Do you want to know how to enjoy the Marvel movies in chronological order? In the year 2021, that’s going to be a complex order. If you’re considering a marathon, not only are there 26 movies to watch, but there are also 5 Disney Plus series to consider. That means you’ll be watching your favorite entertainment franchise for longer than ever before.
Allow us to guide you through this ever-expanding superhero universe if you’re unsure where to begin.
To begin, decide whether you’ll watch the Marvel movies in sequential sequence or order of release. Regardless of whose list you follow, both presently end with Eternals, the 26th Marvel film currently in theatres. Hawkeye’s TV series has just debuted on Disney Plus, but if you’re only interested in MCU flicks, you don’t have to worry about it just yet.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to watch the Marvel movies in both historical and chronological sequence, as well as the five canonical MCU series on Disney Plus. So you don’t have to. We’ll lay down the MCU timeline as it now stands. You see, we’re kind of like that.
After a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020, Marvel films are gearing up for a busy 2021. Phase 4 is already in full gear, with the releases of Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and Eternals, as well as Spider-Man: No Way Home in December.
However, Marvel recently revealed a substantial delay that will affect a lot of Phase 4 films: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be released in early May rather than March; Thor: Love and Thunder will be released in July rather than May; and Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever will be released in November rather than July. The Marvels and Ant-Man 3 have been pushed back, albeit the latter has only recently completed main photography, while Guardians of the Galaxy 3 has not.
Let’s start with the MCU chronology, including Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and the Eternals.
We’ll show you how to watch all 26 Marvel movies in order, starting with Captain America’s origins in WWII and concluding with the introduction of the Eternals in the most recent MCU film. The entrance of the Eternals adds to the confusion since there are flashbacks to events before Captain America’s WWII origins. We’ve put it towards the end of our list to keep you from going insane at the notion of pausing Eternals, watching three or four Marvel movies, and then returning to Eternals to pick up where you left off after each flashback.
If you’re a continuity fan, this is how you’ll want to see the Marvel movies in order — it allows you to experience the events as they unfolded. We’ve also included the MCU show sequence below so you can see how they tie together with the films.
As of 2021, below is the chronological viewing order of Marvel films:
- Captain America: The First Avenger – takes place during WWII
- Captain Marvel – occurred in 1995
- Iron Man – took place in 2010
- Iron Man 2 – takes place after Iron Man
- The Incredible Hulk – time unspecified, pre-Avengers
- Thor – events occur six months before Avengers
- The Avengers – took place in 2012
- Iron Man 3 – takes place six months after The Avengers
- Thor: Dark World – post-Avengers, pre-Ultron
- Captain America: Winter Soldier – post-Avengers, pre-Ultron
- Guardians of the Galaxy – sometime in 2014
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – set after Guardians
- Avengers: Age of Ultron – occurs in 2015
- Ant-Man – took place in 2015
- Captain America: Civil War – post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War
- Black Widow – takes place right after Civil War
- Spider-Man: Homecoming – post-Civil War, pre-Infinity War
- Doctor Strange – took place in 2016
- Black Panther – took place in 2017
- Thor: Ragnarok – post-Ultron, pre-Infinity War
- Avengers: Infinity War – occurred in 2017
- Ant-Man and The Wasp – ambiguous, but fits nicely between IW and Endgame
- Avengers: Endgame – starts in 2017, finishes in 2022
- Spider-Man: Far From Home – set eight months after Endgame
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – set in the present day of the MCU
- Eternals – set in the present day of the MCU, though it does flashback through 7,000 years of human history
Some of the timelines are a little hazy – for example, Black Widow, Spider-Man:
Homecoming, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange all take place around the same time and span varied amounts of time, making it difficult to rank them.
On the other hand, Black Widow is officially set totally within the events of Captain America: Civil War, so it comes first. However, Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton claimed that the martial arts hero’s film is set in the “current day.” Eternals are set both before and after Captain America’s origin narrative and in the contemporary day. As we have stated, the timeline is becoming increasingly jumbled as time passes.
Now for the Marvel show chronology: WandaVision occurs just weeks after Endgame. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, on the other hand, take place six months after Endgame, meaning both series occur before Spider-Man: Far From Home. However, Loki is set after the events of The Avengers, but in a different reality. Therefore we recommend seeing it after Avengers: Endgame.
What If…?, the first animated series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is like Loki. Because of its place in the larger multiverse, it revolves around events we’ve seen on big and small screens. Finally, Hawkeye’s solo journey (well, paired adventure with Kate Bishop) takes place two years after the events of Endgame, in the year 2024.
- WandaVision – three weeks after Endgame
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – around six months after Endgame
- Loki – technically post-The Avengers in 2012, but best watched after Endgame
- What If…? season 1 – technically, this spans the entire multiverse, but it’s best watched after Endgame
- Hawkeye – two years after Endgame
Do you like to see the MCU films in release order? This is a good starting point.
Watching the Marvel movies in this sequence is how Marvel Studios intended for you to see the plot unfold, and you’ll be able to appreciate how the films grew in size and quality over time – especially after Disney took control and increased the budgets. You can also discover the release dates for Marvel movies in Phase 4 below.
- Iron Man (2008)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Thor (2011)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Thor: The Dark World (2013)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Black Panther (2018)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
- Captain Marvel (2019)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
- WandaVision (TV show)
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (TV show)
- Loki (TV show)
- Black Widow (2021)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
- Eternals (2021)
- Hawkeye (TV show)
Upcoming Marvel Movies
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6, 2022)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8, 2022)
- Ms. Marvel (TV show – expected summer 2022)
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11, 2022)
- The Marvels (February 17, 2023)
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania (July 28, 2023)
- Blade (TBD)
- Fantastic Four (TBD)
- She-Hulk (TV show – TBA)
- Moon Knight (TV show – TBA)
- Secret Invasion (TV show – TBA)
- Ironheart (TV show – TBA)
- Armor Wars (TV show – TBA)
- Wakanda series (TV show – TBA)
- What If…? season 2 (TV show – TBA)
- Loki season 2 (TV show – TBA)
- I Am Groot (TV show – TBA)
- Echo (TV show – TBA)
Do you want to know which Marvel movies are available on Disney Plus? Because Universal and Sony control the distributorship to the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man films, these are the only MCU films not available on Disney Plus. If you want a complete Marvel movie marathon right now, you’ll have to buy or rent them on DVD, Blu-Ray, or digital.