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Based on release dates — rather than the in-universe timeline — when was the first time that one of the MCU movies referenced an event that took place in another part of the MCU other than a movie?

For example, an MCU movie referencing something that happened in one of the spinoff TV shows, or a tie-in comic.

Such as one of the movies referencing an event that happened in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, or Loki.

I'm thinking of something that's explicitly part of the MCU canon as described in Marvel's MCU archive, as opposed to material that originates from Marvel but is outside of the MCU. So, not films like the X-Men or Logan or the 1980s/90s Thor or Hulk movies. Or the Marvel Anime series.

Official MCU archive

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    Earliest I can think of would be in Avengers - Age of Ultron, where Fury brings in the helicarrier provided by Coulson (which he was fixing up in Agents of SHIELD).
    – user25730
    Oct 15, 2023 at 21:34
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    I mean, if your phrase it this broadly, the very first MCU movie would inherently be referring to the pre-MCU Marvel source material.
    – Flater
    Oct 17, 2023 at 3:26
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    In the inhumans series they mentioned Namor to be the first mutant in history, yes?
    – DanielV
    Oct 17, 2023 at 9:25
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    @Flater, as per the original question, this is limited to the MCU, so anything pre MCU, or non canonical to the MCU would be excluded. For example, the Movie Logan would be excluded as it's not part of the MCU, but the modern Thor movies would be included Oct 18, 2023 at 15:46
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    @DanielV, I'm looking for the first time that an MCU movie references part of the MCU other than a movie, for example, Black Panther referencing Agents of Shield. Oct 18, 2023 at 15:47

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness referencing WandaVision

One of the first, if not the first, instances of an MCU movie referencing a canonical event that occurred in non-movie MCU media was in the movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), which directly referenced and acknowledged the events of the TV series WandaVision (2021).

In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, both Wanda Maximoff and Doctor Strange explicitly mentioned the name of the town, Westview, where the majority of the events of WandaVision took place. In WandaVision, Wanda created a reality-altering barrier around Westview, known as the "Hex" or the "Westview anomaly". The movie explored the consequences of Wanda’s actions in WandaVision in connection to the multiverse.


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings referencing All Hail the King

(I added this part second, as this may not satisfy your criteria since you may be excluding references to short films.)

Another possible answer to this question is the events in the short film All Hail the King (2014), which feature Trevor Slattery being broken out of prison by a Ten Rings (organization) operative. This is later referenced in the movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), where we learn that Trevor was actually captured by the Ten Rings after they freed him from prison.

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Spider-Man: No Way Home referencing Netflix Daredevil

Spider-Man: No Way Home was released in the United States on December 17, 2021. In one scene, the actor Charlie Cox reprises his role as Matthew Murdock (aka Daredevil), the titular character from the Netflix streaming series Daredevil, which premiered on April 10, 2015. Prior to this instance, there have been no references by the MCU to any of the Netflix properties.

Whether this is the exact same Daredevil from the Netflix show or if the Netflix series took place in a timeline variant from the MCU remains to be explained by Marvel Entertainment. The upcoming Daredevil: Born Again may explain where "Netflix Daredevil" sits in respect to the MCU, as subsequent appearances of characters from the series (in Disney+ Hawkeye and She-Hulk series) have not validated anything. Alternately, the Disney+ Echo series, which includes "Netflix Daredevil" characters, may explain the relation to the Netflix series earlier than Born Again.

Regardless, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was released September 3, 2021, beating Spider-Man: No Way Home by a few months, unless All Hail the King is not considered a "spin-off TV show".

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Nick Fury referencing events of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Avengers: Age Of Ultron

I added this as a comment but wasn't sure whether it would count, due to:

1 - ambiguity

2 - whether AoS is actually canon

In any case, during season 2 of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AoS, I'm not typing all that again), much of Phil Coulson's time is spent trying to fix up a helicarrier - the same one that Nick Fury uses in Avengers: Age Of Ultron (though he credits "an old friend", if I recall correctly).

Now, why shouldn't this count? It is never explicitly explained who this "old friend" is, and though AoS is definitely a thing that happened, how canonical it is (what with it not acknowledging "the snap", though this is mainly due to the movie studios making demands) is pretty up in the air. But at the time, it was meant to be canonical and following the movie storylines.

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  • What Fury said was: "I pulled her out of mothballs with a couple of old friends." The 'old friends' are just the people on board the helicarrier, like the agent from CA:TWS (agent Klein). In AoS, they made a cool connection with Coulson being the one supplying the helicarrier, but for the movies it doesn't matter where it came from.
    – Dennis_E
    Dec 14, 2023 at 10:11

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