With 20 movies in the books, it’s kind of hard to keep track of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s timeline, especially with all of the weird continuity errors that have happened in multiple movies. Marvel is intent to put these issues to bed with an official timeline that chronicles the year every MCU took place.
The timeline is inside the Marvel Studio: The First 10 Years book the studio released, which highlights the first decade of the franchise. It sets the record straight as to when every major movie takes place. For the most part, it uses the first two Avengers movies as main pillars to which all other movies revolve around, hence the year they took place matches the year they were released.
Here’s what the timeline looks like.
- 1943-1945: Captain America: The First Avengers
- 2010: Iron Man
- 2011: Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Thor
- 2012: The Avengers, Iron Man 3
- 2013: Thor: The Dark World
- 2014: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- 2015: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man
- 2016: Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming
- 2016-2017: Doctor Strange
- 2017: Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers Infinity War
The full timeline goes a little more in depth beyond the MCU movies, exploring the creation of the Infinity Stones, but we’ll focus on the MCU timeline specifically.
An interesting note is that the list doesn’t include Ant-Man and the Wasp. However, giving its post-credit scenes, we can safely say it took place in 2017 almost concurrently to Infinity War.
The most interesting aspect of the timeline is how Marvel used the ways MCU movies are connected to each other to come up with it. It’s mostly evident in the latter movies, with Black Panther taking place in 2017 before Infinity War to account for the fact that it still hasn’t opened its borders to the outside world as its ending suggested, and how Spider-Man: Homecoming officially takes place four years after The Avengers instead of the “eight years later” the movie suggests.
It’ll be interesting to see what year Avengers 4 takes place. It may take place in 2017 in the immediate aftermath of Infinity War, or it could jump years into the future as has been suggested, throwing yet another wrinkle into the MCU timeline.