The Marvel Cinematic Universe Chronological Timeline (v6.5) features the entirety of the live-action canon collection of films and shows that comprise the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This includes everything from Iron Man and Agent Carter to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Spider-Man: Far From Home. The following article is a transcript from the video linked below. Enjoy.
This timeline comprises the entire live action Marvel Cinematic Universe including all shows and gets into spoiler-territory.
This timeline is meant to be a chronological viewing order. While some of the films and shows overlap, this timeline will generalize a title’s given dates to determine whether it takes place before or after another title in the list, giving primary weight to either the 3rd act, or climax. This means we won’t be breaking up the films or shows if they bounce around between different years. Also, please note, most of the mid and post credit scenes take place during different time periods than the film’s they’re attached to, and won’t be used in determining when a film occurs. I’m looking at you Doctor Strange. This will also include shows that have been cancelled, and they’ll remain on the timeline until officially deemed non-canonical.
Captain America: The First Avenger sets the backdrop to Earth 616 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the first film to introduce superheroes to the world, at least in the modern epoch, and ushers in a new age for mankind. Beginning at the height of America’s involvement in WW2, The First Avenger shows the birth of a superhero, one whose moral compass and character are just as impressive as his enhanced superhuman abilities. Taking place between 1942 and 1945, as well as a short stint in 2011, this is undoubtedly the first title in our list. Steve goes under the Arctic in March of 1945.
The second title should definitely be Agent Carter Season 1, which follows the love interest of Steve Rogers, in Peggy Carter. This takes place in Fall 1946, a year after the end of The First Avenger.
Agent Carter Season 2 continues Peggy’s fight against new Atomic Age threats as she moves from New York to Los Angeles in July of 1947.
The Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter has been retconned to occur after the events of the first two seasons, and sees the start of what is to become S.H.I.E.L.D.
The next film, Captain Marvel, is one of the more recent films in the series, though it’s chronological placement is one of the earliest on the timeline. Here we follow a Kree-trained warrior named Vers to earth in search of several shape-shifting refugees known as the Skrull in 1995, only to discover her terrestrial origins as the Air Force Pilot Carol Danvers. Along the way she befriends a young Nick Fury and discovers the incredible extents of her power.
We push forward into 2008, with the film that started it all, Iron Man. Tony Stark, billionaire weapons dealer for the US government and CEO of Stark Industries, has a change of heart after being kidnapped by terrorists using his own weapons against him. Upon discovering shrapnel embedded in his chest and inching closer to his heart, he finds a new way to power not only him, but a means for his escape, and the subsequent line of suits that would identify him as Iron Man.
Iron Man 2 picks up 6 months after Ivan Vanko completes his response to the Iron Man armor, but here’s where some may take offense at our placement on the timeline. Instead of retconning Iron Man to occur later than 2008 as this film would suggest is necessary, we’ve kept it where it is due to later retcons in the series, and have subsequently moved Iron Man 2 as occurring in 2011. While we won’t get into too much detail as to why this is necessary here, please note that Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor, run semi-concurrently.
The Incredible Hulk is perhaps the most retconned film in the MCU, having replaced both the lead actor in the role of the Hulk, as well as completely ignoring its own timeline retroactively. The timeline totally forgets about Emil Blonsky’s Abomination altogether. Should they bring him back? Let me know your thoughts! The film makes it very clear on multiple occasions that it occurs in May of 2007, 5 years after Bruce Banner subjects himself to gamma radiation and develops his angry alter-ego, the Hulk. Because of it’s involvement with Fury’s Big Week, a week long period which also encompasses Iron Man 2 and Thor, the film has been moved up to May and early-June, 2011.
In the short Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer, Coulson stop’s a gas station robbery on his way to New Mexico.
Thor reintroduces the Asgardians onto Midgard, or Earth, in the modern era, having been away long enough for the Asgardians to fade away into Norse myth. After being stripped of his titles and rank, Thor must prove to himself and his king that he is again worthy to possess the powers once bestowed to him and enhanced by his hammer Mjolnir. His adopted brother, Loki, uses Thor’s weakened state to take control of Asgard. Thor occurs in 2011, beginning shortly after Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk.
In the Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant, Coulson and Jasper Sitwell conspire to keep Emil Blonsky’s Abomination out of the Avengers Initiative. This actually occurs before the mid credits scene in The Incredible Hulk, but we’ll place it here so as not to break that film up.
There was an idea to bring together a group of remarkable people to see if they could become something more. And they certainly did with Marvel’s The Avengers. Set almost 1 year after Fury’s Big Week, The Avengers team up to stop a global threat of invasion in 2012 crafted by Thor’s brother Loki. The film would not only go on to transform and be referenced by future MCU films, but became hugely influential in how Hollywood has approached franchises in the years since. While Loki and the Chitauri army are the immediate threat, we later find that Thanos was behind the invasion all along.
In the Marvel One-Shot: Item 47, we find that Chitauri weaponry is being found and utilized by amateur bank robbers shortly after the events of the Avengers.
Iron Man 3 sees individuals from Tony’s past coming back to haunt him, as Aldrich Killian and Maya Hansen introduce the world to the Extremis project. We’re also introduced to someone claiming to be the Mandarin, but we won’t see the true Mandarin until Phase 4. This is an interesting film to try and fit into the timeline as it features dates that occur after the events of Thor: the Dark World, but is generally believed to occur before The Dark World. It’s confusing. We break it down in this video right here. Ultimately the film must occur a year prior to this date on this newspaper, during Christmas 2012.
In the Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King, we regroup with Trevor Slattery to determine if he truly knows anything more about the Mandarin, and/or the Ten Rings organization. This occurs, likely, a few months after Iron Man 3.
Now we begin the introduction of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as we dive into Season 1. Because of the show’s long 22 episode format, and the apparent time breaks within each season, we can place most of the show with some certainty, especially in its earlier seasons. The first 7 episodes introduce us to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team.
Thor: The Dark World naturally comes next. Every 5000 years the Convergence of the 9 Realms opens a portal between worlds, and Malekith uses it to unleash the power of the Aether to transform the universe back into eternal darkness. The Convergence occurs on November 17, 2013. Is this the worst film in the franchise? I personally enjoy it.
Episodes 8-16 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 arrive next, with events in Episode 8 picking up after The Dark World, and events in episodes 16 leading into The Winter Soldier.
With Captain America: The Winter Soldier we find ourselves in the summer of 2014. Adapting to life in the 21st century, Steve Rogers, along with Natasha Romanoff, find themsleves on the run from a rogue cell that’s taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. in HYDRA and a brand new threat arrives from Steve’s past, as we discover Bucky has become the Winter Soldier.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one, episodes 17-22 deal directly with the massive curveball of HYDRA infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D.
Next up, we leave Earth to explore the Cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guardians of the Galaxy takes place 26 years after Peter Quill, a young boy from Missouri, is abducted in 1988. Here Peter, now going by the moniker of Star-Lord, must team up with other galactic misfits to take down the Kree radical Ronan the Accuser. We’re also introduced to Thanos family in Gamora and Nebula. Without further information, we can only assume that Guardians of the Galaxy occurs sometime during the Summer of 2014, shortly after The Winter Soldier.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 occurs only a few short months after the first film, and considering there are no other films that arrive concurrently between the two, they’ll show up side by side on our timeline. A mysterious entity introduces himself to Peter as Ego, his father, who helps unlock Peter’s true potential, but not all is as it seems, as being half Celestial has its drawbacks. This film likely occurs mid-late Fall 2014.
Daredevil season one ushers in the Netflix heroes into the MCU, as Matt Murdoch chooses a life of defending law by day and fighting crime by night. Wilson Fisk is perhaps the best villain we ever received with any of the Marvel TV shows, and is up there with the top MCU villains in general.
With Jessica Jones season 1 we close out 2014 with Jessica going up against her prior abuser, Kilgrave, in one of the MCU’s most chilling chapters. We’re also introduced to Luke Cage.
Cloak and Dagger season 1, while arriving in 2018, actually takes place 8 years after 2007 – which makes it early 2015. Tyrone and Tandy become intertwined with powers of light and darkness, and must band together to take down the evil corporate entity, Roxxon.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, episodes 1-19 is a series of episodes we’ve decided to consolidate to early 2015, considering even the time jumps between episodes never occur over long periods of time, and it doesn’t feel appropriate to split them up. That said, episode 19 ties directly into Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The Avengers must team up again in Avengers: Age of Ultron, as Tony and Bruce unintentionally unleash a dangerous artificially intelligent life form into the world. Ultron is intent on making the world a better place, a place run by machines who aren’t constrained by human emotion. The film ends with the unfortunate destruction of Sokovia. This event takes place in the Summer of 2015, as becomes evident by other titles in the series.
The final 3 episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, 20-22, follow events after the Battle of Sokovia.
We have the first season of WHIH Newsfront, a YouTube web-series of 5 episodes that chronicles the media coverage post-Sokovia. This was released on YouTube originally, but has since been removed.
The next film you’ll want to watch is Ant-Man, which takes place some short months later. Scott Lang is released from a 3-year prison sentence on July 17th, 2015, and after a few months trying to make a living and failing to pay child’s support, he reverts back to his old ways of burglary, only to find a dusty old suit that happens to be able to make him shrink down to the size of an ant. We’re also introduced to the Quantum Realm, which is highly important to the future of the MCU, especially in Phase 3. The film’s climax occurs on October 9th, 2015.
Simmons is trapped in the Monolith world in the first half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, episodes 1-10, shortly after Ant-Man.
Daredevil season 2 is next up, as we’re introduced to The Punisher.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s3, Episodes 11-19 technically run concurrently to both Daredevil season 2 and Luke Cage season 1.
Luke Cage season 1 follows Luke as he becomes the hero that Harlem needs, some 4 years after Hulk rampaged through it. Luke faces off against both Cottonmouth and Diamondback in this season.
Brigid O’Reilly returns to Cloak and Dagger season 2 alongside Mayhem, her doppelgänger. It follows shortly after Luke Cage season 1, and actually discusses some of the events outlined at the end of Luke Cage’s first season. This show brings us into 2016. Though please bear in mind that the recent news that Cloak and Dagger and the Runaways team are teaming up in Runaways season 3 might mean that they are pushing the timeline for the entire Cloak and Dagger series up two years. But that’s not been determined yet; we’ll keep it where it is for now.
Iron Fist season 1 occurs in February 2016, as Danny Rand returns to New York after being presumed dead for over 15 years and he struggles to balance whether or not his duties to his families legacy are more important than who he is as the Iron Fist.
Defenders season one picks up just a short month or so after Iron Fist, and follows the entire Netflix Marvel cast, except the Punisher, as they collectively take down the Hand organization from destroying New York City. They really should’ve phoned in some Avengers for this one.
Season 2 of WHIH Newsfront was released between April and May 2016, but likely occurs in early to late March. It leads directly into the Lagos incident of Captain America: Civil War.
The Avengers team find themselves divided on two differing sides of a controversial new bill known as the Sokovia Accords, which effectively limits their freedom to protect citizens across sovereign borders due to damage they may or may not have been responsible for. Captain America: Civil War’s climax occurs within the first week of April 2016 and sees the Avengers team split down the middle. Please note that while many films occur in 2016, there is a fair amount of overlapping.
Black Panther picks up a week after King T’Chaka is killed in a terrorist attack that occurred during Civil War’s time frame. The film follows T’Challa as he undergoes the coronation ritual upon arriving back in his country of Wakanda, an African utopia hidden away from the rest of the world. Along the way he is challenged for the throne by Erik Killmonger, whose ultimate goal is to help aid those of African descent by arming them with Wakandan technology so they can overthrow their governments. The film occurs as early as the second week of April, and spans only a few days.
Let’s close out Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 with episodes 20-22, which follows shortly after the events of Civil War.
You’d think with almost a decade of films under their belt at this stage, the dates would just slide into place, right? Well then they go and release Spider-Man: Homecoming. A great film which introduces one of the Marvel’s most popular heroes and one of the MCU’s most personable villains to date in the Vulture, but a film that also boasts the worst timeline fumbles in the entirety of the MCU. Almost every date, time and reference to season is contradicted by other films in the MCU or by Homecoming itself.
A year after his introduction in Daredevil season 2, we join the Punisher in the first season of his spinoff show, which ends late November 2016.
Doctor Strange comes next on our timeline though, like we mentioned earlier, there’s some overlap with other films in 2016. In fact, Doctor Strange begins before even Civil War. Revolving around Steven Strange getting into an accident, and trying anything to get the proper use of his hands back, he eventually finds himself in Kamar Taj, under the tutelage of The Ancient One as he learns the mystical arts and becomes the Doctor Strange we know and love. The climax occurs at the tail end of 2016 and the mid and post credit scenes occur in 2017, once Steven apparently feels proficient enough to protect the Eye of Agamotto from his Sanctum in New York City.
The beginning and end of the Slingshot web-series takes place after episode 8 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4, but the majority of the show occurs before the start of the season. Let’s not break it up though, as it would ruin the flow of the miniseries. This brings us into 2017.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season four comes next, and we’ll keep the entire season together. This includes the Ghost Rider, Agents of HYDRA, and L.M.D. arcs.
Inhumans season 1 arrives after both the Terrigenesis event and the Inhuman registration act that followed the Sokovia Accords.
Jessica Jones season 2 falls in step at about May 2017, 17 years after the accident that took the lives of Jessica’s family. But it turns out that not the entire family was taken, as Jessica learns that her mother is still out there.
In Luke Cage season 2, Luke meets his match in Bushmaster, but perhaps his most noteworthy foe is none other than the owner of Harlem’s Paradise, Mariah Dillard. This occurs in August 2017.
While the first handful of episodes in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 occur over 90 years in a far flung future, we’ll adhere to the character’s relative timelines, which would occur chronologically next on the timeline.
Thor: Ragnarok sees the return of Thor’s deranged older sister Hela, and upon facing off against her in the bifrost, gets transported to the alien world of Sakaar, where he meets an old friend from work. Despite what the mid credit scene would have you believe, Thor: Ragnarok does not take place directly before Infinity War. There is about a 5-7 month gap between this film’s main events and the scene in question. The film likely takes place mostly during Fall 2017.
Iron Fist season 2 arrives next, in or around November 2017. This season sees Danny lose his grasp on the Iron Fist mantle, and is a marked improvement in some ways to the first season.
Moving on to Daredevil season 3, wherein we’re introduced to the Netflix iteration of Bullseye. This occurs late in 2017, shortly after Iron Fist.
We’re pushing Runaways season 1 up a bit from our last timeline, as it does take place over the winter holiday season. Though there is little outward evidence to that effect.
In Runaways season 2, we finally see the cast doing what they were cast to do; running away. Beginning just a day after the end of the first season and moving into 2018, it wouldn’t make sense to break up these two seasons.
The Punisher season 2 occurs over a year after the first season, and picks up after Daredevil season 3, which is confirmed by the personal arc of Karen Page.
Jessica Jones season three is the last Marvel Netflix show on our list and occurs just a short month or so before the Snap.
Back in the presumed normal timeline Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5, episodes 11-18 fall into step right here.
Ant-Man and the Wasp, however, occurs mid-April 2018. The film takes place a little over two years after Civil War, and this is notable as Scott Lang’s just about to end his probation period for events he aided in said film. He and Hope become entangled in a quantum heist as Hank Pym attempts to bring Janet back from, well, quantum entanglement. A popular theory holds that this film occurs concurrently to Infinity War, and we’ve even mentioned that on occasion here, but aside from the mid-credits scene wherein we see the effects of the Snap, there’s no evidence that that is the case. Between the climax and the mid credits is at least a week long resolution period.
The final 4 episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5, episodes 19-22, lead into the events of Infinity War with references to Thanos, the Avengers, and even the aliens in NY. These episodes are concurrent to the events in Infinity War.
Avengers: Infinity War occurs over 3 days, with the climactic snap being, at the earliest, on or after April 19th, 2018. The latest date would probably be June 3rd. The film sees the Mad Titan Thanos attempt to rid half the universe of life by collecting all 6 Infinity Stones, a threat even the Avengers will have trouble defending against.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 will just have to go here until they explain themselves. It is supposedly a year after the Snap, but there’s no reference to it in the slightest, and nobody appears affected. This may be the last iteration of the timeline where these shows are still considered canon, unless something further is clarified.
Avengers: Endgame, the sequel to Infinity War, follows 5 years after the snap in the previous film, as the Avengers need to regroup to take Thanos down for good. But that won’t be as easy as it sounds. Endgame bounces around on the timeline, but the primary time period is a bit over 5 years after Avengers: Infinity War, at about October 2023.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is the latest film on our timeline, taking place 8 months after what is known as the blip from Endgame and the death of Tony Stark, Peter Parker and friends go on an end of year trip to Europe. Unfortunately for him, it won’t be much of a vacation, as everywhere he goes happens to be attacked by giant elemental monsters. This movie takes place in late June, early July 2024. There is one major inconsistency, and that’s the inclusion of the Signal Lights Festival which happens in October. Peter claims that he is still 16 in this film, meaning he’s been 16 for over 18 months, but if his birthday is August 10th, and he was blipped back in October, he wouldn’t count that year, as he’s only ever experienced 16 August 10th’s, so that adds up.
How did we do with our timeline? Let us know down below.
3 thoughts on “The Marvel Cinematic Universe Chronological Timeline | Complete Film and Show Edition”
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Hey guys, excellent job on this article. I really appreciate the new order of possibly re-watching all of the Marvel movies again. Although I’m curious to hear your thoughts on how the Disney+ TV shows will effect the cannon of Marvel Netflix shows. What are your thoughts? Do you think Disney will leave them alone, or scrap them like they did all of the non-movie Star Wars materials?