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The MCU timeline: What happened when in all of Marvel Studios' Sacred timeline, including time travel and dimension-hopping

A complete timeline for every MCU project, from Iron Man through The Marvels

MCU Watch Order
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest film franchises of all time. Over the past 14 years, Marvel Studios has produced over 33 films, 9 television shows, and plenty more are on the way. That’s more hours of content than James Bond, Lord of the Rings, and the live-action Star Wars films.

Like the Marvel Comics they’re based on, the MCU has developed a rich mythology. With so much content, it can be easy to lose track of the chronology. After all, the MCU hasn’t released all of their projects in chronological order. That’s one of the reasons we put together this timeline. This guide will explore the MCU timeline, from the dawn of mankind to the latest release.

Please note, this is meant to be a thorough breakdown of the MCU timeline, not a watch order. If you’re looking for a watch order for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, please refer to this guide.

This timeline will only cover MCU projects on the Sacred Timeline. In other words, Marvel projects from other studios like Fox's X-Men or Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man won’t be on here. While What If…? is an MCU project, each episode is set in a different reality. The chronology for the series jumps around, but ultimately it’s not part of the MCU’s main timeline.

If a film or television show is listed under a certain year, that means that the main narrative takes place during that year. Some movies take place over multiple years. If a film contains a timeskip or flashback, we will list the film across multiple years. In these cases, we’ll add a note if the scene is a prologue or a flashback.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline is a book that served as an invaluable resource for writing this guide. You will find it mentioned throughout this guide, particularly in our sections discussing canon classification.

The Distant Past

The Eternals
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The story of the MCU begins centuries ago, when mankind was still in its primitive stage. Thousands of years before the Avengers assembled, Odin battled Frost Giants, the Eternals arrived on Earth, and Namor came of age.

If an MCU project has a flashback set before modern times, this is where it goes.

  • 5000 BCE: The Eternals (prologue arrival scene)
  • 575 BCE: The Eternals (Babylon flashbacks)
  • 400: The Eternals (Sersi and Ikaris wedding flashback)
  • 965: Thor (Odin battles Frost Giants and finds baby Loki flashback)
  • 1521: The Eternals (Aztec flashback, Eternals breakup)
  • 1571: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (birth of Namor flashback)
  • 1693: WandaVision (Salem witch trials flashback)

The 1940s

Captain America: The First Avenger still
Image credit: Marvel Studios

As you can imagine, this era mostly consists of Captain America’s World War II adventures. However, there was more going on throughout the MCU. Decades before Kamala Khan’s birth, some major events in India set the stage for her heroic origin. Plus, the Eternals saw the consequences of their interference in mankind’s development.

  • 1942: Ms. Marvel (India flashback, the Clandestines find the bangle)
  • March 1942: Captain America: The First Avenger (Johann Schmidt finds the Tesseract)
  • June 14, 1943: Captain America: The First Avenger (World Exposition of Tomorrow scene)
  • June 22, 1943: Captain America: The First Avenger (Steve Rogers undergoes the procedure to become Captain America)
  • November 3-10, 1943: Captain America; The First Avenger (Italy rescue mission)
  • 1945: Captain America: The First Avenger (disappearance of Bucky Barnes)
  • March 1945: Captain America: The First Avenger (third act of the film, Captain America is frozen)
  • August 1945: The Eternals (Hiroshima flashback)
  • 1946: Agent Carter one-shot short
  • 1947: Ms. Marvel (partition era flashback)

The 1970s, '80s, and '90s

Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel (2019)
Image credit: Marvel Studios

This era takes place before the rise of Earth’s superheroes. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t any costumed adventurers running around. Years before Tony Stark built his first Iron Man armor, Hank Pym was operating in secret as Ant-Man, T’Chaka was protecting Wakanda as Black Panther, and Carol Danvers transformed into Captain Marvel. Here’s how it all went down…

Related: From Beyond the Spider-Verse to a Brave New World, here's every upcoming Marvel TV show and movie (plus their release dates!)

The 2000s and 2010s

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Image credit: Marvel Studios

This is where we leave the flashbacks and backstories and get into the main action. A majority of the MCU’s iconic moments happened during this time period, such as the formation of the Avengers, the superhero civil war, and Thanos wiping out half of all life in the galaxy. In other words, this covers the entire Infinity Saga, with the exception of Avengers: Endgame. Most of Marvel’s Phase 1-3 films can be found here.

  • Unknown date mid-2000s: The Incredible Hulk (origin flashback)
  • 2007: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (death of Li flashback)
  • Early 2008: Iron Man (capture of Tony Stark)
  • Spring 2008: Iron Man
  • May 5, 2010: Iron Man 2 (Monaco Grand Prix scene)
  • Spring 2010: Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant, and Marvel One-Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer
  • Summer 2010: The Incredible Hulk (epilogue)
  • 2011: Captain America: The First Avenger (epilogue, Cap awakens in the present day)
  • Spring 2012: The Avengers, Spider-Man Homecoming (prologue), Marvel One-Shot: Item 47, and Avengers: Endgame (2012 time heist mission)
  • Fall 2013: Thor: The Dark World and Avengers: Endgame (2013 time heist mission)
  • Winter 2013: Iron Man 3 (first act)
  • December 22-25, 2013: Iron Man 3
  • Early 2014: Iron Man 3 (epilogue), and Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King
  • Spring 2014: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Summer 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Endgame (2014 time heist mission), and I Am Groot season 1 episode 1
  • Fall 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and I Am Groot season 1 episode 2-5, and I Am Groot season 2
  • Spring 2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Summer 2015: Ant-Man
  • Early 2016: Doctor Strange (Kamar-Taj attack)
  • February 2, 2016: Doctor Strange (Stephen Strange’s car crash)
  • Spring 2016: Captain America: Civil War
  • Spring-Summer 2016: Black Widow
  • Summer 2016: Black Panther
  • Fall 2016: Spider-Man: Homecoming and Doctor Strange (Stephen meets the Ancient One)
  • Uknown dates in 2017: Doctor Strange
  • Fall 2017: Thor: Ragnarok
  • Spring 2018: Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Spring 2018: Thor: Ragnarok (credits scene), Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp (credits scene), Captain Marvel (credits scene), and Avengers: Endgame (first act before the timeskip)

The 2020s

Ms. Marvel
Image credit: Marvel Studios

One of the cool things about the MCU timeline is that it’s a few years ahead of our own! Avengers: Endgame featured a timeskip to 2023, putting the film’s chronology four years ahead of its 2019 release date. As of this writing, the MCU is still a few years ahead of our real world timeline.

This section of the timeline covers everything after Thanos’ epic snap in Avengers: Infinity War. In other words, Phases 4 and 5 of the MCU. The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline doesn’t cover anything after the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which means we’ll be using other sources to find the chronology for Phase 5 projects.

  • Uknown date in 2022: Moon Knight (Marc Spector meets Khonshu)
  • Fall 2023: Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision, and Loki season 1-2 (kinda…see notes)
  • Spring 2024: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (prologue, T’Challa’s death)
  • Summer 2024: Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home (first act), and Falcon and the Winter Soldier (finale)
  • Fall 2024: Spider-Man: No Way Home, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (first episode), The Eternals, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • December 2024: Spider-Man: No Way Home (epilogue), Black Widow (credits scene), and Hawkeye
  • December 25, 2024: Hawkeye (season finale)
  • Spring 2025: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (episodes 2-5), Moon Knight, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Summer 2025: She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (episodes 6-9)
  • Fall 2025: Ms. Marvel season 1, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Werewolf by Night
  • December 2025: Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
  • 2026: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Secret Invasion, Ms. Marvel (season 1 credits scene), The Marvels

Why did you place Loki in 2023?

Image credit: Marvel Studios

This is tricky for a few reasons. First, the Loki we follow in the series comes from 2012 in a divergent timeline. Second, most of the action takes place at the Time Variance Authority’s headquarters, which is outside of the timeline. Third, many episodes of the series jump around different points of the timeline.

Simply put, our timeline places Loki in 2023 because that’s where The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline places it. We admit, there is some ambiguity about where Loki goes, but ultimately this is Marvel’s official word on the matter. You can take the matter up with Kevin Feige, but honestly, the series has a very loose relationship with time anyway.

Is Team Thor canon?

Team Thor
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Some of you might be wondering why Team Thor and its sequel Team Daryl aren’t on here. If you aren’t familiar with it, Team Thor was a short film by Taika Waititi about Thor getting a roommate. It was shot in mockumentary style (think The Office). Chris Hemsworth thought they were fun, and even expressed interest in continuing the series as a television show.

They’re fun, but they aren’t canon.

For starters, the shorts show Bruce Banner on Earth during a time when the character had spent years off-world. If you needed more confirmation, Team Thor isn’t included in The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline, or Disney+’s curated MCU timeline.

Maybe it takes place on another branch of the timeline, but it isn’t part of the MCU’s Sacred Timeline.

Is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. canon?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. poster
Image credit: Marvel Television

Don’t feel bad if you’re confused about this, because there has been contradictory information over the years. When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered in 2013, it was marketed as an official part of the MCU. Kevin Feige promoted it as such in early interviews. Somewhere along the line, something changed. It’s important to note that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was produced by Marvel Television, an arm of Marvel Entertainment that operated separately from Marvel Studios. The two branches of the company didn’t always see eye-to-eye, and the MCU largely ignored Marvel Television projects.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s canon status was questioned by fans when Agent Coulson’s survival wasn’t mentioned in projects like Loki. The television series also showed the aftermath of Thanos’ snap differently than Avengers: Endgame.

The final nail in the coffin was The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline. The book ignored the events of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and an introduction from Feige implied that it took place on another branch of the timeline.

“On the Multiverse note, we recognize that there are stories-movies and series-that are canonical to Marvel but were created by different storytellers during different periods of Marvel’s history. The timeline presented in this book is specific to the MCU’s Sacred Timeline through Phase 4. But, as we move forward and dive deeper into the Multiverse Saga, you never know when timelines may just crash or converge (hint, hint/spoiler alert),” Feige wrote.

Sorry S.H.I.E.L.D. fans. However, just because it takes place on another timeline branch, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.

Are Marvel’s Netflix shows canon?

Marvel's Defenders
Image credit: Marvel Television

The canon status of Marvel’s Netflix shows is even trickier. After all, the cast of Daredevil have reprised their role in multiple projects. Wouldn’t that mean that Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher, and The Defenders are all canon?

Not so fast.

Once again, The Marvel Cinematic Universe: An Official Timeline seems to settle the issue. None of the shows are mentioned, and Feige’s introduction (see previous section) seems to point to them being non-canon.

If that’s the case, then why is Charlie Cox playing Daredevil in Spider-Man: No Way Home, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, and Daredevil: Born Again? Marvel Studios hasn’t given a specific answer, but the prevailing theory is that the Netflix Daredevil is a multiverse version of the MCU Daredevil.

It’s a big Marvel Multiverse out there!

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar
Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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