The Marvel Cinematic Universe Chronological Timeline v5.0 (2018)

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe now comprises some 20 films and is inarguably the greatest feat in cinematic history on both a critical and commercial level. But these films don’t always get released in chronological order. Add onto that the fact that Marvel also has nearly a dozen shows and other content that brings the MCU’s total watch time to over 10 days in length. With every release the universe grows larger and more complicated, especially when you try to place each project side by side on a timeline. What is the best way to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order without breaking up the films and shows unnecessarily?

That’s where we come in. How’s it going guys and geeks. Welcome to the Geekritique Show. My name is Dakota. Since the release of Vol. 4, which is by far our most viewed and most liked video ever, you guys have been asking us NONSTOP when we’ll be updating the MCU Timeline. Suffice it to say we heard you. So welcome to Vol. 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Chronological Timeline, released the week of July 4th, 2018! We’ve got a lot to cover, and a few corrections in terms of where certain items take place. We’ll show you where Jessica Jones season 2 takes place, walk you through the curious placement of Cloak and Dagger’s first season, explain why Ant-Man and the Wasp occurs where it does, and break down why Luke Cage season 2 has potentially Timeline breaking consequences for the MCU. But before we do all that we should set some ground rules.

  1. When the majority of a film or show takes place in a certain time period, that’s where we’ll place it on the timeline, unless the characters’ relative chronology differs from the literal order of events. In that case we’ll prioritize the character’s viewpoint.
  2. The end credits scenes often take place at different times than the films they’re attached to, and won’t affect their placement on this timeline.
  3. We won’t be starting or stopping films or shows to facilitate flashback sequences, so this is the best way to watch the movies and shows without breaking them up unnecessarily.
  4. Only films and shows that we can place with a reasonable certainty are included on this Timeline, so we won’t place unreleased items on this list unless we know exactly where they fit.
  5. Only live action content is included in this list, so we won’t be including comic book tie-ins, as a few of them have been deemed non-canonical. This also precludes several commercials and non-canon comedy skits.
  6. None of the films or shows on screen are in the MCU, please stop asking.
  7. And last but not least, this list will include spoilers if we are to correctly explain why certain events take place in the order they do.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger isn’t the first film to be released, but takes place before the events of any other film or tv show, with the exception of the odd flashback or two in certain films or series. Using the 1st rule on our list help’s is place this right at the start of the MCU. The end of The First Avenger sees Steve Rogers in, relative-to-release, present day New York City, which turns out to be Fury’s Big Week – something we’ll talk about in a moment.
  • Before we do that, let’s go back to the 40’s as Peggy Carter plants the seeds that will eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D. in Marvel’s Agent Carter season 1.
  • Then, of course, watch season 2.
  • Next you should watch the Marvel One-Shot, Agent Carter, a short film available on the Iron Man 3 home video release, which sees the birth of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • As of this upload we don’t have any footage of the Captain Marvel film, but it has been announced that the film will take place primarily in the 90s.
  • Leaving the 90s behind, let’s head over to the modern day, with the release of the film that started it all, Iron Man. Though many can’t Remember a time where he wasn’t an A-list hero, when the film was released he was considered part of Marvel’s B-list pantheon and the film was expected to underperform. It’s success paved the way for other B and C-list heroes to make their on-screen debut.

And thus starts Fury’s Big Week, which is a number of films that take place roughly around the same 1 week period. It’s confusing, so instead of stopping and starting each individual film after every few scenes, let’s find the best viewing timeline. Many of the films here overlap, so we’ll take the location of the majority of each film and place it accordingly. We’ll use rules 1-3 here.

  • The next film you’ll wish to take up is technically Iron Man 2, which takes place concurrently with the Incredible Hulk, and Thor, though the majority of the movie occurs before the other two.
  • The Incredible Hulk is often confused to take place before Iron Man 2, but the majority of the film takes place after Iron Man 2, according to the events outlined in Fury’s Big Week. The Incredible Hulk is the only solo Hulk film that is considered part of the MCU canon.
  • After The Incredible Hulk, watch A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer, found on the Captain America: The First Avenger Blu-ray release.
  • And then, yep. Thor comes next.
  • We have another Marvel One-Shot after Thor, in the Consultant. Both Agent Phil Coulson and Jasper Sitwell make return appearances.
  • Since it’s release, The Avengers, the first major superhero crossover epic ever, has become one of the biggest success stories in Hollywood history. It proved to the world that an ensemble cast that comprised multiple franchises could work as a singular team, and was hugely influential in the way Hollywood has approached franchises, as well as cinematic universes, in the years since.
  • In the wake of the Chitauri invasion, some alien tech gets in the hands of the wrong people, which is where the Item 47 One-Shot takes place.
  • Iron Man 3 sees our hero dealing with some serious post traumatic stress after the events of The Avengers. We also get a fake villain in the Mandarin, which upset a lot of fans who felt it was a bit of a cop out.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes chronologically next on the list, and take note that it is the only show with logical breaks that other films and series can fit within its seasons without disrupting the narrative. The first season of Marvel’s lineup of interconnected live action shows should be watched up through episode 7.
  • Thor: The Dark World sees the God of Thunder returning to protect Midgard, aka earth, from the Dark Elves. Fun fact: this film was the worst received critically out of all 20 Marvel Cinematic Universe films according to Rotten Tomatoes aggregate score, and it still somehow manages to have a fresh rating!
  • All Hail the King makes some moves at fixing the Mandarin issue people had with Iron Man 3. In this Marvel One-Shot that takes place 6 months after Iron Man 3 we find the actor who portrayed the fake Mandarin is being interviewed to figure out what he really knows about the Ten Rings terrorist group.
  • Get used to the back and forth with Agents of SHIELD from here on out. Episode 8 shares some tangential relations with Thor: The Dark World, but it’s the events in episode 16 that impact the rest of the MCU pretty heavily, because well…
  • Hail Hydra. The first time a film flipped the MCU on its head, Captain America: The Winter Soldier finds itself next on our chronological timeline. This is the first solo Cap film to take place in relative present day, and the first MCU film to be directed by the Russo brothers.
  • The last batch of episodes (17-22) from season one of Agents of SHIELD sees our Agents dealing with the fallout of their organization.
  • The majority of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 takes place 26 years after 1988, so this fits snugly with its 2014 release date, and is a solid break from a less than perfect first season of Agents of SHIELD.
  • Next you’ll want to watch Agents of SHIELD season 2 up until the mid season break after episode 10. Thankfully the show gets much better in season 2.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 also takes place in 2014, just a mere 3 months after the first film, as opposed to its release in 2017. This makes sense as the Ravagers haven’t caught up with them as of this point, and Baby Groot is… well, he’s still a baby.
  • While we’re left in suspense as to what our favorite Agents are up to, let’s place the entirety of Daredevil Season 1, which ushers in the Netflix/Defenders series into the mix. Because it takes place over the course of several months presumably…
  • …it does run concurrently to AoS season 2, episodes 11-19, but there’s no way to correctly identify which episodes fit where. (Note, this item will be pushed back to just before Age of Ultron in v6.0, as it directly leads into it.)
  • Jessica Jones season one arrives next on our timeline, though it appeared later on our timeline in previous versions. Growing understanding of the Netflix timeline has helped us place this season and future seasons more appropriately, though honestly they’re so removed from the films it won’t make that big a difference either way.
  • Cloak and Dagger takes place some 8 years after the explosion of a Roxxon experiment gives Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen their super powers in April of 2007, surprisingly placing this in 2015.
  • Our Avengers team up again in Age of Ultron, with the inclusion of several new core team members, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Thor and Hulk leave Earth by the close of this film, and two years pass before we see them again.
  • After Age of Ultron, we’ll place the final three episodes of Agents of SHIELD season 2 which has some minor tie-in cameos.
  • WHiH Newsfront comes next on the timeline, as it’s an in-Universe news program meant to drum up attention to the next incoming Marvel film. You can find these on YouTube as it’s a free webseries. This is a four part series that takes place in July 2015.
  • Ant-Man follows closely after the events outlined in the WHiH Newsfront videos, as we see Scott Lang take up the mantle of the MCU’s tiniest hero.
  • Next we want to again visit Agents of SHIELD in season 3, but only up until the mid-season break after episode 10.
  • Daredevil season 2 comes next on the timeline and introduces is to the Punisher and Elektra.
  • Most of Daredevil season 2 occurs before Episodes 11 through 19 of Agents of SHIELD season 3, but some occurs concurrently, so we’ll place that here instead of unnecessarily breaking the seasons apart. That said we do get this fun little Easter egg, where they reference a gang war in Hell’s Kitchen, which is a direct tie to Daredevil s2.
  • Luke Cage comes a few months after Jessica Jones and perhaps a month after Daredevil season 2, if not partially concurrently, so we’ll place his first season right here.
  • Iron Fist’s debut season gets moved up quite a bit as it takes place some short months after Luke Cage’s first season. Please note, the time that passes between events in the Netflix shows does not correlate to the time of year the shows are filmed in, making their placement exceptionally frustrating.
  • The Defenders first season, the team up of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, occurs 1 month after the events of Iron Fist, and sees the 4 pick up most of the loose threads that need tying up from both Daredevil s2 and Iron Fist s1.
  • WHiH Newsfront appears again with 5 short clips from April-May 2016 that help unveil the events about to take shape in…
  • Captain America: Civil War. Here our heroes find themselves at an impasse, divided between conflicting ideals of freedom and regulation. Though not quite an Avengers film exactly, it does feature more team members than any other film to date, including some new ones like Black Panther and Spider-Man.
  • Speaking of Black Panther, his film arrives shortly after the events of of Civil War as he deals with the fallout of the death of his father and King T’Chaka, upon returning home to Wakanda.
  • Next you’ll wish to finish off Agents of Shield season 3 with the last three episodes.
  • Spider-Man Homecoming is the first and only Spider-Man iteration to be included in the MCU canon to date. The film claims to be 8 years after the Battle of New York, but the Russo Brothers have since claimed this was a mistake. Only 4 years has passed. Logically it takes place several months after Civil War, and ends around Homecoming.
  • The Punisher, available on Netflix, occurs several months after The Defenders first season, and ends around Thanksgiving of 2016.
  • Doctor Strange’s Timeline occurs partially before and partially after Civil War. But because his training and the majority of the film occur after May, ending around November 2016, we’re sticking to our guns and placing it here. But wait, Dakota, wasn’t Stephen Strange mentioned as a threat to Hydra way back in 2014 during the Winter Soldier? Yes, yes he was. But watch that scene again. It mentions that Zola’s algorithm marks individuals as threats even if they aren’t actually threats now – people that have the potential to hinder Project Insight and HYDRA. Over 219,571 individuals were targeted by the program, most of whom will never get superpowers. At the time Stephen Strange was just a potential threat. This is confirmed by Kevin Feige, who heads Marvel Studios, and it is also explained in film. Note that before Stephen has that car crash, we see this trophy dated in 2016 in his office, and his watch very explicitly says that we’re in February 2016. It must also be explained that the 35 year old Air Force colonel who broke his back due to experimental armor couldn’t have been Rhodes from Civil War, because in canon he is 48 years of age, and Civil War hasn’t happened yet. But again, most of the film occurs after Civil War, with 3-4 months of rehab and therapy, and then what appears to be a couple months studying day and night under the Ancient One. Remember, he only actually knows about 3 tricks by the time the final battle happens.
  • Let’s jump into a 6-episode webseries entitled Slingshot, which is a spinoff of Inhumans characters introduced in Agents of shield, as we begin to see the Sokovia Accords affect Inhumans characters. This has been moved back some as the series takes place shortly before season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • But let’s not forget about Agents of SHIELD season 4. We’ll place episodes 1-8 here, the Ghost Rider arc.
  • Inhumans season 1 must occur after this point in Agents of SHIELD season 4, as the Inhuman Registration is mentioned, though it may not occur directly after. We’ll go ahead and place it here. But honestly, I haven’t watched it. I don’t… I don’t plan to.
  • Episodes 9-22 of Agents of Shield season 4 come chronologically next on the timeline. If you can make it to this point in Agents or S.H.I.E.L.D., you’ll likely agree that this season has some of the best sci-fi tv has seen in years. If you can make it up to this point in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you’ll likely agree that this is some of the best sci-fi tv we’ve seen in years.
  • Jessica Jones season 2 occurs some 17 years after the events that propelled her getting powers in April 2000, placing this around Summer 2017, and is the first Netflix series to make mention of events post Civil War.
  • Hulu’s first MCU show, Runaways, takes place around the beginning of the school year 2017, as we see the start of club sign ups and cheerleading tryouts. From what we can gather, the calendars in the show deliberately try to mislead you from guessing the correct time frame. So… don’t pay any attention to those.
  • Luke Cage season 2 is one of the tougher shows to place. Several dates place the show at Mid-late August 2018, including a vehicle registered through 6/20, meaning it was registered in June 2018. This is deliberate as the show was filmed in 2017. This clearly contradicts events outlined in Avengers: Infinity War, which presumably occurs prior to that, and also means we haven’t seen Luke Cage and friends for over 2 years since The Defenders. This isn’t as bad as the Spider-Man: Homecoming mistake, so I’m inclined to say it takes place in August 2017, despite the onscreen dates. If you got a problem with that, fight me in the comments section down below. I’ll be there.
  • Agents of SHIELD season 5 is easily the most difficult item to place chronologically on this list, because the first ten episodes take place in different timelines in 2091. But their relative timelines place these events in 2017. We’ll put the first 10 episodes here.
  • Thor: Ragnarok falls in step at the tail end of 2017, as Thor tells Banner that he’s been away from earth for 2 years, meaning it’s been at least a year since Civil War took place. Though time works differently on Sicar, the film does a great job of placing itself on the timeline. Doctor Strange also appears to be far more powerful than he was in his own film, denoting plenty of time has elapsed in between. (Note this does not occur directly before Infinity War. Only the end credits scene.)
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5’s episodes 11-18 see the Agents return to 2018.
  • Ant-Man was missing from the events of Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp helps explain why. He was off doing his own thing! This film occurs 2 years after Captain America: Civil War, but before the major events in Avengers: Infinity War.
  • The last four episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 occur concurrently to the first half of Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Speaking of which, Avengers: Infinity War is still the latest title on our lineup for v5, and what a film it was! Almost all of Marvel’s big screen heroes joined in the fray to stop Thanos from collecting all 6 Infinity Stones and using it to destroy the half the universe.

As of now no other future projects have been expressly stated as being here or there on the timeline, so there’s no point in guessing, right? If you have any issues at all with this timeline, please let us know in the comments section below. I, I promise I won’t fight you. I might… Subscribe and hit the like button if you enjoyed this video and want more geeky content just like this. You can grab shirts just like this from our merchandise store. Thank you to everyone who’s bought shirts from us at this point. We really do appreciate it, it helps us out, it keeps the lights on. Until Avengers 4 arrives we’ll be left wondering how everyone will make it through the carnage that Thanos unleashed upon the universe after he detonated that now infamous snap.

Wait… I don’t feel so good…

It Will Take You Over 9 Days to Watch the Entire MCU

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We’ve updated our MCU timeline video to include The Punisher, Runaways, Black Panther, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5, and Avengers: Infinity War. Find out where the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe falls into place chronologically.

We’ve also added a time counter that adds up the more items are introduced to the video, including every show, film, one-shot, or web-series.

We hope you enjoy!

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