Timeline of the MCU

James Muenzenmaier, A&E Editor

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU is an American media franchise, creating a thrilling narrative in a universe encompassing superhero movies distributed and produced by Marvel Studios, focused on property and characters originating in the comic books from Marvel Comics.

Recently the “most ambitious crossover event in history” or more commonly referred to as “Avengers: Infinity War” premiered on April 27, 2018 and is now the fourth highest grossing film of all time. “Avengers: Infinity War” is also the highest grossing film of 2018, amassing a whopping 2.048 billion USD, behind this film in second place, another Marvel movie: “Black Panther” , earning a total of 1.346 billion USD.

Upon viewing IW, it becomes clear that it was the first half of a two part movie, based on the events of the film, and by the social media activity of the film’s directors, Anthony and Joseph Russo. “Avengers: Endgame” is the recently announced film that will pick up where IW left off. Until very recently, the film had been referred to as “Avengers 4” and  “Untitled Avengers Film” and is set to premiere in theatres earlier than expected on April 26, 2019.


For those without the time, money, and patience to sit through all 20+ films produced by Marvel, please observe the remainder of this article as an easy-on-the-eyes timeline and guide of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Iron Man (2008): After Tony Stark, well-known billionaire/philanthropist is abducted by a terrorist organization, his genius allows him to construct a metallic suit of armor to escape his captors, then returns home to make some upgrades and pursue justice.

The Incredible Hulk (2008): The esteemed scientist Bruce Banner is accidentally exposed to gamma radiation, forcing him to abandon everything he knows to avoid becoming a military weapon.

Iron Man 2 (2010): After Tony Stark reveals that he is the Iron Man, government official demand he surrenders his technology while one of Stark’s rivals plan to use his gadgets against him.

Thor (2011): Thor Odinson, Heir to the throne of Asgard, is banished to earth once he is judged as unworthy, and learns to live humbly without his entitlement and to protect the lives of valuable people he meets along the way.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): Set in 1942, Steve Rogers becomes a candidate for testing a secret experimental serum after being deemed unfit for enlisting in the U.S. army. Once transformed into a super-soldier, he must neutralize a Nazi research regiment known as Hydra.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012): Nick Fury, the director of an organization called S.H.I.E.L.D., calls upon earth’s mightiest heroes: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk, to defend the planet from an alien invasion, led by Thor’s brother, Loki.

Iron Man 3 (2013): Tony Stark’s mansion is targeted and destroyed by a mysterious foe, Mandarin. Stark must now fight a two-front battle with the attacks of his new nemesis, and with PTSD.

Thor: The Dark World (2013): After reuniting with Jane Foster, the woman Thor fell in love with previously during the events of “Thor”, the two discover that portals to different worlds are randomly linking together. Later, it is discovered that Malekith is responsible for this chaotic behavior, and must join forces with his imprisoned brother, Loki to prevent Malekith from gaining an ancient weapon: The Aether.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Steve Rogers is now working with S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Sam Wilson, and Natasha Romanoff, to expose an elite conspiracy,involving a deadly assassin only known as “The Winter Soldier”

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Peter Quill obtains a powerful orb containing the power to destroy entire planets, and must join forces with the likes of aliens, a raccoon, and a plant-like creature to defend it from a power hungry tyrant, Ronan.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): The technological nightmare Ultron, is accidentally created in Tony Stark’s lab, and is bent on saving the world’s integrity by decimating the human race.

Ant-Man (2015): Scott Lang must protect an incredible technology that allows people to decrease in size, but increase strength. Using this power, he and his mentor, Hank Pym,  defend the planet from countless fiends and ruffians that want the tech for themselves.

Captain America: Civil War (2016): After government officials demand that the Avengers conform to an act regulating superhuman activity, the world’s mightiest heroes divide into those that agree, and those that will continue to fight for the ideal of justice.

Doctor Strange (2016): One of the world’s top neurosurgeons is nearly killed in a tragic car accident, rendering himself unable to continue his life’s work. He later encounters a mentor known as “The Ancient One” who teaches him to utilize the energies of the mystic arts.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 (2017): As the guardians have difficulty keeping their wacky family together, Peter Quill discovers more about his heritage and background, facing newer and bigger enemies.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017): After the events of Civil War, Peter Parker (A.K.A: Spider-Man) learns the struggle of being a hero, and being a successful student, all while juggling the dangers of the treacherous villain, Vulture.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017): Stranded on yet another planet without the assistance of his beloved hammer, Thor survives a deadly gladiatorial fight with the Incredible Hulk and must return to Asgard to protect it from Hela, the goddess of death, as well as the horrifying prophecy of Ragnarok.

Black Panther (2018): The King of Wakanda returns to his loyal subjects, and springs into action when introduced to the threat of his kingdom and his role of protector threatened by a lifelong adversary in a catastrophic conflict.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018): The Avengers team up with the guardians of the galaxy to stop Thanos, the Mad Titan from collecting all six infinity stones and destroying half the universe.

Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018): Hank Pym and his daughter, Hope van Dyne track down Scott Lang to help with a project with the potential to bring Pym’s wife, Janet van Dyne, back from the quantum realm.