Sara Vilkomerson
June 30, 2017 AT 02:00 PM EDT

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After Jon Watts (Cop Car) was anointed the directed of Spider-Man: Homecominghe was allowed to peek into some Marvel secrets. “There’s an actual scroll that they unrolled for me,” says Watts. “One of my producers, Eric Carroll, it was his first job at Marvel to work on a timeline and see where things line up and see where things didn’t quite line up. Like, ‘Oh, that’s when Captain America is born.'”

Watts adds that when it’s unfurled, the scroll extends past a long conference table. “Uh yes, it’s very long. It’s the most amazing thing because it starts, honestly, at the beginning of time — I don’t remember specifically, but I think it has something to do with Thor.” He laughs. “It is truly an amazing document.”

Part of the fun of Spider-Man: Homecoming is that Peter Parker has been folded into a universe that includes his heroes — he would remember Tony Stark declaring himself Iron Man or vividly recall how the Avengers saved his hometown of New York City from destruction. And cause and effect — which works effortlessly thanks to the timeline — comes into play, informing the plot of Homecoming. Take Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, a.k.a. Vulture: Toomes is a blue-collar businessman who runs a salvaging company contracted to clean up the mess in Manhattan after the battle at the end of The Avengers — a huge, lucrative job. But he loses it because of Tony Stark. Tired of being the little guy who’s jerked around by the one-percenters, Toomes decides to steal pieces of alien tech from the wreckage — and plan his revenge.

“Vulture is the first supervillain that Peter encounters in the comics,” Watts says. “The idea of Vulture literally scavenging from the battle scenes from those other movies to build his own arsenal felt very cool.”

Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives in theaters July 7.

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