Marvel Cinematic Universe Internal Chronology

12 minutes

There are many orders to watch the MCU. You could watch it strictly by air dates (which I don’t recommend unless you want to drive yourself nuts); you could watch it by some semblance of chronological present or chronological past; you could just wing it and see what happens. Below is my painstakingly reasoned and constantly in-progress list of what I deem to be the actual internal chronology of the series.

Generally speaking, the films appear to take place in the MCU at the same time they are released in our universe. The TV series are a different story. Notable exceptions, rationales for particular placement, etc. are provided as annotations in both mouseover text and as footnotes. Spoiler warning on the footnotes—for everything, but especially Agents of SHIELD. Additional warning if you’re trying to marathon: this will run over 100 hours solid.

*A large portion of Daredevil S2, Luke Cage S1, and Agents of SHIELD S3 takes place concurrently over the back half of 2015. Please consider this current list extremely tentative as I work out where they all go.

  1. Iron Man (May 2, 2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (June 13, 2008)
  3. One-Shot – The Consultant (September 13, 2011) 1
  4. Iron Man 2 (May 7, 2010) 2
  5. One-Shot – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (October 25, 2011) 3
  6. Thor (May 2, 2011) 4
  7. Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22, 2011) 5
  8. One-Shot – Agent Carter (September 3, 2013) 6
  9. Agent Carter, Season 1 (2015) 7
    1. Agent Carter 1×01 – “Now Is Not the End” (January 6, 2015)
    2. Agent Carter 1×02 – “Bridge and Tunnel” (January 6, 2015)
    3. Agent Carter 1×03 – “Time and Tide” (January 13, 2015)
    4. Agent Carter 1×04 – “The Blitzkrieg Button” (January 27, 2015)
    5. Agent Carter 1×05 – “The Iron Ceiling” (February 3, 2015)
    6. Agent Carter 1×06 – “A Sin to Err” (February 10, 2015)
    7. Agent Carter 1×07 – “SNAFU” (February 17, 2015)
    8. Agent Carter 1×08 – “Valediction” (February 24, 2015)
  10. Agent Carter, Season 2 (2016)
    1. Agent Carter 2×01 – “The Lady in the Lake” (January 19, 2016)
    2. Agent Carter 2×02 – “A View in the Dark” (January 19, 2016)
    3. Agent Carter 2×03 – “Better Angels” (January 26, 2016)
    4. Agent Carter 2×04 – “Smoke and Mirrors” (February 2, 2016)
    5. Agent Carter 2×05 – “The Atomic Job” (February 9, 2016)
    6. Agent Carter 2×06 – “Life of the Party” (February 16, 2016)
    7. Agent Carter 2×07 – “Monsters” (February 16, 2016)
    8. Agent Carter 2×08 – “The Edge of Mystery” (February 23, 2016)
    9. Agent Carter 2×09 – “A Little Song and Dance” (February 23, 2016)
    10. Agent Carter 2×10 – “Hollywood Ending” (March 1, 2016)
  11. The Avengers (May 4, 2012)
  12. One-Shot – Item 47 (September 25, 2012) 8
  13. Iron Man 3 (May 3, 2013) 9
  14. One-Shot – All Hail the King (February 4, 2014) 10
  15. Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episodes 1-7 (2013)
    1. Agents of SHIELD 1×01 – “Pilot” (September 24, 2013)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 1×02 – “0-8-4” (October 1, 2013)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 1×03 – “The Asset” (October 8, 2013)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 1×04 – “Eye Spy” (October 15, 2013)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 1×05 – “The Girl in the Flower Dress” (October 22, 2013)
    6. Agents of SHIELD 1×06 – “FZZT” (November 5, 2013)
    7. Agents of SHIELD 1×07 – “The Hub” (November 12, 2013)
  16. Thor: The Dark World (November 8, 2013)
  17. Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episodes 8-16 (2013-2014)
    1. Agents of SHIELD 1×08 – “The Well” (November 19, 2013)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 1×09 – “Repairs” (November 26, 2013)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 1×10 – “The Bridge” (December 10, 2013)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 1×11 – “The Magical Place” (January 7, 2014)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 1×12 – “Seeds” (January 14, 2014)
    6. Agents of SHIELD 1×13 – “TRACKS” (February 4, 2014)
    7. Agents of SHIELD 1×14 – “TAHITI” (March 4, 2014)
    8. Agents of SHIELD 1×15 – “Yes Men” (March 11, 2014)
    9. Agents of SHIELD 1×16 – “End of the Beginning” (April 1, 2014)
  18. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014)
  19. Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episodes 17-22 (2014)
    1. Agents of SHIELD 1×17 – “Turn, Turn, Turn” (April 8, 2014)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 1×18 – “Providence” (April 15, 2014)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 1×19 – “The Only Light in the Darkness” (April 22, 2014)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 1×20 – “Nothing Personal” (April 29, 2014)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 1×21 – “Ragtag” (May 6, 2014)
    6. Agents of SHIELD 1×22 – “Beginning of the End” (May 13, 2014)
  20. Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1, 2014)
  21. Daredevil, Season 1 (April 10, 2015) 11
    1. Daredevil 1×01 – “Into the Ring”
    2. Daredevil 1×02 – “Cut Man”
    3. Daredevil 1×03 – “Rabbit In a Snowstorm”
    4. Daredevil 1×04 – “In the Blood”
    5. Daredevil 1×05 – “World On Fire”
    6. Daredevil 1×06 – “Condemned”
    7. Daredevil 1×07 – “Stick”
    8. Daredevil 1×08 – “Shadows In the Glass”
    9. Daredevil 1×09 – “Speak of the Devil”
    10. Daredevil 1×10 – “Nelson v. Murdock”
    11. Daredevil 1×11 – “The Path of the Righteous”
    12. Daredevil 1×12 – “The Ones We Leave Behind”
    13. Daredevil 1×13 – “Daredevil”
  22. Jessica Jones, Season 1 (November 20, 2015) 12
    1. Jessica Jones 1×01 – “AKA Ladies Night”
    2. Jessica Jones 1×02 – “AKA Crush Syndrome”
    3. Jessica Jones 1×03 – “AKA It’s Called Whiskey”
    4. Jessica Jones 1×04 – “AKA 99 Friends”
    5. Jessica Jones 1×05 – “AKA The Sandwich Saved Me”
    6. Jessica Jones 1×06 – “AKA You’re a Winner”
    7. Jessica Jones 1×07 – “AKA Top Shelf Perverts”
    8. Jessica Jones 1×08 – “AKA WWJD”
    9. Jessica Jones 1×09 – “AKA Sin Bin”
    10. Jessica Jones 1×10 – “AKA 1,000 Cuts”
    11. Jessica Jones 1×11 – “AKA I’ve Got the Blues”
    12. Jessica Jones 1×12 – “AKA Take a Bloody Number”
    13. Jessica Jones 1×13 – “AKA Smile”
  23. Agents of SHIELD, Season 2 Episodes 1-19 (2014-2015) 13
    1. Agents of SHIELD 2×01 – “Shadows” (September 23, 2014)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 2×02 – “Heavy Is the Head” (September 30, 2014)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 2×03 – “Making Friends and Influencing People” (October 7, 2014)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 2×04 – “Face My Enemy” (October 14, 2014)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 2×05 – “A Hen in the Wolf House” (October 21, 2014)
    6. Agents of SHIELD 2×06 – “A Fractured House” (October 28, 2014)
    7. Agents of SHIELD 2×07 – “The Writing on the Wall” (November 11, 2014)
    8. Agents of SHIELD 2×08 – “The Things We Bury” (November 18, 2014)
    9. Agents of SHIELD 2×09 – “Ye Who Enter Here” (December 2, 2014)
    10. Agents of SHIELD 2×10 – “What They Become” (December 9, 2014)
    11. Agents of SHIELD 2×11 – “Aftershocks” (March 3, 2015)
    12. Agents of SHIELD 2×12 – “Who You Really Are” (March 10, 2015)
    13. Agents of SHIELD 2×13 – “One of Us” (March 17, 2015)
    14. Agents of SHIELD 2×14 – “Love in the Time of Hydra” (March 24, 2015)
    15. Agents of SHIELD 2×15 – “One Door Closes” (March 31, 2015)
    16. Agents of SHIELD 2×16 – “Afterlife” (April 7, 2015)
    17. Agents of SHIELD 2×17 – “Melinda” (April 14, 2015)
    18. Agents of SHIELD 2×18 – “The Frenemy of My Enemy” (April 21, 2015)
    19. Agents of SHIELD 2×19 – “The Dirty Half Dozen” (April 28, 2015)
  24. Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1, 2015)
  25. Agents of SHIELD, Season 2 Episodes 20-22
    1. Agents of SHIELD 2×20 – “Scars” (May 5, 2015)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 2×21 – “S.O.S. Part 1” (May 12, 2015)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 2×22 – “S.O.S. Part 2” (May 12, 2015)
  26. Ant-Man (June 29, 2015)
  27. Daredevil, Season 2 Episode 1-6 (March 18, 2016) 14
    1. Daredevil 2×01 – “Bang” 15
    2. Daredevil 2×02 – “Dogs to a Gunfight”
    3. Daredevil 2×03 – “New York’s Finest”
    4. Daredevil 2×04 – “Penny and Dime”
    5. Daredevil 2×05- “Kinbaku”
    6. Daredevil 2×06 – “Regrets Only”
  28. Luke Cage, Season 1 Episodes 1-4 (September 30 2016)
    1. Luke Cage 1×01 – “Moment of Truth” 16
    2. Luke Cage 1×02 – “Code of the Streets”
    3. Luke Cage 1×03 – “Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?”
    4. Luke Cage 1×04 – “Step In the Arena” 17
  29. Daredevil, Season 2 Episodes 7-11 (March 18, 2016)
    1. Daredevil 2×07 – “Semper Fidelis”
    2. Daredevil 2×08 – “Guilty as Sin”
    3. Daredevil 2×09 – “Seven Minutes in Heaven”
    4. Daredevil 2×10 – “The Man in the Box” 18
    5. Daredevil 2×11 – “.380”
  30. Luke Cage, Season 1 Episodes 5-7 (September 30, 2016)
    1. Luke Cage 1×05 – “Just to Get a Rep” 19
    2. Luke Cage 1×06 – “Suckas Need Bodyguards”
    3. Luke Cage 1×07 – “Manifest”
  31.  Daredevil, Season 2 Episode 12 (March 18, 2016)
    1. Daredevil 2×12 – “The Dark at the End of the Tunnel”
  32. Agents of SHIELD, Season 3 Episodes 1-5
    1. Agents of SHIELD 3×01 – “Laws of Nature” (September 29, 2015)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 3×02 – “Purpose in the Machine” (October 6, 2015) 20
    3. Agents of SHIELD 3×03 – “A Wanted (In)Human” (October 13, 2015)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 3×04 – “Devils You Know” (October 20, 2015)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 3×05 – “4,722 Hours” (October 27, 2015) 21
  33. Luke Cage, Season 1 Episodes 8-10 (September 30, 2016)
    1. Luke Cage 1×08 – “Blowin’ Up the Spot”
    2. Luke Cage 1×09 – “DWYCK” 22
    3. Luke Cage 1×10 – “Take it Personal”
  34. Agents of SHIELD, Season 3 Episodes 6-10
    1. Agents of SHIELD 3×06 – “Among Us Hide” (November 3, 2015)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 3×07 – “Chaos Theory” (November 10, 2015)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 3×08 – “Many Heads, One Tale” (November 17, 2015)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 3×09 – “Closure” (December 1, 2015)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 3×10 – “Maveth” (December 8, 2015)
  35.  Luke Cage, Season 1 Episodes 11-13 (September 30, 2015)
    1. Luke Cage 1×11 – “Now You’re Mine”
    2. Luke Cage 1×12 – “Soliloquy of Chaos”
    3. Luke Cage 1×13 – “You Know My Steez”
  36.  Daredevil, Season 1 Episode 13 (March 18, 2016)
    1. Daredevil 2×13 – “A Cold Day in Hell’s Kitchen” 23
  37. Agents of SHIELD, Season 3 Episodes 11-19
    1. Agents of SHIELD 3×11 – “Bouncing Back” (March 8, 2016) 24
    2. Agents of SHIELD 3×12 – “The Inside Man” (March 15, 2016)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 3×13 – “Parting Shot” (March 22, 2016)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 3×14 – “Watchdogs” (March 29, 2016)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 3×15 – “Spacetime” (April 5, 2016)
    6. Agents of SHIELD 3×16 – “Paradise Lost” (April 12, 2016)
    7. Agents of SHIELD 3×17 – “The Team” (April 19, 2016)
    8. Agents of SHIELD 3×18 – “The Singularity” (April 26, 2016)
    9. Agents of SHIELD 3×19 – “Failed Experiments” (May 3, 2016)
  38. Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
  39. Agents of SHIELD, Season 3 Episodes 20-22
    1. Agents of SHIELD 3×20 – “Emancipation” (May 10, 2016)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 3×21 – “Absolution” (May 17, 2016)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 3×22 – “Ascension” (May 17, 2016) 25
  40. Agents of SHIELD, Season 4 Episodes 1-6
    1. Agents of SHIELD 4×01 – “The Ghost” (September 20, 2016)
    2. Agents of SHIELD 4×02 – “Meet the New Boss” (September 27, 2016)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 4×03 – “Uprising” (October 11, 2016)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 4×04 – “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire” (October 18, 2016)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 4×05 – “Lockup” (October 25, 2016)
    6. Agents of SHIELD 4×06 – “The Good Samaritan” (November 1, 2016)
  41. Doctor Strange (November 4, 2016) 26
  42. Agents of SHIELD, Season 4 Episodes 7-13
    1. Agents of SHIELD 4×07 – “Deals With Our Devils” (November 29th, 2016) 27
    2. Agents of SHIELD 4×08 – “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics” (December 6, 2016)
    3. Agents of SHIELD 4×09 – “Broken Promises” (January 9, 2017)
    4. Agents of SHIELD 4×10 – “The Patriot” (January 16, 2017)
    5. Agents of SHIELD 4×11 – “Wake Up” (January 23, 2017) 28
    6. Agents of SHIELD 4×12 – “Hot Potato Soup” (January 31, 2017)
    7. Agents of SHIELD 4×13 – “BOOM” (February 7, 2017)
    8. Agents of SHIELD 4×14 – “The Man Behind the Shield” (February 14, 2017)
    9. Agents of SHIELD 4×15 – “Self Control” (February 21, 2017)

Footnotes:

  1. Released as an extra on the Thor Blu-ray
  2. Technically, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger all take place during the same week according to an Avengers prequel comic released by Marvel. Since Pepper says that Christine Everhart did “quite a spread on Tony last year” that complicates both when exactly these three films are taking place (2011?) and when 2008’s Iron Man takes place (2010, then?) Wibbly. Or, we could just claim that “last year” is in the metaphorical sense.
  3. Released as an extra on the Captain America: The First Avenger Blu-ray
  4. See footnote 2
  5. See footnote 2
  6. Released as an extra on the Iron Man 3 Blu-ray. Additionally, this is the one MCU entry that is now dubious canon and possibly should be considered more as an experimental pilot for the Agent Carter television series. The one-shot states that it’s one year after Captain America: The First Avenger ends, but also features Howard Stark and Peggy Carter fouding SHIELD.
  7. Agent Carter is a spur to the main MCU present-day storyline and hence can be watched any time you wish. After Captain America: The First Avenger, you can either choose to take the Agent Carter spur or continue on with The Avengers.
  8. Released as an extra on The Avengers Blu-ray
  9. Iron Man 3 was released in May of 2013 yet is set at Christmas so I’m presuming it takes place during December of 2012.
  10. Released as an extra on the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray
  11. Daredevil is nebulous chronologically. It has no defined time period, no dates, and vague mentions of what happened in The Avengers but nothing concrete enough to place it. As it definitely takes place before Jessica Jones, and because I can place Jessica Jones (see footnotes 10 and 11), I’ve put it immediately before JJ in the timeline. Daredevil could just as plausibly fit anytime after Avengers, including before IM3 and before or during AoS S1. DD placement is subject to change.
  12. 1×02 “AKA Crush Syndrome” has a concrete date of January 20, 2014 being “one year ago.” Since Jessica Jones has snow on the ground and everyone wearing coats etc, I presume that puts it in early 2015. Which actually has it taking place before the second season of Agents of SHIELD (see footnote 11.)
  13. S2 of Agents of SHIELD had a nearly three-month long hiatus between 2×10 and 2×11 however, narratively, not more than a day or two passes between the episodes. Combined with Talbot mentioning that Coulson “evaded [him] for an entire winter” in 2×01 when we experienced a summer passing during hiatus, this renders the entire first half of the second season a sort of precognitive vision of March or April 2015. The flashback labeled “One Year Ago” in 2×20 I’m going to take as hyperbole since that would mean Simmons went undercover at Hydra almost immediately after 1×22 when, according to 3×03, she was around for months afterward. Additionally, in 3×05 Simmons’ birthday video would be from September of her time undercover which, by air dates, would have been almost exactly when she returned to SHIELD and it’s obvious that Fitz was still in decent mental shape when he made it. This leads me to further conclude that S2 E1-10 was a future-vision when it aired. Agents of SHIELD has the wibbliest conception of time, but it’s also the most fun when they get it to work.
  14. The back half of Daredevil‘s second season overlaps considerably with the first half of Agents of SHIELD‘s third season. See various footnotes.
  15. 2×01 opens by mentioning the New York City heat, putting the start in the summer of 2015.
  16. As Misty and Luke aren’t freezing to death in NYC outside at night without coats, I’m presuming this is summer.
  17. As with “4,722 Hours,” this episode is almost entirely flashback and could fit somewhere around Avengers and Iron Man 3 I think.
  18. All of the trees are autumn colors outside of the courthouse.
  19. Claire discusses the ninja incident at the hospital.
  20. 4,722 hours from the May 12th air date of the season 2 finale sets “Purpose in the Machine” on or around November 24, 2015.
  21. If you wanna get really technical about it, you can watch 3×05 after 2×22 or Ant-Man and before 3×01. Honestly, it might track better. Or it might expose S3 E01-04 as the blatant false promises that they truly are.
  22. The dashcam footage shows a date of December 1 and there is snow in Georgia.
  23. There’s a calendar on the wall in the police station outright stating that it’s December 2015, lest we think all the talk of Christmas is hyperbole. (Continuity gaffs also feature a calendar that says it’s September 2015 in the same scene.)
  24. “Three months from now” sets a good approximation of when season 3 actually ended, hence the back half of the season takes place generally when each episode airs.
  25. “Six months later” serves the same function as 3×11’s “three months from now,” either slightly compressing the second season or starting season 4 in November-ish of 2016.
  26. Currently unknown
  27. Mack’s photo of his daughter is dated “4/20/2006″—see next note.
  28. Episode takes place around 4/20/2017—eleven years since Mack’s daughter’s birth.