Across more than a decade and an incredible number of films, TV shows, web series, and one-shots, the MCU has sprawled in size, and even for the most ardent Marvel fans it’s a serious challenge to both watch everything and keep your head around the timeline.
We’ve put together a chronological timeline of the Marvel movies, shows, and more, so you know which order to watch the Marvel movies in. For the moment, watching them in chronological order arguably makes more sense than watching in the jumbled release date order.
Marvel has also issued its own official timeline for the movies in the book Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years, which does its best to give specific years for when the various films are set (up to, but not including, Captain Marvel & Avengers: Endgame):
- 1943-1945: Captain America: The First Avenger
- 1995: Captain Marvel
- 2010: Iron Man
- 2011: Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor
- 2012: The Avengers, Iron Man 3
- 2013: Thor: The Dark World
- 2014: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- 2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man
- 2016: Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming
- 2016/2017: Doctor Strange
- 2017: Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man & the Wasp
How to watch the Marvel movies and TV shows in chronological order
There are a couple of disclaimers to our list below. First up, the timeline gets more complex as it goes on, so it gets harder to order the films perfectly. For example, Doctor Strange begins just before Captain America: Civil War, but takes a time jump and ends way after it, while Black Panther kicks off shortly after Civil War, but the whole story likely plays out before the bulk of Doctor Strange.
It doesn’t help that Marvel broke its own timeline. There are a few little inconsistencies dotted around the place, but the most egregious is Spider-Man: Homecoming, which claims to take place eight years after the New York attack in the first Avengers. That would set the film in 2020 - two or three years after Avengers: Infinity War, which Marvel itself claims is set in 2017 despite ample evidence that the Snap took place in the spring of 2018.
It’s a pretty minor gaffe in the scheme of things, but it’s a reminder not to take the MCU’s chronological timeline too seriously - even Marvel itself can’t keep it all straight, so as long as you watch things in about the right order you’ll be fine.
If you want the visual cliff notes, Marvel has now released every single post-credit scene up to Endgame (including Captain Marvel's) in order in one giant Twitter thread, so you can revisit every little tease as they built the MCU up.
We've split everything into Marvel's 'phases', but there are some grey areas: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was made within Phase Three, but is set almost immediately after its predecessor; Captain Marvel was one of the final Phase Three films, but is set before most of Phase One; and some of the TV shows sit awkwardly between the different movie phases.
In addition, though Marvel claims that Spider-Man: Far From Home is the last film in Phase Three, it takes place after the first two Disney+ shows - so we've adjusted the order to accommodate for this.
Without further ado, here’s our chronological ordering of the Marvel film universe as it stands right now. The films are in italics, TV shows are not. You can watch the majority of the films and shows by signing up for Disney Plus, with the exception of the two Spider-Man films, the Netflix Marvel shows and a few other titles - these are marked with an asterisk. You can also find the full list in our complete guide to Marvel on Disney Plus.
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Agent Carter (seasons one and two)
- Agent Carter (one-shot — Iron Man 3 DVD/Blu-ray)*
- Captain Marvel
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- The Incredible Hulk*
- The Consultant (one-shot — Thor DVD/Blu-ray)*
- A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer (one-shot — Captain America: The First Avenger DVD/Blu-ray)*
- The Avengers (Avengers: Assemble in the UK)
- Item 47 (one-shot — Avengers DVD/Blu-ray)*
- Iron Man 3
- All Hail the King (one-shot – Thor: The Dark World DVD/Blu-ray)*
- Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 1 — 7)
- Thor: The Dark World
- Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 8 — 16)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Agents of Shield (season one: episodes 17 — 22)
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Daredevil (season one)*
- Agents of Shield (season two: episodes 1 — 19)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Agents of Shield (season two: episodes 20 — 22)
- Jessica Jones (season one)*
- Daredevil (season two)*
- Agents of Shield (season three: episodes 1 — 19)
- Captain America: Civil War
- Black Widow
- Agents of Shield (season three: episodes 20 — 22)
- Luke Cage (season one)*
- Spider-Man: Homecoming*
- Agents of Shield (season four: episodes 1 — 8)
- Doctor Strange
- Agents of Shield: Slingshot (web series)*
- Agents of Shield (season four: episodes 9 — 22)
- Black Panther
- Iron Fist (season one)*
- The Defenders (season one)*
- The Punisher (season one)*
- Runaways (season one and two)
- Jessica Jones (season two)*
- Cloak and Dagger (season one)*
- Luke Cage (season two)*
- Iron Fist (season two)*
- Daredevil (season three)*
- The Punisher (season two)*
- Jessica Jones (season three)*
- Cloak and Dagger (season two)*
- Runaways (season three)*
- Agents of Shield (season five, episodes 1 — 19)
- Ant-Man and The Wasp
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Agents of Shield (season five, episodes 20 - 22)
- Agents of Shield (season six)
- Avengers: Endgame
- The Falcon And The Winter Soldier
- What If...?
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings*
- Spider-Man: Far From Home*
- Agents of Shield (season seven)
It's worth noting that Loki takes place in its own separate branch of time. Technically, the first episode picks up during 2012 in the Battle of New York. However, seeing as the scene that Loki time-travels from is in Avengers: Endgame, the show makes a lot more sense in the context of all the other films as it deals with topics such as the Infinity Stones.
What If...? also features stories that are scattered throughout the MCU timeline. Again though, the show needs the context of previous films in order to make sense.
To be released
The rest of Phase 4 has been somewhat delayed with the global pandemic. However, we do have four Disney+ shows out and Black Widow, with Shang-Chi, Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home all still expected to appear within 2021.
Some of the shows and movies confirmed may also slot into Phase 5 - we don't know for certain yet. Here's what's out so far and how it slots into the timeline:
Here's all the films scheduled for Phase 4
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Thor: Love and Thunder
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
- Black Panther 2
- Captain Marvel 2
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
- Untitled Fantastic Four film
- Deadpool 3
And here are the upcoming TV shows in Phase 4:
- Ms Marvel
- Moon Knight
- Secret Invasion
- Armor Wars
- I am Groot
* - not available on Disney Plus
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