The Marvel Cinematic Universe now contains dozens of movies and Disney+ TV shows – here's how to watch the whole MCU in order. By 2022 there is a bunch of great content to see; however, finding the right path for an MCU rewatch can be tricky. In the coming years, the MCU shows no signs of slowing down its release schedule, so now is the perfect time to refresh with an MCU rewatch or to delve into the whole MCU for the very first time. As well as new heroes in shows like She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, Moon Knight, and Ms. Marvel, the MCU now has TV specials like Werewolf By Night to watch too. As the MCU Phase 4 evolves, it is referencing back to older movies more and more, with The Incredible Hulk (2008) quickly becoming crucial to the Phase 4 and 5 narratives. Meanwhile, Hawkeye also referred back to the original Avengers and things got particularly complicated with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Then, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hit theaters, calling back to several past films and series such as No Way Home, WandaVision, Avengers: Infinity War, and more.

As Avengers: Endgame concluded many of the major plotlines that were building throughout Phases 1, 2, and 3, it might seem tempting to just start watching from the beginning of Phase 4. However, the references to earlier parts of the canon go well beyond cameo roles like Abomination's in Shang-Chi. Starting an MCU rewatch with Phase 4 will 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 2 (with Moon Knight being a key exception). Perhaps most notably, Black Widow mostly dealt with Phase 2 and successive plot points, and served as a flashback for the franchise as a whole, so to start watching the new MCU in order with Black Widow would be a big mistake as there connections just won't make sense.

Related: Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Easter Eggs & MCU References

How To Watch The MCU In Timeline Order

Two things complicate an MCU rewatch, 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 be fully colliding. Similarly, many Marvel TV shows like Daredevil were made before the Marvel Disney+ shows, and it seemed like those had been decanonized – until Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock popped up in No Way Home, had his own Disney+ show confirmed, and appeared elsewhere to boot. As it is still unclear what's happening with these formerly non-canonical properties, they are not included in this list for now. The other (and more easily solved) issue is knowing how to view the MCU in order. 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), so here is the chronological order for an MCU rewatch, with an explanation below:

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

The MCU Rewatch Order Explained

Some of the biggest breaks from the release order for an MCU rewatch 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 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 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, since the film was released during the run of the show. However, the release date for Spider-Man: No Way Home was pushed back from its originally planned date due to the pandemic, and there are clues in Hawkeye that make it clear that it's unfolding after No Way Home's story.

Related: When Love & Thunder Is Set In The MCU Timeline & How Long After Endgame

Moon Knight and Doctor Strange 2 are the first MCU projects to take place in the year 2025. This is evidenced by Disney+ listing Moon Knight after Hawkeye, which takes place in December of 2024. Likewise, the Doctor Strange sequel takes place in the aftermath of No Way Home, which also took place in December of the same year. As for the newest MCU show, Ms. Marvel is set after Hawkeye according to the official chronology listed on Disney+, which makes sense given its events. The latest MCU movie, Thor: Love and Thunder, takes place at the latest chronological point before shows like She-Hulk and the Werewolf By Night Disney+ special. This list primarily provides the chronological timeline for the MCU in order, which feels like the best method for a fully informed Marvel Cinematic Universe rewatch, but watching in release order will reveal the plot and characters as it was originally viewed. Plus, with the Multiverse saga now building towards a conflict with the timeline-manipulating Kang the Conqueror in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars, the chronology of the MCU has never been more important.

Next: Marvel's New Release Date Changes Are Huge For Kang The Conqueror

Key Release Dates

Source:gamerant.com
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