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Marvel timeline: The MCU movies and TV shows in chronological order

Sacred Timeline
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Marvel timeline is one complicated beast. For one thing, the MCU's movies and TV shows don't release in chronological order, and they're also a few years ahead of our own, real timeline. Then there's the multiverse to figure out, as well as the issue of what is and isn't canon (the Defenders Saga and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are particularly tricky). But, that's where we come in. 

We've rounded up every single Marvel movie and TV show and put them into one comprehensive timeline right here, starting off in the '30s and going all the way up to 2025 and 2026, which is where you'll find the latest from the MCU: Ms. Marvel and Thor: Love and Thunder. We've also got the animated show What If…? and the Spider-Man movies in our chronology, too. 

Note: A * denotes timeline or multiversal trickery which might not be part of the main timeline. Also, if you just want to know how to watch the Marvel movies in order, click through the link. 

Marvel timeline: 1931-1995

Marvel timeline

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Things are relatively simple – for now. The tale of Steve Rogers does, admittedly, take place partly in 2011 thanks to the First Avenger's post-credits scene. Yet the vast majority of the story takes place during World War 2 in 1943-1945, so we've included it here for clarity's sake (this will become a running theme).

After that, the Agent Carter One Shot (which charts the foundation of S.H.I.E.L.D) begins and ends in 1944. Both season of Agent Carter take place after that. Then, some 50 years later, Captain Marvel crashes into Blackbuster and meets Nick Fury. After that, there’s a big time gap until a certain Iron Man shows up.

Confusingly, Agents of Shield season 7 saw the team travel back to 1931 and then eventually work their way back to 2019, via some pitstops in decades along the way. It still hasn't been canonically confirmed whether that's now part of the Marvel timeline or one from the multiverse, though the show seemingly cut all ties with the wider MCU in favor of a more streamlined storytelling approach. For all intents and purposes, it's essentially another multiverse running parallel to the main timeline.

Marvel timeline: 2010-2012

Here's where Iron Man fits into the MCU timeline

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)
  • Iron Man (2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (2011)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2011)
  • One Shot: The Consultant (2011)
  • One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (2011)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Avengers (2012)
  • One Shot: Item 47 (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (2012)

This is where things in the Marvel timeline begin to ramp up a bit. Iron Man, according to Marvel’s 10 Years of Marvel Studios book, actually takes place in 2010, not 2008. Iron Man 2 comes a year later, as do The Incredible Hulk and Thor, which both, incredibly, take place that same week .

Tucked in-between the Jade Giant’s solo movie and Thor’s arrival on Earth, however, are a pair of One Shots (which were very in vogue at Marvel during the early 2010s and meant to be an added incentive for fans to buy the DVDs). Of course, Avengers tops it all off with the Battle of New York in 2012. And then comes Iron Man 3, which, despite being a Phase 2 film, takes place later that same year. Still with me? It only gets tougher from here on out.

Marvel timeline: 2013-2015

Marvel Timeline

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Are you sitting comfortably? The All Hail the King One Shot comes several months after the events of Iron Man 3, firmly placing it in 2013. Meanwhile, Thor: The Dark World is directly mentioned after the eighth episode of the first Agents of Shield season. A similar thing happens with The Winter Solder (this was when Marvel TV were trying to tie their series into the movie events, something they later stopped doing). Everything from episode 17 right through to the end of the first season takes place after Hydra’s plan is uncovered in Winter Soldier.

Guardians of the Galaxy and its sequel, Vol. 2, take place in 2014, immediately after each other. Meanwhile, Daredevil season 1 also takes place that year.

In 2015, Agents of Shield season 2 deals with the fallout from Age of Ultron post-episode 19. From there, it’s a fairly straightforward run to the end of the year: Ant-Man, Jessica Jones season 1, Daredevil season 2, Luke Cage season 1 (as per Luke Cage actor, it takes place "a few months" after Jessica Jones), and the first 10 episodes of Agents of Shield season 3 – because there’s a slight time-jump after that.

Marvel timeline: 2016

Marvel Timeline

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

As you can tell, 2016 was quite a wild ride in the Marvel universe. The Marvel timeline, though, is pretty easy to follow. Agents of Shield season 3’s eleventh episode has a bit of a jump, and Civil War is dealt with from episode 20 onward. Agents of Shield season 4 is only interrupted by the Slingshot web series (which is non-essential). 

Spider-Man: Homecoming did its level best to mess up the MCU timeline, but it’s definitely in 2016, as explained by the director.

On the Marvel Netflix side of things, meanwhile, Iron Fist season 1 introduces the last of the Defenders, who then team up later that year in The Defenders. The Punisher season 1 takes place after all of those street-level shenanigans have concluded. Doctor Strange, of course, isn’t bound by time. His story starts in 2016 and continues into 2017. Speaking of which…

Marvel timeline: 2017-2018

Marvel Timeline

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

This is it. The year of the Snap. 

The Marvel Netflix shows are much of a muchness at this point, though Luke Cage season 2 definitely comes before Iron Fist season 3, and Daredevil season 3 landing a little later on the timeline makes a bit more sense thematically. Then there are the Freeform shows, Cloak and Dagger along with Runaways, which also take place pre-Snap. Or, at least, they have not dealt with Thanos's reign of terror properly yet, so there remains some question over when exactly they take place.

The Black Widow movie may be part of Marvel Phase 4, but it's actually tucked in-between Civil War and Infinity War. As the third Avengers movie ends in 2018, it's a safe guess to predict that Natasha Romanoff's standalone movie takes place in 2017.

Black Panther is perhaps the hardest to place. The death of T'Challa's father in Civil War is still raw by the time his movie rolls around but, according to Marvel's own official timeline to mark the ten-year anniversary of the MCU, Black Panther is set in 2017, not 2016. Send your complaints to Kevin Feige.

Finally, when it comes to Ant-Man and the Wasp and Thor: Ragnarok, both take place immediately before Infinity War, so can be watched in either order. Ant-Man and the Wasp’s post-credits scene, though, runs simultaneously alongside Thanos’ Snap, while Ragnarok’s post-credits only take us to the beginning of Infinity War. Yes, that’s confusing. Thor: Ragnarok before Ant-Man and the Wasp is probably your best bet.

Things don't stop there, though. There's the conundrum of Agents of Shield season 6. With season 5 explicitly leading into Thanos' big moment, fans were slightly confused when season 6 failed to feature half the world disappearing. The showrunners have since reasoned that they simply couldn't deal with the Snap as they – at the time of writing season 6 – were not aware of how Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home would deal with "the Blip". In-universe, the snap takes place in 2018 even though there's absolutely no reference to Thanos wiping out half the world in Agents of Shield season 6. Try not to think about it.

Marvel timeline: 2018-2026

Marvel Timeline

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Avengers: Endgame has a clear five-year-jump after the Snap (dubbed "the Blip" in Far From Home), meaning much of the movie takes place in 2023, five years after the end of Infinity War. WandaVision sees Scarlet Witch trap an entire town in a force field following the death of Vision. Despite the sitcom antics taking place seemingly in multiple time periods, this all happens post-Endgame. 

Loki, meanwhile, takes place outside of our conception of time. The primary Loki Variant of the show is technically snatched from 2012. But theorists hold that Kang the Conqueror witnesses the timeline being broken – therefore unleashing the multiverse – just as Wanda looks into the Darkhold during the WandaVision finale. Loki really is a confusing one – but if you're tackling the MCU, this is probably the place it makes sense to watch, otherwise you'll be waiting years for more multiverse shenanigans.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings likely takes place in 2023. It definitely comes after Avengers: Endgame, and Bruce Banner's cameo shows that he hasn't recovered from his universe-fixing snap just yet, plus everyone's still talking about The Blip. That places the movie at a few weeks or months out from Endgame, but with no fixed date.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place six months after Endgame, which, depending on which month the events Endgame happens in, means the Captain America spinoff is set sometime in late 2023 or early 2024. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Far From Home is set eight months after Endgame with Peter Parker mourning the loss of Tony Stark. That places it at just around the 2024 summer holidays, hence the European vacation.

Eternals takes place after Avengers: Endgame, and most likely just after Spider-Man: Far From Home. With the movie seeing a giant Celestial pop out of the ocean, it would be hard for that not to have an effect on the MCU going forward.

Hawkeye, we were told by the series' director, takes place two years after Endgame. With its Christmas setting, however, that places the series just under the two year mark – at Christmas 2024. 

Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up directly after Far From Home, which means the action takes place in 2024. The film leads us up to Christmas of that year, so the same time as Hawkeye. Moon Knight then takes place after Hawkeye, presumably in 2025. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness follows No Way Home, which finishes in Christmas 2024, so we can assume that takes place in 2025 as well. Ms. Marvel definitely takes place after Endgame, but beyond that specifics are hard to pin down, though Disney Plus puts it post-Moon Knight. Thor: Love and Thunder, we know that the movie takes place eight years after Thor and Jane broke up but it's not clear exactly when that was. The breakup was referenced in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, so we can estimate that Love and Thunder is therefore set around 2025 or 2026, although there aren't any other pointers to help us orient the movie within the timeline. 

As for Agents of Shield, which is maddeningly obtuse in its divergence of the Marvel timeline, they pretty much gave up on any semblance of being in the same universe as the MCU movies. Season 7 goes on a mad trip through time, heading back into the 40s, 50s, and 60s. The team then pop back into 2018, and it appears the finale ends in 2019, one year after the events of the sixth season (a time they're eventually able to return to). This all happens, seemingly, on a different timeline, one where Thanos never fully invaded Earth. Some fans have reasoned that this could mean the non-Disney Plus TV shows happen on a completely different Marvel timeline to the movies – which is probably the easiest way of looking at it.

What about the Spider-Man movies?

Spider-Man 2

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Thanks to Spider-Man: No Way Home, the Spider-Man universe of movies are connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's films do not, however, take place on the same Marvel timeline as the main MCU. They are stories told across the multiverse, and therefore do not fit into the core MCU timeline. If you do want a working order to watch those films, then check out our guide to how to watch the Spider-Man movies in order.

What about What If...?

What If...?

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

What If...? is difficult to pin down, mainly because, like the non-Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, it's set in the multiverse, and each episode takes a different Marvel movie as its jumping-off point. It gets its own section of the timeline for that reason, and the first season has ranged from an alternate version of Captain America: The First Avenger up to the Avengers: Infinity War era.

For more superhero goodness, check out our piece on all the new superhero movies coming to cinemas and streaming over the next few years.

Bradley Russell
Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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