Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Entire MCU Timeline Explained

With dozens of films and TV shows spread out over the last fifteen years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the biggest franchise in the pop culture landscape — and it doesn't seem like it's going to be stopping any time soon. The massive scope of this cinematic world has allowed Marvel Studios to create a sprawling, interconnected universe built on a shared continuity, and with recent movies and TV series introducing a multiverse on top of the shared universe, things will just keep getting more complicated — and fun.

For the most part, the events of the films and TV series happen in the same order as the movies themselves, but there are a few exceptions. If you want a good look at when everything happened in the MCU, read on. We'll be examining the multiple movies, short films, Netflix series, Disney+ shows, and more to offer you a complete timeline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the beginning: Cosmic genesis

If you really want to know where things started in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you need to go all the way back to before the Big Bang. No, really.

Before the beginning of the universe, before even the creation of the "six singularities" that caused the universe to explode into existence, there were the Celestials. Beings of infinite cosmic power, the Celestials — led by Arishem the Judge — created the original planets, stars, and lifeforms of the infant universe following the Big Bang.

Realizing they need help to expand the universe and create more life, the first Celestials seeded planets with embryonic Celestials. These new gods would be born once sentient life on each planet rose to a critical juncture, allowing for the Emergence of a new Celestial and resulting in the destruction of that world. To assist in this process, the Celestials genetically engineered Deviant monsters to wipe out the apex predators of each world, encouraging sentient life to develop and multiply.

Unfortunately, the Celestials miscalculated. The Deviants did their job so well they started hunting down and killing all lifeforms, preventing Emergences. To keep them in check, the Celestials created the Eternals, synthetic lifeforms sent to different worlds across the cosmos to kill the Deviants and protect the planet's lifeforms. Regarded as gods and superheroes by the populace, the Celestials are unknowingly preparing the planets for their destruction. Following each Emergence, the Eternals' memories are wiped so they could be reused on different worlds.

Meanwhile, other interesting things are happening throughout the universe. The "six singularities" that created the cosmos become the Infinity Stones — objects that control fundamental forces like time, space, and reality. They are then scattered across the universe, popping up here and there and awaiting the eventual arrival of a giant golden oven mitt that would be used to murder half the universe.

That, of course, was billions of years ago, but it's not the only thing to happen in those long eons. Millions of years before we get to the present-day MCU, Ego the Living Planet comes into existence, gains cosmic awareness, and seeds "thousands of worlds" with his essence trying to create another Celestial being like himself. Virtually all of his early attempts are failures and he kills most of his offspring when they end up disappointing him. Despite these terrible acts of filicide, Ego does keep at least one of his kids around — the Celestial hybrid Mantis, whose empathic abilities help Ego sleep.

A long, long time ago: The age of myth

As far as the heroes and villains of Earth are concerned, the MCU doesn't start with Tony Stark getting kidnapped in 2008, Carol Danvers being taken to Hala in the '90s, or even with Steve Rogers volunteering for the Super Soldier program in the '40s. The actual beginning happens in 5000 BC when ten immortal Eternals — Sersi, Ikaris, Ajak, Kingo, Sprite, Phastos, Makkari, Thena, Druig, and Gilgamesh — arrive on Earth to take out the Deviants on our planet.

For thousands of years, the Eternals protect emerging humankind, largely through epic super battles with giant monsters. By 1521, the Eternals finally manage to defeat all the Deviants on Earth — or so they think. Lacking any real direction now that their main reason for coming to the planet is gone, they scatter and get jobs as teachers, Bollywood film stars, and South American cult leaders.

Since the Celestials instructed the Eternals not to interfere in humanity unless Deviants were involved, other god-like beings get the chance to descend onto Earth and have their time to shine. These include the Asgardians, vastly powerful alien beings who visit our planet many times and give rise to Norse mythology. Still, the most exciting stuff those guys do happens off-world in the realm of Asgard.

This mythological time scale begins millennia ago, as we find out in "Thor: The Dark World," when the Dark Elf Malekith the Accursed lays siege to Asgard using a weapon known as the Aether — actually an Infinity Stone that controls reality — to revert the universe to a state of perpetual darkness. Malekith is stopped by Bor, the father of Odin. In 2988 BC, Bor vanquishes Malekith, causing the Dark Elves to go into a state of hibernation for the next 5000 years. Bor then buries the Aether on a distant world.

While we don't know exactly when it happens, the next chronological event that we see from our characters is Odin's conquest of the Nine Realms alongside his first child, Hela, Goddess of Death. During this era, the magic warhammer Mjolnir is forged in the heart of a dying star, and used by Hela. Thanks to her bloodthirsty ruthlessness and ambition, Odin turns against her, and in the battle that follows, Hela slaughters the Valkyrior. The sole surviving Valkyrie flees from Asgard, spending the next few thousand years drunk and depressed. Eventually, she winds up on Sakaar, a cosmic garbage dump that an immortal being called the Grandmaster builds into an interstellar gladiatorial arena. Hela is then imprisoned in another dimension by Odin, who (literally) covers up all traces of her existence.

Sometime after that (but still far enough back that people were writing about it in the 13th century), Odin and Frigga have a son, Thor. Shortly thereafter, Odin defeats the frost giant Laufey and adopts his son, Loki, as his own. Not too long after this, during their youth, Loki turns into a snake because he knows Thor loves snakes, and then tries to stab him.

Millions of years ago: Vibranium comes to Earth

Also millions of years before the present day, two meteors made of the super-metal vibranium strike the Earth. One meteor lands in Africa, drastically affecting the surrounding area. Much, much later, this area becomes the country of Wakanda when a "warrior shaman" receives a vision from the goddess Bast, ingests a vibranium-altered "heart-shaped herb" that grants him great powers, and founds a dynasty of warrior kings known as the Black Panthers. The Wakandans become secretive and isolationist, remaining unconquered throughout history and use vibranium to create fantastic technology, away from the eyes of the outside world.

The second meteor crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near the Yucatán. It mutates the undersea plant life, imbuing many species with mutagenic properties. In 1571, a Yucatán-Mayan tribe dying of smallpox — introduced to them by Spanish colonizers — turns to one of these vibranium-altered plants, which mutates them into a water-breathing people. The tribe migrates to the Puerto Rico Trench and builds the underwater kingdom of Talokan using the rich deposits of vibranium beneath the sea.

One Talokanil woman is pregnant when the plant mutates her, causing her to give birth to a mutant child — Talokan's firstborn son, Ch'ah Toh Almehen. Born with winged feet, superhuman strength, and a very long lifespan, Ch'ah Toh Almehen develops a hatred for surface dwellers when he sees a plantation owner abuse his Mayan slaves. After the Talokan boy orders his people to burn down the plantation, a dying priest calls the young mutant El Niño Sin Amor, "the child without love," from which the boy takes his new name, "Namor." Namor rules over his kingdom for centuries and becomes known as K'uk'ulkan, or "the feathered serpent god," by his people.

Alien science and magic influence human history

Over 5,000 years before the present day, a faction of the militaristic alien race called the Kree arrives on Earth and conducts experiments on humans, creating the early Inhumans. One of these Inhumans, known as "Hive," drives the Kree from the Earth and establishes a cult of personality that regards him as a god. After being banished, his followers work to restore him while destabilizing Earth society. Over time, this society becomes the terrorist organization Hydra.

Moving to just about a thousand years before the present day, the warlord Xu Wenwu makes a fantastic discovery of his own when he comes across 10 otherworldly rings that grant him immortality and the strength of a god. Using the rings to establish his Ten Rings criminal organization, Wenwu conquers kingdoms and topples governments, amassing an incredible power structure that influences the direction of the world.

Over in Eastern Europe, the demonic entity Chthon writes The Darkhold, an ancient book of dark spells, on a castle at the top of Mount Wundagore. The original text is then copied onto a more portable book that falls into the hands of several dark magic users, including the witch Morgan le Fay. Elsewhere, a Celtic woman trains in the mystic arts to protect the Earth against magical threats. After drawing power from the Dark Dimension, she becomes functionally immortal and takes on the name "The Ancient One."

Life during wartime: The 1940s

Believe it or not, there's not a whole lot that happens between the unification of Wakanda, the founding of Talokan, the rise of Wenwu, and the 20th century. According to "WandaVision," in 1693 the witch Agatha Harkness escapes being burned at the stake by her mother and a bunch of other witches who aren't happy with her practice of dark magic. She drains their life energies and gets her hands on the Darkhold before disappearing to get into all sorts of trouble before she pops up again in the present day.

Jumping ahead to 1942, a Nazi officer known as Johann Schmidt experiments on himself with an early version of Dr. Abraham Erskine's Super Soldier Serum, gaining both a physically perfect body and a decidedly redder complexion. Now calling himself the Red Skull, he takes charge of the terrorist group Hydra. With the discovery of one of the Infinity Stones (in the form of the Tesseract), he creates a technologically advanced army of his own.

That same year, Steve Rogers volunteers for the Strategic Scientific Reserve's attempt at creating a super-soldier using a technique created by Dr. Abraham Erskine. The project works, giving Steve the body of a hunky Chris Evans. After the experiment, Erskine is assassinated, and his research is lost. Rather than risk their only super-soldier by sending him to fight in the war, the SSR gives Steve the codename Captain America and uses him primarily as a spokesman to sell war bonds in USO shows set to an extremely catchy song.

Eventually, Steve goes AWOL to rescue his best friend Bucky Barnes and becomes an active soldier in the war. He works with tech genius and industrialist Howard Stark, falls in love with SSR agent Peggy Carter, and leads a strike team called the Howling Commandos. On one of their missions, Bucky loses an arm and falls from a train. Steve believes him to be dead, but Bucky actually gets taken into custody by the Soviet Army and brainwashed into becoming a super-assassin, codenamed Winter Soldier.

After attempting to use the Tesseract, the Red Skull is sucked into a wormhole, becoming the second person in "Captain America: The First Avenger" to survive an apparent death. In reality, he winds up on the distant planet Vormir, serving as a sort of spectral guardian for the Soul Stone. As for Steve, he crashes a bomber jet into the arctic to keep Hydra from destroying New York. He is also presumed dead, but survives, frozen in suspended animation for the next 66 years. Jeez, doesn't anyone who dies in this movie actually die?

The Silver Age: Mid 20th century

While things are pretty quiet for the MCU between 1945 and 1995, there are a few notable exceptions. Peggy Carter continues to work for the SSR, first in New York in 1946, and then in Los Angeles alongside Howard Stark in 1947. Although Hydra is believed to have been destroyed, it actually secretly infiltrates the U.S. government, quietly influencing historical events. Around this same time, the Soviet Union produces the first graduates of its brutal Red Room facility, where orphaned girls are trained as spies and assassins in a program codenamed Black Widow.

During the 1950s, Korean War veteran Isaiah Bradley and several other African American soldiers are unknowingly subjected to a new version of the Super Soldier Serum. Isaiah gains superhuman abilities and is sent on secret missions, including one where he battles a still-brainwashed Bucky Barnes (aka the Winter Soldier) and learns his identity. Isaiah subsequently goes AWOL to save his fellow soldiers from a POW camp. In the aftermath, all the soldiers except Isaiah die from the serum's side effects. Isaiah is imprisoned for thirty years so CIA and HYDRA scientists can experiment on him and try to replicate the serum in his blood. Eventually, a nurse takes pity on Isaiah and has him declared dead, allowing Isaiah to return to Baltimore, Maryland and live with his family.

Sometime after this — presumably around '48 or '49 — Steve Rogers travels back in time from 2023 to reunite with Peggy. She continues to work in military intelligence for the next few decades with Stark, whose defense contracts turn Stark Industries into the world's leading arms manufacturer. By 1970, both of them are working out of SSR Headquarters at Camp Lehigh, along with a few other notable figures. Arnim Zola, who worked with the Red Skull back in the '40s, is stationed here, and although his body dies in the '70s, his brain is transferred into a computer databank that continues Hydra's infiltration of the government. Also, Hank Pym is working here, assisted by Bill Foster in his experiments with the size-changing "Pym Particles" that will allow him and his wife Janet Van Dyne to become the original Ant-Man and Wasp.

Recent history: Late 20th century

Between the '70s and the '90s, several small but key events happen throughout the MCU. In 1974, Howard Stark launches the Stark Expo, displaying the City of the Future, powered by a clean-energy ARC reactor that's about the size of a house. For some reason, he also hides the structure of a new element in the arrangement of the buildings, which is the kind of science it pays to not think too hard about.

In New York City, mayoral hopeful Bill Fisk is murdered by his young son Wilson after he beats his wife Marlene. Marlene helps Wilson cover up the murder and then sends him away to live with relatives. Fisk goes on to study in Asia where he grows into a ruthless, criminal businessman obsessed with rebuilding New York in his image.

In 1980, Ego comes to Earth, winning the heart of Meredith Quill. Nine months later, their son Peter Quill is born. In 1988, Meredith Quill dies from brain cancer (intentionally caused by Ego), leaving her son a mixtape of classic rock favorites. Peter is then abducted by a band of outer-space pirates called the Ravagers. Their leader, Yondu, raises Peter as a son. To keep up appearances, Yondu treats Peter harshly in front of the Ravagers, but shows the boy great affection privately, even giving Peter a pair of laser pistols as a Christmas gift and teaching him valuable survival skills.

In 1987, Janet Van Dyne and Hank Pym attempt to stop a rogue Soviet missile targeting the United States. To destroy the missile, Janet intentionally shuts off her size-changing regulator and shrinks through the missile's molecules. She continues shrinking right into the subatomic Quantum Realm, devastating both her husband and her young daughter Hope. Pym spends the next several years studying the Quantum Realm, unintentionally estranging himself from his daughter. By 1989, Pym resigns from the SSR (now renamed as the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) after finding out that they intended to use his Pym Particles to create weapons.

Also that year, Air Force Captain Carol Danvers, who uses the callsign "Avenger" during her flights, volunteers for a test flight of a lightspeed engine created by scientist Wendy Lawson. Lawson turns out to be the disguised Kree scientist Mar-Vell. Although the Kree are at war with the shapeshifting Skrulls, Lawson's engine, which is powered by the Tesseract, is intended to help refugee Skrulls find a new home. Carol's plane gets shot down, Mar-Vell is killed, and Carol's body is overloaded with the Tesseract's energy, giving her incredible powers while wiping her memory. A Kree soldier named Yon-Rogg abducts Carol and takes her back to the Kree homeworld of Hala, where she is made to believe that she's actually a Kree named Vers, fighting alongside them as a member of the Kree Starforce.

Meanwhile, in space ...

While all of this is happening on Earth, things continue to develop in space. Thanos, an incredibly powerful alien from the planet Titan who's obsessed with balance, begins to seek out the Infinity Stones. Along the way, he lays waste to half of the population of entire planets, occasionally taking young survivors and training them as soldiers.

Assuming that most of the more humanoid characters are the same age as the people portraying them, Thanos' two most notable adoptions happen in the late '80s or early '90s. The alien Gamora is taken in as a young girl after Thanos kills half of the population of her home planet. Throughout her childhood, Thanos pits her against her adopted sister, Nebula. Every time they spar, Gamora wins, and Thanos systematically replaces pieces of Nebula's body with cybernetic parts in order to make her a more efficient killer. This creates a lot of resentment in Nebula, not only against Thanos but also toward Gamora, which will greatly affect their later relationship.

Weird science

Elsewhere in the galaxy, a geneticist known as the High Evolutionary starts OrgoCorp, an intergalactic company that produces bioengineered products to benefit all life. However, OrgoCorp is actually a front to fund the High Evolutionary's illegal genetic experiments and allow him to create his vision of a perfect society. His experiments result in the Sovereign, a highly advanced, golden-skinned race, and the Humanimals, intelligent humanoid animals. While many of the High Evolutionary's creations consider him a god, the High Evolutionary sees them as disposable experiments and regularly destroys entire planets when his subjects don't live up to his expectations.

One of the High Evolutionary's experiments is "Subject 89P13," a cybernetically-enhanced raccoon with a genius intellect who renames himself "Rocket." Believing the High Evolutionary will take him and his fellow experiments Lylla, Teefs, and Floor to live in peace on a new planet, Rocket helps him with his experiments. However, when the High Evolutionary murders his friends, a devastated Rocket mauls the High Evolutionary's face and escapes. He becomes a bounty hunter and adopts a bitter, cynical attitude to help him deal with his trauma.

Meanwhile, in the Quantum Realm, a stranded Janet van Dyne comes across another castaway — an exiled variant of Nathaniel Richards named Kang the Conqueror. Initially believing Kang to be benevolent, Janet helps him rebuild his damaged multiversal power core so they can escape the realm. However, when she realizes what a monster Kang really is, she enlarges the power core so it can't be used, trapping them both in their subatomic prison. Unfortunately, Kang is still able to charge his armor and use its power to create the city of Axia in the Quantum Realm, the capital of his fascist empire. Feeling responsible, Janet joins a resistance movement against Kang.

The early-90s

In 1991, the Soviet government sends the Winter Soldier to assassinate Howard and Maria Stark. This leaves their brilliant slacker son, Tony Stark, in charge of Stark Industries, along with Obadiah Stane as CEO. They continue to manufacture weapons using Tony's deadly designs, selling them to all sides of virtually every global conflict, with Obadiah making a profit from secret arms deals with terrorist groups.

In 1992, King T'Chaka of Wakanda goes to Oakland, California, to investigate arms deals involving stolen vibranium. The culprit is his brother, N'Jobu, who is killed in the altercation. N'Jobu's American-born son N'Jadaka, aka Erik Stevens, witnesses the whole thing and grows up craving revenge. He joins the Navy Seals and becomes the standout member of a black-ops unit, earning the moniker Erik Killmonger.

Around the same time, nine-year-old Matt Murdock is blinded by a drum of toxic waste while trying to save a man from being hit by a truck. The chemicals heighten his other senses to superhuman levels, allowing him to move and fight better than before. After his father is killed by mobsters, an orphaned Matt is mentored by the blind warrior Stick, who trains him to use his senses as weapons. Stick later abandons the boy, but Matt continues training and studying, eventually becoming both a gifted fighter and law student.

Meanwhile, Russian super-soldier Alexei Shostakov and Black Widow weapons designer Melina Vostokoff go deep undercover in Ohio, posing as an all-American family with their "daughters" — 7-year-old Natasha Romanoff and 3-year-old Yelena Belova. While Alexi and Melina work to steal a SHIELD (actually Hydra) project on unlocking free will, Natasha and Yelena experience some semblance of a normal childhood even if their family photos are all shot on the same day and their Christmas gifts don't contain anything.

The mid-90s

By 1995, Alexei Shostakov and Melina Vostokoff's mission is complete, and the family flees to Cuba. However, once they arrive they are split apart and Natasha and Yelena return to the Red Room, where they continue their Black Widow training/torture sessions. Also in 1995, Carol Danvers — still without her memories of Earth — returns to her home planet after escaping from the Skrulls. She teams up with SHIELD Agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson to stop the Skrulls from invading Earth, only to learn that the Kree are the real bad guys, with Yon-Rogg and Ronan the Accuser en route in search of the Infinity Stones that will end the Kree-Skrull war.

Carol, taking the name Captain Marvel, fights them off and saves a bunch of Skrull refugees. In the process, an alien cat scratches Nick Fury's left eye, blinding it and causing him to sport a fashionable eyepatch for the rest of the franchise. Before she journeys back into space to aid the Skrulls, Carol gives Fury a pager that can summon her in case of a dire emergency. Inspired by Carol and her original callsign, Fury lays the groundwork for the Avengers Initiative, a program designed to create a team of super-powered heroes to deal with large-scale threats like alien invasions.

The late-90s

In 1996, Xu Wenwu — having used his Ten Rings organization to secretly conquer or influence practically everything on Earth — turns his attention to the mystical realm of Ta Lo. After finding a magical forest near the village entrance, he meets and falls in love with the village guardian, Ying Li. The two marry and have two children — Shang-Chi and Xialing. For a time, Wenwu reforms, but when his wife is murdered by his rivals, he recreates the Ten Rings and trains his son Shang-Chi to be a living weapon.

Around this same time in Chicago, Illinois, young Marc Spector and his little brother, Randall, are exploring a cave when it suddenly floods, drowning Randall. Marc's mother Wendy blames him for the accident and a traumatized Marc manifests the alternate personality of "Steven Grant" to help him cope with his mother's verbal and physical abuse.

In 1999, Tony Stark meets bio-engineers Maya Hansen and Aldrich Killian at a conference in Bern, Switzerland. He's very rude to Aldrich, who remembers that as a sore point for about 14 years. Throughout all this, Hydra continues its secret infiltration of SHIELD and all levels of the United States government. The same year, 10-year-old twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff are watching American sitcoms during an air raid in Sokovia when a Stark Industries mortar shell hits their building, killing their parents. The trauma activates Wanda's dormant "hex" powers and she's able to keep a second shell from exploding for two days while the twins lay trapped under the rubble.

The Marvel Age of Cinema: 2008

All that brings us to 2008 and "Iron Man," the movie that launched the MCU. Almost everything from here on plays out in chronological order, in the years that the movies were released. Almost.

In 2008, Tony Stark demonstrates his newest weapons in the Middle East when he's kidnapped by a terrorist organization called the Ten Rings, in what will eventually be revealed as a plot by Obidiah Stane to get Tony out of the picture. While he's imprisoned, the terrorists force him and another captive, Dr. Ho Yinsen (who was also at that fateful 1999 convention in Bern, not that Tony noticed), to make weapons for them. Instead, Tony recreates a miniaturized version of his father's ARC reactor, using it to stabilize a piece of shrapnel that's lodged near his heart. The reactor also powers the Iron Man, a suit of weaponized armor built from scrap, which allows Tony to escape after Yinsen's death.

He returns to America, eats a cheeseburger, refines his design, and wipes out the Ten Rings (the ones in the Middle East, at least) in a brutally effective display of the Iron Man's weapons. He also defeats Stane, who attempts to kill Tony and create his own massive suit of powered armor. Tony then publicly reveals his identity as Iron Man, causing Nick Fury to approach him about the Avengers initiative.

Around the same time as Tony's capture, Dr. Bruce Banner — whose seven Ph.D. degrees include physics and biological engineering — is working on recreating the Super Soldier program. Instead of Erskine's "Vita Rays," he uses Gamma radiation, testing it on himself and turning himself into a rampaging, green, monstrous Hulk whenever he gets angry. After the Hulk inadvertently injures Banner's girlfriend, Betty Ross, he goes underground, but returns to America in search of a cure. He works with a scientist named Samuel Sterns, who wants to recreate the Hulk, and a soldier called Emil Blonsky, who turns himself into a similarly hulking monster called the Abomination. Ultimately, the Hulk defeats the Abomination, who's sent to prison, and Sterns absorbs some of Banner's blood, causing his brain to mutate. Banner then goes back into hiding and starts learning how to control his transformations.

Also, around this time, SHIELD agent Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, is tasked with finding and eliminating Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. Barton tracks down Natasha to her safehouse in Budapest but feels Natasha wants out of the Red Room and lets her live. SHIELD decides to let Natasha defect to their side — but requires her to kill her overseer General Dreykov first. Natasha and Clint rig a five-story building with bombs and lure the Red Room's mastermind into the kill zone — but Dreykov's young daughter Antonia also gets caught in the explosion. While disturbed by the additional red in her ledger, Natasha begins working for SHIELD.

Phase One: 2009 to 2011

Six months after revealing his identity publicly, Tony Stark is called to testify before Congress, because they are justifiably concerned about a private citizen building a suit of armor that can vaporize a tank. To create their own version, they turn to rival weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer. After Tony's friend, Colonel James Rhodes, delivers a prototype Iron Man suit, Hammer and Russian scientist Ivan Vanko reverse-engineer them into an army (and navy, and air force, and marine corps) of drones. Stark also gets a new personal assistant, who is revealed to be SHIELD agent and Red Room defector Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow. Stark and Rhodes, in a militarized armor codenamed War Machine, defeat Vanko and Hammer.

Over at the Ten Rings compound, a now 14-year-old Shang-Chi has become the Master of Kung Fu, having been taught every possible way to kill a man over the last seven years. Assigned to assassinate the man responsible for his mother's murder, Shang-Chi completes his mission but is badly traumatized. Unwilling to return to his father, Shang-Chi cleverly adopts the name Shaun and starts going to high school in San Francisco. There he meets his best friend Katy, a skilled driver.

Meanwhile, a now-adult Marc Spector leaves home to join the United States Marine Corps but gets discharged because of his DID. With few options, Marc becomes a mercenary and works for his former commanding officer Raul Bushman. In addition to doing some jobs for the CIA, Marc is ordered by Bushman to execute some archeologists at an Egyptian dig site. Instead, Marc tries to save the scientists, but gets shot. Dying, Spector is approached by the Egyptian God of the Moon Khonshu who offers to save Spector if he will become his avatar and punish evildoers on Earth. Seeing himself as little more than a killer thanks to his childhood abuse, Spector agrees and is transformed into the supernatural vigilante Moon Knight.

While all this is happening on Earth, there's other stuff going on in the Golden Realm of Asgard. Loki tricks Thor into antagonizing the Frost Giants of Jotunheim against Odin's orders. As a consequence, Odin exiles Thor to Earth and enchants his hammer, Mjolnir, so that only someone worthy of Thor's power can lift it. It lands in New Mexico, where Agent Coulson discovers it, and after a bunch of hicks try to yank it out of the ground with pickup trucks, SHIELD constructs a temporary facility around it. Thor eventually proves himself worthy, regains his hammer, and stops Loki from staging a coup in Asgard.

In 2011, a team of Russian oil drillers discovers the crashed Hydra plane in the arctic and alerts SHIELD. Captain America is thawed out and revived, and after realizing that he's in the 21st century, he joins up with Nick Fury's Avengers Initiative. It turns out he was just in time!

Assembly: 2012 to 2013

In 2012, Loki, last seen adrift in space after his failed coup in Asgard, is enlisted by Thanos to recover the Tesseract from Earth (his recent brief visit being seen by the Mad Titan as relevant employment experience). In exchange, Thanos gives him control of the Chitauri, a massive army of hive-minded destroyers, and a scepter containing the Mind Stone, another of the Infinity Stones. Loki lets himself be captured by SHIELD, incites a riot, and stabs poor Phil Coulson in the back (don't worry, he gets better) — which provides the superheroes with a reason to come together.

The result is the Battle of New York, in which the Avengers — Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hulk, and Hawkeye — are gathered for the first time as a team. The good guys win after Loki is smashed against the ground five or six times, but the battle is not without its consequences.

Unlike in the real world, where it's pretty nice these days, the MCU's version of Hell's Kitchen takes a lot of damage and winds up being a center of corruption and graft as it's rebuilt. This injustice leads blind lawyer Matt Murdock to take on the identity of Daredevil. He fights against criminal kingpin Wilson Fisk and eventually teams up with other super-powered "street-level" crimefighters Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and kinda-sorta the Punisher. The reconstruction is mostly handled by the newly formed Department of Damage Control, who take over the lucrative contract and leave construction foreman Adrian Toomes embittered — though still in possession of advanced alien technology. Toomes builds his own underground criminal enterprise, selling reverse-engineered Chitauri weapons on the black market.

After the Battle of New York

While the Battle of New York comes with its fair share of trauma, it also leaves some people inspired. After seeing Clint Barton unknowingly saving her life while battling aliens with a bow and arrow, 10-year-old Kate Bishop decides to take up archery and learn martial arts to protect her family against future threats. She turns out to be a gifted, if extremely reckless, prodigy who often damages public property with her trick shots.

Loki's scepter falls into the hands of Hydra scientists who try to create their own superhumans by exposing volunteers to the energies of the Mind Stone within the staff. Two of these volunteers are a now-adult Wanda and Pietro Maximoff who gain psionic abilities and superhuman speed. The Mind Stone also enhances Wanda's Chaos Magic abilities, turning her into the Scarlet Witch.

In 2013, Tony Stark, overwhelmed by the concept of his universe suddenly expanding to include gods, aliens, and other unknowable cosmic forces, deals with his post-traumatic stress by building dozens of new Iron Man suits. This unfortunately coincides with the return of Aldrich Killian. Killian has been experimenting with Maya Hansen's regenerative "Extremis" treatment, which has the unfortunate tendency to cause its subjects to explode.

To cover his operations, Killian appropriates Wenwu's Ten Rings and creates a fictional terrorist based on Wenwu called the Mandarin, hiring an actor named Trevor Slattery to play him in threatening videos. The plot is uncovered and stopped by Tony and Rhodey. In the aftermath, Killian is killed by Pepper Potts and Slattery gets sent to federal prison where he's later abducted by the real Ten Rings for impersonating Wenwu. Although Wenwu is intent on killing this strange man who named himself after a chicken dish, he has a change of heart after seeing how good Slattery is at performing Shakespeare and decides to make him his jester.

Around this time, Phil Coulson resurfaces and begins recruiting some additional members into his own agents of SHIELD. They have their own adventures, including many involving the Inhumans and Ghost Rider, but like the good secret agents they are, a lot of this flies beneath the radar of most major MCU events.

Oh, also, Malekith comes back and Thor fights him, and Loki becomes the latest in a long line of presumed deaths that actually aren't. He stashes Odin in a retirement home in New York and then takes his identity, ruling over Asgard and putting on critically acclaimed plays.

Phase Two and its aftermath: 2014 to 2016

In 2014, Hydra's decades-long plot to infiltrate and take over America is finally discovered by Captain America and Black Widow, who also learn that the Winter Soldier is a brainwashed Bucky Barnes. While Cap fights to restore his best friend's memories, the Hydra plot is exposed, and in the aftermath, SHIELD collapses, leaving the Avengers without the oversight and support of the larger organization.

That power vacuum leads directly to Tony Stark and Bruce Banner attempting to create an artificial intelligence to protect the world. Unfortunately, they goof up big time and create a genocidal robot named Ultron who destroys an entire country, Sokovia. In the process, the Hulk hijacks a Quinjet and blasts off to space, landing on Sakaar, but not before Tony and Banner use the Mind Stone to transform Tony's onboard AI, J.A.R.V.I.S., into a much more heroic AI called the Vision. Also, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, two definitely-not-mutants, join the team. Pietro immediately dies, partly from bullets but mostly because Disney and Fox were having a problem sussing out film rights. The destruction of Sokovia also kills the family of Helmut Zemo, who then dedicates his life to destroying the Avengers.

While all this is going on, Peter Quill is out in space trying to steal a valuable orb, which — unbeknownst to him — contains the Infinity Stone known as the Power Stone. That puts him in the sights of both Ronan the Accuser and Thanos, who sends Gamora after him. Quill and Gamora run across Drax, a warrior whose family was killed by Thanos, Rocket, now a wanted criminal, and Rocket's best friend/house plant Groot. After spending some time in prison, the five stage a jailbreak, defeat Ronan in a dance-off, and recover the Power Stone with the help of the real power (friendship). During the adventure, Groot dies, leaving behind a "Baby Groot" sapling, and the group christens themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy. They turn the Power Stone over to the Nova Corps, a bunch of space cops on the planet Xandar, but Thanos attacks Xandar soon after and recovers it for himself.

Disassembled: 2015 to 2017

In 2015, an electrical engineer named Scott Lang gets out of prison and stumbles onto Hank Pym's old size-changing equipment. Under the guidance of Pym and his daughter Hope, Lang becomes the second Ant-Man, and helps to keep the Pym Particles from falling into the hands of an evil arms dealer Darren Cross. When Darren dons his own size-changing suit and becomes the villainous Yellowjacket, Lang goes subatomic and damages Yellowjacket's suit so badly that the bad guy seemingly shrinks into oblivion. Actually, Cross journeys to the Quantum Realm where he's found by Kang and rebuilt as the evil Mr. Potato Head "M.O.D.O.K." (Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing).

Somewhere around this time, it's likely that a kid named Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, tries to capitalize on his powers by becoming famous as Spider-Man, and fails to stop a robber that later murders his Uncle Ben. None of this is covered in the MCU, but you may have seen five other movies about it.

The following year sees Helmut Zemo's plan to destroy the Avengers reach fruition. As the world responds to the destruction of Sokovia by trying to install new governmental oversight over the Avengers, Zemo furthers the wedge between Captain America and Iron Man by revealing Bucky killed Tony Stark's parents. He also frames Bucky for the assassination of King T'Chaka of Wakanda, leading the king's son T'Challa to take over leadership of the country as well as the identity and powers of the Black Panther. In the end, the Avengers break up and Bucky gets treatment in Wakanda after T'Challa realizes they were all being manipulated by Zemo.

Fleeing the U.S. after the rest of Cap's team is imprisoned, Natasha Romanoff spends some time in Norway watching James Bond films. Unfortunately, her vacation is cut short when she's attacked by Taskmaster, an assassin who can mimic any fighting style. Later, she discovers Taskmaster is the brainwashed daughter of all still-alive General Dreykov, who has restarted a crueler version of the Red Room that brainwashes new Black Widows and robs them of free will.

One of those Black Widows turns out to be Natasha's sister Yelena. Freed of her programming by another Widow, Yelena sends the brainwashing antidote to Natasha, drawing her into the fight. Together, Yelena and Natasha work to reunite with their former "parents," Alexi and Melina and really kill Dreykov this time. Although the dysfunctional deep cover family has more than its share of issues, they manage to pull together and take down the Red Room. In the end, Yelena gets to work liberating Black Widows around the world while Natasha goes to break her other family, the Avengers, out of jail.

Strange worlds

While all this is going on, Doctor Stephen Strange, who lost the fine motor control in hands after a car accident, seeks out the Ancient One and trains to become a Master of the Mystic Arts. He stops an invasion by Dormammu, a demonic force from the Dark Dimension, by using the Time Stone to trap Dormammu in a time loop where the entity kills Strange over and over again until the cosmic villain gets annoyed enough to leave the Earth alone.

Meanwhile, the Guardians of the Galaxy encounter Ego and Peter Quill's half-sister Mantis. Ego reveals that Peter is his son and the heir to his power, but when he tries to manipulate him into conquering the entire galaxy, Mantis teams up with the Guardians to kill the living planet. The Guardians also incur the wrath of the Sovereign after Rocket steals some of their batteries for absolutely no reason. In retaliation, their leader, Ayesha, decides to create a more powerful Sovereign named Adam to go after the Guardians.

Some very different homecomings: 2017 to 2018

In the absence of the Avengers, Tony Stark begins to mentor Peter Parker. As Spider-Man, Peter battles the evil arms dealer known as the Vulture, who turns out to be Adrian Toomes, his homecoming date's dad. The Vulture is defeated, arrested, and sent to prison, but not before he figures out Spider-Man's real identity. Also, Tony Stark finally proposes to Pepper Potts.

Lest you think Peter is the only superpowered teenager in the MCU, over in New Orleans teenagers Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson acquire powers of light and darkness and become the vigilantes Cloak and Dagger. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, privileged teenager Alex Wilder and his friends learn their parents are all supervillains who control a powerful criminal organization called the Pride. The kids go on the run, learn many of them have superpowers or connections to advanced technology, and even run afoul of dangerous artifacts like the Darkhold. Sadly, it looks like Peter won't be meeting any of these young heroes as their worlds are only slightly connected to the MCU.

Meanwhile, Marc Spector marries Layla El-Faouly, the daughter of one of the archeologists he failed to save the night he became Moon Knight. The two go on many adventures together, but when Spector learns Khonshu may use Layla as his new avatar, he sends divorce papers to her, hoping to create some distance between them and keep her safe.

In Asgard, Thor returns from a two year journey spent looking for Infinity Stones in various realms only to discover Loki's been posing as Odin this entire time. When they find the real Odin, he's at the end of his life, and his death allows Hela to escape her millennia of imprisonment. She destroys Mjolnir, blasts the two brothers into space, and takes over Asgard. Thor winds up on Sakaar, where he recruits Hulk and Valkyrie for a mission to overthrow Hela, which goes about as well as it can for a plan that ends with the complete destruction of Asgard via fire giant.

In Wakanda, T'Challa's rule is challenged by his cousin Erik Killmonger, who teams up with evil arms dealer Ulysses Klaue — there are a lot of evil arms dealers in these movies — and then betrays him in order to gain favor with Wakandans who know Klaue as a vibranium smuggler. Erik nearly kills T'Challa, usurps his position as the Black Panther, and destroys all of Wakanda's heart-shaped herbs to secure his power base. However, T'Challa returns and, aided by his girlfriend Nakia, general Okoye, and sister Shuri, regains control of his country. Later, he secretly fathers a son with Nakia who decides to raise their child in Haiti, away from the Black Panther's enemies.

The Infinity War(s): 2018 to 2023

After six years of waiting around, Thanos decides to personally seek out the Infinity Stones, and the results are devastating. He kills Loki, murders his daughter Gamora to get the Soul Stone, and nearly obliterates the last surviving Asgardians. As he goes after the remaining stones, things get so desperate that the entire Avengers crew (except Hawkeye and Ant-Man, who are under house arrest for violating the Sokovia Accords) need to get back together to sort it out. They don't do so well. Despite fighting on two fronts, with one small team in space and a massive force on Earth, Thanos gathers the stones, snaps his fingers, and kills half of all life forms in the universe, dissolving them into dust. Before he dissolves, Nick Fury uses his space-pager to alert Captain Marvel that Earth needs her help.

A month later, Captain Marvel and the surviving Avengers track Thanos down in space, only to find out that he's destroyed the stones and, with them, any chance of bringing back the dead half of the universe. Thor beheads Thanos, and the Avengers return home.

Unfortunately, Ant-Man misses all of these events due to his involvement in a relatively self-contained heist movie. Alongside the new Wasp, Hope van Dyne, Ant-Man explores the Quantum Realm in order to save original Wasp, Janet van Dyne, all while dealing with repeated attacks from a mysterious super-powered being known as Ghost. Later, Lang explores the Quantum Realm just as Thanos' snap turns Hank Pym and both van Dyne women into dust, trapping Ant-Man in the sub-atomic realm. While he's there, five years go by, during which the heroes deal with the horrific trauma in various ways. Notably, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts have a daughter named Morgan, Banner merges his brain with the Hulk, and Thor becomes an overweight gamer.

The Infinity War(s) continue: Time heist

Hawkeye loses his entire family in the snap, causing him to go rogue, adapting a new hairstyle and anti-hero identity as the merciless Ronin, who hunts down and ruthlessly kills criminals around the world. One of these criminals is William Lopez, the father of fighting prodigy Maya. After seeing her dad die, Maya swears vengeance on Ronin, not knowing that her dad's boss — Kingpin — wanted William dead.

After Ant-Man returns from the Quantum Realm (where, for him, only a few hours have passed), the heroes realize that the solution to the problem is, of course, time travel. With the help of Iron Man and the now-smart Hulk, the heroes travel back to various key points in the timeline (including 1970, 2012, and 2014) to gather up the Infinity Stones of those eras, along with Mjolnir, circa 2013.

Unfortunately, the Avengers also inadvertently bring the Thanos of 2014 forward to 2023, along with his minions. This includes an alternate Gamora with no memory of her time with the Guardians. Fortunately, the Hulk uses a rebuilt Infinity Gauntlet to wish everyone back to life, and virtually every hero in the entire MCU takes Thanos on at once. The final blows are dealt both by and to Iron Man, who dies on the battlefield.

After gathering for a funeral, Steve Rogers hops into the timestream to return everything to where it should be, returning after living a full life with Peggy Carter in an alternate past to bequeath his shield to Sam Wilson, naming him the new Captain America.

Meanwhile, outside of all known time and space ...

Outside of the mainstream MCU, the version of Loki that the Avengers freed from an alternate 2012 in "Avengers: Endgame" ends up in the Gobi Desert, where he immediately begins fulfilling his "glorious purpose" by trying to conquer the world, again. Instead, he gets picked up by the Time Variance Authority (TVA), a time police force tasked with hunting down rogue variants like Loki and destroying alternate timelines before they can branch out too far from their "sacred timeline."

Loki gets paired with Moebius, a sympathetic TVA agent, who recruits the trickster god into the agency to help find their latest target — another Loki variant. This variant turns out to be a female version of Loki called Sylvie, who restarts the multiverse, allowing a bunch of rogue timelines to emerge from history. Loki teams up with Sylvie and discovers the TVA is made up of variants forcibly recruited into the organization to prune rogue timelines and prevent really evil versions of the TVA's mysterious leader from destroying everything. While offered a chance to let this deception persist, Sylvie instead murders the mastermind, letting the multiverse run wild.

While this may lead to the destruction of reality, it makes one cosmic being's life more interesting. The god-like voyeur the Watcher gains a slew of new TV channels when the multiverse returns, where he observes realities where Peggy Carter receives the Super Soldier Serum, Doctor Strange destroys his universe, and Thor becomes a party animal. Ultimately, the Watcher is forced to evolve from observer to doer when a variant Ultron threatens to destroy all sentient life in the multiverse. Assembling his own Guardians of the Multiverse team, the Watcher manipulates events so the alternate realities can continue to coexist.

Sometime after the multiverse was recreated, a young girl named America Chavez develops the ability to travel through alternate realities. Unable to control her power, she accidentally sends her parents to an unknown world before slipping through multiple parallel universes herself. Along the way, she makes friends, usually with variants of Doctor Strange.

Aftermath of the reverse-snap: 2023

In the mainstream MCU, the effects of Hulk's reverse snap are being felt on both a cosmic and street level. People like Yelena Belova snap back to existence, only to discover that five years have passed and their loved ones are now gone. Reestablishing their lives proves difficult since different people live in their homes and billions are still legally dead. While support networks form, entire nations are also forcing out recent immigrants due to the sudden rise in population.

Believing life was better during the Blip when half of all life was gone, some people react to these changes violently. Anarchist Karli Morgenthau forms a terrorist group, the Flag Smashers, to attack governments threatening her One World vision and even augments her team with a new version of the Super Soldier Serum. This puts her in the sights of Sam Wilson, who rejects Steve Rogers' request that he become the new Captain America. After working with Bucky Barnes and seeing how Steve's legacy can be tarnished by unworthy successors like the dangerously unhinged John Walker, Sam takes on the mantle of Captain America and works with the Winter Soldier to stop the Flag Smashers.

Taking advantage of the global chaos and recent super-powered debuts, a mysterious woman named Valentina Allegra de Fontaine begins recruiting enhanced individuals — including Yelena Belova and John Walker — for an unknown project. Meanwhile, Peggy Carter's great-niece Sharon — a former SHIELD agent — goes rogue and takes over the criminal underworld of Madripoor, adopting the moniker the Power Broker. Sam also meets an elderly Isaiah Bradley and learns his history. Although Isaiah is skeptical about the idea of a "Black Captain America," Sam arranges for an exhibit of Isaiah's service to be displayed at the Smithsonian so everyone will know about the United States' first African American super soldier.

The sudden rise in sentient life on Earth also jump-starts the Emergence, which threatens to destroy the entire planet when a new Celestial is born. Alerted by the cosmic event and a few remaining Deviants, the Eternals reunite. Where before they have always stood by and allowed planets to be destroyed, a few now have enough love for humanity to try and save the Earth. Sersi draws enough power from her teammates to halt the birth of the Celestial Tiamut, and the Celestial Arishem uses the Eternals' memories to determine if Earth should be spared.

Phase 4 begins in earnest

After the reverse-snap, in Europe, Peter Parker attempts to have a vacation free of Spider-Man. Unfortunately, this becomes impossible when Nick Fury (actually the shapeshifting Skrull Talos, who is covering for Fury while he's on vacation in space) recruits Spider-Man to help Mysterio, a man claiming to be from an alternate universe, to save the world from dangerous elemental beings. Except it's all a lie. Mysterio is just Quentin Beck, a disgruntled ex-Stark employee who uses Peter to get his hands on a pair of Stark tech sunglasses that can control an army of weaponized drones. Spider-Man gets the drop on Mysterio's illusions to keep him from killing thousands of people — but in a final act of spite, Mysterio exposes Peter's secret identity to the world.

Meanwhile, former assassin-turned-car-valet Shang-Chi, currently going by Shaun, learns his father is gunning for him when Ten Rings agents steal the jade pendant his mother left him. Teaming up with his sister, Shang-Chi finally addresses his issues with his father by traveling to Ta Lo and stopping Wenwu from unleashing the soul-sucking monster known as the Dweller-in-Darkness on the world. Before dying to save his son, Wenwu grants Shang-Chi the 10 rings, which begin sending signals out into the universe. Shang-Chi and Katie are subsequently recruited by Wong, who has become Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. He introduces the Master of Kung Fu to Bruce Banner and Carol Danvers before joining Shang-Chi and Katie for some karaoke.

Wanda warps reality and enslaves a town

While all this is going on, one rogue Avenger is unknowingly creating her own brand of chaos in the small town of Westview, New Jersey. Unable to cope with the loss of Vision, whom Thanos killed by ripping the Mind Stone out of his head, Wanda Maximoff manifests powerful reality-warping abilities. Drawing from her childhood love of American sitcoms, Wanda warps Westview into an idyllic town where she lives a suburban life with a new version of Vision. She even gives birth to twin boys who quickly mature in a single episode.

To maintain this illusion, Wanda inadvertently mind-controls the real-life citizens of Westview into becoming her personal puppets. Her activities attract the attention of the new intelligence agency SWORD and Agatha Harkness. While Wanda eventually comes to her senses and tries to free Westview, Agatha goads Wanda into a battle. Wanda comes out on top, although she has to sacrifice her happy life with her husband and children. The two boys fade into memory as the illusory town disappears, and though Vision manages to survive the town's destruction, he is essentially factory-reset to a blank White Vision. Embracing her new role as "The Scarlet Witch," Wanda begins studying Agatha's Darkhold and starts dreaming of alternate realities where her sons are still alive.

Wanda's reality-warping abilities also permanently alter one woman — SWORD agent Monica Rambeau. The adult daughter of Carol Danvers' best friend Maria, Monica attempts to help Wanda with her grief and is exposed multiple times to Wanda's "hex" energies. This rewrites Monica's cells, giving her the power to absorb energy and become intangible. After hearing of her performance in Westview, Nick Fury invites Monica to join him on a mission in outer space.

New homes found, old homes lost: 2024

With his secret identity now exposed, Peter turns to Doctor Strange, hoping the sorcerer can snap his fingers and wish his problems away. Instead, Strange offers to cast a spell to make the world forget Peter Parker is Spider-Man. It seems like an ideal solution — until Peter keeps asking Strange to rewrite the spell, creating multiple fractures in the multiverse and drawing in people who know Peter Parker is Spider-Man.

Soon, Spider-Man villains from different cinematic universes, including Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard, and Electro, begin slipping into the MCU. However, the worst new arrival is the Green Goblin, who murders Peter's Aunt May. Distraught, Peter receives help from an unexpected source — two multiverse Peter Parkers who look a lot like Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire.

Together, the Spider-Men concoct some creative cures for their enemies and depower their shared Rogues Gallery. But just as things seem to be looking up, the multiverse begins to fracture as an infinite number of Spider-Man villains begins crossing over. Peter does the responsible thing by asking Strange to make the whole world forget Peter Parker and prevent the villains from coming through. This essentially makes Peter a nonentity in the MCU, cuts him off from his support network of heroes and friends, and sets him up for a brand-new trilogy of solo Spider-Man films.

Oh, and Strange's spell also strands the Vulture in Sony's universe while Sony's Venom briefly pops up in the MCU. Instead of fighting Spider-Man, he spends his entire visit getting drunk in a Mexican bar and accidentally gives birth to a new symbiote whom he unknowingly abandons in the MCU.

However, not all heroes need to be alone for the holidays. After a now 22-year-old Kate Bishop crashes an underground New York auction and steals Clint Barton's former Ronin outfit, she draws a lot of unwanted and potentially lethal attention to herself from the Track Suit Mafia and Kingpin.

Fortunately, Hawkeye is in town with his family to see the embarrassingly catchy "Rogers: The Musical." Initially hoping to retrieve his Ronin suit and keep Kate out of trouble, Clint ends up mentoring Kate as they go up against Maya Lopez, aka Echo, Yelena Belova, and Kingpin, who's attempting to rebuild his criminal empire. After bonding with Clint over their shared trauma and showing she's really good at shooting people with trick arrows, Kate looks like she'll be taking over the mantle of Hawkeye and joining the MCU's ever-expanding roster of new superheroes.

Wanda and Doctor Strange travel across the multiverse

A now-teenage America Chavez is being pursued by demonic agents that kill a variant Doctor Strange. America and Strange's corpse accidentally slip into the mainstream Marvel universe where our Doctor Strange discovers Wanda Maximoff — now corrupted by the Darkhold — wants to steal America's multiverse-traveling powers so she can live in a world where her twin sons are alive. When Strange and the sorcerers of Kamar-Taj stand in her way, Wanda murders many sorcerers, forcing America and Strange to flee to Earth-838. There, Strange is arrested by this universe's Illuminati, a secret society that includes alternate versions of Baron Mordo, Black Bolt, Captain Carter, Captain Marvel, Professor Charles Xavier, and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.

Believing Strange to be the real threat to the multiverse (since their Doctor Strange nearly destroyed a universe with his Darkhold), the Illuminati fail to heed Strange's warnings of the Scarlet Witch. This becomes their undoing when Wanda travels to Earth-838 by possessing the body of her alternate self and slaughters the Illuminati. She then banishes Strange to another alternate world where Strange learns his variant is an arrogant jerk who brought about the end of his universe.

Using this world's Darkhold, Strange possesses the body of the dead Doctor Strange variant on his home world and battles Wanda. Fortunately, America is able to get Wanda to see the error of her ways by taking her back to Earth-838 where her sons are horrified by how evil she's become. Filled with remorse, Wanda collapses Darkhold Castle and destroys the Darkhold in all realities before seemingly killing herself.

Sometime later, Strange — now sporting a third eye thanks to his use of the Darkhold — encounters the Dark Dimension's sorceress Clea who tells him he started an incursion in her home reality. Strange and Clea then leap into the Dark Dimension, indicating that as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand, we won't be dealing with just one universe ... but several.

Moon Knight awakens

Across the pond in London, mild-mannered gift shop employee Steven Grant is suffering from regular blackouts and discovers he's an alternate personality of Marc Spector aka Moon Knight. After Marc suffers a breakdown following the death of his mother, Steven takes over their body and gets a job at the National Art Gallery. Despite being mistreated by his co-workers, Steven maintains his positive outlook and tries to live a peaceful life.

This life is thrown into chaos when Arthur Harrow, a former avatar of Khonshu, resurfaces as the new avatar of Ammit, the Egyptian goddess of divine retribution. Hoping to preemptively stop all evil by destroying everyone before they get a chance to perform a wicked act, Harrow and his cult free Ammit and send people to their deaths before their time. To stop him, Steven and Marc team up with Layla — who acquires superpowers of her own by becoming the avatar of the goddess Taweret — and manage to imprison Ammit in Harrow's mortal form. Although Steven manages to broker a deal with Khonshu to release Marc and him from the Moon God's service, he doesn't realize that Marc has a third personality — the homicidal Jake Lockley — who's still killing people for Khonshu.

New heroes rise and a king dies

After months of adventuring with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor has recovered from the crippling depression for failing to prevent Thanos' snap. He learns the terrifying Gorr the God Butcher has been slaughtering gods across the cosmos with his ultra-powerful Necrosword. With the help of King Valkyrie and a new female Thor — revealed to be Thor's ex-girlfriend, Jane Foster — Thor defeats Gorr, but not without cost. Foster dies and travels to the Norse afterlife of Valhalla. Following her wishes, Thor takes in Gorr's superpowered daughter, who goes by the name Love. However, Thor's actions have earned him new mortal enemies in the Greek god Zeus and his son, Hercules, who vow revenge on Thor and the rest of Earth's heroes.

In New Jersey, a young Avengers superfan named Kamala Khan finds herself in a generations-old feud between an organization of Pakistani protectors known as the Order of the Red Daggers and a group of interdimensional invaders known as the Clandestines. Kamala discovers that she is a descendant of the Clandestines and therefore a super-powered mutant hybrid. With the help of her friends, and through a series of trials that allow her to master her newfound powers, Kamala expels the invading Clandestines and saves Earth, in the process settling on the moniker Ms. Marvel.

Meanwhile, the superhero community continues to grow. After a car accident causes attorney Jennifer Walters to absorb the gamma-irradiated blood of her cousin, Bruce Banner, she becomes a Hulk herself. Instead of fighting crime through vigilantism, Walters elects to use her new insider perspective to represent super-beings in court as She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Working with the law firm of GLK&H in Los Angeles, She-Hulk handles cases involving the Abomination, Wong, Titania, and more.

In Wakanda, King T'Challa contracts a mysterious disease and becomes terminally ill. Shuri attempts to save his life by constructing an artificial heart-shaped herb to replace the ones Erik Killmonger destroyed. However, she doesn't have enough time and T'Challa dies. Blaming herself, Shuri grows depressed and refuses to continue her work with the heart-shaped herb, potentially ending the Black Panther line.

International affairs

Over in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT gets some new students. In addition to Ned Leeds and MJ Watson, there's teen prodigy Riri Williams, who runs a private business doing her classmates' homework for money. She uses the cash to fund her own private projects, including an Iron Man-style armored suit. One of her designs, a vibranium detector she created for her metallurgy class, is appropriated by the CIA, which uses it to seek out vibranium deposits on Earth. Unfortunately, this allows them to uncover the underwater kingdom of Talokan, placing the United States in conflict with Namor's people.

Namor approaches Queen Ramonda and Shuri in Wakanda and shows them the vibranium detector, telling them he wants the scientist who built it. Concerned, Shuri and Okoye travel to MIT to warn Riri Williams, but both Riri and Shuri are then taken prisoner by the Talokanil. Namor proposes an alliance between Wakanda and Talokan, but when Shuri and Riri escape, Namor attacks Wakanda and Queen Ramonda is killed.

Using a Talokan plant to recreate the heart-shaped herb, Shuri becomes the new Black Panther and leads Wakanda against the attacking Talokanil. Although she craves vengeance, she chooses to show Namor mercy and establish a peaceful alliance between their two nations. In the aftermath, Shuri is able to let go of her guilt over her brother's death and is introduced to Nakia's son Toussaint, or, as the Wakandans will come to know him, Prince T'Challa.

Return to the Quantum Realm

Back on Earth, Scott Lang attempts to retire from super heroics while promoting his memoir "Look Out for the Little Guy." This upsets his daughter Cassie who feels the world still needs heroes. She invents a "Quantum Satellite" which can send signals to the Quantum Realm and learn if people in the sub-atomic world need help. While testing it, the signal gets hijacked and Scott, Cassie, Hank, Janet, and Hope (along with a bunch of ants) are sucked through a portal into the Quantum Realm.

In the Quantum Realm, Janet comes face-to-face with her old demons when she learns Kang has turned the realm into his totalitarian kingdom. Scott and Cassie are captured by Kang and reunite with Darren Cross, now Kang's delusional minion M.O.D.O.K. After Kang forces Scott to steal back his power core so he can exit the Quantum Realm, Cassie escapes and teams up with a group of rebels to lead an uprising against Kang. They're aided by Janet, Hope, Hank, a reformed M.O.D.O.K, and Hank's team of hyper-evolved ants. In the end, Hope helps Scott destroy both the power core and Kang before they return to Earth. However, this isn't the end of Kang, as variants are now emerging from all over the multiverse.

End of the Guardians

Out in space, Peter Quill is in a deep depression after losing Gamora and seeing her alternate variant depart for places unknown. Wanting to help her brother with his grief, Mantis teams up with Drax to travel to Earth and get Peter a special Christmas gift — "Footloose" actor Kevin Bacon. While Star-Lord is horrified by this act of human trafficking, Bacon chooses to celebrate Christmas with the Guardians after hearing how his films inspired Peter to save the universe by dancing. Mantis later tells Peter of their shared parentage, reminding him that he still has family in the stars.

Things take a darker turn when the Sovereign's new creation Adam Warlock attacks Knowhere and critically injures Rocket. After learning the High Evolutionary installed a kill switch in Rocket's cybernetic implants to stop anyone from treating him, the team travels to the High Evolutionary's planet Counter-Earth to save their friend. In the process, they reunite with Gamora who has joined the Ravagers. Together, the Guardians of the Galaxy save Rocket and defeat the High Evolutionary.

In the aftermath, Peter returns to Earth to be with his grandfather, Gamora goes back to the Ravagers, Mantis embarks on a voyage of self-discovery, and Drax and Nebula turn Knowhere into a sanctuary for displaced people and races. This leaves Rocket, now the captain of the Guardians, to build a new team consisting of an adult Groot, the Ravager Kraglin, Cosmo the Space Dog, High Evolutionary experiment Phyla-Vell, and a reformed Adam Warlock.