Marvel timeline: How to watch every MCU movie and TV show in chronological order

Marvel timeline watch order MCU
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Ah, the Marvel timeline. Once, long ago, it was simple. There was Iron Man, then Captain America, and now there's a whole bunch of new Marvel TV shows, prequels, and even Netflix series that turn the whole MCU chronology into a bit of a jumbled mess.

We've managed to straighten it all out, though. Below, you'll find the Marvel timeline from Cap's first appearance in 1942 all the way through until the 2023 time-jump shenanigans in Avengers: Endgame. It's the perfect way to catch up on everything (in order) before Marvel Phase 4 rolls around, as well as providing a unique watch order for those looking to sit down and binge everything Marvel has to offer.

Our complete Marvel timeline even includes those weird outliers in the Marvel timeline, including Agents of SHIELD (you'll be surprised at how well they fit into the MCU as a whole), and even the DVD-exclusive One Shots. This is your essential look at everything that's ever happened in the MCU. Jump in.

Marvel Timeline: 1942-1995

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 in 1942 and 1943, 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.

Marvel Timeline: 2010-2012

Marvel 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

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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 telling 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

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As you can tell, 2016 was quite a wild ride in the MCU. 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 Marvel Timeline, but it’s definitely in 2016, because it takes place “eight years” after Adrian Toombs’ introduction scene in 2008.

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

Marvel Timeline

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This is it. The year of the Snap. Agents of Shield season 5 has a pre-Infinity War run of 19 episodes, and you can pick up the remaining three episodes after Infinity War.

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.

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-credit scene 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.

Marvel Timeline: 2017-2022

Marvel Timeline

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Avengers: Endgame has a clear five-year jump after the Snap, meaning much of the movie takes place in 2022, five years after Infinity War. Spider-Man: Far From Home is set in the months after that with, spoiler, Peter Parker mourning the loss of Tony Stark. But what comes next? We’ll likely find out more at San Diego Comic-Con, where Marvel are expected to announce Phase 4 of their master plan.

Read all about San Diego Comic-Con, including the event schedule and what to expect from each panel, here.