Monday 1 July 2019

The Marvel Cinematic Universe Timeline (updated)

Following the release of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, I thought it might be interesting to run down a timeline of major events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and the relevant backstory.

This is an update of an article published in April 2019.

Nick Fury of SHIELD, who plays a decisive role in assembling the Avengers.

Some notes on this timeline: the canonicity of the spin-off comic books, books and TV shows is open to question (particularly the films' resistance to incorporate the large-scale events of Agents of SHIELD or the Netflix series), so I've restricted things to the movies themselves and their direct publicity materials.

It's also well-known that the team at Disney have themselves retconned the timeline several times, resulting in some on-screen dating evidence that is flat-out wrong and has to be ignored (such as the "Eight years later," title card in Spider-Man: Homecoming). At other times writers seem to have assumed that movies have taken place in the year they were released and then ignored information to the contrary, creating more problems.

The Timeline at the MCU Wiki was useful in assembling the list, although their tendency to use weighted averages to try to pinpoint precise dates feels somewhat inaccurate. I have followed their reasoning in some matters (particularly the convincing arguments for putting Iron Mann in 2009 versus 2008) but have deviated from it where it feels necessary.

For the most part, the precise dating of each film and event is much less important than the order the events take place in.


The Infinity Stones.


Before Iron Man

The Beginning of Time
  • Six singularities collapse into concentrated ingots known as the Infinity Stones, each tied to a particular facet of existence: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Soul and Time. They are watched over by the enigmatic “Cosmic Entities” (Guardians of the Galaxy).
  • The Celestial Ego, the Living Planet, comes into existence (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol II).
  • Eson the Searcher, a Celestial of immense power, takes possession of the Power Stone and uses it to destroy several civilisations. A group of “cosmic beings” seize the Stone and place it in an orb, hiding it on the remote planet Morag for safekeeping (Guardians of the Galaxy).
c. 2,500,000 BC
  • A vibranium meteorite crashes into Earth, on the continent of Africa (Black Panther).
c. 5000 BC-1 BC
  • The five tribes of Wakanda are unified by Bashenga, the first Black Panther (Black Panther).
  • Agamotto forms the Masters of the Mystic Arts, an order devoted to defending Earth from other-dimensional enemies. Agamotto creates the Eye of Agamotto from the Time Stone, which has found its way to Earth (Doctor Strange). These events all took place no more specifically than "thousands of years ago."
c. 2988 BC
  • The First Battle of Svartalfheim, at the time of the Convergence. Bor, King of Asgard, defeats the Dark Elves led by Malekith. Most of the Dark Elves are wiped out, but Malekith and a small band of allies escape by going into suspended animation. The Aether, a dark energy created by the Reality Stone, is successfully sealed away by the Asgardians (Thor: The Dark World).
c. 2983 BC
  • Odin born (Thor: The Dark World). This assumes that Odin’s death in Thor: Ragnarok is a result of old age and he reached the approximate 5,000-year maximum lifespan for Asgardians as related in Thor: The Dark World.
c. 1000 BC - 500 AD
  • Odin’s first daughter, Hela, is born. Odin embarks on a war against the other Nine Realms, conquering them in battle and forcing them to pay tribute to Asgard. After his victory, Odin becomes more interested in peace and diplomacy, to Hela’s disgust. Hela rebels against her father and is imprisoned in Hel for her crimes (Thor: Ragnarok).
  • During this time period Odin defeats Surtur and imprisons him in Muspelheim (Thor: Ragnarok). Thor believes this happened “half a million years ago” but this is probably hyperbole.
c. 500-700 AD
  • The Asgardians visit Earth and become acquainted with the Norse and Dane cultures, becoming worshipped as gods by them (Thor).
  • Thor born, according to the events of Thor (where Loki is definitely born in 965 AD) and the confirmation in Thor: Ragnarok that Loki and Thor are the same age. However, this conflicts with Thor’s claim to be 1,500 years old in Avengers: Infinity War, which would put his birth date at c. 517 AD.
  • The Battle of Tønsberg, Norway. The Frost Giants stage an invasion of Earth, but the Asgardians led by King Odin come to the aid of their human allies and defeat the Frost Giants, driving them back to their homeworld of Jotunheim. Odin finds an abandoned child of the Frost Giant king and takes him home to be raised as his own son, naming him Loki (Thor).
c. 1014
  • The Kree and Nova Empires go to war (Guardians of the Galaxy).
c. 1409
  • The Space Stone or Tesseract, having been in the safekeeping of Asgard, is left on Earth for unknown reasons, possibly to help safeguard it from further incursions from Jotunheim. It remains in Tønsberg for the next 500 years (Captain America: The First Avenger, the Avengers/MCU Timeline).
  • The planet Titan (not related to Saturn’s moon) becomes overpopulated and its resources dwindle. One of the Titans, Thanos, suggests that they dispassionately wipe out 50% of the population to save the rest. His plan is dismissed as insane. Within a few decades, however, Titan, has become completely uninhabitable and most of the Titans are wiped out (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Thanos embarks on a plan to destroy 50% of the population of the universe, planet by planet if needed, to spare it the same fate as Titan (Avengers: Infinity War). He recruits the Chitauri to his cause (The Avengers)
  • Bucky Barnes born in New York City on 10 March (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Barnes’ date of birth in the Smithsonian is given as both 1916 and 1917, but 1917 seems more likely.
  • Howard Stark is born on 15 August (The Avengers). Stark’s date of birth is provided on one of several SHIELD dossiers prepared for the film.
  • Steve Rogers born in New York City on 4 July (Captain America: The First AvengerThe Winter Soldier). Rogers is one year younger than Barnes.
  • Peggy Carter is born on 9 April (Captain America: Civil War).
  • Abraham Erskine begins developing a “super soldier serum” in Germany (Captain America: The First Avenger).
  • German military officer and mysticist Johann Schmidt discovers references to the Tesseract and begins searching for it. At some point after this Schmidt founds HYDRA, Nazi Germany's top secret special weapons research division (Captain America: The First Avenger). 
  • Steve Rogers’ mother dies, leaving him an orphan. His best friend Bucky Barnes promises to stay with him “until the end of the line” (Captain America: The First Avenger).
  • World War II begins.
  • The Strategic Scientific Reserve is founded in the United States to counter the threat of Nazi Germany’s HYDRA (despite the USA’s ostensible neutrality). Howard Stark, a young prodigy and already the founder of Stark Industries, joins the organisation. Peggy Carter joins the SOE in the UK and is attached to the SSR as a liaison (Captain America: The First Avenger).
  • Abraham Erskine uses his super soldier serum on Johann Schmidt, but the formula is not yet ready. Schmidt is transformed into the Red Skull. Shortly afterwards, Erskine is extracted from Europe by Peggy Carter. He agrees to join the SSR and develop his serum for the Allies instead (Captain America: The First Avenger). 
  • Japan attacks US military and civilian holdings in Hawaii and the Philippines on 7 December, bringing the United States into the war. Four days later, Nazi Germany declares war on the USA.
  • March – Johann Schmidt (Red Skull) and Dr. Arnim Zola steal the Tesseract from the town of Tønsberg in Norway and start trying to harness its powers for their own (Captain America: The First Avenger).
  • Steve Rogers rejected for US military service. He is finally accepted after agreeing to become a guinea pig for US medical experiments to dramatically enhance his strength and agility. The experiments are destroyed immediately afterwards by Hydra agents. Rogers becomes Captain America (Captain America: The First Avenger).
  • Bucky Barnes is captured by HYDRA and experimented on by Arnim Zola for several months. He is rescued by Rogers (Captain America: The First Avenger).
  • Bucky Barnes is apparently killed in action, but in reality, is saved due to the experiments performed on him by Zola. He is found by Soviet troops and imprisoned (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
  • Arnim Zola is captured and imprisoned (Captain America: The First Avenger). 
  • Hydra and the Red Skull are defeated. The Red Skull is sucked into the Tesseract. Captain America crashes in the Arctic and his body is frozen in the ice. Howard Stark recovers the Tesseract but is unable to locate Rogers (Captain America: The First Avenger). 
  • Red Skull is teleported by the Tesseract to the planet Vormir, the location of the Soul Stone. He realises his destiny is to guard the Stone and warn others of the power of the Infinity Stones (Avengers: Infinity War). 
  • Howard Stark proposes the founding of SHIELD and invites Peggy Carter to join him in setting it up (Agent Carter one-shot).
  • The founding of SHIELD is delayed when Stark is framed for sabotage and murder. Carter helps him clear his name (Agent Carter: Season 1).
  • Agent Carter helps defeat a new threat in Los Angeles (Agent Carter: Season 2).
Mid-to-Late 1940s
  • Captain America time travels from 2023 (via 2012 and 1970) to join Peggy Carter. They start a relationship. It is unclear if this is within the original timeline, or creates a brand-new splinter timeline (Avengers: Endgame).
  • SHIELD is officially founded, with Howard Stark and Peggy Carter among its founding members.
  • Arnim Zola is released from prison and is then recruited into the nascent SHIELD. Unbeknown to the other members, he secretly refounds HYDRA as a secret organisation within SHIELD (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
  • Zola learns of Bucky Barnes’ location and frees him, but then turns him into a mindwiped HYDRA assassin known as the Winter Soldier, cryogenically freezing him between missions (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). 
  • Nicholas J. Fury is born in Hunstville, Alabama (Captain Marvel).
  • The first Stark World Expo is held at Flushing Meadows, New York (Iron Man 2).
c. 1955
  • Yondu Udonta is sold as a Kree slave as a young child (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2).
  • President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by the Winter Soldier on 22 November (Captain America: The Winter Solder).
  • Phil Coulson is born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin (The Avengers publicity material). Anton Vanko and Howard Stark work together on Arc Reactor technology, as part of Project Unity. The second Stark World Expo is held (Iron Man 2).
  • Anton Vanko is accused of espionage and deported from the United States. He is exiled to Siberia for 20 years in the Soviet Union (Iron Man 2).
Late 1960s
  • Hank Pym, a scientist at SHIELD, develops the technology and ability to shrink a suit to a very small size. He works alone as the first "Ant-Man" before meeting Janet van Dyne, who works alongside him with a suit of her own as the "Wasp" (Ant-Man). 
  • Ivan Vanko is born (Iron Man 2).
  • Bruce Banner is born (The Incredible Hulk).
  • Captain America and Iron Man time travel from 2023 to recover the Space Stone (Tesseract) and some Pym Particles from SHIELD. Despite some obstacles, they succeed (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Captain America returns the Space Stone to this point in time before travelling back further, to the 1940s (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Tony Stark is born (Iron Man).
  • Arnim Zola dies, but transfers his consciousness into a computer system located in a secret SHIELD base in Camp Lehigh, New Jersey (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
  • The third Stark World Expo is held. Howard Stark creates a diorama containing the secret blueprints needed to complete Arc Reactor technology (Iron Man 2).
c. 1975
  • After twenty years as a Kree slave, Yondu Udonta is freed by Stakar Ogord of the Ravagers. Yondu initially works for Stakar but then founds his own Ravager crew. Shortly afterwards, he is contracted by Ego the Living Planet into tracking down his numerous children from across the galaxy (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2).
  • Ego the Living Planet dispatches a humanoid avatar to Earth. He meets Meredith Quill and they fall in love. Ego spends a lot of time with Meredith, but has to periodically return to his homeworld to "recharge" (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2).
  • Hope van Dyne is born, the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne (Ant-Man).
  • Ego leaves Earth for the final time, leaving Meredith pregnant. Towards the end of the year their son, Peter Quill, is born (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2). 
  • T’Chaka becomes King of Wakanda. Around this time, his son T’Challa is born (Black Panther).
  • Natasha Romanoff is born (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
  • Kree scientist Mar-Vell relocates to a space station in Earth orbit to carry out research into developing a lightspeed engine. She plans to use the engine to help end the Kree-Skrull War and help the surviving Skrulls flee from the Kree Empire. Mar-Vell chooses Earth because it is the location of the Tesseract (still in SHIELD’s possession), which can help in her research. Posing as a human scientist, Wendy Lawson, she works with the US government on Project PEGASUS to provide cover for her real mission (Captain Marvel).
  • Wakandan Prince N’Jobu travels to Oakland, California, to gain intelligence about the outside world. He becomes radicalised by the poverty and injustice he seeks, and becomes convinced that Wakanda needs to use its might to impose order on the rest of the world. He has a son, Erik Stevens (Black Panther).
  • Black market weapons dealer Ulysses Klaue uses intelligence gleaned from N’Jobu to penetrate Wakanda’s defences and make off with a huge amount of vibranium, which sells around the world to enormous profit. The Wakandans fail to capture him (Black Panther). 
  • Janet van Dyne and Hank Pym attempt to destroy a nuclear missile accidentally launched towards the USA. Janet destroys the missile by shrinking small enough to fit through its dense exterior, but this requires her to go subatomic, into the Quantum Realm. Hank dedicates the next thirty years to finding her (Ant-Man). 
  • Meredith Quill dies on Earth. Shortly afterwards, her eight-year-old son Peter is kidnapped by the Ravagers commanded by Yondu. Yondu is commissioned to bring the child to his father, Ego, but Peter charms Yondu, who decides to raise him as a Ravager instead (Guardians of the Galaxy).
  • US Air Force pilot Carol Danvers is drafted by Doctor Wendy Lawson to work as a test pilot on Project PEGASUS. However, the Kree special forces unit Starforce discovers them and shoots their ship down. Lawson is killed by Yon-Rogg. Danvers destroys the lightspeed engine to fulfil Lawson’s last command, but in the process absorbs part of the power of the engine herself, which damages her memory. Yon-Rogg, intrigued, recruits her into Starforce. Danvers, now known only as “Vers,” is taken to the Kree Empire, where she becomes a skilled and dangerous soldier. However, the Kree limit her access to her full powers (Captain Marvel).
  • Scientist Hank Pym resigns from SHIELD after discovering that his colleagues have been trying to replicate his shrinking technology without his permission (Ant-Man). 
  • Howard and Maria Stark are killed, ostensibly in a car crash. In reality they are assassinated by the Winter Soldier (Captain America: Civil War).
  • King T’Chaka of Wakanda realises that N’Jobu was responsible for Ulysses Klaue’s attack on Wakanda. He executes N’Jobu in Oakland. However, he is unaware that N’Jobu has a son, Erik, who soon swears vengeance (Black Panther). 
  • Phil Coulson joins SHIELD (Captain Marvel).
  • Carol Danvers returns to Earth and unlocks the full potential of her powers, becoming Captain Marvel. After defeating a Kree armada poised to destroy Earth, she helps the Skrull escape the Kree’s reach and becomes sidetracked dealings with problems on other worlds. She leaves Nick Fury with an interstellar transmitter capable of contacting her "several galaxies" away (Captain Marvel).
  • Around this time the Titan warlord Thanos wipes out half of the population of the planet Zen-Whoberi and takes one of the survivors, Gamora, as his ward (Avengers: Infinity War). Gamora is raised along with her adopted sister, Nebula, and both become skilled warriors (Guardians of the Galaxy).
  • At an unknown time after the fall of Zen-Whoberi, Thanos realises that he cannot wipe out 50% of the population of the universe in a reasonable timeframe by himself. After researching the matter, he realises that the only thing that can do this is the combined power of all six Infinity Stones. He sets in motion plans to locate the Stones (Avengers: Infinity War). 
  • Also around this time, the very young Natasha Romanoff is recruited as a child student of the Russian intelligence services (The Avengers).
  • Darren Cross graduates from MIT and is hired by Hank Pym to work at Pym Industries (Ant-Man).
  • On New Year’s Eve, Aldrich Killian meets Tony Stark in Bern and tries to convince him to work with him on a new project, Extremis. However, Stark is distracted by Maya Hansen and forgets about the encounter. After Stark ditches Hansen, she instead joins forces with Killian and they found A.I.M. (Iron Man 3).
c. 2000
  • Pietro and Wanda Maximoff’s parents are killed when a shell (developed by Stark Industries) hits their home in Sokovia. They survive and, much later, are recruited by HYDRA (Avengers: Age of Ultron).
  • Expert archer Clint Barton is recruited by SHIELD, gaining the codename "Hawkeye" (The Avengers).
  • Peter Parker is born in New York City (Spider-Man: Homecoming).
  • On 11 September, the United States suffers a massive terrorist attack on New York and Washington, DC. Two days later, on 13 September 2001, General Thaddeus Ross convinces the US military to restart Project Rebirth (the project which created Captain America), with the goal of creating new super-soldiers to help fight this new war (The Incredible Hulk). 
c. 2003
  • The young Natasha Romanoff has become an expert assassin and spy working for Russian Intelligence by this point. After interfering in several SHIELD operations, she is targeted for assassination by SHIELD. Hawkeye is sent to kill her and defeats her in combat. However, he chooses to spare her life and recruits her into SHIELD. Despite reservations, Nick Fury accepts her into SHIELD and she becomes a valued operative, with the codename "Black Widow" (The Avengers).
c. 2005
  • Bruce Banner is bombarded with gamma radiation, becoming the Hulk. He goes on the run (The Incredible Hulk).
  • Darren Cross stages a hostile takeover of Pym Industries, becoming its CEO. He renames the company Cross Industries and Hank Pym is forced into an early retirement. Hank’s daughter Hope van Dyne stays on at Pym Industries as a senior executive (Ant-Man).
"I am Iron Man."

Iron Man and After

  • Tony Stark is captured and imprisoned by terrorists in Afghanistan. He escapes by creating a prototype mechanical suit. After perfecting the process, he becomes known as Iron Man. He is contacted by Nick Fury at SHIELD (Iron Man). Iron Man 2 is definitively dated to 2010 by the dates given for the Stark 2010 Expo; that film also states that it's been six months since Tony Stark declared himself to be Iron Man. 
  • Bruce Banner resurfaces in Brazil. The Abomination is created and destroyed. SHIELD starts actively monitoring Banner’s location (The Incredible Hulk).
  • Ivan Vanko attempts to take his revenge on Tony Stark, but is defeated. The Stark Expo is held for the first time since 1974. A 9-year-old Peter Parker (wearing an Iron Man mask) meets Tony Stark for the first time, albeit very briefly. Lt. Col James Rhodes gains his own suit of Iron Man armour, becoming known as War Machine (Iron Man 2).
  • Thor disobeys Odin’s commands not to antagonise the Frost Giants and is exiled to Earth. Loki usurps Odin’s throne. He is defeated and apparently lost in space, but in reality, takes control of Dr. Selvig who is researching the Tesseract at a SHIELD research facility. Jane Foster and Thor meet and start a tentative, much-interrupted relationship. The Bifrost is destroyed, causing the Nine Realms to begin to descend into chaos (Thor).
  • Steve Rogers is rescued from the ice and thawed out by SHIELD (Captain America: The First Avenger).
  • Loki allies with the Titan Thanos and agrees to steal the Tesseract from SHIELD in return for Chitauri troops to help him conquer Earth and use of the Sceptre, a powerful weapon containing the Mind Stone. Phil Coulson is killed. Loki’s attack and Coulson’s death inspire the formation of the Avengers, with Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow as founding members. The Battle of New York takes place, Loki is defeated and the Chitauri are obliterated by a nuclear warhead. The Tesseract and Loki are taken to Asgard for safekeeping (The Avengers).
  • A PTSD-suffering Tony Stark converts Stark Tower, NYC into Avengers Tower (The Avengers). He also begins building the Iron Legion, an army of remote-controlled Iron Man suits to augment his own capabilities in battle (Iron Man 3). 
  • The Asgardians use the Tesseract to repair the Bifrost. Thor leads an army to restore peace to the Nine Realms (Thor: The Dark World). 
  • The Toomes Salvage Company is contracted by the city of New York to recover and remove Chitauri technology from the battle site. However, the newly-founded Department of Damage Control takes off the operation and Adrian Toomes and his men are laid off. Furious, Toomes uses some of the Chitauri technology his company has already recovered to start a life of crime (Spider-Man: Homecoming). 
  • Scott Lang is arrested after hacking into Vistacorp and returning millions of dollars illegally obtained by the company to its customers. He is given a three-year sentence and is sent to San Quentin State Prison, where he befriends Luis (Ant-Man). 
  • Aldrich Killian embarks on his plan to use the Extremis virus to threaten the world. He is stopped by Tony Stark. Stark destroys the Iron Legion and seeks more proactive help in dealing with his anxiety issues (Iron Man 3). 
  • Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man and Ant-Man travel back in time from 2023 to the Battle of New York to secure the Space Stone (Tesseract) from Loki, the Time Stone from the Ancient One in the New York Sanctuary and the Mind Stone from Loki's sceptre. Numerous complications result, but Hulk manages to secure the Time Stone from the Ancient One and Captain America secures the Mind Stone. The Space Stone is lost when Loki seizes it and vanishes, creating a new splinter timeline. Hulk and Ant-Man return the Time and Mind Stone to 2023, whilst Captain America and Iron Man travel back further to 1970 (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Captain America returns the Time and Mind Stones to this timeline (Avengers: Endgame).
  • The Asgardian army successfully restores peace to the Nine Realms. The Convergence takes place again, allowing the Dark Elves to be revived. They regain control of the Aether. In a climactic battle on Earth, Thor successfully defeats the Dark Elves. Thor decides to remain on Earth for a time, working alongside the Avengers. Unbeknown to Thor, Loki (who is believed dead in the battle) usurps the throne of Asgard by posing as Odin (Thor: The Dark World). He imprisons a confused and weakened Odin in a retirement home on Earth (Thor: Ragnarok).
  • The Aether, now confirmed to be the Reality Stone, is secured in Knowhere, in the hoard of the Taneleer Tivan, also known as the Collector (Thor: The Dark World).
  • Thor and Rocket time travel from 2023 to recover the Reality Stone from Asgard. Despite complications caused by Thor's loss of self-faith, they succeed (Avengers: Endgame)
  • Captain America returns the Reality Stone to this time period (Avengers: Endgame).
  • HYDRA emerges from within the ranks of SHIELD and subverts the organisation, resulting in a conflict that tears SHIELD apart. Captain America, Black Widow and Nick Fury successfully defeat HYDRA’s plan to capture three SHIELD helicarriers and use them to wipe out opposition to their plans. The SHIELD computer containing the consciousness of Arnim Zola is destroyed. The Triskelion, SHIELD’s headquarters, is also destroyed. Steve Rogers allies with Sam Wilson, codename Falcon, and learns of the survival of Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. Barnes begins to remember details of his former existence. Black Widow releases the secret databases of both SHIELD and HYDRA to the world, allowing HYDRA to be targeted by law enforcement and military forces all over the world (Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
  • The survivors of SHIELD ally with other government agencies, such as the CIA. They work with the Avengers to target and destroy the remaining HYDRA strongholds (The Avengers: Age of Ultron). 
  • The Kree-Nova War ends after a thousand years with a peace treaty. Furious, Kree warlord Ronan the Accuser rebels against the Kree Empire and allies with Thanos to destroy the Nova homeworld, Xandar, using the Orb, a weapon containing the Power Stone. Ronan is halted by the newly-formed Guardians of the Galaxy, a group consisting of ex-Ravager Peter Quill, Thanos’s adopted daughter Gamora, genetic experiment Rocket, living tree Groot and and the noted warrior Drax the Destroyer. Ronan is killed by the Power Stone. The Stone is left in a heavily-fortified vault on Xandar to protect it (Guardians of the Galaxy).
  • The Guardians are contracted by the Sovereign to defeat the Abilisk, a monster feeding on the energy of their homeworld. Rocket steals some of the Sovereign’s power cells, resulting in a pitched, long-running chase and space battle. During this period Peter Quill discovers his father is Ego, the Living Planet, and is reunited with him. After learning of Ego’s plan to consume the galaxy by spreading his consciousness to every single planet, he helps defeat and destroy his father. Yondu is killed in this battle, and is honoured by the other Ravagers for his self-sacrifice. The Sovereign fleet is destroyed, but they instead switch tactics, creating a powerful entity known only as “Adam” to hunt down the Guardians (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2).
  • The Sceptre is stolen by HYDRA (or inherited by them after the collapse of SHIELD) and experimented on at their base in Sokovia (The Avengers: Age of Ultron).
  • War Machine, Nebula, Hawkeye and Black Widow time travel from 2023 to recover the Power Stone from Morag and the Soul Stone from Vormir. They succeed at the cost of Black Widow's life. However, Nebula is captured by this time period's version of Thanos, who then teleports his entire command ship and army to 2023 Earth. This creates a splinter timeline (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Captain America returns the Soul Stone and Power Stone to this time period. However, it is unclear if this repairs or restores the timeline (Avengers: Endgame).
  • The final major HYDRA base in Sokovia is destroyed by the Avengers. The Sceptre is recovered. Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, escape. Concerned about the growing threats to Earth, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner collaborate to create a true artificial intelligence, Ultron. Ultron’s ethical failsafes fail and Ultron subverts JARVIS (Tony’s previous attempt at creating AI) and builds a robot army from Tony’s abandoned Iron Legion programme. Stark inadvertently uses the Mind Stone (from the Sceptre) to create Vision, a fusion of artificial intelligence, the power of the Mind Stone and advanced technology. Vision and the Avengers ally with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch at the Battle of Sokovia. Ultron is defeated and destroyed (Avengers: Age of Ultron).
  • A Quinjet carrying the Hulk (boarded during the Battle of Sokovia) passes beyond Earth’s atmosphere and falls through a wormhole (possibly a remnant of the Chitauri invasion portal) to arrive on Sakaar. He spends two years as the Hulk, fighting in the arena for the amusement of the Grandmaster (Thor: Ragnarok).
  • With the Tesseract/Space Stone on Asgard, the Reality Stone on Knowhere and now the Mind Stone revealed on Earth, Thor realises that the Infinity Stones are emerging from hiding, possibly presaging a tremendous confluence of events. He embarks on a quest through the Nine Realms to learn more of the remaining Infinity Stones and what threat they may represent. His decision to leave Earth for an indefinite period results in him breaking up with Jane Foster (Avengers: Age of UltronThor: Ragnarok).
  • Hawkeye and Iron Man retire from the Avengers. With Thor and Hulk also absent, Captain America decides to form a new iteration of the team, consisting of himself, Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, Vision and Scarlet Witch (Avengers: Age of Ultron).
  • Scott Lang is released from prison. Hank Pym learns that Darren Cross plans to weaponise his “Ant-Man” miniaturisation technology and sell it to the remnants of HYDRA. Lang is recruited to become the new Ant-Man. Lang helps defeat Cross. During these events, Lang runs into Falcon and they become allies, after a fashion (Ant-Man).
  • Kaecilius, a student of the Ancient One, rebels against the Order of the Masters of the Mystic Arts and steals the Book of Cagliostro (Doctor Strange).
  • 14-year-old Peter Park is bitten by a radioactive spider. He begins fighting crime in New York City. YouTube videos of his exploits come to the attention of an amused Tony Stark (Captain America: Civil WarSpider-Man: Homecoming).
  • Brilliant brain surgeon Doctor Stephen Strange is injured in a car accident and his hands are permanently crippled. After several months of trying to restore his limbs with medical science, he follows a lead to Kamar-Taj in Nepal. He meets the Ancient One and, after initial reluctance, is recruited into the Masters of the Mystic Arts (Doctor Strange). This film has to start no earlier than 2016 (due to a 2016 award on Strange's mantelpiece) and, according to the director, unfolds over a period of about a year, or just over.
  • A terrorist group led by former HYDRA and SHIELD agent Crossbones attacks the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Lagos, Nigeria. The Avengers respond and stop Crossbones, killing him, but a Wakandan relief building is caught in the resulting explosion with eleven lives lost. At the same time, Tony Stark is informed of the death of an American humanitarian worker during the Battle of Sokovia. With Stark’s support, the United Nations passes the Sokovia Accords, requiring all “enhanced” individuals (whether naturally or with technological assistance) to register with the UN and only take action when authorised. Iron Man, War Machine, Vision and Black Widow support the move, whilst Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Falcon oppose it (Captain America: Civil War).
  • Bucky Barnes, in his Winter Soldier guise, is framed for an attack on a UN meeting in Vienna that kills more people, including King T’Chaka of Wakanda. Captain America confirms that Winter Soldier could not have carried out the attack, but his attempts to reason with Iron Man fall on deaf ears. This results in a confrontation between the Avengers at Berlin Airport. Tony Stark recruits Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Prince T’Challa/Black Panther to help out his side, whilst Captain America enlists the aid of Winter Soldier and Ant-Man. At the conclusion of the battle, Captain America and Winter Soldier escape to Siberia, where they discover that a former Sokovian citizen named Helmut Zemo has located the other members of the Winter Soldier programme and killed them; Zemo’s plan all along was to destroy the Avengers in revenge for the battle at Sokovia and nothing more. Iron Man discovers the truth of Zemo’s manipulations, but his reunion with Captain America is short-lived when it is revealed that Winter Soldier assassinated his parents in 1991. Captain America and Winter Soldier defeat Iron Man in battle and flee. They rescue Falcon, whilst Hawkeye and Ant-Man accept plea bargains to return to their families in the USA (Captain America: Civil War).
  • During these events, Black Panther learns the truth that Winter Soldier was not involved in his father’s death. He gives Bucky safe haven in Wakanda whilst “deprogramming” him from HYDRA’s influence (Captain America: Civil WarBlack Panther).
  • One week after the death of his father, T’Challa becomes King of Wakanda and the new Black Panther. He also helps defeat arms dealer Ulysses Klaue. However, his cousin Erik Stevens, known as Killmonger, usurps the throne and plans to use Wakanda’s advanced technology to conquer the world. T’Challa defeats him in combat, ending the civil war, and retakes the throne (Black Panther).
  • Two months after the Battle of Berlin Airport, Peter Parker/Spider-Man defeats Adrian Toomes, now known as the Vulture, and stops his operation in selling Chitauri weaponry to the highest bidder. He rejects an offer from Iron Man to formally join the Avengers, wanting to stay “small-scale” for now (Spider-Man: Homecoming).
  • Peggy Carter dies from old age. Captain America time travels back to his original 2023 origin point (Avengers: Endgame).
  • The Ancient One is killed. Doctor Strange, now wielding the Eye of Agamotto (in reality the Time Stone) defeats Kaecilius and prevents the interdimensional being Dormammu from destroying Earth. Strange takes up the mantle of Master of the Mystic Arts, operating out of the New York Sanctuary (Doctor Strange).
  • Thor visits Muspelheim to try to gain information from Surtur about the Infinity Stones. Instead, Surtur tells him that Ragnarok, the long-prophecised destruction of Asgard at his hands, has been set in motion by Odin’s absence from Asgard. Thor escapes and returns home, quickly exposing “Odin” as Loki. He and Loki visit Earth and, with the help of Doctor Strange, locate Odin in Norway, where he is succumbing to old age. Odin warns his sons that his life force is the only thing keeping Hela imprisoned in the dimension of Hel; upon his death she will escape. This comes to pass, with Hela defeating both Thor and Loki with contemptuous ease, destroying Thor’s magic hammer Mjolnir in the process. They attempt to escape via the Bifrost, but Hela pursues them and throws them both out of the system. She then conquers Asgard, whilst Thor and Loki find themselves guests of the Grandmaster on Sakaar. Loki ingratiates himself whilst Thor is forced to fight in the arena, where he encounters Hulk. Thor also allies with an exiled Asgardian warrior, Valkyrie, and other gladiators in the arena. They stage a breakout and return to Asgard, where Heimdall has been leading an underground resistance against Hela. In a final battle, Thor unlocks more of his powers as God of Thunder, but is still unable to defeat her. Thor realises the only way to stop Hela is to destroy Asgard, the source of her power. He summons Surtur onto Asgard and he destroys the entire realm, Hela along with it. Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, Heimdall and Hulk escape on a Sakaarian ship. Loki steals the Tesseract just before the destruction of Asgard (Thor: Ragnarok).
  • The Asgardian refugees decide to head to Earth, although with the Rainbow Bridge on Asgard destroyed, Heimdall’s ability to summon the Bifrost is limited. This forces them to travel at a much slower-than-desired speed (Thor: Ragnarok).
  • Thanos, frustrated with underlings and minions constantly failing, decides the time has come to secure the Infinity Stones himself. He and his forces mount a completely unexpected attack on Xandar, wiping out half the population of the planet and seizing the Power Stone from its place of safekeeping (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Nearing the end of two years of house arrest for violating the Sokovia Accords, Scott Lang is recruited by Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne in helping to rescue Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm. Despite numerous obstacles, they succeed and Janet is successfully restored (Ant-Man and the Wasp). 
  • Thanos’ flagship, Sanctuary II, intercepts the Asgardian refugee vessel (Thor: Ragnarok). Thanos and his minions capture the vessel, kill half the crew, and allow the other half to leave in escape pods, led by Valkyrie. Thanos then interrogates Thor, Heimdall and Loki for the location of the Tesseract. Hulk attacks Thanos but is soundly defeated by him in physical combat, to Hulk’s amazement. Heimdall uses the remnants of his power to summon the Bifrost and send Hulk to Earth to warn them of their impending doom. Thanos kills Heimdall in retaliation. Loki reluctantly surrenders the Tesseract, which Thanos destroys, retrieving the Space Stone from within. Loki tries to backstab Thanos, but is instead defeated and killed. Thanos and his minions depart, leaving the ship to disintegrate and Thor to be hurled into space (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Hulk arrives in New York and reverts to Bruce Banner, crashing through the roof of Doctor Strange’s Sanctuary. Banner and Strange recruit Tony Stark and alert him to the impending threat of Thanos. Before they can do much else, several of Thanos’ minions led by Ebony Maw arrive to retrieve the Time Stone from Strange’s possession. During the resulting battle, Banner discovers that Hulk refuses to be summoned due to his defeat at the hands of Thanos. Seeing the chaos from across the river, Spider-Man joins the fight. Doctor Strange is defeated and taken prisoner, but his magical shields prevent the Time Stone from being taken. Ebony Maw reluctantly takes him via his starship back to Thanos, but Iron Man and Spider-Man board the ship undetected and overpower him, throwing him into space. Iron Man, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange consult on possible courses of action, with Iron Man suggesting they stay on the ship until it rendezvouses with Thanos. With the benefit of surprise, they can take out Thanos in space before he attacks Earth. Back in New York, Bruce Banner contacts Captain America and alerts him to the scale of the threat (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy investigate the Asgardian distress call and rescue Thor from space. Thor alerts them to Thanos’s actions and the fall of Xandar. They realise that Thanos will next pursue the Reality Stone on Knowhere. Groot, Rocket and Thor head to the Star Forge at Nidavellir where Thor hopes to build a weapon capable of killing Thanos, whilst Drax, Mantis, Quill and Gamora head to Knowhere. The latter discover that they are too late, with Knowhere having already fallen and the Reality Stone in Thanos’s hands. Thanos captures Gamora and takes her with him (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Two of Thanos’ other minions, Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight, arrive on Earth and attack Vision in Edinburgh, where he has been enjoying some time with Scarlet Witch, in order to seize the Mind Stone. Vision and Witch almost hold off the attackers, but the benefit of surprise gives them some significant advantages. Just as they are overcome, Captain America, Falcon and Black Widow arrive and drive off the attackers. The group returns to Avengers HQ, where War Machine is ordered to arrest them for breaking the Sokovia Accords. He ignores them and they reunite with Banner. They discuss how to keep the Mind Stone from Thanos and agree it must be destroyed, but without killing Vision. They travel to Wakanda where Black Panther agrees to aid them in removing the Stone and holding off Thanos’ forces in the meantime (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Thanos realises that Gamora knows the location of the Soul Stone and tortures her sister Nebula to force Gamora to reveal it. Gamora reluctantly confirms it is on Vormir. She and Thanos travel to Vormir and meet the Red Skull, the guardian of the Soul Stone, who warns them that the Stone can only be secured with a sacrifice. Thanos kills Gamora, sacrificing her essence to the Stone in order to take possession of it. Nebula escapes imprisonment and sends a message to the Guardians of the Galaxy to meet her on Titan (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • The remaining Guardians and Nebula arrive on Titan and briefly confront Spider-Man, Iron Man and Doctor Strange before they realise they are on the same side. They set a trap for Thanos and almost succeed in disarming him of the Infinity Gauntlet before Thanos overpowers them. Doctor Strange agrees to give Thanos the Time Stone in return for him sparing their lives. After Thanos departs, Strange tells Iron Man that it was “the only way ” (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • At Nidavellir, Thor recruits Eitri, King of the Dwarves, to help him forge a new weapon, the axe Stormbreaker. Thor uses the power of Stormbreaker to teleport himself, Rocket and Groot to Earth, arriving in time to help turn the tide at the Battle of Wakanda. Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive are killed, but not before interrupting the procedure to remove the Mind Stone from Vision (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Thanos arrives on Earth. Scarlet Witch is left with no choice but to kill Vision and destroy the Mind Stone; however, Thanos simply uses the Time Stone to reverse time. He takes the Mind Stone from Vision and completes the Infinity Gauntlet. Thor almost kills Thanos with Stormbreaker, but chooses to hit Thanos in the chest rather than the head; this allows Thanos to activate the Infinity Gauntlet, wiping out 50% of all life in the universe, heal himself and then leave (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Quill, Drax and Groot are among those who disappear; Iron Man, Hawkeye, Nebula, Rocket, Captain America, Hulk, War Machine and Black Widow are among the survivors (Avengers: Infinity War).
  • Scott Lang embarks on a mission into the Quantum Realm. However, Hank Pym, Hope van Dyne and Janet are all eliminated in the “snap,” leaving him trapped in the Quantum Realm (Ant Man and the Wasp).
  • Nick Fury realises that his is also disintegrating as a result of the snap, and with his last breath triggers the emergency transponder device left with him in 1995 by Captain Marvel, sending an SOS to her location (Avengers: Infinity WarCaptain Marvel).
  • The world declares a global emergency in the wake of "the snap" (Ant-Man and the Wasp).
  • Captain Marvel receives Nick Fury's distress call. She retrieves Iron Man and Nebula from deep space. The combined team then mount an assault on Thanos to recover the Infinity Gauntlet to undo the snap. However, Thanos has destroyed the Gauntlet. Enraged, Thor executes Thanos by beheading him (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Scott Lang escapes from the Quantum Realm some five years after he was imprisoned in it. However, only five hours have passed from his POV. He realises that this indicates that time travel is possible through the Quantum Realm. He contacts the Avengers and they develop the technology further (Avengers: Endgame).
  • The Avengers split into multiple teams and time travel back to various points in the past: Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man and Captain America to 2012 New York (and ultimately 1970); War Machine, Nebula, Hawkeye and Black Widow to 2014 Morag; and Thor and Rocket to 2013 Asgard (Avengers: Endgame).
  • The Avengers reassemble the Infinity Gauntlet. Hulk wields the Gauntlet and undoes "the snap," restoring the 50% of all life in the universe wiped out by Thanos. However, moments later the 2014 incarnation of Thanos arrives and destroys Avengers HQ. His forces mount a serious assault, but the Avengers are reinforced by the resurrected Doctor Strange, who opens portals all over the world to summon the Avengers' resurrected allies, including the entire army of Wakanda, SHIELD forces and more. Captain Marvel also arrives from deep space (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Thanos is defeated when Iron Man seizes the Infinity Gauntlet and uses it to "snap" Thanos and his legions out of existence. However, the energy released by this snap kills Tony Stark. The world celebrates its victory and the return of those killed by Thanos (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Captain America, having time travelled to the 1940s and spent his life with Peggy Carter until her death in 2015, returns to 2023 and passes the mantle of Captain America to Falcon (Avengers: Endgame).
  • Eight months after the reversal of the snap, Peter Parker engages in battle with Elementals whilst on a school trip in Europe (Spider-Man: Far From Home).
  • Falcon, Winter Soldier and Sharon Carter join forces to defeat a new enemy (The Falcon & Winter Soldier).

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