The ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe guide

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Are you trying to understand what the Marvel Cinematic Universe hoopla is all about? Have you heard about it for years and still don’t know why people are so excited about it? If you’re someone who hasn’t seen any of the movies, you are definitely in the minority. But it’s never too late to learn more about them. Maybe you are wondering what has happened to the film industry that these movies seem to do better than almost anything else. It’s rather simple. It’s because they have recognizable characters who are superheroes and have storylines that bring them together.

If you’re not buying that explanation. then maybe you need to try and understand more about it. There are many characters, storylines, movies, TV shows, and more that have been turned into content based on characters mostly created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Not sure what all of this means for you? Then this is a post you need to check out. We’ve taken a deep dive into all things MCU and laid out what you need to know and some stuff you (probably) don’t need to know.

Understanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one thing. Keeping track of it all is another. We’re here to help you do both. We’ll take a look at some of the most pressing questions fans have about the movies and TV shows. That way, everyone can enjoy those superhero stories a little more.

How should you start in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Actor Chris Hemsworth playing Thor in Marvel’s first Thor movie. Image source: Marvel Studios

Before you even think about the movies, you should think about taking a look at the comics. You’ll be able to see where your favorite superheroes came from and how they end up where they are now through many different storylines. If you didn’t know, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is chosen by mostly following certain storylines that connect Marvel superheroes. But there are so many other stories that involve your favorites. So, if you find yourself really interested in Marvel, you should check out the comics.

What is the reason that the Avengers are so popular?

Nick-Fury
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Iron Man (2009). Image source: Marvel Studios

For the next segment, there may be some spoilers that you’ll see. But we promise not to give away too much information to those who haven’t seen the films. For those who have, this may be information that you knew, but bear with us. If you are wondering why you hear the word “Avengers” so much when people talk about the MCU, it’s because of Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) “Avengers Initiative.” That’s something that you find out about in the first MCU movie, Iron Man.

From there, you see the building of the Avengers, an intergalactic team of superheroes that grows with each movie. A lot of the most popular superheroes are members of the Avengers. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) are some of the original ones that you meet over the course of the films. More superheroes join as the storylines progress.

What’s the difference between Avengers and Justice League?

Justice League
A shot from Justice League (2017). Image source: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Avengers come from Marvel comics and Justice League is based on characters from DC comics. The Avengers consists of the superheroes we mentioned above mostly. Justice League includes Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). If you want to watch more from those superheroes, you can follow the DC Extended Universe. There are 11 films in the DCEU officially so far. They are:

  • Man of Steel
  • Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • Suicide Squad
  • Wonder Woman
  • Justice League
  • Aquaman
  • Shazam!
  • Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
  • Wonder Woman 1984
  • Zack Snyder’s Justice League
  • The Suicide Squad

Upcoming DCEU films include Black Adam, The Flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

What was the story in Marvel’s The Avengers?

Without getting too in-depth, basically, the Avengers are brought together by Nick Fury to help save the world. As you would expect when it comes down to a superhero story, there is someone trying to use powers to take over the world and a gang of superheroes has to get together to try and stop them. It’s what makes superhero stories great. It’s usually the most exciting type of story. In the film Marvel’s The Avengershere is the synopsis that Marvel Studios released.

When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins.

While this may seem like the beginning of the team, the pieces were in place before this film.

What are the phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Black-Widow
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow. Image source: Marvel Studios

As we stated in our guide on how to watch them based on storyline rather than how they were chronologically released, the movies in the MCU jump back and forth in time a bunch. Some of them take place around the same time and follow each other. But others have parts that take place years before other movies ever happened. We saw that last year with Black Widow coming out after a massive delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Black Widow was set before multiple movies that came out before it. The same is true with Captain Marvel, which came out in 2019 but takes place in 1995. We got to see the backstory of both Black Widow and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson).

The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe has been laid out in phases. The President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, helps oversee the planning and orchestrating of the films and TV shows that are included in the MCU. The Phases helped establish general overarching stories that fit during certain time periods in the MCU timeline.

Which films are a part of which phases?

You’re able to watch all of the movies that have come out for Marvel, plus all of the TV shows, with a Disney Plus subscription. Here is where we stand so far for the Phases of the MCU and what we have to look forward to in the future.

MCU Phase 1

  • Iron Man (May 2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (June 2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (May 2010)
  • Thor (May 2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (July 2011)
  • Avengers Assemble (May 2012)

MCU Phase 2

  • Iron Man 3 (May 2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (November 2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier  (April 2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (August 2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 2015)
  • Ant-Man (July 2015)

MCU Phase 3

  • Captain America: Civil War (May 2016)
  • Doctor Strange (November 2016)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (November, 2017)
  • Black Panther  (February 2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (April 2018)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 2018)
  • Captain Marvel (March 2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (April 2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 2019)

MCU Phase 4

  • Wandavision (TV series) (January 2021)
  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (TV series) (March 2021)
  • Loki (TV series) (June 2021)
  • Black Widow (July 2021)
  • What If…? (August 2021)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 2021)
  • Eternals (November 2021)
  • Hawkeye (TV series) (November 2021)
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 2021)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (May 6, 2022)
  • Ms. Marvel (TV series) (Summer 2022)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (July 8, 2022)

MCU Phase 5

  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11, 2022)
  • The Guardians Of The Galaxy Holiday Special (coming during the holidays in 2022)
  • The Marvels (aka Captain Marvel 2) (February 17, 2023)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023)
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (July 28, 2023)
  • Blade (release date TBD)
  • She-Hulk (release date TBD)

More future projects

  • Loki season 2
  • X-Men ’97 (2023)
  • Fantastic Four
  • Deadpool 3
  • Armor Wars
  • I Am Groot
  • Ironheart
  • Moon Knight
  • Secret Invasion
  • What If…? season 2
  • Echo
  • Spider-Man: Freshman Year
  • Agatha: House of Harkness
  • Marvel Zombies

Is Avengers: Endgame the last Avengers movie?

A still from Avengers: Endgame. Image source: Marvel Studios

Avengers: Endgame is notably the last film you see on the list above that has the word “Avengers” in it. That would potentially imply that it is the last Avengers movie. The answer to the question in this subhead is a little bit of yes and a little bit of no. As you can see, we get another Thor movie. We get another Black Panther movie. We got a Hawkeye TV series. So there are projects that include the Avengers, original and newer members.

As for big new Avengers crossover movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, no specific titles have been announced. That said, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has confirmed that we’ll get new Avengers movies down the road. We’ve started to see some of the newer characters in recent MCU TV shows and films that could take up bigger roles going forward.

Has the Marvel Avengers series ended?

There are Avengers films in each of the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We are currently in the middle of the fourth phase and there are no announced Avengers films for both Phases 4 and 5. But that doesn’t mean the series has ended. There have been rumors about Avengers 5 for years. We’ll just have to wait and see what Feige and Co. have in store. But in all likelihood, we’ll get more Avengers (just not with the characters we’ve known for years).

NOTE: More information below is filled with spoilers. We take a look at some much-asked questions by fans when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why was Captain Marvel barely in Avengers: Endgame?

Captain Marvel Image source: Marvel Studios

If you’ve watched Avengers: Endgame, you’ve seen that Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel is not a focal point of the film. That’s because, as awesome of a superhero as Captain Marvel is, Marvel wanted to highlight the original Avengers in what could have been their final roles. Captain Marvel comes in to help towards the end of the film, but Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of the film, wanted to pay tribute to the heroes we came to love.

What is Captain Marvel’s role in Avengers: Endgame?

Carol Danvers comes through to rescue Tony Stark at the beginning of the film. She then isn’t seen until the final battle. It was eventually explained that she was working on other worlds to handle what was happening during Thanos’s snap in Avengers: Infinity War. She can travel through time, which is a power that allowed her to help other worlds put their affairs back in order. She came back in time to help the Avengers take down Thanos.

Who is your favorite superhero from the Avengers team?

Avengers: Endgame
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Image source: Marvel Studios

This is a subjective question. But you’ll be able to pick one based on what your favorite superpowers are. Running down a list of abilities by the superhero.

  • Tony Stark/Iron Man – super strength, flight, artificial intelligence (all through suit)
  • Steve Rogers/Captain America – speed, stamina, acrobat, skilled fighter, Vibranium shield
  • Bruce Banner/Hulk – superhuman strength, long-distance jumping, durability and regeneration, genius intelligence, Hulk smash
  • Clint Barton/Hawkeye – master archer, combat expert, skilled tactician, specialized weapons
  • Thor – summoning Mjolnir (hammer), flight, God of thunder, Stormbreaker and the Bifrost
  • Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow – master fighter, strength and agility, widow’s bite, master hacker

What about all of the other superheroes?

As we know, there are other superheroes who have been a part of the Infinity Saga and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The most popular is Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Spider-Man wasn’t introduced into the MCU until Captain America: Civil War. The Spider-Man storylines in the MCU are different from the earlier Spider-Man films that you may remember that Sony produced.

Spider-Man is typically a huge fan favorite. But Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), the Guardians of the Galaxy (Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Wong (Benedict Wong), Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Shuri (Letitia Wright), and M’Baku (Winston Duke) all have fought on the side of the Avengers. There are so many out there for you to choose from.

What was Thanos after?

Avengers: Infinity War - Thanos
Screenshot from Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos using the Infinity Gauntlet. Image source: Marvel Studios

Thanos (Josh Brolin) aka the Mad Titan is on an intergalactic quest to collect all of the Infinity Stones in order to save the universe from overpopulation by wiping out half of it. He went across the universe looking for the Infinity Stones to use their powers to achieve his goal. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) were raised as his daughters and he told them about how eliminating half of the population at random without prejudice would help save his planet, Titan, from overpopulation.

He had the Infinity Gauntlet made in order to hold all of the stones. The Infinity Stones are as follows:

  • Time Stone – Grants the ability to control time
  • Space Stone – Grants the ability to travel between places instantaneously
  • Reality Stone – Grants the ability to change reality
  • Mind Stone – Grants the ability to control minds
  • Power Stone – Grants the ability to manipulate energy and unnaturally powerful strength
  • Soul Stone – Grants the ability to control a person’s soul

We first see Thanos in the post-credits scene in the first Avengers film. And he poses a threat throughout the rest of the “Infinity Saga” (Phases 1-3) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

What is the future of the MCU?

There are a lot of places that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going. As we’ve shown you above, there are plenty of titles that have already been announced as we are in the middle of Phase 4. Marvel’s Eternals debuted in November and Spider-Man: No Way Home came out in December and has grossed $1.74 billion so far.

With the television shows that have come out, such as WandaVision, Loki, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and What If?… we’ve seen that the multiverse where the MCU is moving towards. Embracing that gives you so many more storyline options. Spider-Man: No Way Home dives deeps into the multiverse more and that is how the Spider-Man stories and villains of previous films linked in with other timelines.

In less than four months, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness will obviously deal with the multiverse. It’s in the title. There is so much speculation as to what is going to happen. We’re just going to have to see where it all lands us. We’ll be seeing more of Captain Marvel coming up. There is more content from the Guardians of the Galaxy as well. And, as long as you have a Disney Plus account, there’s more television series that is going to be tied directly into all of this, as Hawkeye wrapped up recently.

See how to watch all the Marvel movies in order so you enjoy them the way Marvel intended!

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