How To Watch The Entire Marvel Cinematic Universe In Order

How To Watch The Entire Marvel Cinematic Universe In Order

By Amanda Joyce May 02, 2015 06:00 PM
Photo Credit: Marvel Studios

While some theaters around the US are hosting special screenings of all the Marvel films leading up to the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron, if you want to go a step further and watch the entire MCU in order before catching the movie (or just for fun), we’ve got you covered. Taking into account television series, Marvel one shots, and the films, we’ve got everything listed for you to watch in story order, rather than production or release order.


Marvel Studios


Captain America: The First Avenger

Though the final moments of the movie might be set not too soon before The Avengers, almost the entire rest of the film is set during World War II, which is the earliest of events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, as Captain America becomes the first superhero. (Infinity stone found here: the tesseract.)


Agent Carter: Season One

Set directly after the events of Captain America, SSR Agent Peggy Carter adjusts to working in an office with men who don’t appreciate her skills after being indispensable to the fight during the War.


Agent Carter: Marvel One Shot

A bonus feature on the Iron Man 3 DVD, this short film shows Peggy Carter as she takes on a mission on her own and is chosen to lead her own division of the covert organization. Some viewers place it prior to the series, which could be the case if something happens in between the two to cause Peggy Carter to lose her footing in the organization somehow.


Marvel Studios/ABC


Iron Man

Sadly, Marvel has not set anything in the five decades between Agent Carter and Iron Man, so there’s quite a time jump here that skips over how the SSR became SHIELD or whether any superheroes existed in between the two.


Iron Man 2

The film that gave the MCU Don Cheadle, solidified Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, and proved that Pepper Potts is actually the most capable person at Stark Industries. It also teased just what it is SHIELD does and introduced audiences to Black Widow.


A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer: Marvel One Shot

Found on the Captain America DVD, this one shot gave audiences what they wanted from the early MCU - more Agent Coulson. One of the few characters in the early films who didn’t originate in the comic books, Coulson has become wildly popular.



Realistically, Thor and The Incredible Hulk are probably interchangeable in terms of story order. The events of the two don’t really cross over into each other or affect one another.


The Incredible Hulk

Because of the filming sequence, most people like to put this film in between Iron Man and Iron Man 2 on their watch list, which is technically incorrect. A post credits scene here features Tony Stark as a SHIELD consultant, a role he doesn’t take on until the events of Iron Man 2.


The Consultant: Marvel One Shot

Included on the Thor special features, this provides a little more detail on Tony Stark’s role as a SHIELD consultant.


The Avengers

Where all the superheroes we’ve met so far finally come together to take on Loki. If you really wanted to, you could watch the final Captain America scene right before watching this film since it sets up Cap’s involvement with the team. (Infinity Stone found here: the gem in Loki’s scepter.)


Item 47: Marvel One Shot

Following directly after the events of the Avengers, a couple on the run uses a piece of alien technology and SHIELD is tasked with tracking them down. Unlike previous one shots that appear on DVDs for films they don’t follow, this is a special feature paired with the Avengers.


Iron Man 3

Spotlighting Iron Man and Tony Stark, this film deals with the fallout in his life after participating in the huge battle that was in Avengers. Though it’s frequently seen as one of the weakest films in the franchise because of its villain storyline, the way it deals with a hero’s post traumatic stress is often lauded.


Marvel Studios/ABC


Agents of SHIELD: S1E1-E6, S1E8

Arguably the weakest set of episodes in the series (though S1E6 is still a standout) as the show was still trying to find its footing, these are the episodes that allow the audience to get to know its characters before it begins to really intersect with the larger MCU. From a narrative standpoint, it makes more sense to watch episode 8 “The Hub” before watching episode 7 “The Well,” as it deals with the relationships between some of the characters, which is why I’ve tacked it on to the batch of the first six.


All Hail The King: Marvel One Shot

Providing reveals from Iron Man 3, this could likely be watched anywhere amidst the first batch of Agents of SHIELD episodes. It’s found as a special feature with Thor: The Dark World.


Thor: The Dark World

This movie expands on the Thor mythology, which might not seem like it connects to the rest of the MCU, but brings Thor back to earth in a really destructive way, and it provides for the idea that Asgard and Midgard (Earth) have been interacting for a lot longer than previously thought. (Infinity Stone found here: The aether.)


Agents of SHIELD S1E7, S1E9-E16

These episodes solidify SHIELD as the the peacekeeping force on Earth that deals with the strange and the weird, but it crumbles when the next movie gets going.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

By this time Cap has adjusted to life in the modern world and is working with SHIELD, only to find that SHIELD has been corrupted by Hydra since its very inception.


Marvel Studios


Agents of SHIELD S1E17-E22

In the wake of Hydra’s reveal and SHIELD’s fall, the organization has to reorganize and becomes a much smaller group of renegades.


Guardians of the Galaxy

Because Guardians of the Galaxy is the only film where the bulk of it is not set on Earth, it’s hard to pin down an exact timeline for it. We do know that Peter Quill is taken from earth in the 1980s at the start of the movie, and as someone in his thirties during the events of the film, it would seem to occur during the events of Agents of SHIELD’s first season. Add to that a few Thor characters making an appearance in a mid credits scene, and it fits. (Infinity Stone found here: the power stone.)


Agents of SHIELD S2E1-19

The series took a slightly darker turn in season two, and was allowed to stand on its own two feet for much of the season, not having to bend to movies in its midst. It continues to deal with the reveal of Hydra still existing and SHIELD’s efforts to rebuild. It also introduces the Inhumans into the MCU.



Daredevil is a bit of a conundrum because, while it deals with the effects of the destruction caused in Hell’s Kitchen during the events of the first Avengers film, images of newspapers in the film reveals its date to be in the fall of 2015, setting it possibly after the events of season two of Agents of SHIELD. I’m inclined to put it happening concurrently with the first 19 episodes though due to the tongue in cheek nod to the next movie about machines rising up and taking over. Doesn’t seem like a joke that would have been made if Ultron had already made his move on the planet.


Avengers: Age of Ultron

Ultron takes into account Iron Man’s fears for the planet, Thor remaining on earth, and the experiments Hydra has been doing on the Agents of SHIELD series. It acts to unite the various plot threads from around the MCU with another destructive battle.


Marvel Studios


Agents of SHIELD S2E20-22

The final three episodes of the second season will deal with some of the fallout from Age of Ultron, but also attempt to mend the rifts that have occurred with SHIELD in the organization’s attempt to rebuild.



Not releasing for two months after Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s likely that Ant-Man will occur in a post Ultron world, simply because of where it existed on the development slate for Marvel, so I feel comfortable putting it here.


Now, this list accounts for 90+ hours of cinema. Don’t sit down and watch it all at once. Happy watching, Marvel fans!


Tags: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), Agent Carter (2015), Iron Man (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Daredevil (TV Series) (2015), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015), Marvel Cinematic Universe
About the Author
Having graduated with a BS in Psychology in 2008, Amanda opted not to pursue a scientific field, but freelance writing instead. A bit of a pop culture junkie, ...
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