Complete Movie & TV Guide to The Marvel Cinematic Universe - Phase 1 to Phase 3

To help new fans navigate the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we put together a viewing guide for Marvel Studios TV and movies - Phase 1 through Phase 3.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe chronology can be confusing, so we've put together a complete guide to the MCU movie and TV timeline - all in one place and updated with every new entry. [Last Update: post-Avengers: Infinity War release - May 22, 2018]

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown from a loosely connected series of superhero origin stories into a full blown-cross medium narrative. The introduction of Nick Fury (and tease of the Avengers Initiative) in Iron Man was an exciting cap to a quality moviegoing experience but few fans would have imagined that, in just seven years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would contain over ten films and two fully integrated TV series, with countless more on the way, via a carefully constructed production plan through 2020 and beyond.

No doubt, die-hard comic book fans have been there day one for each Marvel Studios release (on the big and small screen) but as the MCU has grown, it's becoming increasingly challenging for casual movie and TV fans to keep up - and keep the interconnected story straight. For that reason, we've put together a complete guide to the live-action Marvel universe - explaining which properties are included in the MCU as well as where each one fits in the shared chronology. Without question, some of these entries will be recap for hard core Marvel fans but we'll also be updating this guide as new information in unveiled for in-development projects.

At any time, readers can click on the linked title text on each slide to be taken to a news archive - where they can learn more about each entry in the MCU. In addition, links have been included (where applicable) to relevant articles - and we've also added a complete breakdown of where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes fit into the storyline as a bonus entry near the end of our list.

Last Updated: May 22

29 Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger Chronological Viewing Order: #1

  • Release Date: July 22, 2011 (Phase 1)
  • Director: Joe Johnston; Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Premise: To defeat Axis threats during World War II, the U.S. military commissions the creation of super-soldiers - selecting Steve Rogers, a heroic man with a frail body, to undergo the experimental procedure. Following a successful transformation, Rogers becomes Captain America - a symbol of hope to Allied troops. Setting the bar for future superheroes, Captain America, aided by friends and allies, hunts fringe Nazi scientist, Red Skull, to secure a dangerous piece of mysterious technology: The Tesseract.

Major Shared Universe Events: The introduction of Steve Rogers (and Captain America), the Tesseract, Howard Stark, James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes, the Howling Commandoes, Dr. Arnim Zola, and Peggy Carter - as well as the disappearance of Rogers in the 1940s. Decades later, Rogers is found and reawakened in the present.

Post-Credits Scene: Nick Fury recruits recently thawed Steve Rogers for The Avengers Initiative.

28 Agent Carter

Captain America: The First Avenger - 10 Things You Need to Know about Agent Carter

Agent Carter Chronological Viewing Order: #2

  • Premiere Date: January 6, 2015 (Phase 2)
  • Showrunners: Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas, and Chris Dingess

Premise: After her part in thwarting Red Skull and the larger Axis threat, Peggy Carter is relegated to a desk job at the Strategic Scientific Reserve - where only male agents are allowed to engage in field work. Unsatisfied with her contributions to the greater good, Peggy begins to moonlight as an Agent - living a double-life of clerical work and unsanctioned missions. In the process, Peggy reconnects with her former cohort, Howard Stark - who, following his work in Captain America: The First Avenger, is now wanted by the S.S.R. - and in dire need of Peggy's assistance.

Major Shared Universe Events: Continues Peggy Carter and Howard Stark's role in the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. and introduces Edwin Jarvis. The Howling Commandoes also return - and the Red Room Academy debuts (a precursor to the Black Widow training program).

Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter (an Iron Man 3 home media special feature). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and during the Agent Carter TV series.

27 Iron Man

Iron Man Chronological Viewing Order: #3

  • Release Date: May 2, 2008 (Phase 1)
  • Director: Jon Favreau; Writer: Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway

Premise: After genius, billionaire, playboy Tony Stark is kidnapped and held captive by the Ten Rings terrorist group, Stark (with the aid of a fellow captive) builds a suit of armor to orchestrate an escape. Stark defeats his captors and returns to America - where he vows to protect others with the help of his Iron Man suit. However, Stark's reformed outlook on war profiteering doesn't sit well with his second-in-command, Obadiah Stane, who attempts a hostile takeover of Stark Industries by building his own armored suit: Iron Monger

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduces Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, J.A.R.V.I.S. (Stark's A.I. assistant), Happy Hogan, Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Agent Phil Coulson, the Ten Rings terrorist organization, and was - based on release date - the first appearance of Nick Fury (as well as the Avengers Initiative).

Post-Credits Scene: Tony Stark returns home to find Nick Fury waiting for him. After informing Stark that Iron Man is not the only superhero in the world, Fury suggests they discuss the Avengers Initiative.

26 Iron Man 2

Decisions Ruined Movies Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2 Chronological Viewing Order: #4

NOTE: Certain events from The Incredible HulkIron Man 2, and Thor occur concurrently.

  • Release Date: May 7, 2010 (Phase 1)
  • Director: Jon Favreau; Writer: Justin Theroux

Premise: Now an international celebrity and superhero-do-gooder, Tony Stark has become a target for both the U.S. military and malevolent baddies who want to repurpose his technology - including rival engineer Ivan Vanko (Whiplash). Facing conflict on all sides, Stark must prove that he's capable of shouldering the pressure and responsibilities of the Iron Man mantle.

Major Shared Universe Events: Continues the story of Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, and James "Rhodey" Rhodes. Introduces Black Widow, United States Senator Stern, the elder version of Howard Stark (John Slattery) and Justin Hammer.

Post-Credits Scene: Agent Coulson reports back after finding Thor's hammer in New Mexico.

Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer (a Captain America: The First Avenger home media special feature). MCU Continuity: Set before the events of Thor.

25 Thor

Thor Chronological Viewing Order:#5

NOTE: Certain events from The Incredible HulkIron Man 2, and Thor occur concurrently.

  • Release Date: May 6, 2011 (Phase 1)
  • Director: Kenneth Branagh; Writers: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, and Don Payne

Premise: Despite years serving as a valiant warrior, Thor has become an arrogant leader. Thor's hot temper and reckless actions for his father, King Odin, to strip the Asgardian hero of his powers and trusty hammer, Mjölnir, before banishing his son to Earth. Humbled by his experience, and the relationships he forms with humans in a small New Mexico town, Thor sets out to recover his powers. In his absence, an old foe resurfaces - a foe that could destroy both Asgard and Earth.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduces several shared universe staples, including Thor, Jane Foster, Loki, Hawkeye, Dr. Erik Selvig, Odin, Frigga, Heimdall, Lady Sif, the Warriors Three (Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral), the Infinity Gauntlet, the nine realms, and the Bifröst.

Post-Credits Scene: Nick Fury tours Dr. Selvig through a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility where the Tesseract has been stored. Loki is shown in shadow, with mind-control over Selvig - who agrees to study the cube.

24 The Incredible Hulk

edward norton incredible hulk superhero actors never sequel

The Incredible Hulk Chronological Viewing Order: #6

NOTE: Certain events from The Incredible HulkIron Man 2, and Thor occur concurrently.

  • Release Date: June 13, 2008 (Phase 1)
  • Director: Louis Leterrier; Writer: Zak Penn

Premise: Following the playbook that lead Captain America's creation, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross hopes to usher in a modern-day super soldier program with the help of scientist Dr. Bruce Banner. When the experiment goes awry and Banner is exposed to gamma radiation, he transforms into the Hulk (whenever his heart rate becomes elevated). Despite dangerous side effects, Ross still hopes to use the Hulk as a military asset but Banner flees - attempting to buy time in order to cure his condition.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of Bruce Banner and The Hulk as well as General Thunderbolt Ross, Emil Blonsky (Abomination), Betty Ross and Samuel Sterns (Leader) - plus the destruction of Harlem.

Post-Credits Scene: Tony Stark finds General Ross at a local bar and informs him of The Avengers Initiative.

Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant (a Thor home media special feature). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2.

23 Marvel's The Avengers

The Avengers Movie 2012 Phase 1

Marvel's The Avengers Chronological Viewing Order: #7

  • Release Date: May 4, 2012 (Phase 1)
  • Director: Joss Whedon; Writer: Joss Whedon

Premise: After S.H.I.E.L.D. experiments with the Tesseract to open a portal in space-time, Loki returns to Earth for revenge against his brother - and to enslave the people of Earth on behalf of an alien race (commanded by the Other and Thanos, the Mad Titan). To combat the threat, Nick Fury assembles the Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. However, in spite of good intentions, The Avengers struggle to work together - will they be Earth's mightiest heroes or Earth's greatest liability?

Major Shared Universe Events: Continues the story of Iron Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nicky Fury and Loki, as well as introduces Thanos and Maria Hill. The Battle of New York sets the stage for Phase 2, along with Thanos' plan to procure the Infinity Stones.

Mid-Credits Scene: The Other reports Loki's failure to Thanos; Post-Credits Scene: After the Battle of New York, The Avengers eat shawarma together.

Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 (a Marvel's The Avengers home media special feature). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of The Avengers.

22 Iron Man 3

Superhero Movie Mistakes Iron Man 3 Distance

Iron Man 3 Chronological Viewing Order: #8

  • Release Date: May 3, 2013 (Phase 2)
  • Director: Shane Black; Writers: Drew Pearce and Shane Black

Premise: Six months after the Battle of New York, Tony Stark struggles with post-traumatic stress - throwing himself (obsessively) into building upgraded Iron Man suits capable of protecting himself and the ones he loves from potential threats. Nevertheless, when the Mandarin, leader of the Ten Rings terrorist organization targets Stark, the hero must return to his Iron Man roots - proving that he's just as capable outside of his armor - in order to save the day.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of the Mandarin (sort of), Aldrich Killian, Advanced Idea Mechanics, and the Extremis virus. War Machine is rebranded Iron Patriot, and Tony Stark has the arc-reactor removed from his chest.

Post-Credits Scene: Tony Stark confides his story and feelings with Dr. Bruce Banner - who nods off during the retelling.

Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King (a Thor: The Dark World home media special feature). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of Iron Man 3.

21 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of Shield Poster

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Chronological Viewing Order: #8 (Ongoing)

  • Premiere Date: September 24, 2013 (Phase 2)
  • Showrunners: Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Jeffrey Bell

Premise: After his death in The Avengers, Agent Coulson is brought back to life by Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. - who puts Coulson back into the field as the leader of a team of top-tier agents: Skye, Melinda Day, Leo Fitz, and Jemma Simmons, among others. Fury entrusts Coulson's squad with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest secrets and, subsequently, most dangerous missions: hunting double agents and rogue Hydra operatives, as well as investigating potential threats to the world's safety - human, inhuman, and extraterrestrial, alike.

Major Shared Universe Events: The return of Agent Coulson and inclusion of several notable Marvel characters (Deathlok, Mister Hyde, Lash, and Quake, to name a few). In addition, the series also revisits key events in Captain America 2 from the perspective of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and has facilitated the introduction of The Inhuman superhumans. In addition, several Marvel movie characters cameo on the show, including Lady Sif, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury.

20 Thor: The Dark World

Loki Thor The Dark World

Thor: The Dark World Chronological Viewing Order: #9

  • Release Date: November 8, 2013 (Phase 2)
  • Director: Alan Taylor; Writers: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely

Premise: After his failed invasion of Earth, Loki is locked away in an Asgardian jail cell. Meanwhile, Thor has become a noble leader to his people - until an ancient threat resurfaces in the realms. Armed with a dangerous power, known as the Aether, Malekith leads the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim against the Asgardians - taking vengeance on Odin and Frigga in retaliation for defeat eons prior. Unable to defeat the Dark Elves on his own, Thor must unite Earth friends with Asgardian warriors in a join effort to prevent Malekith from destroying the universe.

Major Shared Universe Events: Loki assumes Odin's identity, ruling over Asgard, Thor decides to stay on Earth with Jane, and the Aether is delivered to the Collector. Cross-over with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 8.

Mid-Credits Scene: Volstagg and Sif deliver the Aether to the Collector (who may or may not be working for Thanos); Post-Credits Scene: Thor returns to Earth to be with Jane. In London, a Jotunheim frost beast remains at large.

19 Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America 3 Winter Soldier Ant-Man Credits

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Chronological Viewing Order: #10

  • Release Date: April 4, 2014 (Phase 2)
  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo; Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Premise: Captain America has become a revered leader in S.H.I.E.L.D. and, together with Black Widow, has an enviable record of successful missions. Yet, when Nick Fury is attacked by an unknown squad of assailants, Steve Rogers realizes that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by Hydra agents at all levels. To take back his own organization, Captain America and Black Widow investigate S.H.I.E.L.D.'s past in order to root out Hydra agents - with the deadly assassin, known at the Winter Soldier, hot on their tales.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduces Falcon, Brock Rumlow, and Sharon Carter, as well as re-introduces The Winter Soldier. Even though valiant agents succeed in defeating Hydra, S.H.I.E.L.D. is left in disarray - and Nick Fury goes into hiding. Captain America and Falcon pursue the Winter Soldier, and Black Widow is left to defend S.H.I.E.L.D. and superheroes before a senate committee. Cross-over with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 16.

Mid-Credits Scene: Baron Wolfgang von Strucker tours a Hydra lab where two prisoners Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are being held; Post-Credits Scene: The Winter Soldier visits a WWII memorial where he sees proof that Bucky was a hero.

18 Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy full team

Guardians of the Galaxy Chronological Viewing Order: #11

  • Release Date: August 1, 2014 (Phase 2)
  • Director: James Gunn; Writers: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman

Premise: Peter Quill is abducted by a group of space pirates in 1988. Years later, Quill has taken work as a galactic bounty hunter, under the name Star-Lord. His latest payday sends Quill to a desolate planet in search of a valuable orb - only to have the bounty slip through his fingers when he is confronted by rival hunters. Subsequently locked away in a Nova Corps space prison, Quill teams with his former rivals to escape the facility. When the band of outlaws, dubbed the Guardians of the Galaxy, discover the true nature of the orb, Quill and his comrades embark on a mission to reacquire the artifact before it can fall into the hands of a power-hungry Kree warrior, Ronan the Accuser.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduces Quill, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer, Yondu Udonta, and Nova Prime, as well as the daughters of Thanos: Gamora and Nebula. The Collector returns - revealing the orb to be one of the Infinity Stones (like the Aether, Tesseract, etc).

Post-Credits Scene: The Collector sits in the ruins of his collection on Nowhere - with only Cosmo the Spacedog and Howard the Duck left as company.

17 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Baby Groot Waving

Guardians of the Galaxy Chronological Viewing Order: #12

  • Release Date: May 5, 2017 (Phase 3)
  • Director: James Gunn; Writer: James Gunn

Premise: Six months after Ronan the Accuser was defeated, the Guardians of the Galaxy have become a go-to team for tackling outer space threats - and stirring up trouble. With a reputation that precedes them, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Baby Groot, are hired by an extraterrestrial race called the Sovereign - to acquire a mysterious piece of alien tech. However, when Rocket double-crosses the Sovereign and claims their prize for his own, the groups former employers seek to destroy the Guardians of the Galaxy - sending the team on a collision course with new allies, old enemies, and one man with a complicated connection to Star Lord.

Major Shared Universe Events: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 introduces the Sovereign into the MCU along with Ego The Living Planet - who attacks Earth (though, in terms of chronology, this event is not referenced in other MCU films). Captured by the Sovereign, Nebula is reunited with Gamora - and the pair manage to work out their differences, bonding over their shared abuse at the hands of their father Thanos. Groot grows from the twig seen at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy into a baby-sized version (then a teenage sized version). Nebula sets out to find (and kill) Thanos.

Post-Credits Scene: A mid-credits teaser shows Yondu's right hand man, Kraglin, learning to use the fin arrow. Another mid-credits teaser shows the "original" Guardians (lead by Sylvester Stallone as Starhawk) reunite - teasing the potential for future cameos by the crew. In the post-credits scene, the Sovereign (angered by their defeat by the Guardians) plot to unleash their ultimate "evolution" - Adam. Fans will recognize the name, and the alien birthing pod, as the origin of future MCU hero Adam Warlock. Read: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Post-Credits Scenes

16 Avengers: Age of Ultron

Iron Man Ultron Cap

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Chronological Viewing Order: #13

  • Release Date: May 1, 2015 (Phase 2)
  • Director: Joss Whedon; Writer: Joss Whedon

Premise: In the aftermath of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers police the world - tracking remnants of Hydra throughout the globe. When the team discovers an alien technology, Tony Stark decides that extraterrestrial A.I. could be the answer to protecting Earth from future threats but, in his experiments, inadvertently creates a malevolent A.I. instead, Ultron. As the heroes squabble over how to proceed, Ultron teams-up with a pair of super-powered orphans, Scarlet With and Quicksilver, to eradicate The Avengers - and wipe out humanity.

Major Shared Universe Events: Cross-over with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, episode 20. Introduces a new team of Avengers (including Scarlet Witch, and The Vision), as the prior line-up goes their separate ways. Stark and Rogers remain friends, but disagree about how to protect the world. The death of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker paves the way for a new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. villain.

Mid-Credits Scene: Tired of henchmen failures, Thanos decides to take matters into his own hands - and dons the Infinity Gauntlet (minus the Stones).

15 Ant-Man

Ant-Man Sequel confirmed

Ant-Man Chronological Viewing Order: #14

  • Release Date: July 17, 2015 (Phase 2)
  • Director: Peyton Reed; Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, and Paul Rudd

Premise: Reformed thief Scott Lang is released from prison but, unable to find reputable work, returns to his thieving ways. For his latest job, Lang steals a high-tech suit - only to find out that he had been hired by the suit's creator, genius inventor Hank Pym, as a test. Pym, along with his daughter Hope van Dyne, teach Lang to use the "Ant-Man" suit's size-shifting capability to steal a dangerous weapon created by Pym's former protégé Darren Cross - before Cross can sell the technology to Hydra operatives.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduces of Pym, Lang, and Hope Van Dyne, as well as Pym particles and the Quantum Realm. Hydra appears, as does Falcon (guarding a secured Avengers facility). We also meet the Cold War era S.H.I.E.L.D., led by Peggy Carter.

Post-Credits Scene: Captain America and Falcon track The Winter Soldier - who is trapped in a machine press. Rogers dismisses the suggestion of notifying Tony Stark and, instead, Falcon suggest the pair call Ant-Man.

14 Captain America: Civil War

Captain America Civil War - Cap vs Iron Man promo art

Captain America: Civil War Chronological Viewing Order: #15

  • Release Date: May 6, 2016 (Phase 3)
  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo; Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Premise: When civilians are caught in the crossfire during a battle between super-powered villains and heroes, the U.S. government institutes the Superhuman Registration Act - requiring that any super powered being officially register their abilities. The Act divides The Avengers, with Iron Man believing that registration is the only way to hold superhumans accountable (and protect innocent non-powered people). Conversely, Captain America believes the Act oversteps an individuals right to privacy - and could be used as a means to unfairly target superhumans. As the two heroes collide, backed by their own super-powered supporters, a new threat arrises - threatening the lives of humans and superhumans alike.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Helmut Zemo into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The return of  General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross and The Winter Soldier.

Mid-Credits Scene: Black Panther offers Captain America and Bucky Barnes refuge in Wakanda. Barnes elects to re-enter cryosleep until The Avengers can be sure he is free of residual brainwashing.

Post-Credits Scene: Following his exploits with Team Iron Man, Peter Parker returns home to Queens - and discovers that Tony Stark has installed a Stark Industries comm device into his web-shooters.

13 Doctor Strange

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange Chronological Viewing Order: #16

  • Release Date: November 4, 2016 (Phase 3)
  • Director: Scott Derrickson; Writer: Jon Spaihts

Premise: Doctor Stephen Strange, the world's preeminent (and egotistical) neurosurgeon, is injured in a car accident - crippling his hands. Unable to continue work as a surgeon, Strange depletes his fortune (and notoriety) in search of experimental medical procedures that could restore his injuries. Broke and disgraced, Strange is on the verge of giving up - until a chance encounter sends him to the Himalayas, where an Ancient order opens his mind, trains him in the mystic arts, and sets him on a collision course with an inter-dimensional threat.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of Doctor Strange, Baron Mordo, Dormammu, mystic powers (as well as alternate dimensions), and the Eye of Agamotto - revealed to be an Infinity Stone. The Avengers are name-dropped and a military officer (injured wearing an experimental suit of armor) is mentioned as a prospective patient for Strange - a nod to the unnamed character from Iron Man 2 with a similar injury or, more likely, Rhodey post-Civil War (since the Avengers Tower can be seen from Strange's apartment window prior to his car accident).

Doctor Strange Mid-Credits Scene: In a tease for Thor: Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, now established as the protector of the New York City Sanctum Sanctorum meets with Thor - chastising the God of Thunder for the problems that Loki has caused on Earth. Strange agrees to aid Thor in finding his brother - under the condition that they'll both return to Asgard.

Doctor Strange Post-Credits SceneHorrified by The Ancient One's use of the Dark Dimension, Mordo sets out on a quest to purge the Earth of what Mordo perceives to be Sorcerers who have abused their power. In the post-credits scene, we see Mordo put his new belief into action: cornering Jonathan Pangborn (the former Kamar-Taj student) and draining energy that Pangborn uses to control his paralysis. It's a small moment but sets the stage for Mordo, fueled by radical beliefs, to become a future antagonist for Strange.

12 Black Panther

Black Panther Viewing Order: #17

  • Release Date: February 16, 2018 (Phase 3)
  • Director: Ryan Coogler; Writers: Joe Robert Cole and Ryan Coogler

Premise: After the events of the death of his father T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War, T'Challa returns to his reclusive home nation of Wakanda to be anointed its new king. Though he faces a challenge from tribal leader M'Baku, he ultimately succeeds in taking the throne. Shortly afterwards, however, exiled Wakandan Erik Killmonger returns with the body of terrorist Ulysses Klaue and demands the rights to challenge T'Challa in combat. He succeeds and ascends to the throne, quickly enacting a plan to spread Wakandan weapons to marginalized people across the world. T'Challa and his allies are able to best Killmonger and his forces in the end, steering Wakanda back towards a path of peace but with anew focus on helping the world.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), M'Baku (Winston Duke), and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) into the MCU. Additionally, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Zuri (Forest Whitaker) are introduced and killed, and the death of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) also occurs. Black Panther also reveals the technologically advanced nation of Wakanda to the world.

Black Panther's Mid-Credits Scene: T'Challa speaks before the United Nations and reveals Wakanda to the world, stating the nation will help better all peoples.

Black Panther's Post-Credits Scenes: Bucky is revealed to be free of Hydra's programming thanks to Shuri and is being called "White Wolf" by the children of Wakanda. Read more in Black Panther's Post-Credits Scenes Explained.

11 Spider-Man: Homecoming

Tom Holland in Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming Viewing Order: #18

  • Release Date: July 7, 2017 (Phase 3)
  • Director: Jon Watts; Writers: John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein

Premise: After aiding Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker returns home to Queens - and resumes "normal" life as a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. While Peter (anxiously) waits for Stark to make him a permanent member of the Avengers, the web-slinging hero begins investigating a mysterious weapons dealer - who has been selling repurposed Chitauri tech to local thugs. Peter attempts to warn Stark of the dealer, known as The Vulture, and the growing threat he poses to New York City; however, Stark is too busy cleaning up the pieces from Civil War to take Peter seriously. Despite warnings from Stark, Peter decides The Vulture might be just the break he needs to prove himself to The Avengers.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of The Vulture (Adrian Toomes), Shocker, and Scorpion, as well as "Michelle" and Flash Thompson into the MCU. Additionally, Homecoming deals with the aftermath of The Avengers' Battle for New York as well as the events of Civil War, told from Peter's perspective - and includes vintage motivational tapes that feature Captain America.

Post-Credits Scenes: Scorpion meets Adrian Toomes in prison and demands to know the identify of Spider-Man. Toomes chooses to protect Peter's identity. In a post-credits teaser, Captain America returns (via Motivational VHS tape) explaining the importance of patience (a funny gag, given that audiences just sat through the credits, with little bearing on the MCU story). Read: Spider-Man: Homecoming Post-Credits Scene.

10 Inhumans

Marvel Inhumans main cast

Inhumans Viewing Order: #19

  • Premier Date: September 1, 2017 (IMAX) and September 29, 2017 (Broadcast on ABC)
  • Showrunners: Scott Buck

Premise: While the events of the MCU (especially Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have played out on Earth, the Inhuman Royal Family have lived, in secret, on the moon. However, as discovery by the human race draws close, a coupe threatens to rip the kingdom of Attilan apart. Despite years of peaceful and prosperous leadership, the Royal Family is torn apart when Attilan's king, Black Bolt is betrayed by his own brother - Maximus. Angry that Inhumans have resolved to a secluded life, within the confines of a lunar biosphere, while humanity enjoys life on Earth, Maximus stages a coup - forcing Black Bolt and his supporters (wife Medusa, sister-in-law Crystal, as well as advisers Karnak and Gorgon) to flee the kingdom and take refuge amongst humankind on the planet below.

Major Shared Universe Events: None

9 Runaways

  • Premier Date: September 1, 2017 (IMAX) and September 29, 2017 (Broadcast on ABC)
  • Showrunners: Scott Buck

Premise: Until two years ago, Karolina Dean, Alex Wilder, Mollie Hayes, Gert Yorkes, Chase Stein, and Nico Minoru were inseparable. The tragic suicide of Nico's sister Amy fractured their friendship, but they gather together again on the anniversary of Amy's death. The teenagers stumble upon a horrific secret, learning that their parents are members of a secret society who have been conducting human sacrifices for 15 years.

Major Shared Universe Events: None

8 Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok Viewing Order: #21

  • Release Date: November 3, 2017 (Phase 3)
  • Director: Taika Waititi; Writers: Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost

Premise: After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor journeys across the realms in search of Infinity Stones and, along the way, discovers that Asgard is doomed to fall at the hands of Surtur in a cataclysmic event known as Ragnarok. In an effort to save his homeland, Thor seeks out his father - only to discover that Loki, who had faked his own death in Thor: The Dark World, was pretending to be Odin.When the brothers reunite with Odin, he is near death - and before passing, the Allfather warns them of an imminent threat: Hela, the goddess of death who was coming to claim Asgard for herself. Hela arrives moments later and maroons Thor and Loki on the remote world Sakaar  - a junk planet ruled by the wacky but ruthless Grandmaster. Anxious to make it back to Asgard to help his people in their fight against Hela, the God of Thunder must first navigate Sakaar's local threats: a stranded Avenger, a former Asgardian warrior, and (as usual) the aims of his own trickster brother.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of Hela (Cate Blanchett) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) into the MCU. Thor: Ragnarok also sees the destruction of Asgard, the passing of Odin, and the deaths of Thor's "Warrior Three" (Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg). Additionally, the film reveals what happened to the Incredible Hulk and his Quinjet following Age of Ultron - preparing the Hulk (and Bruce Banner) for their return to Earth in Infinity War. Thor takes the Throne of Asgard - which is now housed, along with his people, on a spaceship bound for Earth.

Thor: Ragnarok Mid-Credits Scene: Thor's spaceship, carrying him and the Asgardian survivors, is intercepted by a large alien vessel - presumed to be Thanos in the lead-up to Infinity War.

Thor: Ragnarok Post-Credits Scenes: Back on Sakaar, the Grandmaster is revealed to have survived his people's uprising. Read a full description of Thor: Ragnarok's Mid and Post-Credits Scenes.

7 Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War Viewing Order: #22

  • Release Date: April 27, 2018 (Phase 3)
  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo; Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Premise: Thanos, last survivor of Titan, believes that a time will come when the universe's population exceeds its resources. In order to prevent the end of all life, he believes he must use the unlimited power of the Infinity Gauntlet to erase half the life in the universe. To achieve this goal, he must first obtain all six of the Infinity Stones, no matter the personal cost to himself. This course of action will bring Thanos and his Black Order into head-on collision with both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Should Thanos gain possession of all six Infinity Stones, he will be able to achieve his insane goal with just a snap of his fingers.

Major Shared Universe Events: Introduction of the Black Order (Cull Obsidian, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive). Avengers: Infinity War sees the deaths of Loki, Gamora, and Vision at Thanos's hands. Half the surviving Asgardians are slaughtered, and the inhabitants of Knowhere are killed. The film closes with Thanos achieving his goal, erasing half the life in the universe, including Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, and Winter Soldier.

Avengers: Infinity War Post-Credits Scenes: Nick Fury sends out a call for help to Captain Marvel before he too crumbles to dust. Read a full description of Avengers: Infinity War's post-credits scene.

6 Marvel Studios In-Development Films

Captain Marvel Movie Updates

This section will be updated as announcements are made by Marvel Studios. In the meantime, we've collected any official details that are currently available. Click on any title below to reach our news archive - where we've gathered the latest unofficial rumors and details for each film.

Chronological Viewing Order: TBD

Ant-Man and the Wasp

  • Release Date: July 6, 2018
  • Director: Peyton Reed; Writers: Andrew Barrer, Gabriel Ferrari, and Paul Rudd

Captain Marvel

  • Release Date: March 8, 2019
  • Directors: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; Writers: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Nicole Perlman, and Meg LeFauve

Avengers 4

  • Release Date: May 3, 2019
  • Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo; Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming Sequel

  • Release Date: July 5, 2019
  • Director: Jon Watts

5 In-Development Marvel Phase 3 Projects

Marvel's Cloak and Dagger

  • Premise: Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tyrone "Ty" Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger) are forcibly injected with an experimental street drug in New York City - leading to the development of superpowers that allow them to fight crime as Cloak and Dagger, respectively.
  • Release Date: June 7, 2018
  • Showrunner: Joe Pokaski

Untitled Phase 3 Marvel Universe Movie #1

  • Release Date: July 12, 2019

Untitled Phase 3 Marvel Universe Movie #2

  • Release Date: May 1, 2020

Untitled Phase 3 Marvel Universe Movie #3

  • Release Date: July 10, 2020

Untitled Phase 3 Marvel Universe Movie #4

  • Release Date: November 6, 2020

4 Netflix TV Series

Daredevil Season 2 Red Suit

While the Netflix TV series technically exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (since the Battle of New York is referenced in Daredevil season 1), the shows have yet to impact the film universe - with only minor hints at a connection to existence within The Avengers storyline. Time will tell whether or not Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or Iron Fist appear in a Marvel Studios film; as a result, we've included them in our guide but did not weave them into the Phase 1 - 3 chronology.

Should the series become integral to the larger MCU, we'll integrate the Netflix shows into the full guide.

3 Bonus: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. MCU Chronology

Hydra logo breaking through - 10 Things You Need to Know about Agents of SHIELD before Season 3

In the interest of helping viewers who want a clearer chronology of where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. intersects with the movie storyline, we've put together a step-by-step viewing guide below. Keep in mind, despite references to the larger MCU, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. only directly interweaves with the films at a select few points. That means that the viewing guide should provide a relatively seamless breakdown - but isn't going episode-by-episode (since few Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes actually make timely reference to MCU events).

Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie and TV Chronology:

Captain America: The First Avenger

Agent Carter (Season 1 & 2)

Iron Man

The Incredible Hulk

Iron Man 2


Marvel's The Avengers

Iron Man 3

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 1, Episodes 1 - 7)

Thor: The Dark World

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 1, Episodes 8 - 15)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 1, Episodes 16 - 22)

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 2, Episodes 1 - 19)

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 2, Episodes 20 - 22)


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3, Episodes 1 - 19)

Captain America: Civil War

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3, Episodes 20 - Season 4, Episode 4)

Doctor Strange

Black Panther

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 4, Episodes 4 - 22)

Inhumans (Season 1)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 5, Episodes 1 - 10)

Thor: Ragnarok

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 5, Episodes 11 - 22)

Avengers: Infinity War

From Civil War onwards, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has rarely referenced MCU events - and the movies almost never reference the show. The exception is the last four episodes of Season 5, which happen at the same time as Avengers: Infinity War. Season 5 appears to end before the cliffhanger ending of Infinity War, however.

2 Bonus: Stan Lee Cameos

Stan Lee Cameos Marvel Movies

Second to post-credits scenes, cameos from famed Marvel comic book writer Stan Lee deliver fan-service to knowing superhero viewers. Since the creation of Marvel's shared cinematic universe, Lee has appeared in nearly every single movie - in addition to non-Marvel films at other studios. While Lee has appeared in Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Spider-Man films, as well as Big Hero 6 and other Marvel comic adaptations in various mediums, we've limited our list to MCU movies and TV series only.

Here are all of Stan Lee's MCU cameos (so far):

  • Iron Man: Stark Industries party attendee that Tony Stark mistakes for Hugh Hefner.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Pingo Doce soda drinker that gets gamma sickness.
  • Iron Man 2: Stark Expo attendee that Tony Stark mistakes for Larry King.
  • Thor: New Mexico resident who attempts to remove Thor's hammer with a pick-up truck.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: World War II general who mistakes another soldier for Captain America.
  • Marvel's The Avengers: Chess playing New Yorker who is interviewed after the Battle of New York.
  • Iron Man 3: Excited Chattanooga beauty pageant judge.
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Concerned train passenger who reprimands Agent Coulson.
  • Thor: The Dark World: Mental patient who loans Dr. Erik Selvig his shoes for a demonstration.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Soon to be fired security guard at the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Xandar resident that Rocket Raccoon calls a "Class A pervert."
  • Agent Carter: Shoe shine stand customer who asks Howard Stark for the sports section.
  • The Avengers: Age of Ultron: Intoxicated military veteran at the Avengers' victory party.
  • Bonus: Daredevil (Netflix TV Series): Retired Police Officer (in a framed picture on the precinct wall). The same photo is shown in Daredevil season 2 and Jessica Jones season 1.
  • Ant-Man: Bartender in Luis' final speedy breakdown of events.
  • Captain America: Civil War: FedEx deliver guy who calls Tony Stark "Tony Stank"
  • Bonus: Luke Cage (Netflix TV Series): Photograph of police officer on a poster.
  • Doctor Strange: A man reading (and laughing) on a bus during the Mirror Dimension fight.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: An astronaut in space talking to Marvel Comics characters The Watchers.
  • Bonus: Iron Fist (Netflix TV Series): Police officer poster on wall.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming: Annoyed New York City resident who calls Spider-Man a "punk" from his window.
  • Thor: Ragnarok: Sakaar barber who cuts Thor's hair.
  • Runaways (Hulu Series): A limo driver.
  • Black Panther: Gambler in a casino in South Korea.
  • Bonus: Jessica Jones season 2 (Netflix TV Series): Face is shown on a bus ad.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: A school bus driver who is unimpressed by an alien spaceship.

1 Bonus: Marvel One-Shots

Item 47 Poster Avengers Marvel One Shot

In case you can't watch the Marvel One-Shots yourself, here's a quick rundown of each short film!

The Consultant

  • Release Date: September 13, 2011 (as a Thor home media special feature). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2.

Premise: Thinking Bruce Banner/the Hulk is responsible for the destruction of Harlem, S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to enlist Emil Blonsky/Abomination for The Avengers Initiative; however, knowing that Banner was the hero, Nick Fury undermines his superiors and sends in Tony Stark to botch Blonsky's release.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer

  • Release Date: October 25, 2011 (as a Captain America: The First Avenger home media special feature). MCU Continuity: Set before the events of Thor.

Premise: On the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to supervise S.H.I.E.L.D.'s discovery of Thor's hammer, Agent Coulson stops at a gas station - as the attendant is being held-up by robbers.

Item 47

  • Release Date: September 25, 2012 (as part of Marvel's The Avengers home media special features). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of The Avengers.

Premise: In the aftermath of the Battle of New York, a pair of criminals discover Chitauri weaponry and use the advanced alien tech to rob banks - until S.H.I.E.L.D. steps in.

Agent Carter

  • Release Date: September 3, 2013 (as part of the Iron Man 3 home media special features). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and during the Agent Carter TV series.

Premise: Following her part in saving the world from Red Skull, Peggy Carter is stuck working a desk job at the Strategic Scientific Reserve. Tired of unchecked sexism at the S.S.R., Carter chooses to take matters into her own hands - setting her on the trail of a mysterious technology: the Zodiac.

All Hail the King

  • Release Date: February 4, 2014 (as part of the Thor: The Dark World home media special features). MCU Continuity: Set after the events of Iron Man 3.

Premise: After a controversial portrayal of the Mandarin, and subsequent incarceration, Trevor Slattery is living the high life in prison - until the actor discovers that his depiction of the Ten Rings leader has upset the real Mandarin.


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