You've probably seen most of, but what about the TV shows? can be more than a little confusing. And now, as we see Disney Plus launch its first Marvel series, things are about to get even more confusing.
After more than a decade of movies, TV shows, shorts and post-credits scenes, there's a lot to work through in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And MCU., arriving , is very possibly about to turn this entire list upside-down and force us to rethink what we thought we knew was -- and was not -- a part of the
Editors' note, Jan. 14, 2021: We're so far past thenow, and yet that was the last Marvel property released. We're starting Phase 4, if are any indication (finally, maybe; well, who knows actually?), and we *still* have to look forward to (maybe for forever, at this rate). Thing is, this beast of a timeline hasn't been update in a while because, well because there haven't been any film releases since the last round -- and 2020 was hard and no new releases meant no real desire to work on this.
But that all changes soon. I already want to inject WandaVision directly into my eyeballs and it helps thatare glowing for the sitcom fantasy. Hopefully, the show will inspire me to get back to work on this (and maybe even remove those great-but-very-likely-not-actually-MCU Netflix shows).
Check out the original Infinity Saga timeline below, and if you're looking to. Let me know what you would update in this timeline by hitting the comments once again. Think you've found a mistake? Definitely let us know in the comments (but not about that typo) (or that one) (or those missing seasons).
Years ago,diversity is very important to Marvel: "You look at any of our films and they've been very diverse," he said. "We feel like we're just doing justice to the books by representing that fully."
After Black Panther and 's performances at the box office, all bets are off for the future of the MCU. Their , origin stories discarded all the superhero story rules -- and helped lead to Endgame becoming the highest-grossing movie of all-time. Now the sky is most certainly the limit for MCU films.
Here's what's coming soon:
- : currently set for May 7
- : July 9
- : Nov. 11
- (still untitled, in conjunction with Sony): Dec. 17, 2021
- : March 25, 2022
- : May 6, 2022
- : July 8, 2022
- Untitled Marvel (that's just all the Disney release calendar says): Oct. 7, 2022
- : Nov. 11, 2022
- Untitled Marvel: Feb. 17, 2023
- Untitled Marvel: May 5, 2023
- Untitled Marvel: July 28, 2023
- Untitled Marvel: Nov. 3, 2023
Some of those untitled film slots may very well be:, (now confirmed to join the MCU!), , or even Blade.
Marvel on Disney Plus
ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finished its run in August 2020, and Inhumans on the same network years prior had such poor ratings any whisper of a second season quietly faded away.
Before that, Cloak and Dagger on Freeform was canceled after two seasons; on Hulu ended after three; and never materialized onscreen (but is rumored to still have an unaired pilot out in the world). For a bit there it seemed Marvel might finally become a theater-only franchise. But then came Disney Plus.
We have no idea if Disney Plus spawned this new renaissance or if it was always in consideration, on the back burner somewhere. What we do know is this year's release dates (we hope).
And at She-Hulk; Moon Knight will feature "incredible Egyptian iconology"; Ms. Marvel, which has only recently started filming unveiled a small feature with our first footage from the series and is currently in production with Hailee Steinfeld officially joining Jeremy Renner.though (click that link for ALL the info, seriously), we learned Tatiana Maslany will be playing the 6-foot-7 lawyer
Plus, these new shows were announced:
- Secret Invasion: Starring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, it will bring him back together with Ben Mendelsohn's Talos and focuses on shapeshifting Skrulls on Earth.
- Ironheart: Riri Williams is getting her moment. Dominique Thorne will play the young genius in the new series, which Feige confirmed will crossover with the larger MCU films.
- Armor Wars: Don Cheadle returns as War Machine facing consequences of "Tony Stark's worst nightmare," as Feige put it.
- The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special: Arriving winter 2022 ahead of the third ensemble film, this James Gunn special isn't a series, just a one-off.
- I Am Groot: An animated series of shorts featuring the beloved character.
The MCU timeline
So to either help you fill in the gaps after Endgame, to just watch all the shows for fun, or even merely try to impress your friends, we've created a timeline of what Marvel President Kevin Feige has now dubbed The Infinity Saga in the perfect viewing order. Or maybe you just care about where and the new Disney shows fit in (hint: not where you think!).
The Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the entire franchise is called, also sometimes includes connected properties such as movie tie-in comics or shorts. For the graphic, we've left out smaller properties and stuck to the big two of films and shows, but there are more goodies below.
OK, now before you lash out in anger about some of the, ahem, more recent films' placement, please keep two super, mega, major things in mind.
MCU postcredits scenes do not matter
Seriously, the mid- and postcredits scenes are nothing more than fun throwaways, or in-canon nods for fervent fans. Even Marvel itself has quite literally rewritten older scenes with new movies. Assuming Feige and other heads of Marvel Studios thought about the next 10, 20 or even 30 years of MCU films right from the start is a bit presumptuous and completely ignores the fun some directors have said they had with these scenes.
It's madness to think that these films should only be watched or experienced in a single way. Do I believe this is the best way to watch the franchise, yes. Will I someday introduce friends and family using this CNET Method? OF COURSE. But that doesn't mean it's right for you.
My colleague Sean Keane has graciouslyfor you (but if it would be helpful, maybe we can also develop a timeline of which to watch and when). I can't say it enough times for first-time viewers: Ignore all the postcredits scenes (just watch the fun ones your friends tell you to). Especially when watching in this order, do not watch the or you will be very confused.
And as for your next big question...
Captain Marvel does not belong in chronological order
No really, hear me out!
Captain Marvel is the first true origin story (as in, she wasn't seen in a Marvel movie previously) since 2016's Captain America's first outing., but the film also gives fans a new look at Agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, as well as the Tesseract. If you were following a chronological watch order for your first viewing ever of these MCU films, you'd have So Many Questions watching the movie right after
In the film, Vers takes years to discover her true identity, and by waiting to watch her story with the context and nuance of 18 prior films you give yourself a treat. It's more fun to bask in the fun of numerous in-jokes, "A-ha!" moments and Fury backstory you most likely wouldn't have cared about 17 movies ago.
In this order, Captain Marvel is the treat you get before the Infinity War-prequel that is.
Despite what order you end up experiencing these movies in, you should save yourself a few hours and definitely still note that The Incredible Hulk is indeed still skippable and even William Hurt ("Thunderbolt" Ross himself) admitted it. Speaking to IGN in 2015, Hurt said that "[Ross in Civil War] is different because it's a different style... And what they've done is they've taken a character who was the Ross from the older film and made a new version. This is a much newer Ross. A much different Ross." After watching both, we can confirm this is indeed the case.
You'll also notice that shorts and the Marvel One-Shots are missing from the graphic. These brief videos were initially created as standalone stories to provide backstory for characters or things seen in the movies, with two of them later becoming full-fledged shows.
|Title, release date||Takes place...|
|The Consultant (Sept. 2011)||At the end of Iron Man 2|
|A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer (Oct. 2011)||Directly before Thor|
|Item 47 (Sept. 2012)||Immediately following the Battle of New York in Avengers|
|Agent Carter (Aug. 2013)||One year after Captain America: The First Avenger; before Agent Carter|
|All Hail the King (Feb. 2014)||Roughly two years after Iron Man 3; before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.|
|Title, release date||Takes place...|
|WHIH Newsfront with Christine Everhart, minisodes 1 to 5 (July 2015)||Immediately before Ant-Man|
|WHIH Newsfront with Christine Everhart, minisodes 6 to 10 (April 2016)||Directly before Civil War|
|Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot, all 6 webisodes (Dec. 2016)||Ahead of season 4 of S.H.I.E.L.D.|
More continuity in the MCU
There's definitely some continuity strangeness when you have both movies and television show properties, and those listed on the graphic are no exception.
Season 1 of Thor: The Dark World, episode 8 of S.H.I.E.L.D. definitely takes place directly after those events.saw the release of two Marvel movies and had to contend with incorporating those plots. Airing after the release of
Later in that season, episode 16 aired the same weekend as the release of Captain America: Winter Soldier and, in a neat bit of continuity, the events portrayed on S.H.I.E.L.D. take place at almost the same time as the film. (Some people say episode 16 comes before Winter Soldier, and you can certainly treat it as such. The *absolute* best way to watch them would be simultaneously, but I have yet to see anyone make that fan edit.)
and also have wibbly-wobbly timelines. Early in the series, the Battle of New York is referenced to as The Incident, and it's said that it occurred about two years prior. But because of the show's lack of interaction with any big-screen Marvel characters, it could take place almost anywhere on the timeline between Thor: A Dark World and Avengers: Age of Ultron. In our timeline, we placed it concurrent with the second season of S.H.I.E.L.D. so as to stay closer to the time it was actually released.
is higher up than you may have expected -- that's because of the number of years the film says have passed, meaning it takes place just a few months after the first film.
Some say that Doctor Strange should come before Winter Soldier, because of a certain rooftop scene. A rabbit hole one IGN editor has already gone done and debunked. So Strange stays where it is. (But with time manipulation up for grabs now, who really knows??)
A frequent question about the timeline is why Captain America: TFA is first. This is all just my opinion, but I think watching Steve Rogers grow up first, followed by seeing Agent Carter's story, is a great way to begin an MCU foray. There's a case to be made that he is the most important Avenger, and whether you agree with that or not, it's worth it to jump in with him first.
As for the second most-asked question: No, Iron Man 2 shouldn't come before Incredible Hulk because of the short, The Consultant. That short was released much later on the Thor DVD in an attempt to simply backfill the storyline. I'm 100 percent going to say that if anything should move, it's the timing of when you watch that short -- maybe put it after Iron Man 2 instead and that will help. Yeah, I'm going to make that change on the one-shot list, that should help.
The growth of the Marvel universe is extraordinary (har-har) and as the comics giant introduces new fans to new characters (some people had no idea who Doctor Strange was a couple of years ago) and partners with cable television and Netflix to expand even further, we could see some pretty epic pairings, teams and characters come out of the woodwork.
Which characters would you want to see in Marvel's not-yet-announced-but-certainly-inevitable next phases on both the small and big screen? Let us know in the comments.
This piece first published in 2015, and is now on its 47th revision (more or less).