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When does Eternals take place in the Marvel timeline?

Eternals
(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

When does Eternals take place in the Marvel timeline? That's a surprisingly difficult question to answer. The new movie hops around in time (and space) quite frequently, though the majority of the story happens in the present day.

As a result, when it comes to Eternals place within the wider context of the MCU, it's fairly difficult to pinpoint where the movie's events take place in correspondence with what else has happened so far. That's where we come in. However, to truly discuss the Eternals timeline, we're going to have to go into spoiler territory. 

This is your spoiler warning! Click away now if you have not seen Eternals.

When does Eternals take place in the Marvel timeline?

Eternals

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The events of Eternals span centuries. We first meet the supergroup 7000 years in the past, just after they have been awoken by their creator Arishem, and they are sent to Earth to deal with the Deviants attacking humankind. We see the Eternals, led by Ajak, save some primitive people from beasts trying to kill them.

From that point, however, Eternals jumps to the present day, and then back and forth between the past and present. We see, for instance, the Eternals in the Amazonia, in a forest witnessing humans using the first guns, and Phastos helping engineer the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. There's a lot to take in, but, for the most part, the Eternals keep themselves to themselves, rather than interfering with humanity's development. 

The details of everything they do are slightly irrelevant when placing the movie on the Marvel timeline. The main points to remember are that the Eternals seemingly defeated the Deviants, the Eternals went into hiding (well, if you can call Kingo appearing in multiple Bollywood movies 'hiding') until the Deviants returned after Iron Man snapped everyone back.

That places the main events of Eternals after Avengers: Endgame – around eight months to be specific. That's when Sersi starts feeling rumbles under the ground: because the Earth's population has reached a point where the Celestial growing underground has begun to awake and is causing Earthquakes.

Now, to put that into context with the rest of Marvel Phase 4. Iron Man snaps everyone back in 2023. Wanda tries to resurrect Vision soon after. Sam Wilson becomes the new Captain America either late 2023 or early 2024. Shang-Chi reckons with his father's evil empire around that same time. Spider-Man goes for a European holiday and is unmasked to the world in the Summer of 2024.

Eternals happens, seemingly, after all that. And, if rumors are to be believed, the next Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man: No Way Home, takes place directly after Far From Home, which means Eternals takes place after that one, too. In any case, Eternals is the most recent Marvel movie, not just in cinemas but also on the overarching Marvel timeline. Here's the order in bullet-point form.

That should hopefully explain a few things – such as why we haven't seen that giant Celestial head popping out of the ocean in any of the other Marvel movies. When it comes to the next MCU adventure, though, don't be surprised if someone mentions the God who was living under the ocean floor. 

In fact, judging by how much chaos the celestial caused, it wouldn't be a surprise if a certain underwater superhero had been disturbed by the awakening. While we wait for the next movie, check out out our guide to Marvel Phase 4.

Jack Shepherd

I'm the Entertainment Editor over here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features, plus I look after the Total Film and SFX sections and socials. I used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film