The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has captivated audiences worldwide with its thrilling superhero adventures, interconnected storylines, and iconic characters. With over a decade of movies released, the timeline of the MCU can be intricate and exhilarating to explore.
In this article, we embark on a chronological journey through the MCU, unveiling the epic saga from its earliest events to the most recent. Join us as we traverse the interconnected universe, following the timeline of Marvel movies and immersing ourselves in the extraordinary world of superheroes, cosmic battles, and astonishing narratives.
There are presently 30 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there are still more planned. These films are all set in the same universe and share common characters, plots, and places. So it’s understandable if you’re not really sure how they work together or in what order to watch them. With 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers, Marvel established a new precedent by combining distinct heroes from their own separate films (Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, as well as Chris Hemsworth’s Thor) into a single team-up film, before serving them again into their individual sequels.
1. The First Avenger, Captain America
Captain America: The First Avenger is the movie that is the most historically early in the Marvel universe. The origin tale of Steve Rogers starts in 1940 with the story of Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Steve (Evans) joining the military, and it concludes in 1945 with Steve’s aircraft crash and him being paralyzed for the next 50 years.
2. Captain Marvel
The next film is Captain Marvel, one of the more recent Marvel films, however its events take place before those in the regular MCU timeline. After crashing her plane in 1989, Brie Larson’s pilot character undergoes training to become a Skrull before coming to Earth in the year 1995, the year in which the majority of Captain Marvel is set.
3. Iron Man
According to Marvel’s own timeline, the first movie in the canonical sequence, which comes in third, truly takes place in 2010 rather than 2008, when it was initially released.
4. The Incredible Hulk
The Hulk movie starring Edward Norton takes place shortly after Iron Man.
5. Iron Man 2
2011 is the year that the first Iron Man sequel takes place.
Even though there are flashbacks to events that happened centuries ago, the events of Thor also happen in 2011, at the same period as the happenings of Iron Man 2.
7. The Avengers
In the year 2012, the collaboration actually happened.
8. Iron Man 3
The unappreciated Iron Man 3 takes place in 2012 and primarily explores Tony Starks’ PTSD following The Avengers’ events.
9. The Dark World of Thor
The forgettable continuation takes place in 2013.
10. Winter Soldier, a Captain America film
The big downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place in 2014, two years after the organization assisted in the formation of The Avengers.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy
The events of The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy both take place in 2014 at around the same time.
12. The second volume of Guardians of the Galaxy
A few months have passed since the ending of the first Guardians movie.
13. Avengers: Age of Ultron
The next Avengers team-up movie is set in 2015, after S.H.I.E.L.D. has been disbanded.
Scott Lang is busy in 2015 becoming Ant-Man while the Avengers battle old Ultron.
15. Captain America: Civil War
In 2016, the Captain America sequel, which is also sort of an Avengers film, introduced new characters to the mix in order to lay the groundwork for the films Infinity War and Endgame. However, it also includes flashbacks that occur between The First Avengers and Iron Man, illuminating the events of Tony Stark’s parents’ passing.
16. Black Widow
The Natasha Romanoff character played by Scarlett Johansson is on the run in the Captain America: The Civil War sequel’s Black Widow. Before Avengers: Infinity War’s events start, it comes to an end.
17. Spider-Man: Homecoming
After the conclusion of Civil War, Captain America, Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is attempting to make himself his own hero in the first Marvel Spider-Man film, which is set in the autumn.
18. Black Panther
The Marvel Cinematic Universe had a busy year in 2016, as Black Panther takes place in Wakanda.
19. Doctor Strange
Considering that Stephen Strange’s metamorphosis into a hero takes some time, Doctor Strange fills the time between 2016 and 2017.
20. Thor: Ragnarok
Thor visits Dr. Strange on Earth in Thor: Ragnarok to try to find his father, which takes place in the year 2017 not long after what happened to Doctor Strange.
21. Ant-Man and the and the Wasp
The events in Ant-Man and Wasp take place in 2018 just before Thanos comes to Earth, despite its release after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, and the movie closes with the notorious Thanos Snap. Although it has flashbacks to Janet Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the actor Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) in the late 1980s.
22. Avengers: Infinity War
Just 24 to 48 hours pass between what happened in Infinity War and the Avengers taking place in 2018.
23. Avengers: Endgame
The second chapter of the Infinity Gauntlet storyline starts soon after Thanos’ snap in the year 2018, but after Thor chops off Thanos’ head, the scene flashes forward to 2023, with some of the characters also going back in time to recall what happened in previous decades 1970, 2012, 2013, and 2014.
24. Spider-Man: Far From Home
The events of Spider-Man: Far From Home occur shortly after those of Avengers: Endgame.
25. Thor: Love and Thunder
Even though it came out after Multiverse of Madness, the fourth Thor film seems to take place in 2024. Based on the fact that Jane and Thor split up when Thor left Earth in late 2015 or early 2016, we can determine when this occurred. Thor corrects Jane in Love and Thunder by stating that their relationship has been over for a total of eight years, seven months, and six days. Jane estimates that it has only been three or four years, but given that she vanished following the blip, the time gap makes sense.
26. The Legend of the Ten Rings and Shang-Chi
The majority of Shang-Chi and the mythical tale of the Ten Rings is set in the year 2023, a short time after the end of Avengers: Endgame, despite the prologue’s significant use of flashback to the year 1996 and its beginning in the distant past.
27. The Eternals
Although the immortals have lived on Earth for more than 7,000 years, the major conflict of the film takes place roughly eight months after Shang-Chi, or sometime after the conclusion of Endgame.
28. Spidey: No Way Home
The timeframes will undoubtedly be a little off once we explore the cosmos (and because of COVID). Although the publication dates must be changed, the book Doctor Strange in the Universe of Madness is technically supposed to take place after Spider-Man: No Way Home. Time within the MCU is no more parallel to our own universe as No Way Home takes place during the second half of 2024 as a result of the snap.
29. Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
While there are a few passing mentions of Spider-Man, it’s evident that this narrative was intended to take place prior to No Way Home. The published timeline might place this now shortly following No Way Home in the Spring, but this is clearly before that.
30. T’Challa’s passing in 2024 marks the start of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
However, much of the action takes place in 2025, one year later. It’s possible that some of the events in this film and the sequel Doctor Strange 2 overlap, but nothing is indicated, so it appears like it takes place after those in that movie. It makes sense to watch this film after all the previous films of this particular phase, as it is Phase Six’s climax.
31. Quantumania from Ant-Man and the Wasp
We are aware that Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania occurs following Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which sets it sometime during the first half of 2026, even though the Quantum world typically makes time a little more wiggle-wobble than usual.
32. Guardians of the Galaxy – Volume 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is mostly unaffected by the events in the previous films, much like the other films in the franchise. The fact that it occurs amid Thor: Love and Thunder and perhaps Wakanda Forever is all that is known about it. Accordingly, the story would take place at the earliest in late 2025 or perhaps in 2026. Since the movie appears to be the most recent in the MCU timeline, we’ll be leaning towards the former.
A Journey Through the Epic Saga!
A cultural phenomenon, the Marvel Cinematic Universe enthralls viewers of all ages with its gripping narratives, recognisable characters, and magnificent action. By studying the MCU in order, we can see how this grand tale has grown, changed, and connected over time.
The chronological trip through the Marvel films is an exciting experience that transports us to a world of wonder and imagination, from the origins of superheroes to the cosmic wars that decide the fate of the universe. Let’s reflect on the amazing trip so far and celebrate the power of storytelling and the lasting legacy of Marvel’s cinematic universe as we impatiently await the next installment in the MCU.