There's no getting around it – the Marvel timeline is one complicated beast, especially when you include all the various movies, TV shows, One Shots, Netflix series, and more. Yet, we've done exactly that, and attempted to create a chronological ordering of events in the MCU.
We've watched a few too many superhero shows to understand where everything falls within the Marvel timeline. There are some, such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, that begin with a very clear place on the timeline before having very little connection with the main movies. Then there's Agents of Shield, which is, frankly, hard to justify still being part of the main MCU. Oh, and Loki, which has introduced the Sacred Timeline – the main flow of time which the Time Keepers watch over. That's essentially what this piece is trying to keep track of!
Note: A * means multiverse or timeline shenanigans which might not be part of the main Marvel timeline – AKA the Sacred Timeline...
- How to watch the Marvel movies in order
- The best Marvel movies, ranked!
- Everything we know so far about Spider-Man 3
- Marvel Phase 4 explained
Marvel timeline: 1931-1995
- Agents of Shield season 7 (1931-2019)*
- Captain America: The First Avenger (1943-45)
- One Shot: Agent Carter (1944)
- Agent Carter season 1 (1946)
- Agent Carter season 2 (1947)
- Captain Marvel (1995)
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 during World War 2 in 1943-1945, 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.
Confusingly, Agents of Shield season 7 saw the team travel back to 1931 and then eventually work their way back to 2019, via some pitstops in decades along the way. It still hasn't been canonically confirmed whether that's now part of the Marvel timeline or one from the multiverse, though the show seemingly cut all ties with the wider MCU in favor of a more streamlined storytelling approach. For all intents and purposes, it's essentially another multiverse running parallel to the main timeline.
Marvel timeline: 2010-2012
- 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)
- Loki* (Outside of our conception of time, but sort of 2021)
- 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.
And then there's Loki, which is essentially out of time and space. However, this Loki Variant is snatched from 2012 after escaping the events of Avengers (though, that's shown in Avengers: Endgame). As the show goes on, we should potentially get more of an understanding of where Loki continues to sit, but, frankly, it's hard to put an exact date on it – so it goes here.
Marvel timeline: 2013-2015
- One Shot: All Hail the King (2013)
- 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 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 1-10 (2015)
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 ComicBook.com 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
- Agents of Shield season 3, episodes 11-19 (2016)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Agents of Shield season 3, episodes 20-22 (2016)
- Agents of Shield season 4, episodes 1-8 (2016)
- Agents of Shield: Slingshot (2016)
- Agents of Shield season 4, episodes 9-22 (2016)
- Iron Fist season 1 (2016)
- The Defenders (2016)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2016)
- The Punisher season 1 (2016)
- Doctor Strange (2016-2017)
As you can tell, 2016 was quite a wild ride in the Marvel universe. 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 MCU timeline, but it’s definitely in 2016, as explained by the director.
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: 2017-2018
- Agents of Shield season 5, episodes 1-19 (2017)
- Black Panther (2017)
- Black Widow (2017)
- Jessica Jones season 2 (2017)
- Inhumans season 1 (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)
- Runaways season 1 and 2 (2017)
- Cloak and Dagger season 1 and 2 (2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017-2018)
- Agents of Shield season 5, episodes 19-22 (2018)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2017-2018)
- Agents of Shield season 6 (2018*)
This is it. The year of the Snap.
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.
The Black Widow movie may be part of Marvel Phase 4, but it's actually tucked in-between Civil War and Infinity War. As the third Avengers movie ends in 2018, it's a safe guess to predict that Natasha Romanoff's standalone movie takes place in 2017.
Black Panther is perhaps the hardest to place. The death of T'Challa's father in Civil War is still raw by the time his movie rolls around but, according to Marvel's own official timeline to mark the ten-year anniversary of the MCU, Black Panther is set in 2017, not 2016. Send your complaints to Kevin Feige.
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-credits scene, though, 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.
Things don't stop there, though. There's the conundrum of Agents of Shield season 6. With season 5 explicitly leading into Thanos' big moment, fans were slightly confused when season 6 failed to feature half the world disappearing. The showrunners have since reasoned that they simply couldn't deal with the Snap as they – at the time of writing season 6 – were not aware of how Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home would deal with "the Blip". In-universe, the snap takes place in 2018 even though there's absolutely no reference to Thanos wiping out half the world in Agents of Shield season 6. Try not to think about it.
Marvel timeline: 2018-2024
- Avengers: Endgame (2018-2023)
- Agents of Shield season 7 finale (2019*)
- WandaVision (2023)
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2023/2024)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2024)
Avengers: Endgame has a clear five-year-jump after the Snap (dubbed "The Blip" in Far From Home), meaning much of the movie takes place in 2023, five years after the end of Infinity War. WandaVision sees Scarlet Witch trap an entire town in a force-field following the death of Vision. Despite the sitcom antics taking place seemingly in multiple time periods, this all happens post-Endgame.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes place six months after Endgame, which, depending on what month the events of the final Avengers film happen, means the Captain America spinoff is set sometime in late 2023 or early 2024. Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Far From Home is set eight months after Endgame with Peter Parker mourning the loss of Tony Stark. That places it at just around the 2024 summer holidays, hence the European vacation. Meanwhile, Loki's back in 2012...
As for Agents of Shield, which is maddeningly obtuse in its divergence of the Marvel timeline, they pretty much gave up on any semblance of being in the same universe as the MCU movies. Season 7 goes on a mad trip through time, heading back into the 40s, 50s, and 60s. The team then pop back into 2018, and it appears the finale ends in 2019, one year after the events of the sixth season (a time they're eventually able to return to). This all happens, seemingly, on a different timeline, one where Thanos never fully invaded Earth. Some fans have reasoned that this could mean the non-Disney Plus TV shows happen on a completely different Marvel timeline to the movies, which is probably the easiest way of looking at it.
The Eternals is also set to take place sometime after Avengers: Endgame according to its official synopsis, but we'll know more about that when it releases. For more superhero goodness, check out our piece on all the new superhero movies coming to cinemas and streaming over the next few years.