?

    70 votes
  • 2
    61 VOTES

    Aunt May Was On Track To Become An Attorney When Peter Came Along

    Aunt May Was On Track To Become An Attorney When Peter Came Along
    Photo: Spider-Man: No Way Home / Sony Pictures Releasing

    From Redditor u/Babywalker66:

    I have several speculations why I think May was going to Law School:

    Aunt May was very knowledgeable about the law and the Amendments, especially during No Way Home. She even knew Matt by his first name, while most people called him Mr. Murdock, so they probably went to school around the same time.

    When Peter said what everything May had been going through since there’s no Uncle Ben I believe she gave up her dream of being a lawyer to raise Peter after the death of his parents. And when she started FEAST, I believe she did it in a way to help people rather than in a law sense, more in an ethical or logical way to make a difference.

    61 votes
  • 3
    47 VOTES

    The Tesseract Is Sentient

    The Tesseract Is Sentient
    Photo: Captain America: The First Avenger / Paramount Pictures

    From Redditor u/TheMediocreCritic:

    The Theory: The case busts open, and the tesseract slides across the floor, landing precisely at the feet of the one person in the room that will immediately use the stone to escape: Loki.

    The Tesseract(Space stone) uses Loki to escape as a form of self-preservation. It teleports to create an alternate branch timeline to avoid being destroyed like the other stones in the main MCU timeline. The time stone could have sensed its destruction in another place in time and space. It obviously didn’t cause the Hulk to break open the case, but it was just the first opening to escape, so it took it. The stone needs a host to activate its power. Thus our malevolent Asgardian is the logical choice.

    This escape causes a separate timeline, and the Tesseract avoids the fate of the other stones.

    The Proof: The MCU has already established that there is something special about the tesseract(space stone). Even the comics allude to the fact that the stones are sentient. When Dr. Selvig is working on the Tesseract in the 2012’s Avengers, he says that it talks to him and even calls it “she.” In Captain America: The First Avenger, the Tesseract, teleports Red Skull to another planet to protect another stone. It then burns a hole through the plane’s floor, avoiding the same fate as Captain America. Instead of being locked in the ice, it finds a new host. Clearly, it has some autonomy and some will of its own.

    The Tesseract (Space stone) has been around since the beginning of time. It is not just an object but an essential aspect of the universe itself. The countless millennia it spent in the universe, and it adapted and learned to protect itself. It chooses the beings or people that would ensure its best chances of achieving its purpose in the universe.

    This is why is chooses Loki; at this moment in time and space, he is the Tesseract's best chance of survival.

    Edit: I do not mean that it can save itself from its destruction by Thanos but can essentially create a copy by creating another timeline, thus preserving a version of itself.

    TL;DR The Tesseract is sentient. It uses Loki to escape the main MCU timeline, where it is destined to be destroyed. This may sound crazy, but there are numerous times in the MCU where the stone seems to pick its own path. In the Disney+ series Loki trailer, The Stone takes the opportunity to use Loki to escape a timeline where it will be destroyed. Like the Ring in the Lord of the Rings, the Tesseract seems to have a will of its own.

    47 votes
  • 4
    45 VOTES

    The Time Stone Is Cursed

    The Time Stone Is Cursed
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    From Redditor u/HuntingTheWumpus:

    Ever since someone asked a question about Dr. Strange's peculiar use of the Time Stone, I started wondering why there was only a single timeline to victory despite MoM showing us a Universe where they killed Thanos handily. It got me thinking about why Thanos couldn't do the same thing Strange did to ensure his victory once he got his hands on it, and I realized that he was trapped. Strange had got to the Time Stone first, which means he could see every future, including the ones where Thanos got the Time Stone. In other words, even if Thanos used the Time Stone, he would see only the futures Strange had already limited for him, all of which would lead to his death.

    It makes me wonder if this is how He Who Remains set himself up as Ruler of the Sacred Timeline by using his Universe's Time Stone to see all possible futures, at which point he only had to pick the path which would lead to his ultimate victory, at which point it would no longer matter who got a Time Stone; Kang had already seen every possible future, including all those involving others with a Time Stone, and they would see that no matter what they do, it would always lead to He Who Remains. But if this is the case, then He Who Remains would also have seen the way he had trapped himself and would need (a) Loki to free him by killing him.

    All of this makes me wonder if the Time Stone might actually be a terrible curse, and the reason Strange chose the particular timeline he did is that it leads to the destruction of the Time Stone, something more important than just stopping Thanos.

    45 votes
  • 5
    34 VOTES

    The MCU Really Is Earth-616

    The MCU Really Is Earth-616
    Photo: Avengers: Infinity War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    From Redditor u/MarioMan1213245765:

    When Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released, it established the MCU as Earth 616. This led to many fans scratching their heads, as how could it be 616 when the main comic's timeline is already 616?

    Well, it’s rather simple…the MCU is in a different multiverse. In the comics, it’s established that there are other multiverses out there. The entire collection of them is called the Omniverse. This is also how Marvel and DC stay separate.

    So my theory is that the MCU is its own Multiverse separate from the comics multiverse. The main MCU timeline is 616; maybe 616 is just the number of the universe that every universe branches out from in a multiverse.

    34 votes
  • 6
    16 VOTES

    The Sacred Timeline Is A Timeloop Prison For He Who Remains

    The Sacred Timeline Is A Timeloop Prison For He Who Remains
    Photo: Loki / Disney+

    From Redditor u/ArcadeSchoolDropout:

    He Who Remains-Kang, is living in a Sanctum Sanctorum at the End of Time. The visual depiction of the Sacred Timeline is a loop that runs through Kang's home. The only room we see Kang in has a giant ritual symbol carved on the floor. The entire building appears to be made out of that black/gold material. All of those things turned my mind toward magic. It also occurred to me that we only have Kang's word for the fact that he created the TVA.

    During the multiverse wars, powerful magic users (and/or scientists) teamed up to isolate Kang Prime's timeline before his first nexus event. They cast a spell to trap him in the sanctum and loop his timeline.

    Kang isn't in charge of the TVA; he's only able to observe it. In the finale, Miss Minutes was at the sanctum, bringing him information. And we saw a TVA printer.

    Kang can't leave the sanctum or personally interact with anyone outside of his quantum bubble. Miss Minutes is his spy.

    Even though Kang claims to have tamed Alioth, it's possible the creature was put there to keep him trapped.

    Someone killing Kang vs taking the power retroactively triggers the Nexus being rule, of them existing in all timelines.

    16 votes