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Where Does Minions: The Rise Of Gru Fit Into The Despicable Me Timeline?

In 2017, the National Post published an alarming — if not entirely unsurprising — headline: "​​Resistance is futile ... the ubiquity of the Minions cannot (and will never) be contained." Its author, Calum Marsh, doubled down in the subheading, writing, "Minions are as indispensable to [children's] sustenance as oxygen."

While Marsh's dire proclamations were, of course, made in jest, they also aren't entirely wrong. The indispensability of the Minions and their unique language has proved to be a boon for Universal Pictures, who have happily soaked up the box office returns since the yellow creatures from "Despicable Me" came onto the scene in 2010. Despite some vocal Minions haters, the "Despicable Me" franchise now stands as one of the high-grossing animated franchises in history, a feat accomplished through reliable visual gags and unfettered silliness.

Universal expanded the scope of its franchise in 2015 with "Minions," a "Despicable Me" prequel. With "Minions: The Rise of Gru" set for release on July 1, the franchise is once again exploring its characters' backstories in an alternate setting. Here's where the latest installment fits into the "Despicable Me" timeline.

The Rise of Gru takes place in between Minions and the first Despicable Me

The fifth feature in the "Despicable Me" franchise, "Minions: The Rise of Gru" is a direct sequel to 2015's "Minions." That film tracked the evolution of the yellow creatures, following their rise from primordial goofs to servants of Pharaoh, Count Dracula, and Napoleon in their endless search to serve the world's greatest villain. The "Minions" journey ends in 1968, with Kevin, Stuart, and Bob (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) bumping into a young Gru (Steve Carell) and settling on him as their new master.

"Minions: The Rise of Gru" picks up where "Minions" left off, traveling forward a few years into the 1970s. The film follows a 12-year-old Gru as he develops into a budding villain and adopts Kevin, Bob, and Stuart — plus a new Minion named Otto — as his banana-loving lackeys.

As reviews of "Minions: The Rise of Gru" indicate, the film leans into its '70s environs, borrowing from the conventions of the era's film genres like Blaxploitation and martial arts. Characters like Taraji P. Henson's villainous Belle Bottom and Michelle Yeoh's intense kung fu teacher Master Chow feel like loving nods to prominent cinematic trends of the decade. Some '70s references are more specific; if you look closely during a scene set in a movie theater you can catch a glimpse of a "Jaws" poster hanging on the wall.

With "The Rise of Gru" clearly positioned in between the events of "Minions" and "Despicable Me," there's still plenty of room to explore Gru as a young adult in the '80s and '90s. Furthermore, "Despicable Me 4" is set for a 2024 release, suggesting that more contemporary Gru adventures are on the horizon.