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The Marvel Cinematic Universe contains dozens of movies and Disney+ TV shows, making it hard to position the Marvel movies in order to watch. The MCU shows no signs of slowing down its release schedule, so it might be tricky for an MCU rewatch or to delve into the whole MCU for the very first time. As well as new heroes in Disney+ shows, the MCU now has one-shot TV specials too. As the MCU Phase 4 finished, it referenced older movies more often, even with some forgotten films, like The Incredible Hulk. Even Spider-Man: No Way Home called back movies not even in the MCU.

While Avengers: Endgame concluded many of the major plotlines, new threats arrived in Phase 4. However, the references to earlier parts of the canon go well beyond cameo roles. Starting an MCU rewatch with Phase 4 could leave viewers completely in the dark about key points that have been central to every 2021 and 2022 installment of the MCU from WandaVision to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Perhaps most notably, Black Widow dealt with Phase 2 events and its successive plot points and served as a flashback for the franchise as a whole. This makes it hard to know the Marvel movies in order to watch that won't leave a viewer confused about the events.

How To Watch The MCU In Timeline Order

She-Hulk and MCU Timeline

Two things complicate the position of the Marvel movies in order to watch, and one of them is only getting more complicated: knowing which movies and TV shows are part of the MCU canon. The Sony Spider-Man Villain Universe was originally an entirely separate entity; however, with progressing deals between Sony and Marvel and hints in the latest films and trailers, it looks like those two worlds might fully collide. Similarly, many Marvel TV shows like Daredevil were made before the Marvel Disney+ shows, and it seemed like those had been decanonized.

That changed when Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock popped up in No Way Home, appeared as Daredevil in She-Hulk, and had his own Disney+ show confirmed with Daredevil: Born Again. As it is still unclear how those Netflix shows connect to the MCU, they are not a part of the canon at this time. The other (and more easily solved) issue is knowing how to view Marvel movies in order to watch them. While the release order might seem the obvious choice, the events and the release dates don't always line up (just as with Star Wars), but it might be better to watch them in chronological order.

MCU Phase 1 Watch Order

The Avengers together and looking up among the wreck in 2012's The Avengers.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Captain Marvel
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • The Avengers

Related: Phase One Explained

MCU Phase 2 Watch Order

Age of Ultron Avengers Roster
  • Iron Man 3
  • Thor: The Dark World
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ant-Man

Related: Phase Two Explained

MCU Phase 3 Watch Order

steve rogers captain america with shield and mjolnir in avengers endgame
  • Doctor Strange
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Black Widow
  • Black Panther
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • Ant-Man & the Wasp
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home

Related: Phase Three Explained

MCU Phase 4 Watch Order

jonathan majors as he who remains in mcu phase 4 loki
  • WandaVision (Disney+ series)
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+ series)
  • Loki (Disney+ Series)
  • What If...? (Disney+ series)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Eternals
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Hawkeye (Disney+ series)
  • Moon Knight (Disney+ series)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Ms. Marvel (Disney+ series)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Werewolf By Night (Disney+ special)
  • She-Hulk: Attorney At Law (Disney+ series)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Disney+ special)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Related: Phase Four Explained

MCU Phase 5 Watch Order

kang the conqueror with the multiverse in ant-man and the wasp quantumania
  • Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania

The MCU Rewatch: The Thanos Saga

avengers infinity war and endgame with thanos in the mcu infinity saga

Some of the biggest breaks from the release order when it came to the Marvel movies in order to watch come in the Phase 1 section. Captain America: The First Avenger was the last movie released before The Avengers, but the majority of the film takes place in the 1940s and serves as a good setup for the rest of the universe. Captain Marvel was originally released late in Phase 3, but takes place in the 1990s and does a lot to establish the character of Nick Fury in a way that informs the viewing of his Avengers Initiative.

What If...? episode 3, "What If... The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?" recently confirmed the much-debated chronological order for three of the MCU's Phase 1 movies which all take place within the same week. Despite their release order, Iron Man 2 opens first, followed by Thor with Mjolnir's appearance in New Mexico, and finally, The Incredible Hulk closes out Nick Fury's busiest week to date. Phase 2's only change is to include the 2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as it takes place only a few months after the original (an opportunity to include Baby Groot) and before the events of the other movies.

Phase 3, on the other hand, is more complicated as Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp were both released out of sync with where their events would have taken place in the MCU timeline. Additionally, the Phase 4 movie Black Widow takes place during the end of Captain America: Civil War, and (aside from raising some possible continuity questions about later films), it makes the most sense to view Black Widow directly after Civil War. The one exception is its post-credits scene, which is set around the same time as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

The MCU Rewatch: The Multiverse Saga

MCU Phase 5 Slate and Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The MCU Phase 4 TV shows make the most sense when viewed in their release order. Both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier take place in the direct aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. While Loki's events begin in 2012 within the MCU timeline, its relationship to time quickly becomes a little strange, and the series, like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals, draws on the events of movies up to and including Avengers: Endgame and directly sets up several events that will only begin to matter within Phase 4 and beyond.

One of the few complexities to the Phase 4 MCU rewatch order comes with Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye. However, there are clues in Hawkeye that show it's unfolding after No Way Home's story. Moon Knight and Doctor Strange 2 are the first MCU projects to take place in 2025. This is evidenced by Disney+ listing Moon Knight after Hawkeye, which takes place in December 2024. The Doctor Strange sequel takes place in the aftermath of No Way Home, which took place in December of the same year. Ms. Marvel is set after Hawkeye according to the official chronology listed on Disney+.

Thor: Love and Thunder, takes place before shows like She-Hulk and Werewolf By Night. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special also occurs after Thor: Love and Thunder according to James Gunn. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever takes place after all the other Disney+ shows on Earth, as nothing was mentioned yet about T'Challa's death and the world's view of Wakanda as a threat. Finally, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania sets up the next major saga, as Kang finally showed up in all his glory, and Phase 5 is underway, allowing a chance to organize the Marvel movies in order to watch the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Key Release Dates