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The MCU Timeline: How the Universe Took Shape Before Thanos Snapped

With Avengers: Endgame currently in theaters, the MCU is closing a major chapter. So what has happened thus far? We explore the MCU timeline through Infinity War.

This article contains NO SPOILERS for Avengers Endgame.

The MCU is rather vast and has a long history that has been explored through the past 22 films. We’re taking a look at the full timeline of the MCU up to Infinity War. We begin with the start of the universe…

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Pre 1800’s

  • The universe began billions of years ago, and with it, the creation of the Infinity Stones.
  • A meteorite full of Vibranium lands on earth in what would eventually become Wakanda, Africa.
  • A rogue faction of Kree aliens land on Earth and use Terrigen Mists to create altered humans who begin calling themselves “Inhumans.”
  • Odin of Asgard (Anthony Hopkins) defeats Surtur, the fire demon, who will then spend 5500 years recovering in Musphelheim before meeting Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
  • The Dark Elves attempt to destroy the nine realms and are defeated by Bor, king of Asgard. The Aether, the Reality Infinity Stone, is hidden away by Bor.
  • Hela is born to Odin and Frigga and eventually, fights alongside her father before being banished to Hel. Hela attempts to escape and defeats all but one lone Valkyrie, Brunnhilde (Tessa Thompson)
  • Thor Odinson is born to Odin and Frigga.
  • Odin leads two battles against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and their leader Laufey (Colm Fiore). Odin takes Laufey’s son and raises him as his own, naming him Loki.
  • The Kree and Nova Empires begin a thousand-year war.


  • The great-grandfather of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) is killed by the Black Panther of Wakanda.
  • Hydra is formed.


  • Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are born.
  • Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) begins work on a Super Soldier Serum while working in a German university.
  • Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) joins the Nazi party, recruits Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), forces Erskine to work for them, and Hydra begins to grow within the Nazi party.
  • The Red Room program, which turns young girls into lethal assassins, begins in the Soviet Union.
  • World War 2 begins.
  • Howard Stark founds Stark Industries.

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  • Peggy Stark becomes an MI-5 operative and is loaned to America’s Strategic Scientific Reserve.
  • Erskine injects Schmidt with a prototype of the Super Soldier Serum turning him into the Red Skull. Erskine is then rescued by Peggy Carter and the SSR.
  • Erskine works with the SSR to replicate the super soldier serum under codename Project Rebirth, with the help of Howard Stark.
  • Schmidt finds the Tesseract, the Space Infinity Stone, in Tønsberg, Norway.
  • Steve Rogers is injected with the super soldier serum and becomes “Captain America.” Immediately afterwards, Erskine is killed.
  • Captain America assembles a team known as the Howling Commandos, an elite force which works to take down Nazi and Hydra bases and free POW’s.
  • Bucky Barnes is believed to be killed after falling from a train in the Austrian Alps while the Commandos capture Arnim Zola.
  • Captain America stops Red Skull from flying the aircraft known as the Valkyrie to the US. In the process, Schmidt is transported via the Space Stone to the planet of Vormir, while Steve Rogers crashes the aircraft off the coast of Greenland.
  • After multiple missions working together, Peggy Carter and Howard Stark found SHIELD.
  • Arnim Zola is released from prison and begins working with SHIELD.
  • Zola works with other former Hydra agents to rebuild Hydra with SHIELD. In the process, they find Bucky Barnes and turn him into a Hydra assassin known as the Winter Soldier.


  • Yondu Udonta is sold into Kree slavery as a small child.
  • The first Stark World Expo takes place.


  • Anton Vanko defects to the US.
  • The Winter Soldier kills President John F. Kennedy.
  • Anton Vanko and Howard Stark create the Arc Reactor.
  • Anton Vanko is accused of being a spy and is deported. Howard Stark takes full credit for the Arc Reactor technology and works with Obediah Stane to turn Stark Industries into a weapons manufacturer again.
  • Bruce Banner is born.

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  • Hank Pym begins working with SHIELD as he develops Pym Particles.
  • Tony Stark is born.
  • Arnim Zola moves his consciousness into a supercomputer deep within a secret Hydra base before dying of a terminal illness.
  • Howard Stark leaves a message for his son containing clues of a new element.
  • Yondu Udonta is freed from Kree slavery and becomes a Ravager. Soon after, he goes against Ravager code and begins delivering children to Ego the Living Planet.
  • Ego comes to Earth multiples times to spend time with Meredith Quill.


  • Hope Van Dyne is born to Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne.
  • Ego returns to Earth for a final time and impregnates Meredith Quill. He leaves Earth, leaving behind a seedling on the planet and a cancerous tumor within Meredith.
  • T’Challa is born to Prince T’Chaka of Wakanda and his wife, Ramonda.
  • Peter Quill is born.
  • T’Chaka becomes king of Wakanda after the death of his father, Azzuri.
  • Maria Hill is born.
  • Erik Stevens, later known as Killmonger, is born to N’Jobu, the brother of T’Chaka.
  • Natasha Romanoff is born.
  • Hank Pym begins work on a suit that will become the Ant-Man suit.
  • Gamora is born.
  • Hank Pym goes on a mission for SHIELD in East Berlin.
  • Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne attempt to stop a Russian ICBM, Janet is lost in the process. Hank would be torn apart by the loss and sends their daughter, Hope, to boarding school.
  • Yondu and his group of Ravagers kidnap Peter Quill for Ego and keep him as part of their crew.
  • Ulysses Klaue steals a large amount of Vibranium out of Wakanda.
  • Hank Pym resigns from SHIELD.

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  • Pietro and Wanda Maximoff are born in Sokovia.
  • Peter Quill is given an M-Ship which he names the Milano.
  • Howard and Maria Stark are killed by the Winter Soldier.
  • King T’Chaka travels to Oakland, California and is forced to kill his brother N’Jobu.
  • Ivan Vanko is imprisoned for 15 years for selling weapons-grade plutonium.
  • Yondu is cast out from his Ravager fraction for trafficking children to Ego the living Planet.
  • Bruce Banner meets Betty Ross as an undergrad student at Harvard University.
  • Phil Coulson joins SHIELD.
  • Carol Danvers is taken from Earth, turned into a Kree Warrior, and led to believe she was given powers by the Kree.
  • Danvers learns that her powers are being held back by the Kree, and that they are her true enemy.
  • Goose, a Flerken alien that looks like a cat, swallows the Space Infinity Stone aka the Tesseract.
  • Danvers fights the Kree and works to help the Skrull refugees that have been trying to survive near Earth. She leaves Earth vowing to come back if Nick Fury ever needs her.
  • Nick Fury begins work on the Avengers Initiative, a plan to bring Superheroes together to protect the earth against it’s greatest threats. (Sometime after this Goose coughs up the Space Infinity Stone on Fury’s desk.)
  • Kaecilius joins the Masters of the Mystic Arts after the loss of his wife.
  • Hank Pym begins work on a Quantum Tunnel with Elihas Starr. Starr and his wife are killed when the experiment explodes, and their daughter Ava begins facing molecular disequilibrium.
  • Bill Foster, an old colleague of Hank Pym, takes in Ava Starr and works to help her.
  • Tony Stark meets Maya Hansen, Ho Yinsen and Aldrich Killian at a New Year’s Eve party in Bern, Switzerland.

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  • Maya Hansen begins working on Extremis at Aldrich Killian’s think tank, AIM.
  • The Maximoff twins’ parents are killed by Stark weapons.
  • Peter Parker is born.
  • Bruce Banner joins the Bio-Tech Force Enhancement Project at Culver University.
  • Learning that the Bio-Tech program is at risk of being shut down,Banner experiments on himself and turns into the Hulk for the first time on April 16th 2005. After this he goes on the run, realizing that the Hulk can not be caught by the US Government.
  • On April 13th 2008, Tony Stark is kidnapped bt the terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings. He implants an Arc Reactor in his chest to prevent pieces of shrapnel from moving further into his heart.
  • Tony Stark creates the Mark 1 Iron Man suit in a cave and escapes after being held captive for three months by the Ten Rings. Upon his return he announces Stark Industries will never again make weapons.
  • After finding personal success with Extremis, Aldrich Killian begins testing on volunteer subjects.
  • Tony Stark makes the first full Iron Man suit with Mark 3, and defeats Ten Rings forces in Gulmira.
  • T’Challa takes on the mantle of Black Panther when his father retires.
  • Tony Stark fights Obediah Stane as Iron Man and War Monger, Stane is killed.
  • Tony reveals to the world that he is Iron Man, and that night Nick Fury tells him about the Avengers Initiative.
  • Ivan Vanko begins creating an Arc Reactor like Tony’s in Moscow.

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  • Bruce Banner spills blood in a bottling factory that then is ingested by a US citizen, tipping off General Ross of his location.
  • The Stark Expo opens.
  • Emil Blonsky and a team of soldiers come face to face with the Hulk in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Ivan Vanko attacks Tony Stark during the Grand Prix, and is then recruited by Justin Hammer to take out Tony Stark.
  • Tony Stark and James Rhodes fight in Iron Man suits, Rhodey takes the Mark 2 at the end of the fight.
  • Thor’s coronation is interrupted when Frost Giants break into Odin’s Vault.
  • After some help from Fury, Stark begins work on a new element.
  • Thor attacks Jotunheim with Sif, Loki and the Warriors Three.
  • Bruce Banner arrives to Culver University to take any research on the Bio Tech project from Betty in secret.
  • Stark creates a new element, takes on Vanko, and stops Hammer.
  • Thor is cast out and arrives on Earth.
  • Coulson arrives in New Mexico to find Thor’s hammer.
  • Bruce Banner and Betty Ross have a reunion.
  • Thor tries to lift Mjolnir and can’t, he is then toldby Loki that Odin is dead and he can never return to Asgard.
  • Emil Blonsky is given a low dose of the Bio-Tech serum.
  • Loki sends the Destroyer to attack Thor, and Sif & The Warriors Three who have come to help Thor.
  • The Hulk fights General Ross’ men at Culver university.
  • Thor and Loki fight on the Bifrost and it is destroyed. Loki falls into the abyss of space.
  • Hulk and Abomination (Emil Blonsky) fight in Harlem, and after defeating Blonsky, Hulk vanishes.
  • The World Security Council give Fury resources to exameine the Tesseract, the Space Infinity Stone.
  • Tony Stark is sent to talk to General Ross.


  • SHIELD finds Steve Rogers frozen body.
  • Steve Rogers wakes up in New York City.

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  • The first “Mandarin bombing occurs.
  • Loki makes a deal with Thanos to recover the Tesseract, the Space Infinity Stone.
  • The Avengers Assemble to defeat Loki.
  • Before the battle is over Iron Man is forced to send a Nuclear Warhead through a wormhole to stop the Chitari army and save New York.
  • The Space Infinity Stone is taken to Asgard with Thor and Loki. The Mind Infinity Stone, which Loki used in his plan, is given to SHIELD scientists.
  • The Toomes Salvage Company pushed aside by the Department of Damage Control.
  • Aldrich Killian hires Trevor Slattery to pose as The Mandarin.
  • Scott Lang is arrested for stealing from Vistacorp and sentenced to five years at San Quentin State Prison.
  • War Machine is rebranded as Iron Patriot.
  • Tony Stark deals with PTSD from the battle against Loki, creating the Iron Legion team of Iron Man suits.
  • Tony faces Aldrich Killian and takes him out once and for all, then destroys all of his Iron Man suits and has the shrapnel in his chest removed along with the Arc Reactor.

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  • Rocket Raccoon begins a partnership with Groot.
  • The Convergence begins, Jane Foster finds the Aether, the Reality Infinity Stone, and it is absorbed into her body.
  • Thor finds Jane Foster and brings her to Asgard to try to have the Aether, the Reality Infinity Stone, removed.
  • Thor and Loki hatch a plan to have the dark elves remove the Reality Infinity Stone from Jane Foster, and then take it themselves. It goes wrong and they attempt an attack on Earth before being stopped by Thor.
  • Loki, thought to be dead, secretly sends Odin to Earth and pretends to be him in order to rule Asgard. Thor returns to Earth.
  • Sif and Volstagg take the Aether to the Collector.
  • The Collector asks Gamora to find the Power Infinity Stone.

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  • The Mind Infinity Stone is delivered to Wolfgang von Strucker, who uses it for human experimentation in Sokovia. Strucker is able to give the Maximoff twins super powers.
  • The Winter Soldier attempts to assassinate Nick Fury when he begins to discover that HYDRA is controlling SHIELD. This dominoes into Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon working with Fury to take down all of SHIELD.
  • During their fight against SHIELD/HYDRA, Steve learns that the Winter Soldier is Bucky Barnes, and he vows to find him.
  • The Ravagers are hired by the Broker to recover the Power Infinity Stone from Morag.
  • Peter Quill takes the Power infinity Stone from Morag, hoping to receive the bounty from the Broker himself.
  • Quill meets Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and Drax the Destroyer. After realizing what the Power infinity Stone is, they decide to take keep it safe instead of selling it. Ronan the Accuser takes it, and they stop him from using it to destroy Xandar. Groot is killed in the final battle. The Stone is then locked up on Xandar.
  • A new spawn of the original Groot is born and taken care of by the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Nevula is captured by the Sovereign while trying to steal Anulax Batteries.
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy stop a Abilisk from devouring Anulax Batteries and take Nebula as payment. When Rocket steals some of the batteries during their departure the Sovereign begin to come after the Guardians. They are saved by Ego the living planet, Quill’s biological father. The Guardians discover the horrific truth about Ego and fight off the Sovereign and kill Ego. Yondu Udonta dies in the battle.

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  • The Avengers attack Strucker’s Base and take hold of Loki’s scepter which houses the Mind Infinity Stone.
  • Tony Stark begins creating Ultron, an advanced “Super Bot” that could potentially take the place of the Avengers. Ultron goes live and turns evil, he recruits the Maximoff twins to take down the Avengers. When they learn he plans to annihilate Earth, they switch sides and the Avengers take down Ultron. During the ongoing battle against Ultron, Vision, a good “Super Bot” is created. The Mind Infinity Stone is used to bring Vision to life.
  • Helmut Zemo finds his family’s dead bodies and vows vengeance for their deaths, blaming the Avengers.
  • Thanos wipes out the Dwarves of Nidavellir and forces Eitri to make him an Infinity Gauntlet.
  • Thor begins searching for Infinity Stones.
  • Scott Lang is released from prison and recruited by Hank Pym to stop Darren Cross from using the Pym Particles for evil. During the mission Ant-Man fights Falcon at Avengers’ new headquarters in upstate New York. The mission succeeds and Scott and Hope van Dyne begin a relationship.
  • Hank Pym give Hope a Wasp outfit.
  • Kaecilius disbands from the Masters and form the Zealots. They steal a book from the Kamar-Taj library.
  • Peter Parker gains super powers and becomes Spider-Man.

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  • Stephen Strange is in a car accident that results in severe nerve damage to his hands. He tries everything to repair his hands and learns of a paraplegic man who could now walk. Strange meets the man and heads to Nepal to find Kamar-Taj.
  • General Ross becomes Secretary of State.
  • Brock Rumlow, now known as Crossbones, tries to steal a biological weapon. He is stopped by Captain America, Black Widow, Falcon and Scarlet Witch. During the confrontation an explosion Rumlow sets off, and Scarlet Witch tries to move, kills innocent bystanders.
  • Tony Stark gives a presentation at MIT.
  • Strange finds Kamar-Taj and begins studying under the Ancient One.
  • Tony Stark signs the Sokovia Accords.
  • Strange continues studying and meets Wong, as Kaecilius tries to contact Dormammu.
  • The Ancient One leaves Strange on Mount Everest, hoping he can master the sling ring if he focuses correctly. He does and he continues studying and focusing correctly on becoming a Master of the Mystic Arts.
  • Peggy Carter dies.
  • Tony and Ross present the Avengers with the Sokovia Accords. They are divided in their feelings towards signing.
  • The Vienna International Centre is bombed by Zemo and King T’Chaka of Wakanda is killed. The event is blamed on the Winter Soldier. Cap goes to find Bucky and the two are captured by War Machine and Government operatives. From here the Avengers begin to divide over the Accords, eventually leading to a battle against one another and the recruitment of Peter Parker to Tony’s team. Cap and Bucky escape and later face Zemo with Tony only for Tony to turn on them when he discovers Bucky killed his parents.
  • Cap and Bucky defeat Tony and disappear. Cap leaves a prepaid phone with Tony, to use in case of any dire emergencies.
  • Cap and Bucky free Falcon, Hawkeye, Scott Lang and Wanda from The Raft.
  • Lang and Barton make deals to be able to stay with their families while the rest remain on the run.
  • Nakia returns to Wakanda with T’Challa and Okoye. T’Challa becomes king before coming into conflict with his long lost cousin Erik Stevens aka Killmonger. Killmonger takes the Throne for a short period of time and T’Challa works to reclaim it from him, eventually mortally wounding him in battle.
  • Bucky is put into a frozen state while the scientists of Wakanda try to wipe is HYDRA programming.
  • T’Challa decides to build an embassy in Oakland, California.
  • Strange works to learn Astral Projection.
  • Karl Mordo teaches Strange about Relics.
  • Peter Parker begins is Sophomore year of High School. Whilebeing mentored by Tony Stark he discovers that Adrian Toomes is selling advanced tech to bad guys. He takes out Toomes aka Vulture himself, and Tony invites him to join the Avengers. Peter rejects the offer and goes home to be Spider-Man. Aunt May sees him in his suit.
  • Mac Gargan asks Toomes in prison if he knows who Spider-Man is, Toomes lies and says no.
  • Bucky’s mind is repaired by Shuri.

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  • Strange begins trying to use the Eye of Agamotto and the Time Infinity Stone. Strange ends up working with Wong, the Ancient One and Mordo to takedown Kaecilius once and for all. The Ancient One is killed. Strange then becomes the Sorcerer Supreme, protector of the New York Sanctum, and guardian of the Time Infinity Stone.
  • Karl Mordo decides to leave the Masters of the Mystic Arts, and later that year he decides there are too many sorcerers, and begins stealing their powers.
  • Thor begins seeing visions of Asgard’s destruction. He goes home to find Loki on the throne pretending to be Odin and together they go to Earth to find their father.
  • Doctor Strange helps Thor find his father on Earth in Tønsberg, Norway.
  • Odin passes away and Hela is released from her prison, she sends Thor and Loki to Sakaar where they find Hulk and Valkyrie. Together they team up to return to Asgard and stop Hela. ButThor realizes they must destroy Asgard. They let Ragnarok take place as Loki grabs the Tesseract, the Space Time Stone, from Odin’s Vault.
  • The Asgardian refugees begin to head to Earth.

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  • While back home on house arrest Scott Lang has a vision of Hope van Dyne from Jane van Dyne’s perspective. Scott reaches out to Hope and Hank Pym and they work to save Janet from the Quantum Realm, in the process coming up against Bill Foster and Ava Starr, who want to use the Quantum Tunnel to save Ava. The conflict is resolved when Janet returns home to her family, and is able to transfer Quantum particles to Ava. Scott is also released off of house arrest.
  • Thanos wipes out Xandar and takes the Power Infinity Stone.
  • Thanos finds Thor and the ship full of Asgardian Refugees. He takes the Space Infinity Stone and begins his mission to collect all of the Infinity Stones.
  • Thanos succeeds and snaps the Infinity Gauntlet, destroying half of the population of the Universe.
  • As the snap occurs Scot Lang becomes stuck inside the Quantum Realm trying to retrieve Quantum Particles for Ava Starr. Hope, Janet and Hank all turn to dust, leaving him without any help.

THAT, is the entire MCU through Infinity War. We’ll update this in the next week with details from Endgame. But for now, take that as you will…

Keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our MCU and Avengers: Endgame coverage.

Image via Marvel

Image via Marvel

Written by Alex Lancaster
(Alex is a life long film fan, and has dedicated his life to watching, making and obsessing over films. His favorite film is Big Fish, and he despises Avatar. He has a 4 year old son. And a bad habit of saying more than he needs to. Follow @alex5348 on Twitter)

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