It’s no secret that Captain Marvel, the next slated film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will take place in the 1990s. In the first trailer, Carol Danvers crash-lands right into a Blockbuster — what’s more ’90s than that?
Executive producer Jonathan Schwartz spoke to a few outlets during a set visit back in May 2018 about the film’s time period and mentioned that while the movie will very much be centered around Carol Danvers’ story, there will be connections to other events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that happened during the time period. Most of the action of the MCU takes place in modern day, but flashbacks and exposition reveal past events linked to what we see unfold.
We don’t know exactly when in the ’90s Captain Marvel takes place exactly, but the decade contains lots of MCU lore, both grounded on earth and up in space. Considering Captain Marvel will bounce between space and earth, there’s a possibility that all these events could be hinted at in some way, shape or form. So just what happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe during the 1990s?
For the record, we’re not going to delve into the numerous Netflix shows or other television properties — lots of Inhumans stuff happened in the 1990s, apparently! We’re going to try to restrict ourselves to events that are movie-related, though some Agents of SHIELD scenarios are mentioned.
The Maximoff twins are born (1990)
Pietro and Wanda Maximoff were born sometime in 1990, in the small Eastern European country of Sokovia. Unlike their comic counterparts, the MCU Maximoff twins are not attached to Magneto or born with powers, so during this decade, Pietro and Wanda were just two regular kids in Sokovia.
Their birth date isn’t exactly specified in the movies, but judging by the age of the actors in Age of Ultron, fans created a pretty involved equation to pinpoint the average age of the characters and concluded that they were born in the early 1990s, right at the decline of the Soviet Union.
The Hubble space telescope captures images of the Nine Realms (1990)
In our actual universe, the Hubble launched into the low orbit of Earth in April 1990. Within the MCU, this means that the telescope captured the first images of the Nine Realms (the group of distant planets which Asgard belongs to) shortly after its launch.
Peter Quill gets the Milano (1991)
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter Quill claims that he’s been piloting his M-Ship the Milano since he was 10 years old. Given that Quill was born in 1981, that means — if his boasts are true — he received the ship and learned to pilot it sometime in 1991.
Howard and Maria Stark are assassinated (1991)
Tony Stark’s tragic backstory involves the untimely death of his parents (as do many tragic superhero backstories). Within the course of the Captain America films, we learned that the Starks’ untimely demise was orchestrated by Hydra in order to capture the Super Soldier Serum. Hydra continued to infiltrate the government throughout this decade. Schwartz says that while Captain Marvel won’t have a full-on Hydra plot, Hydra is “definitely there.”
Made to look like a car accident while the Starks were on route to the Pentagon — leaving college-aged Tony at home for the weekend — Howard and Maria were assassinated by the Winter Soldier.
Edwin Jarvis stepped in as a father figure for Tony, who never got to say good-bye to his own father. Obadiah Stane assumed the role of interim CEO of Stark Industries till Tony took over sometime later.
Prince N’jobu is assassinated (1992)
The ’90s, it seems, made for lots of formative Marvel assassinations (and that’s not even counting the murder of Matt Murdock’s father). N’jobu, the brother of King T’Chaka, was stationed in Oakland, California as a Wakandan spy, or War Dog. There, he met and fell in love with an American woman, eventually having a child with her. He also witnessed the plight of African-American people in the United States and grew to resent Wakanda’s isolationist policy. He hatched a plan to put vibranium in the hands of the African-American community, even though it meant betraying Wakanda’s location to arms dealer Ulysses Klaue.
Informed of N’jobu’s betrayal, King T’Chaka journeyed to Oakland to confront him, a conversation that ended when T’Chaka killed N’jobu to save his friend’s life, stabbing him with his Black Panther claws.
Young Erik Stevens — who would later become Killmonger — discovered his father’s body later that night.
Phil Coulson’s mom dies (1992)
After his mother’s death, Phil Coulson considered SHIELD to be his only family and fully dedicated his life to the organization. Considering Coulson plays a pivotal role in Captain Marvel, we may get more indictions of what happened to Julie.
Ivan Vanko is imprisoned (1993)
The villain in Iron Man 2 was locked up for selling Soviet-era weapons to Pakistan. Previously, his father Anton had worked with Howard Stark, but was deported back to the Soviet Union after being accused of espionage. While Ivan was in prison, his father wasted away in poverty.
Yondu Udonta is banished from the Ravagers (1995)
Peter Quill’s adoptive father (and former Kree slave) Yondu Undonta came under fire with the Ravager crime syndicate for smuggling children to Ego the Celestial. Yondu had no idea that Ego was killing those children until he met Peter Quill. Instead of delivering Quill, Yondu kept him. But leader of the Ravagers, Stakar Ogord, still found out and exiled Yondu and his company from the syndicate.
Bruce Banner meets Betty Ross (1995)
The two met while studying at Harvard University and eventually pursued a romantic relationship. Sometime later, they participated in an experiment involving hallucinogenics. This was mentioned in The Incredible Hulk, which you may remember as the Hulk movie where Edward Norton was the Hulk.
The Massacre of the Zehoberei (1995)
With the help of the Black Order, Thanos journeyed to Zen-Whoberi, a planet home to a race of green-skinned aliens, and slaughtered half of the population. During the division of the people, a young Gamora broke loose and tried to find her mother.
Thanos distracted her and eventually took her with him as his ward, training her to be a deadly assassin.
After the massacre, the remaining Zehoberei rebuilt their society and began to thrive, and their success is one of the justifications Thanos uses for his extreme actions. While the focus of Captain Marvel will be on the Kree and Skrull war, there could very well be references to Thanos’ devastation.
Kaecilius meets the Ancient One (1995)
The villainous origins of the big bad of Doctor Strange really started with the death of his son a year before this, but his desperation furthered when his wife Adria died of a brain aneurysm in the summer of 1995. To cope with both deaths, Kaecilius eventually sought out the Ancient One, who promised to help him find answers. He joined the Masters of the Mystic Arts, though his obsession with reuniting with his son and wife eventually became his ultimate downfall.
Liz Toomes is born (1999)
While young Peter Parker was born in 2001 (yes, let that sink in), his classmate, crush and daughter of the villainous Vulture, Liz Toomes was born in 1999, based on the fact that kids in New York City start kindergarten in September of the calendar year they turn five. Since Liz is a senior during the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming (which takes place in September 2016), she would be 17. If you factor in actress Laura Harrier’s real age — she was actually born in 1990 — then her birthdate would be very early in 1999.
Bern 2000 (1999)
In the last moments of 1999, Tony Stark attended a science conference in Switzerland held on New Year’s Eve. This party served as the opening for Iron Man 3, (well, technically, Tony Stark telling the whole story served as the opening) and introduced key players such as Maya Hansen and eventual villain Aldrich Killian.