• Its all connected!
  • All Marvel phases explained.
  • Timeline sequence of events in Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Marvel timeline as compared to real-life timeline.
  • Phase 4 of MCU.
  • Phase 4 hints in Phase 1.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Ever since 2008, fans of Marvel superheroes have been introduced to a universe of epic proportions. With the release of Ironman in 2009 and The Incredible Hulk in the same year, Marvel Studios set in motion a series of marvellous films that broke records within 24 hours of their releases.

It is important to understand the these MCU films are not independent of each other but are connected with one another in some way or in a bigger perspective. So far, 26 films have been released by the Marvel Studios, concluding the Infinity Saga with Avengers: End Game.

Marvel Phase 1

Timeline of Marvel Phase 1

Iron Man (2008)

The first phase of MCU kicked off with Robert Downy Jr.’s first Ironman instalment which teased the formation of “Avengers” in its post credit scene when Nick Fury tells Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

This movie was an unexpected hit for the Marvel Studios as it received a significantly positive feedback with the introduction of villains like Abomination, this film set the foundations for what is being shown in Phase 4.

Iron Man 2 (2010)

The second instalment of Iron Man was just as good as the first where it introduced characters like the War Machine (the Iron Patriot) and Whiplash.

Thor (2011)

The fourth MCU film introduces a much wider perspective in the saga with the introduction of Asgardian gods like Thor, Loki and Odin. Thor sets the scenes for the final film of Phase 1.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

One of the most iconic films of the Marvel Studios is the first film about Steve Rogers aka Captain America. This film introduces the Tessaract which is one of the six infinity stones present in the MCU timeline.

The Avengers (2012)

This epic film brings together Earth’s mightiest heroes in an epic battle set in New York City when Loki tries to conquer Earth or Midgard. The Avengers broke the box office with $1.519 billion jackpot.

The Avengers

Phase 1 Timeline

At the beginning of Phase One, Marvel Studios arranged parts of its films’ plotlines with connections to one another, but they had no long-term strategy for the shared universe’s chronology.

According to Nick Fury’s statements, the events of Iron Man 2 take place around six months after the events of Iron Man. Official Fury’s Big Week comic stated that The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, and Thor all happened within a week, a year prior to The Avengers.

Feige and Marvel Studios gave their final chronology “the mark of legitimacy” after writers Chris Yost and Eric Pearson sought to plan the comic in accordance with the rationale of the film timeline. It was published in May 2012 as part of Marvel’s pre-release marketing for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Marvel Phase 2

Marvel Phase 2

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Third Iron Man film was launched in 2013 with the introduction of the Mandarin who leads the terrorist organisation known as the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings was further clarified in Phase 4 with Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

One of the lowest rated MCU film, Thor: The Dark World familiarized the audience with another of the six infinity stones known as the “Aether” or Reality Stone. This film also developed the personality of the much-hated Loki character.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Another one of the hit films by Marvel Studios, Captain America’s second instalment brings back Sgt. Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier and focuses on the internal battles within Shield.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

This film takes MCU fans on an intergalactic adventure with the introduction of a group of misfits who form a group and save the galaxy from destruction. Guardians of the Galaxy helps us understand the concept of the infinity stones as one of the six stones, the Power Stone is the centre point the film revolves around.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

The lowest rated Avengers film is the second Avengers instalment in Phase 2 of the Infinity Saga where Tony Stark and Bruce Banner accidently create an AI system that tries to take over the world.

The film introduces two mutants for the first time, the Sokovia Twins, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch and Quick Silver. Moreover, the film also introduces the Mind Stone and creation of The Vision.

Ant-Man (2015)

Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man won the hearts of many MCU fans. Ant-Man came immediately after the Avengers: Age of Ultron. After the happenings of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the film takes place some months later. Falcon, portrayed by Anthony Mackie, tackles Scott Lang, who tries to enter the new Avengers HQ in Upstate New York seen in Age of Ultron and challenges him.

Avengers: Age of Ultron Poster

Phase 2 Timeline

As opposed to Phase One, which took place in the present day, Phase Two takes place in a more realistic time period in order to streamline the MCU’s history. All of the films were set around the same period as The Avengers (2012).

Thor: The Dark World takes place a year after Iron Man 3, while Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes place two years after Iron Man 3. 2014 is the year in which Guardians of the Galaxy is occurring. The Phase concluded in 2015 with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, both of which took place many months apart in-universe and in reality.

Marvel Phase 3

Marvel Phase 3

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Phase 3 kicked off with a massive hit with the release of Captain America’s third instalment that showed almost all the Avengers but this time they were not fighting together, hence the opposite. Civil War introduced one of the iconic heroes in the Marvel Universe, Spiderman!

Doctor Strange (2016)

Marvel Studios took the audience on a mystical ride with the release of Doctor Strange in 2016 which opened another door for fans in the years to come. With concepts like the multiverse and darker beings in the MCU, this film was clearly meant for something more than just a single phase.

Furthermore, it also gave us a glimpse of the Time Stone, another of the six infinity stones.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

The Guardians of the Galaxy are on a mission to keep their newfound family together while helping Peter Quill discover his real paternity and battling new adversaries. The second instalment of the Guardians familiarizes us with the Celestials.

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Marvel Studios introduce a young version of Peter Parker in the first independent Spider-Man film where Peter tries to fight off the Vulture, played by Michael Keaton, while still under mentorship of Tony Stark.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

The third instalment of Thor really picked up its lost prestige. The film is set around the time when events of Captain America: Civil War were unfolding on Earth. Thor: Ragnarok introduces Hella, Thor’s sister and Goddess of Death and Valkyrie.

This film is considered to be one of the highest rated films by the Marvel Studios.

Black Panther (2018)

T’Challa arrives to Wakanda as king and guardian of the kingdom, only to have his kingship tested by a long-standing foe (Kill Monger) in a fight with global ramifications.

The action of Captain America: The Winter Soldier takes place one week after the conclusion of Captain America: Civil War. As Bucky Barnes, Sebastian Stan makes a brief appearance in the post-credits sequence of the film.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy team together to attempt to stop Thanos from obtaining all six Infinity Stones.   Two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, the film takes place.

When Marvel introduced the Tesseract/Space Stone in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Loki’s Scepter / the Mind Stone in The Avengers, Aether / Reality Stone in Thor: The Dark World, the Orb / Power Stone in the Guardians of the Galaxy along with the Eye of Agamotto / Time Stone in Doctor Strange, they were laying the groundwork for Infinity War.

Avengers: Age of Ultron shows Thanos with an empty Infinity Gauntlet. For some reason, Ross Marquand has been cast as the Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger, rather than Hugo Weaving. The Soul Stone is in his protection.

Avengers: Infinity War Poster

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

When Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym give Scott Lang a new task that requires him to link up with Van Dyne as the Wasp, he struggles to find a work-life balance.

Two years have passed after the incidents of Captain America: Civil War and two years have passed since the happenings of Avengers: Infinity War when the film takes place. They are annihilated in the mid-credits sequence as a result of the events of Avengers: Infinity War.

This film introduces the quantum realm which is the cornerstone for Avengers: Endgame.

Captain Marvel (2019)

After the Earth is caught in the middle of an intergalactic struggle between two alien planets, Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel, one of the galaxy’s most powerful heroes.

The movie takes place in 1995. Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace and Clark Gregg all reprise their roles as Nick Fury, Korath, Ronan the Accuser and Phil Coulson accordingly as the Skrull race is debuted to Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Avengers: End Game (2019)

They must regroup after Thanos destroyed half of the universe’s population with his wrath in Avengers: Infinity War, in order to undo the damage done. Three weeks after the events of Infinity War, the film jumps five years into the future and starts over.

At the conclusion of the titles, the sound of the hammering of the Iron Man suit can be heard as a nod to its predecessor, the first MCU film. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers were meant to perform in Endgame as their last appearances.

Avengers: Endgame Poster

Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

Peter Parker and his classmates go on a European field trip as part of their high school curriculum. When he is on vacation, Nick Fury asks him to join forces with Quentin Beck to fight the Elementals.

Eight months have passed after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Sam Jackson and Cobie Smulders reprise their roles as Nick Fury and Maria Hill.

When Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films were released, Simmons played a different J. Jonah Jameson in the mid-credits sequence, which he reprises here in the new picture. Ben Mendelsohn reprises his role as Talos and Sharon Blynn reprises her role as Soren in the post-credits sequence.

Phase 3 Timeline

The Russo brothers intended to continue utilising real time for Phase Three. They had done so for Phase Two, thus Captain America: Civil War takes place a year after Age of Ultron and two years after Avengers: Infinity War.

In contrast, Phase Three films will actually “happen on top of each other” and be less “interconnected” than the Phase One films were. With Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming respectively beginning a week and two months after Civil War. Thor: Ragnarok beginning four years after The Dark World and two years after Age of Ultron, which is set around the same time as Civil War and Homecoming; and Doctor Strange taking place over a whole year.

Marvel Phase 4

Marvel Phase 4 (films and shows)

Black Widow (2021)

Black Widow finally got a standalone film in 2021. Natasha Romanoff’s past life as a Red Room Widow is brought into light. She explores her long-lost family and the post credit scene points towards the latest Hawkeye series on Disney+. It also hints the formation of Dark Avengers.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

In the Ten Rings organisation, Shang-Chi is forced to face the history he believed he had put behind. Subsequently, after the events of Endgame, Shang-Chi and Legend of the Ten Rings takes place.

In addition to Benedict Wong, Ben Kingsley reprises his role as Trevor Slattery, an imposter masquerading as the Mandarin, from Iron Man 3 (2013) and the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King, which was released in 2014  Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), All Hail the King, and Ant-Man all depict or mention the Ten Rings organisation.

This time around, Tim Roth reprised his role as Abomination/ Emil Blonsky from The Incredible Hulk (2008). Mark Ruffalo and Brie Larson appear in a post-credits sequence as Bruce Banner and Carol Danvers.

Eternals (2021)

An immortal extraterrestrial civilization that has been covertly living on Earth for almost 7,000 years. The Eternals reunite to defend mankind from their malevolent opposites, the Deviants. After the restoration of half the population sparked “the emergence.” A few months after Avengers: Endgame in 2024, Eternals takes place in the same year as Spider-Man: Far from Home.

Mahershala Ali made an uncredited cameo appearance in the post-credits sequence as the voice of Blade. Before even acting in Blade. Harry Styles plays Thanos’ brother Eros / Starfox. Patton Oswalt voices Pip the Troll.

Other Upcoming Films in Phase 4

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

The Marvels (2023)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)

Fantastic Four (2024)