In 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe began with one movie: Iron Man. What started as the lone story of an inventive billionaire trapped in a cave has spiraled out into hundreds of stories involving thousands of characters across both film and television, all of which exist within the same universe.
Whether you've never watched a moment of the MCU or you've seen every movie and show several times over, we think you'll get something out of our guides. We know you may have a few questions, like are these guides in chronological order? Release order? Bit of both? (Bit of both!) So with that said we’ve included an FAQ below or you can jump right in to our guides.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: You mentioned these guides are a mix of release and chronological order, what does that mean?
A: Glad you asked! In most cases, the movies appear in the order they were released in theaters. However, in some cases it makes sense to rearrange this order. For example, Black Panther takes place a week after Captain America: Civil War, whereas Spider-Man: Homecoming takes place 2 months later. Even though Spider-Man: Homecoming came out first, the order in the guide is adjusted to make sense with the in-universe timeline.
The exception to this is movies like Captain America: The First Avenger and series like Agent Carter that mostly take place before the first Iron Man movie but really make more sense to watch later on.
Q: Why are the guides broken up into different phases (Phase 1, Phase 2, etc.)?
A: Marvel Studios has referred to their past and upcoming slate of films in terms of phases. For example, Iron Man through The Avengers makes up Phase One. This labeling has little to do with the movies themselves other than appearing in some marketing material and home video releases. In general the phases are broken up and defined by big events or crossover movies. In terms of the guides, it is just a logical way to chunk the content so you don't have to scroll too far on one page.
Q: What will I find in each guide?
A: Throughout our guides you will find an entry for every movie, TV show, and short film in the MCU. Each entry includes a brief plot synopsis, poster, episode list (for shows), and a link to our expanded section with easter eggs and fun facts related to the wider MCU, as well as our explanation for where it takes place in the timeline/viewing order.
Q: There are a lot of TV shows in the MCU. Do I have to watch all of them to understand what's going on?
A: Absolutely not! You're right, there are more than 300 episodes of television across all MCU shows, with more coming almost every month. The TV shows have varying degrees of connectivity to the movies. Series like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter reference the movies the most and have a decent amount of guest stars from the films who pop up occasionally, but other shows like The Runaways barely make a single reference to any aspect of the wider universe. The Netflix shows make light references to the movies but are more focused on crossing over characters and plot points with each other, and whether or not they even take place in the MCU is up for debate.