Is there an official Marvel Cinematic Universe viewing order?

  • I'm planning on re-watching the currently-released 5 Marvel films prior to seeing The Avengers. Have Marvel released any sort of official viewing order? Captain America: The First Avenger seems like the hardest one for me to place in order with the rest. It takes place prior to the other films, but has the greatest number of references to the other films. So should it be watched first, or last? The rest of them are relatively clear, as they're chronological in the order they're released, with the possible exception of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 happening at the same time.

    “Captain America... takes place prior to the other films” — much of it does, but in flashback — it starts and ends in the “present day”, i.e. after the events of *Thor*.

    Also remember the days when an MCU re-watch comprised 5 films? Good times. (Ish. I mean, one of them was *The Incredible Hulk*.)

  • OghmaOsiris

    OghmaOsiris Correct answer

    9 years ago

    I would say order of release. Or in-universe chronologically.

    You'd get the same story and it would just be your preference if you liked it better in a different order.

    Personally I would go the order of release.

    Agreed. The only real purpose to watching them in release order is for the end credits (and perhaps the Iron Man reference in Thor). Other than that, there's little reason storyline-wise.

    Captain America was also hinted at in both Iron Man movies, the second much more easily spotted than the first.

    Ah, so it's basically the same reference in both movies.

    Well, you can't exactly watch Iron Man 3 without having seen The Avengers, and by proxy, Thor and Captain America.

    @MyCodeSucks The question was about the movies *before* The Avengers.

    It's a little frustrating that the accepted answer is the least useful answer on the page and the OP has since closed their account :-/

  • This is an updated list of the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in order of internal chronology (not release order); including shorts and other releases (feature films are in bold):

    I'm fairly certain Jessica Jones takes place before Age of Ultron, as the thing clearly on the minds of some people is "The Incident" which refers to the Battle of New York, and there's no real reference to the finale of AoU which you would expect otherwise. Hulk busted buildings in NYC all the way back in his own movie as well, so that's also what some New Yorkers would be referring back to as well.

    _The Consultant_ takes place before the end of _The Incredible Hulk_. Coulson and the other Agent are talking about who to send to talk to Gen. Ross. That moment, following their decision, is the post-credits scene of _The Incredible Hulk_.

    Just watched according to this order & one edit I would suggest is that Captain America Winter Soldier runs simultaneously with Agents of SHIELD E17 & not E16 as stated in the answer

    *Spider-Man: Homecoming* should be in **bold**. Also, what about *Black Panther* and *Black Panther Prelude*?

    *Spider-Man: Homecoming* takes place 8 years after *Avengers* (according to the opening of the film), but *Avengers: Infinity War* takes place 6 years after *Avengers* (according to dialogue). So *Spider-Man: Homecoming* takes place after *Infinity War*.. No, wait a minute

    I've long thought that the Agent Carter One Shot should be seen as a pilot for the Agent Carter series, but not in continuity, as it is contradicted by much of the series. That's common for a lot of pilots - bits of plot and characterization are jettisoned, and occasionally folded back in much later. Scorpio is never mentioned again (to my recollection), which is a shame.

    In Captain America: Winter Soldier, there was a list of targets shown for the three helicarriers, and I could swear that Doctor Strange is on the list. I suspect a continuity mistake.

    I wonder if this would be best turned into a community wiki answer. This will allow people to freely update the information as new movies and shows are released.

    This needs an update. @fez, want to do so?

    The post credit scene on Ant-man and the Wasp contains major spoilers for Infinity War part I, so I’d say that order should be reversed.

    But then again Ant-Man and the Wasp ends earlier than Infinity War at in-universe time.

    @OrangeDog Before his movie, Dr. Strange was a brilliant surgeon and asshole, not ideological. There's far too many brilliant non-ideological assholes around to put into a target list. The only reason to target him would be to take out a superhero.

    @DavidThornley The target list in the movie contains thousands upon thousands of targets. It doesn't stick to just superheroes... it's anyone who might be a threat to HYDRA.

  • The Official Marvel Cinematic Universe Viewing Order

    This is the intended viewing order by Marvel.

    • Movies are in bold.
    • TV shows are in italics.

      Important note: Marvel has said that their TV shows may not be 100% canon with their film universe. Additionally most TV shows are not connected to the film universe in any meaningful way, and are standalone tales. Their placement below does not indicate importance in the overall MCU story (in other words, you may skip the TV shows).

    • "One-Shots" were short films included with the home video releases of early MCU films. They frequently tie into the film universe in big ways.

    Phase One: "Avengers Assembled"

    • Iron Man (2008)
    • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
    • Iron Man 2 (2010)
      • One-Shot: "The Consultant" (2011) (4 mins)
        Found on Thor Bluray -- set directly after The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2
    • Thor (2011)
      • One-Shot: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer" (2011) (4 mins)
        Found on Captain America Bluray -- set directly before Thor but makes more sense to watch afterwards
    • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
      • One-Shot: "Agent Carter" (2013) (12 mins)
        Found on Iron Man 3 Bluray -- set directly after Captain America
    • The Avengers (aka "Avengers Assemble") (2012)
      • One-Shot: "Item 47" (2012) (12 mins)
        Found on The Avengers Bluray -- set directly after The Avengers

    Phase Two

    • Iron Man Three (2013)
      • One-Shot: "All Hail The King" (2014) (12 mins)
        Found on Thor: The Dark World Bluray -- set directly after (and contains major spoilers for) Iron Man 3
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 1) - Up until The Hub (ep. 7)
    • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 1) - The Well (ep. 8) to The End of the Beginning (ep. 16)
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 1) - Rest of season
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 2) - Up until The Dirty Half Dozen (ep. 19)
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 2) - Rest of season
    • Ant-Man (2015)
      • Agent Carter (Season 1)
      • Daredevil (Season 1)
      • Jessica Jones (Season 1)

    Phase Three

      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 3) - Up until Failed Experiments (ep. 19)
    • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 3) - Rest of season
      • Agent Carter (Season 2)
      • Daredevil (Season 2)
      • Luke Cage (Season 1)
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 4)
    • Doctor Strange (2016)
      • Iron Fist (Season 1)
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
      • The Defenders (Season 1) (2017)
    • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
      • Inhumans (Season 1)
      • The Punisher (Season 1)
      • Runaways (Season 1)
      • Agents of SHIELD (Season 5)
    • Black Panther (2018)
      • Jessica Jones (Season 2)
    • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
      • Cloak and Dagger (Season 1)
    • Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018)
    • Captain Marvel (2019)
    • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

    Future film releases

    • The New Mutants (April 2020) - DELAYED
    • Black Widow (May 2020) - DELAYED
    • The Eternals (November 2020)
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (February 2021)
    • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 2021)
    • Spider-Man 3 (August 2021)
    • Thor: Love and Thunder (November 2021)
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3 (20XX)
    • Black Panther 2 (20XX)

    • Ms. Marvel (20XX)

    (* The only exceptions are with the "One-Shot" short movies, which were only "released" on Bluray editions of the main movies. I've placed these directly after the movies they relate to for ease of viewing.)

    Doesn't *Agents of Shield* Season 5 overlap with Infinity War?

    I wonder if this would be best turned into a community wiki answer. This will allow people to freely update the information as new movies and shows are released.

    @Skooba I've updated this for the past four years quite successfully. Anyone can already suggest edits to this answer as new movies and shows are released. There's no need for a Community Wiki, IMO.

    @DjangoReinhardt Oh I agree you have done a great job with keeping the post updated. I only mention it due to large number of comments about edits needing to be made/added. While any user can edit an answer, some view it as improper to add or change content beyond SPaG/formatting, changing it to a CW removes some of that stigma. Obviously it is just a suggestion... I left the same comment on the other answer (which in honestly has not done as good a job as you in keeping things updated).

    @Skooba It's true that there's a large number of comments around editing this answer, but I've literally asked people to make suggested edits, but it seems that leaving a comment is what people prefer (it's obviously less work for them for one thing). I don't see it a huge problem, but I appreciate the suggestion.

    @StevenM.Vascellaro That's very old information. Marvel are searching for a replacement director for 2020 release date as far as anyone knows

    Is there a source or otherwise some explanation for the "intended viewing order by Marvel" claim?

    @Hashim It's the order Marvel made and released the films. Unless you're arguing that Marvel wanted you *not* to watch something when they released it, then this is, therefore, the order they wanted audiences to watch things. They've never suggested that Agent Carter is supposed to be watched before Iron Man just because it's set in the 1940s, for example.

    I agree w/ Hashim - this really shouldn't say "Official" until it's actually official - ie - StarWars.com released a viewing order page for The Clone Wars and that list is out of order (especially in early seasons) related to release date. - https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-the-clone-wars-chronological-episodeorder - to take another example - Lucas intends E1 to be viewed first, yet it was released decades after Ep 4

    @NKCampbell Great. The second you provide a quote from an official Marvel source that they intended you to watch their films in a different order, I'll update the list. Right now there's no reason at all to think the above isn't the intended order.

    I don't have a problem w/ the list - just the use of the word "Official" as though the release order has been explicitly confirmed from Marvel as "ALSO" being the intended viewing order. At best, it's implicitly official :)

    @NKCampbell I think we're splitting hairs. Marvel has never indicated that the order they released their films is anything but the order they intended for us to see them. Given that Marvel time certain episodes of their TV shows to coincide with the opening weekend of certain films (eg. AoS), that shows that not only is the list "implicitly" official, but it's also actually planned and *intended*.

    "that's just like, your opinion man". Splitting hairs is half the fun of this site! :) (I didn't downvote you fwiw - just saying I agree w/ the sentiment that "Official" generally implies some other kind of extra confirmation in these matters

    @NKCampbell Understood ;)

    1. Iron Man
    2. Iron Man 2
    3. Incredible Hulk (Hulk's campus rampage overlaps with Iron Man 2)
    4. Thor (end of Iron Man 2 overlaps with the middle-ish of Thor; Jane Foster's science partner references the experiment that created the Hulk)
    5. Captain America: The First Avenger (it can be assumed, from the post credits scene, that Nick Fury has already assembled the rest of the team; obviously if we are going in true chronological order, then you would watch the first 95% of this movie before Iron Man, and then the last bit after Thor)

    Granted, watching them in this order or release date order won't change the experience I would say. But that is how they take place, chronologically.

    EDIT To go even further, this site has a day-by-day breakdown of the events of the Marvel films.

    Did anybody else notice Tony Stark using Captain America's original shield to prop up a pipe in Iron Man 2, when he's making the new element?

    The Capt'Ameria shield is also visible in Iron Man 1 in the background as Tony is trying to make excuses to Pepper when she finds him trying to get out of the suit > "You've caught me doing worse that this before" or something.

    Brett - can you please consider updating the answer with the latest movies?

    @DVK I've added an updated list in an answer below.

  • There’s a lot of answers already but I’m posting an answer anyway because most of the answers are lacking when it comes to Phase 3.

    If you are looking for just the movies in the MCU,

    1. Captain America : The First Avenger
    2. Iron Man
    3. Iron Man 2
    4. The Incredible Hulk
    5. Thor
    6. Avengers
    7. Iron Man 3
    8. Thor : The Dark World
    9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    10. Guardians of the Galaxy
    11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
    12. Avengers: Age of Ultron
    13. Ant-Man
    14. Captain America: Civil War
    15. Doctor Strange
    16. Thor : Ragnarok
    17. Spider-Man: Homecoming
    18. Black Panther
    19. Avengers : Infinity War

    Here’s a much more in-depth look into the MCU,

    PHASE 1

    1. Captain America: The First Avenger
    2. Agent Carter (season 1)
    3. Agent Carter (season 2)
    4. Agent Carter (one-shot on Iron Man 3 DVD)
    5. Iron Man
    6. Iron Man 2
    7. The Incredible Hulk
    8. The Consultant (one-shot on the Thor DVD)
    9. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer (one-shot on the Captain America: The First Avenger DVD)
    10. Thor
    11. Avengers
    12. Item 47 (one-shot on the Avengers Assemble DVD)

    PHASE 2

    1. Iron Man 3
    2. All Hail the King (one-shot on the Thor: The Dark World DVD)
    3. Agents of SHIELD (season 1, eps 1-7)
    4. Thor: The Dark World
    5. Agents of SHIELD (season 1, eps 8-16)
    6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
    7. Agents of SHIELD (season 1, eps 17-22)
    8. Guardians of the Galaxy
    9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
    10. Daredevil (season 1)
    11. Agents of SHIELD (season 2, eps 1-10)
    12. Jessica Jones (season 1)
    13. Agents of SHIELD (season 2, eps 11-19) 26.Avengers: Age of Ultron
    14. Agents of SHIELD (season 2, eps 20-22)
    15. Daredevil (season 2, eps 1-4)
    16. Luke Cage (season 1, eps 1-4)
    17. Daredevil (season 2, eps 5-11)
    18. Luke Cage (season 1, eps 5-8)
    19. Daredevil (season 2, eps 12-13)
    20. Luke Cage (season 1, eps 9-13)
    21. Ant-Man
    22. Agents of SHIELD (season 3, eps 1-10)

    PHASE 3

    1. Agents of SHIELD (season 3, eps 11-19)
    2. Iron Fist (season 1)
    3. Captain America: Civil War 39.Agents of SHIELD (season 3, eps 20-22)
    4. The Defenders (season 1)
    5. Agents of SHIELD (season 4, eps 1-6)
    6. Doctor Strange
    7. Thor: Ragnarok
    8. Agents of SHIELD (season 4, eps 7-8)
    9. Agents of SHIELD: Slingshot (season 1, eps 1-6)
    10. Agents of SHIELD (season 4, eps 9-22)
    11. Spider-Man: Homecoming
    12. Black Panther
    13. Inhumans (season 1)
    14. The Punisher (season 1)
    15. Runaways (season 1)
    16. Agents of SHIELD (season 5, eps 1-10) – allowing for time travel craziness
    17. Jessica Jones (season 2)
    18. Agents of SHIELD (season 5, eps 11-19)
    19. Avengers: Infinity War

    It may be worth clarifying that yours is in chronological order.

    Why is *Ragnarok* before *Homecoming*?

    This doesn't answer the question asked, "is there an *official* MCU viewing order?" This is potentially a different question, what is the chronological order (though there seem to be some inconsistencies there)

  • I'd watch Iron Man before Iron Man 2, for the obvious reason. Other than that, watch them in whatever order you can get your hands on them. The references aren't particularly thick or important, they tend to rely more on general comic-book knowledge than the other films, and even if you don't know what they are you're unlikely to lose much enjoyment of the movie.

  • Personally I'm going with this order: Cap, IM1, IM2, Hulk, then Thor.

    Part of Hulk is going on during IM2 (campus smash in on the screens while Fury is telling Stark he is only a consultant). Plus the end of Hulk has Stark saying they are putting together a team so IM2 ends before Hulk does. But Thor has begun before IM2 ends (Mjolnir after the credits). I feel its IM1, IM2, Hulk, Thor (end of Thor has Loki with the cosmic cube) but Cap is throwing me off. Yes Cap in in WWII so that should put it at the beginning of my viewing list, it is that last scene after the credits about "trying to save the world" that throws me off. IM1 ends with Fury admitting their are other super heroes out there and that the Avengers Initiative is already in place. So put Cap at the front of my list; Cap, IM1, IM2, Hulk, Thor, Avengers. The ending of Cpt America is actually a scene from the avengers

  • They are all stuffed up. The ends of all the movies don't match. But here is my info, and they are in order of how I might watch them before seeing the avengers movie :)

    In Captain America, like, 90 or 95% is a flash back. The start and end are in 'our times' and in the end, in 'our time', he wakes up, and gets spoken to and stuff by Nick. Also - Captain America gets Howard Stark (Tony's - Iron Man's - dad,) to make the shield.

    Iron Man 1, that's all good, at the end Nick talks to him, a bit.

    But in Hulk there is some talk about the super solder serum (stuff that was used on Captain America) was the stuff used on Hulk. But it was clearly altered. At the end of the movie, Tony comes in and talks about this 'group' (Avengers) but if you were to watch it in the order I have it, it would be wrong-ish... because Tony doesn't get asked/told about the avengers group until the end of the second Iron Man..

    In Iron Man 2 Tony sees more of Nick and at the end, Nick tells him about the Avengers, (S.H.I.E.L.D.), but when Nick is talking to Tony at the very end, if you look at the screens behind, you see the Hulk, bashing up stuff, the same stuff (same clip from the Hulk movie) and at the very very very end, the guys at S.H.I.E.L.D. find Thor's hammer.

    In Thor you see alot of S.H.I.E.L.D, and at one point, you see HawkEye. (appears again in the Avengers movie) so this movie should be at the end of you list, because they talk about Steve (Capt. America)'s disappearance... (sleeping for like 70 years..) and when the 'destroyer' comes, one guy says he thinks it's Iron Man.

    “Tony doesn't get asked/told about the avengers group until the end of the second Iron Man” — really? I thought Nick Fury mentioned “the Avengers Initiative” in the post-credits scene of the first Iron Man movie.

  • Here's the list I would go with:

    Captain America: Just the fact that it does happen before everything. Even though it makes references to the other movies it makes the other ones much better to watch.

    Iron Man: At the end you hear Nick talk about other heroes, and he can be referring to Cap.

    Iron Man 2: You do see or hear references about Thor, like Agent Coulson has to leave to go check out something in the desert. And Hulk with the whole campus thing in the background.

    Thor: For this is pretty tricky, the first 3 are a lock. It just depends on what viewpoint you want to go with, between Thor and the Hulk. During IM2, when Coulson leaves, it's way before the Campus thing. So Thor has a little edge over that one. If you want to go with the end scene to Thor and the Cosmic Cube, well they find it during Captain America. And at the end of IM2, you see the Hammer which everyone knows.

    Hulk: He's such a badass you have to have him last. The super soldier serum didn't create the Hulk (more like the start of Abomination), as someone said above, but still a great reference to CA. Tony comes at the end to recruit, even though he's not on the team yet, but he's a consultant. I read somewhere a while ago that when the campus fight happens, a mysterious fog comes through, that's suppose to be Thor's doing.

    So Capt. America, IM, IM2, Thor, Hulk = Avengers (in my opinion).

  • The order is

    1. Captain America
    2. The Hulk
    3. Iron Man
    4. The incredible Hulk
    5. Iron Man 2
    6. Thor
    7. Avengers
    8. Iron Man 3
    9. Thor 2
    10. Captain America: the winter soldier

    Can you expand your answer with your reasoning?

    I'm guessing this is based off of the released order, but it would be nice to know if there was another explanation.

    The Hulk is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe cannon.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM