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Marvel: How to watch the entire MCU from the very beginning to right now, in chronological and release orders!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a big place, and here's exactly how to navigate it from Iron Man to Echo

The Infinity Saga
Image credit: Marvel Studios

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It’s been a decade and a half since the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with the first Iron Man movie — and the same year’s The Incredible Hulk, which people tend to forget for perhaps understandable reasons. (Just wait until Captain America: Brave New World changes that, though.) Since 2008, the on-screen home of the Avengers has gone from strength to strength, becoming a legitimate pop culture phenomenon as it brought familiar ideas, characters, and tropes from the comic book page to the screen: Characters from different movies teaming up! Crossover storylines! Heroes fighting with each other before teaming up to take on the true villain!

After 15 years of continuous output, it’s no surprise that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a pretty big place. (And one that continues to grow all the time.) That’s a good thing… but also, perhaps, a daunting one for newcomers or those looking to keep track of a particular plot thread or set of characters throughout the whole thing. We are, after all, upwards of 30 movies at this point, to say nothing of the Disney+ shows and other, not-entirely-canonical, output. To enter into the MCU at this point would need… well, some kind of guide. Which is where we come in.

Below, we’ll explain how to watch the MCU in both chronological and release order, covering the main differences between the two so that you can choose your preferred experience. We’ll also dive into the difference between the MCU canon and some stories that… don’t quite fit into that definition, at least for now. Basically, whatever you want to know, we’re here for you.


Popverse has assembled everything you need to know about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from our MCU watch order to a guide to upcoming Marvel movies and TV shows. Plus, we've taken the time to rank the entire MCU and compile the biggest outstanding questions from Marvel's connected films. Enjoy.


How to watch the MCU in release order

Iron Man
Image credit: Marvel Studios

Watching the MCU in release order allows you to follow the events as they occurred in theatres (and on the small screen), allowing you to relive the saga as it unfolded the first time. Below, we’ll list how to watch the MCU in release order, including all of the movies and Disney+ series in each phase — but not including the Marvel shows that were made for ABC or Hulu, which are not part of official MCU canon. We’ll get to those shows soon enough.

We are including the Netflix shows, because at least two sources say that they count, officially. Yes, even though there's an officially licensed book that says otherwise; it's very confusing, but we're erring on the side of the most recent statements on the matter, here.

For now, the official MCU canon in release order:

For those wondering how to watch all of this without buying each movie individually, just remember: with the exception of The Marvels — which is on its way! — all of the above is available on Disney+.

How to watch the non-canonical MCU Marvel shows in release order

Agents of SHIELD
Image credit: Marvel

Cast your mind back to 2012, when Marvel Television announced plans to make shows that were definitely, 100% in continuity with the MCU, that would appear on multiple platforms — including network and cable TV and streaming services, with ABC, Netflix, and Hulu all part of the plan. These shows didn’t include anything that was definitely in their own continuity, such as FX’s Legion, Hulu’s Hit-Monkey, or anything related to Spider-Man, but were instead shows that were initially promoted as being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe… but have since been officially declared non-canonical by Marvel, even thought parts of them may be referenced or folded into the MCU for future projects. Confused? That’s understandable. Think of them as MCU Apocrypha for now.

Some, but not all, of the above is available on Disney+. The links above are to purchase each season individually on Amazon, but there is, inexplicably, no way to purchase Runaways Season 2 on Amazon currently, hence no link above. Similarly, the Agents Of SHIELD web series Slingshot is not available for purchase currently. (Neither are available on Disney+, either.)

How to watch the canonical MCU in chronological order

Avengers
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe started in 2008, but it has since explored both the distant past and the future while covering a range of intertwining storylines. While it may all seem a bit tricky to follow, watching the MCU in chronological order makes it easy to map the official timeline. It’s a great way for fans to understand how the various movies fit together, and makes for a fun rewatch if you’re after something to do while getting excited for the next movie.

However, be aware that watching the MCU in chronological order probably isn’t best for new fans. Most movies have a post-credits scene, and these often spoil content that would have followed in the release order. Captain Marvel, for example, takes place in 1995, but the post-credit scene ties into Avengers: Endgame and contains major spoilers for Infinity War. Chronological watches can be useful for keeping track of the events, but get ready for some confusing spoilers if you haven’t already watched through the MCU before.

Below, we’ll list how to watch the MCU in chronological order, including every movie and series, along with the year in which they take place:

  • Loki season 2 (1868/time travel is messy)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (1942-1945)
  • Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter (1946)
  • Loki season 2 (1977/1982 in an alternate timeline/time travel is messy)
  • Captain Marvel (1995)
  • Iron Man (2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (2011)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2011)
  • Marvel One Shot: The Consultant (2011)
  • Marvel One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (2011)
  • Thor (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • Loki season 1 (2012/time travel is messy)
  • Marvel One Shot: Item 47 (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (2012)
  • Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King (2012)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Daredevil Season 1 (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Jessica Jones Season 1 (2015)
  • Daredevil Season 2 (2015)
  • Luke Cage Season 1 (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Team Thor Part 1 & Part 2 (2016)
  • Black Widow (2016)
  • Black Panther (2016)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016 - beware that the “8 years later” card shown after the intro is a mistake, and was later retconned to be 4 years to match the series of events presented in this list.)
  • Iron Fist Season 1 (2016)
  • The Defenders (2016)
  • The Punisher Season 1 (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Jessica Jones Season 2 (2017)
  • Luke Cage Season 2 (2017)
  • Iron Fist Season 2 (2017)
  • Daredevil Season 3 (2017)
  • The Punisher Season 2 (2017)
  • Jessica Jones Season 3 (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Team Darryl (2017)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2023)
  • Loki season 1 (2023/time travel is messy)
  • Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2023)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2023)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2023)
  • Eternals (2023)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2024)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2024)
  • Hawkeye (2024)
  • Moon Knight (2025)
  • She-Hulk (2025)
  • Ms Marvel (2025)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2025)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2025)
  • Werewolf By Night (2025)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2025)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2025)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2025)
  • Secret Invasion (2025)
  • The Marvels (2025)
  • Echo (2025)
  • Loki season 1 (2023/void at the end of time/time travel is messy)
  • Loki season 2 (void at the end of time/time travel is messy)

Impossible to place in this timeline are the two seasons of What If…?, which take place in different timelines, across different eras. Think of them as taking place parallel to the above list.

How to watch the canonical and apocryphal MCU in chronological order

The Marvels
Image credit: Marvel Studios

If you want to include the non-canonical, but maybe they will be in the future, projects, this is what the timeline looks like. Again, What If…? doesn’t make it on there because of how impossible it is to place due to the different timelines and different time settings, but otherwise, we’ve included everything from Iron Man to Echo, along with the various One Shots, Hulu, Freeform, and Netflix series, and all seasons of Agents Of Shield. For this one, we’ve opted to include them to give fans the biggest possible picture — which looks something like this:

  • Loki season 2 (1868/time travel is messy)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (1942-1945)
  • Marvel One Shot: Agent Carter (1946)
  • Agent Carter Season 1 & Season 2 (1946)
  • Loki season 2 (1977/1982 in an alternate timeline/time travel is messy)
  • Captain Marvel (1995)
  • Iron Man (2010)
  • Iron Man 2 (2011)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2011)
  • Marvel One Shot: The Consultant (2011)
  • Marvel One Shot: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (2011)
  • Thor (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • Loki season 1 (2012/time travel is messy)
  • Marvel One Shot: Item 47 (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (2012)
  • Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King (2012)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 1, episodes 1-7 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 1, episodes 8-16 (2014)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 1, episodes 17-22 (2014)
  • Daredevil Season 1 (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2014)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 2, episodes 1-19 (2015)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 2, episodes 20-22 (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Jessica Jones Season 1 (2015)
  • Daredevil Season 2 (2015)
  • Luke Cage Season 1 (2015)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 3 episodes 1-19 (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Team Thor Part 1 & Part 2 (2016)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 3 episodes 20-22 (2016)
  • Agents of Shield: Slingshot web series (2016)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 4 (2016)
  • Black Widow (2016)
  • Black Panther (2016)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016 - beware that the “8 years later” card shown after the intro is a mistake, and was later retconned to be 4 years to match the series of events presented in this list.)
  • Iron Fist Season 1 (2016)
  • The Defenders (2016)
  • The Punisher Season 1 (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)
  • Inhumans (2017)
  • Cloak and Dagger Season 1 (2017)
  • Jessica Jones Season 2 (2017)
  • Luke Cage Season 2 (2017)
  • Iron Fist Season 2 (2017)
  • Daredevil Season 3 (2017)
  • Runaways Season 1, 2, & 3 (2017)
  • The Punisher Season 2 (2017)
  • Jessica Jones Season 3 (2017)
  • Cloak and Dagger Season 2 (2017)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 5 episodes 1-11 (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Team Darryl (2017)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 5 episodes 12-22 (2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Agents Of Shield Season 6-7 (2018 - these Seasons do not connect to the events of Infinity War, and seem to represent a major dent in Agents of Shield’s questionable status as part of the MCU canon.)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2023)
  • Loki season 1 (2023/time travel is messy)
  • Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2023)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2023)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2023)
  • Eternals (2023)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (2024)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2024)
  • Hawkeye (2024)
  • Moon Knight (2025)
  • She-Hulk (2025)
  • Ms Marvel (2025)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2025)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2025)
  • Werewolf By Night (2025)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2025)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2025)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2025)
  • Secret Invasion (2025)
  • The Marvels (2025)
  • Echo (2025)
  • Loki season 1 (2023/void at the end of time/time travel is messy)
  • Loki season 2 (void at the end of time/time travel is messy)

How many Marvel Cinematic Universe movies are there?

Chris Evans as Captain America
Image credit: Marvel Studios

As of 2023’s The Marvels, there have been 33 MCU movies, with a further seven having been announced and scheduled, and at least two more scheduled with not officially announced. You can get all of that information right here.

What is the correct order to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Loki and Sylvie
Image credit: Marvel Studios

It depends if you're wanting to watch the entire MCU, or a particular sub-section of it. Obviously, fans can follow individual characters - like, for example, Tony Stark - or individual series within the larger MCU, and in almost all of those cases, release order is the way to go. Arguably, the one character/storyline that stands in the most obvious contradiction to that is Black Widow, whose solo movie in 2021 takes place a significant period before her death in 2019's Avengers: Endgame, but I'd assume that was fairly obvious...

What order should I watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe in?

Fontaine and Yelena in Black Widow
Image credit: Marvel Studios

That's obviously up to you, but if you ask us, watching in release order is probably the best order for new fans. This is largely due to the post-credit scenes, which often tease upcoming movies regardless of their position in the timeline. You could just avoid the post-credit scenes, of course, but they often include crucial details that tie into future appearances of your favourite characters. So... try release order and see how it feels.


Want to know what's coming up next in pop culture? Check out our guides to upcoming movies, upcoming TV shows, upcoming comics, and upcoming comic conventions. If you're looking for specific franchises or genres, we have all the upcoming MCU, upcoming Star Wars, upcoming Star Trek, and upcoming DC movies & TV for you. If you're a fan of superheroes and not specific to just Marvel or DC, we have overall guides to all the upcoming superhero movies and upcoming superhero TV shows (and new seasons) as well.

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Graeme McMillan

Staff Writer

Popverse staff writer Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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