If there are two things the MCU's known for, they're #EasterEggs and strict continuity. So it's noteworthy that a recent bump may have interrupted the franchise's signature seamless timeline. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 introduced the Watchers into the MCU in the coolest way possible, by validating a theory fans had had for a long time: Stan Lee is somewhat associated with the cosmic entities.
That was pulled off through a quick cameo in the middle of the film, and during the post-credits extravaganza. In the latter, Lee made a #CaptainAmericaCivilWar reference by remembering one time he was a "Federal Express agent."
But hold on just a second, #GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2 takes place only a few months after Guardians of the Galaxy, meaning it's set in 2014. Civil War was set in 2016, so...was that a mistake?
A Significant Continuity Error In The MCU
During a recent Facebook live chat session by #JamesGunn, one fan asked the director about this confusing situation. How was it possible that Stan Lee knew about Civil War two years before it happened? He started his response by clarifying that Stan Lee is not actually a Watcher, but someone working for them:
"One thing I found very funny and interesting is the fact that people thought Stan Lee is a Watcher and that all of these cameos are part of him being a Watcher. So, Stan Lee as - probably - a guy who is working for the Watchers was something that I thought was fun for the MCU."
That's when he acknowledged the mistake, explaining he included the Civil War reference without actually thinking about the rules established by his film's head-scratching continuity:
"Yes, I know I made a mistake. I'll own up to my mistake because Guardians of the 'Galaxy 2' theoretically happens in 2014 which is before 'Infinity War'. And Stan Lee in the movie says, 'That time I was the Fed Ex guy,' which is what he is in 'Civil War'. I screwed up; I wasn't thinking."
That's understandable, as even the most hardcore fans can overlook that detail. But is it really a continuity issue? Well, yes, but it's one that can be easily explained, says the director.
James Gunn Had A Ready Explanation For The Goof
It's an inconsistency, but one that can be easily fixed by one of two things: Time travel or simple logic rearrangement. For the latter, James Gunn has got us covered, as he jokingly explained that #StanLee could have masqueraded as a Fed Ex more than once:
"But I'm going to say that probably Stan Lee used the guise of a Fed Ex guy more than one time."
As for the time travel, well, the Watchers are pretty much limitless to what they can do (except actually help humans when they need it), and in a universe with talking raccoons, purple space giants and magical dimensions with immortal beings, it's not out of the realm of possibility Stan Lee's character can time travel.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently in theaters.