What came first, the Spider or the Hawk? If you’re vibing with Hawkeye on Disney+ and you went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home in the theater, you may be aware that both these films happen in New York City, and both seem to occur — or in the case of Spidey, end — around Christmastime. Because Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) are both former members of the Avengers (though not at the same time) they exist in the same complicated Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity. Clint’s arrows, Peter’s webs, and Wanda and Dr. Strange’s magic spells; they’re all connected to one big story.
And here’s where that story gets confusing: Because No Way Home was released in theaters at the same time Hawkeye is airing on Disney+, and because both narratives happen in New York, and perhaps occur in the same month (December) the question is pretty clear: Which one happens first? And do the events of Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home overlap? BIG SPOILERS ahead for Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye episodes 1-5.
What year does Hawkeye take place?
The short answer to this question seems to be: Hawkeye takes place in December 2024. After the events of Infinity War, recall that five years passed during Endgame, which means at that point, the MCU had jumped forward to their version of 2023. Most of the MCU shows and movies since then have been crammed into 2023, including WandaVision, Falcon and Winter Soldier, and, 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which seemed to be focused on a summer trip during that year.
So, why is Hawkeye in 2024 and not 2023? Short answer: Because Hawkeye director Rhys Thomas said so. On Twitter, he admitted the Hawkeye team considered setting the show in 2025; two years after Endgame, but as it stands, Clint and Kate are running around NYC in December 2024, which seems to mean they totally dodged all the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, since we’re pretty sure all three of those Spider-Men fighting Green Goblin and the Lizard on top of the Statue of Liberty happened in 2023, right?
Are we sure Spider-Man: No Way Home is in 2023?
The events of the previous Spidey movie — Far From Home — took place in 2023, and the new movie picks up right where the last one ended. But, how much time passes in No Way Home? We see Peter Parker begin his senior year, but we don’t see him complete it; which would have presumably ended in 2024. Because No Way Home ends with EVERYONE having their memories erased of Peter’s existence, this makes him a high school dropout by default, right? If nobody knows who he is, he doesn’t exist, hence, he can’t go to high school. So had he completed high school before this happens, or not? We also know it’s Halloween when he first enlists the help of Dr. Strange, because of the decorations at the donut shop where MJ works. Assuming the rest of the movie happens between the Fall of 2023 and Christmas 2023, the timeline is pretty clear: We begin in 2023 and end there, too?
But are we sure?
The final scene depicts Peter moving into an apartment on his own, and going back to his Spidey business. Presumably, he has no identity now, which obviously precludes him from going to college, too. However, when he goes to see MJ and Ned at the end of the movie, it seems like they both got into MIT; so the question is, does Spider-Man: No Way Home end at Christmastime in NYC in 2023 or 2024? Presumably, MJ and Ned would need to get their college acceptance letters earlier rather than later, but then again, a post-blip world could mean college admissions work differently. We don’t really know how much time passes between Peter asking Strange for help with the spell (October 2023) and Peter meeting the Dean of MIT in traffic, and battling Doctor Octopus. It’s probably just a few weeks later. Unless it’s not. What if it’s like a semester later? If so, that means No Way Home could start to edge into 2024, which gets tricky relative to Hawkeye.
Aunt May’s grave hides the year
When Peter goes to visit Aunt May’s grave toward the end of the movie, we don’t actually see what year she died in. There’s literally a giant flower right over something that reads “20??” It may sound unhinged to suggest this was on purpose, but it feels a little on purpose. Is the MCU trying to not tell us what year this happens in?
Yelena’s Statue of Liberty comment in Hawkeye complicates things
In the fifth episode of Hawkeye, Yelena (Black Widow’s sister) tells Kate Bishop that she’s interested in seeing the “new and improved Statue of Liberty.” THIS IS WEIRD. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, we see that the “new” Statue of Liberty has been given a Captain America shield. BUT, by the end of the movie, that shield falls off the statue, because of all the three of the Spideys doing their thing. If Hawkeye takes place a full year after the events of No Way Home, then Yelena’s comment is odd.
What does she mean by “new and improved?” Is she referring to the Captain America shield on the statue that fell off in 2023? OR, has it not fallen off yet, because, perhaps, during the events of Hawkeye Episode 5, No Way Home, has — maybe — yet to take place?
These are the only five options:
- Yelena is confused: No Way Home’s New York battle is December 2023, and Hawkeye is December 2024
- Yelena is not confused, but the statute got upgraded a different way after the events of No Way Home, and the above dates are the same.
- The writers of Hawkeye messed up. She’s not supposed to be thinking about the statue, because it’s not the same year.
- Yelena is correct: She is referring to the “new and improved Statue of Liberty,” we saw under construction in No Way Home, complete with the big shield. Hawkeye episode 5 takes place slightly before the finale of No Way Home.
- Hawkeye really takes place in 2023, at the same time as No Way Home, and director Rhys Thomas was lying.
Would people who work in the MCU lie to us to protect a spoiler? When you consider the absolutely incredible — and praiseworthy — lying tour that Andrew Garfield has been on for the better part of a year, in which he constantly denied being involved in this movie, the answer to this question is clearly yes. The MCU could be lying to us. It could always be lying to us. Maybe Aunt May’s not really dead. Maybe some people do remember Peter, and maybe a movie in which Tobey Maguire, Tom Holland, and Andrew Garfield all teamed up was a fever dream. None of this happened. We’re all asleep, and Dr. Strange or Wanda has brainwashed us all, right?
Spider-Man: No Way Home is out in theaters now, assuming you’re reading this in the universe in which it exists at all.