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Minions & Despicable Me: How (and where) watch Gru and the Minions' adventures

Here’s how to watch every adventure on which Gru and the Minions have embarked.

Gru overlooks a crowd of Minions in the Despicable Me series.
Image credit: Illumination Entertainment

No matter where on Earth you look, you can find Despicable Me’s distinctive yellow Minions! These diminutive creatures appear on merchandise, in memes and even in the opening titles of the second-highest grossing movie of 2023, The Super Mario Bros Movie, which is also from Despicable Me’s studio, Illumination Entertainment. Speaking of the box office, Despicable Me is the highest-grossing animated film franchise ever, so when you watch the Minion mayhem, you know that you’re in good company.

But just where can you turn if you’re trying to watch all the Despicable Me movies and shorts in either release order or chronological order? You don’t have to recruit Minions yourself to find the answer. Here’s how (and where) to watch the entirety of the Despicable Me franchise.

How to watch Despicable Me and the Minions movies in release order

Gru and his adopted kids plus some Minions
Image credit: Illumination Entertainment

So far, the Despicable Me series includes five movies and 16 short films (with one movie and one short confirmed to be forthcoming). Some of the shorts have been included on home video releases for the Despicable Me movies, while others have been included on home video and theatrical releases for other movies from Illumination. Furthermore, a complication of several Minions shorts was released as the Minions Holiday Special, which aired on NBC in November 2020.

Here’s how to watch Despicable Me/Minions in release order:

In addition to the movies and shorts that have already been released, Despicable Me fans can look forward to a confirmed forthcoming movie. Despicable Me 4 is scheduled for release in July 2024. Meanwhile, the most recent short, 'Mooned,' was released in theaters alongside the animated feature Migration on December 22, 2023.

Finally, 10 of the shorts have been compiled on the Illumination Presents: 10 Minion Mini-Movies. These are 'Home Makeover,' 'Banana,' 'Orientation Day,' 'Competition,' 'Panic in the Mailroom,' 'Cro-Minion,' 'Secret Life of Kyle,' 'Mower Minions,' 'Training Wheels,' and 'Puppy.'

How to watch Despicable Me in chronological order:

Despicable Me 2 banner featuring the Minions
Image credit: Illumination Entertainment

Here’s how to watch the movies and shorts in the Despicable Me series in chronological order:

Don't forget, you can also watch the shorts 'Home Makeover,' 'Banana,' 'Orientation Day,' 'Competition,' 'Panic in the Mailroom,' 'Cro-Minion,' 'Secret Life of Kyle,' 'Mower Minions,' 'Training Wheels' and 'Puppy' on the Illumination Presents: 10 Minion Mini-Movies collection.

Who stars in the Despicable Me franchise?

Gru stands on a platform with his three adopted kids while some Minions crawl around
Image credit: Illumination Entertainment

The main star of the Despicable Me franchise is Steve Carell. The star of NBC’s beloved modern-classic sitcom The Office, Carrell voices supervillain-cum-adoptive patriarch Felonious Gru. Carrell voices Gru in all six Despicable Me movies, as well as in the associated theme park ride. According to Despicable Me producer and Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri, Carell’s voice for the character is partway between the voices of legendary screengr actors Ricardo Montalbán and Bela Lugosi.

Together with his co-conspirator Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand), Gru is initially a stereotypical supervillain. However, that changes when he becomes a father. In Despicable Me, Gru adopts three girls: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher in Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2; Nev Scharrel in Despicable Me 3). Meanwhile, Kristin Wiig voices Hattie in Despicable Me and Lucy Wilde in Despicable Me 2 and Despicable Me 3.

Additional cast across the franchise include heavy hitters like Will Arnett, Julie Andrews, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong, Jon Hamm, Sandra Bullock, Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Jenny Slate, Michelle Yeoh, Lucy Lawless, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundren, Alan Arkin and Danny Trejo.

What makes the Minions so popular?

Two Minions laughing
Image credit: Illumination Entertainment

What is it that has given the Minions the ability to rise so quickly in our cultural consciousness? In the original Despicable Me, the yellow creatures were voiced by Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud and Jemaine Clement. However, only Renaud and Coffin voiced them in Despicable Me 2. Since then, all the Minions have been voiced by Coffin.

As revealed in Minions, the Minions have exisited since the beginning of life on Earth. While they may engage in cartoonish antics, they possess real engineering acumen, and have designed and built many fantastic creations. Compelled to seek out villains to serve, without a master, the Minions grow restless. In Despicable Me 3, they even seem to unionize. While the Minions can be percieved as an indivisible crowd, there are many individuals, with Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Jerry being just a few of the Minions named over the course of the franchise. One minion, Mel, even possesses a name and hairstyle reminicent of Despicable Me producer and Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri.

The Minions speak in a distinctive fictional language known as Minionese. Minionese is based on language elements from English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. While it is founded on real languages, Minionese largely comes across as gibberish. In spite of this, different lines are recorded in Minionese for every country in which a dubbed version of the movies are released. This allows audiences around the world to find Minionese marginally comprehensible(but entirely endearing).

Between their comedic hijinks and distinctive aesthetic, the Minions have become internationally recognized characters. They appear in cross-promotions for many Comcast/NBCUniversal properties, including at Universe Theme Parks around the globe. Pop culture juggernauts The Simpsons and Family Guy have payed homage to the Minions. And in 2015, the United Kingdom village of Minions, Cornwall even had a Universal-sponsored road sign featuring the Minions installed (although it was subsequently removed because too many motorists were stopping their vehicles to take pictures of it).

What is Despicable Me Minion Mayhem?

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem is the theme park ride starring the characters of the Despicable Me franchise. The English-language version features Carell, Cosgrove, Gaier, Fisher, Brand and Coffin reprising their respective roles. Visitors to the simulator ride can expect to undergo the whole Despicable Me experience when they are temporarily “transformed” into Minions by a ray gun designed by Nefario.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem appears in multiple Universal Theme Park locations around the globe. In the United States, the ride is present at both Univeral Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Florida. The ride is also present at Universal Studios Japan, where it is located in Minion Park. At Universal Studios Beijing, the ride is located in Minion Land. And a fifth location, in Minion Land at Universal Studios Singapore, is scheduled to open in 2024.

Looking to find your orientation across other animated franchises? Check out Popverse's guide on how (and where) to watch the Kung-Fu Panda franchise!

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About the Author
Avery Kaplan avatar

Avery Kaplan

Contributing writer

Avery lives and writes in Southern California. She is the co-author of Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority with her spouse, Rebecca Oliver Kaplan. Avery is Features Editor at Comics Beat, and you can also find her writing on StarTrek.com, The Gutter Review, Geek Girl Authority, and in the margins of the books in her personal library.

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