A transcription of this video is available below!

With the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on digital and streaming, Disney+ has finally placed the film on their timeline, but its location is very different to where we currently have the film placed on our timeline. In this video we’ll break down every reference to time and season within Multiverse of Madness and definitively answer where the film should occur on the MCU Timeline. Is our most recent timeline correct, or is Disney+ correct about Doctor Strange 2’s placement?

Welcome to Geekritique, my name is Dakota! For those of you who are new here, let me catch you up to speed. I’ve been studying and creating timelines for the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, for the better part of a decade, and our most recent timeline is our biggest yet, as we dive into the multiverse. Disney+ has it’s own timeline for the MCU, which I’ve had serious issues with in the past. They occasionally place things on their timeline incorrectly, most recently with Moon Knight. We discovered that the show has a hidden timeline that, when deciphered, points us to a whole year earlier than it’s placed on Disney+. I highly recommend checking that video out after this one, I’ll leave a link in the description. But I bring this up because the Disney+ timeline, as well intentioned as it may be, often provides users with a suboptimal timeline experience. So it was no surprise when Disney+ placed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness before Hawkeye. But it is upsetting because Multiverse of Madness seemed like such an easy placement.

Now before we continue, please take a moment to like this video if you enjoy our content and subscribe for more detailed lore and timeline videos just like this. It really does help out the channel.

On our timeline we place Multiverse of Madness in the Spring of 2025, roughly a few months after the events of No Way Home, a film with a climax occurring in November. There’s a pivotal plot element where spring foliage is highlighted and handled, as we enter Wanda’s illusion and we see apple trees blossoming, so Spring feels justified. This is juxtaposed to the scenes in New York on the day prior, which clearly feature an Autumn wedding, and similar vegetation is seen throughout the fight with Gargantos. I chocked this up to merely being a byproduct of the time they began filming, as that was in November 2020, which fits the Fall setting we see in that first scene. And there’s a lot of evidence in the film that suggests they weren’t mindful of the timeline in every scene. So naturally, along with the fact that the film occurs a few months after No Way Home, I put more weight on the one scene in Spring where they were actually interacting with the Spring foliage, as opposed to the scenes in New York City that just happened to heavily feature Fall foliage, because it just fit better.

With Disney+ placing Multiverse of Madness before Hawkeye, they’re suggesting it occurs between the climax of Spider-Man: No Way Home in mid November 2024 and the start of the holiday season 2024. This narrows the timeframe from several months to just days or weeks after No Way Home. Which seems weird thematically with everything we know. But what do we know? Is there actually any evidence the film occurs several months after No Way Home? Well, after America Chavez asks Stephen if they have any experience with the multiverse, Stephen says “we have experience of the multiverse, most recently there was an incident with Spider-Man…” This is the only reference to the elapsing of time between No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness in the entire film, and from that line alone it’s impossible to suggest whether that period of time is months, weeks, or days; only that the multiverse business in No Way Home was recent.

So where did I get the idea that months had passed between the two films? It doesn’t suggest that explicitly in the movie. Sam Raimi never said it. Michael Waldron, the writer, never mentioned it. I finally realized, after some digging, where that line of logic stemmed from. It turns out the idea originally came from a Fandango synopsis of the film which preceded an interview with Sam Raimi. It reads “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness picks up roughly a few months after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home.” I took this as factual at the time because it was attached to an interview with the director, but looking at it now, there’s nothing to suggest this quote comes from Raimi himself. In fact, there’s nothing to suggest this estimate of a “rough few months” between films is official in any way.

So if we dismiss that quote, now the only real evidence Multiverse of Madness occurs in Spring 2025 resides with Wanda’s illusion in that scene in the orchard. And considering its her illusion, she’s not exactly the film’s most reliable narrator. If the film is supposed to occur in the springtime, it would only be natural for Wanda to hex an orchard to befit that time of year, to best fool Stephen Strange. But what if we’re looking at this scene backwards? What if we suppose the film occurs in November, like that earlier scene in New York suggests? Then Wanda’s orchard takes on new meaning. The stark contrast between the scenes in autumn to a crisp spring day, should set off subconscious alarm bells in the audience, essentially telling the viewers that something is off about this scene with Wanda, even before she reveals her cards. This difference in seasonal vegetation should have tipped Stephen off that something was wrong, and while he does wonder whether the orchard is magic, he was so preoccupied with his quest that he chose not to question why he wondered that in the first place. So this scene really can go both ways. It could be an intentional descriptor that the film occurs in Spring, or it could be a mistake on Wanda’s part meant to intentionally hint that something sinister is afoot.

Let’s take a moment to dive into some dates the film gives us to see if that illuminates our timeline discussion any. Stephen’s watch is really interesting as it still seems to be working long after the face breaks in the first film. Instead of giving us workable dates in 2024 or 2025, the two years that Multiverse of Madness is contested to be located in, the watch seems to only give us the days that they filmed each scene. Here it reads Tuesday, November 10th, 2020. Next it reads Monday, November 23rd, 2020. Here we see this flashback is in December. And later when Stephen fixes the face it reads Wednesday, November 11th, 2020. Another date is featured on 838’ Christine’s monitor reading that they x-rayed 616 Stephen on February 12th, 2021. None of these dates really help us determine anything beyond revealing when the scenes were filmed. We even see blue 2021 New York Inspection stickers on some vehicles, which would fit a filming range between 2020 and 2021. Fun fact though: these inspection stickers shift between four colors each year; blue, silver, yellow, and red, in a pattern. Coincidentally, in 2024 and 2025, the blue stickers will be the correct color again, so in a roundabout way, this works well. But altogether, this means nothing.

So if there aren’t any dates that we can trust, no credible time range to pinpoint how long it’s been since the last film, and no concrete answer as to why Wanda’s orchard had a Spring setting, is there anything else we can examine to determine when the film takes place? Why yes. Yes there is. Because it’s not just the early scenes in New York City that boast Fall leaves. Incredibly, there’s an abundance of scenes throughout the film that place it in Autumn.

We see plenty of orange and red foliage outside of Christine’s SoHo wedding, but we also see it numerous times throughout the fight with Gargantos. In Kamar-Taj we see dead leaves strewn about the sanctuary floor. We see trees in the courtyard without their leaves. And around Kamar-Taj we see the CGI landscape has been meticulously given a Fall makeover. From all angles we see red, yellow, and orange trees. Briefly while hopping through universes, we see more fall vegetation. And once we get to 838? Well, despite many of the plants and shrubbery being fantastical, we see evidence of clear autumnal colors. Dead leaves are all over the place. Even around 838’s Illuminati building we see Central Park in Fall. Dead leaves fall into Wanda’s home through the window. Dead leaves are strewn about in the incursion world Sanctorum. “For good reason.” Even the film’s ending and mid-credits scene are unmistakably in the Fall. It can’t all be a coincidental byproduct of the time the film was shot. At a certain point the evidence that Multiverse of Madness occurs around Fall 2024 begins to vastly outweigh the single scene we’ve been using to date the film in Spring 2025. Between set details, CGI landscapes, and actual foliage, the film is easily more than 90% a Fall movie.

It pains me to say it, but I’m now convinced that Disney+ may have actually gotten their timeline placement for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness correct after all. The film unmistakably sets itself in the Fall, which would slot it snugly between No Way Home and Hawkeye. As much as I hate being wrong about something like this, I will always make it my duty to correct my mistakes if necessary, so that I can give you guys the most comprehensive MCU Timeline experience possible, but I do want to apologize for originally placing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2025. “I’m sorry. I’m Sorry. I’M SORRY.” Just like I corrected our placement of Moon Knight in our last video, we’ll share a free update to our MCU Timeline with this updated Multiverse of Madness placement. Find a link to our Patreon for a free download for this massive Timeline PNG in the description.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may thematically feel better placed several months after No Way Home, but that clearly wasn’t the intent of the film or the filmmakers. It’s hard to say exactly how long it’s been since Spider-Man: No Way Home’s climax, but I feel a late November, probably last week of November time range works best for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The amount of days that elapse from beginning to end is hard to determine, but up until the climax, we know that about 3 days pass, give or take. On day one, Stephen wakes from his dream of America Chavez on the run, attends Christine Palmer’s wedding, fights off Gargantos, and takes America Chavez to Kamar-Taj. On day two, he visits Wanda’s Orchard, and she tells him to “return to Kamar-Taj and prepare to hand over America Chavez by sundown.” Later that day she clarifies that a day has elapsed from Stephen’s meeting America: “all this for a child you met yesterday.” America and Stephen crash through the multiverse that evening and end up in Universe 838, where they’re poisoned and brought to the Illuminati’s detention facility. Wanda dreamwalks that night and we see the Illuminati are massacred. Sometime that night after or around the point where they enter the gap junction between universes we begin day three, and that’s the day Stephen has his fight with his incursion universe variant, and eventually dreamwalks into a corpse variant to face off against Wanda. “This time it’s gonna take more than killing me to kill me.” Some undefined time later and America has begun training at Kamar-Taj, and later still we see Strange has gone back to New York.

100% of the film’s runtime occurs in 2024.

If you enjoyed this video, or found it useful, please hit that like button and consider subscribing for more content just like this. I have a number of videos in the works that I can’t wait to show you guys. Don’t miss out on our When Does Moon Knight Take Place video or our most recent MCU Timeline breakdown. Thanks for watching. Have a good one!


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