... play years in the future of the current continuity; or do you really think becoming Sorcerer Supreme is something you do in a few months? Of course it plays in the past. (If not as far back as the first Captain America.) Depending on how close they stay to his comic book origins he first looks for a cure for his hands for months before ending up with the ancient one. And once he has found him he still has years of study ahead of him. and once he has finished with his studies he can set his first steps on the path of becoming Sorcerer Supreme. This all means to me that I wouldn't be surprised if they've set the movie in the 90's, or maybe even in the 80's. Oh, and if you're wondering why he hasn't been mentioned in the MCU before, or why he didn't fight the Chitauri; his main goal is keeping the Earth safe from magical attacks from this and other dimensions, which could mean he wasn't even on Earth during the attack. And being on the Hydra hit list isn't that surprising, after all, S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been known to know much more that they tell. And who knows, maybe he's their main consultant when it comes to dealing with the occult side of the MCU.