As complex as the continuity sometimes may be, the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains fairly accessible. There's plenty of deep lore that devotees can dive into, but each of the films and television series works on its own, with connections to other events typically explained. Even Avengers: Infinity War, which depends upon audiences having seen previous films to know all the characters and fully appreciate the ramifications, is able to convey enough of the franchise mythology that viewers don't need to be versed in every detail.
Taken as a whole, however, the history of the MCU is overwhelming. Because Avengers: Endgame is rumored to employ time travel to defeat Thanos, it's a good time for a refresher on the timeline. This article lists every major event in the history of the MCU, from the movies and even the semi-disconnected TV series, in chronological order.
Before the universe existed: Six singularities (Soul, Reality, Time, Space, Mind and Power) predate the formation of the universe, as do the Dark Elves, who originated from the darkness before reality came into existence.
Really early on in the universe: The six singularities turn into the Infinity Stones, through some unknown processes. Celestials are the most powerful lifeforms in the early universe, wielding the Power Stone to render judgment on other worlds. However, eventually they go extinct, with Ego as the only survivor of the species. Also coming into existence in this time are the Elders of the Universe, notably The Collector and The Grandmaster.
Dates unknown: The civilizations of the Kree, the Nova, the Skrulls and the Asgardians begin to emerge. Thanos' home planet Titan booms in population only to die out as resources are depleted, inspiring his philosophy on population control.
2.5 million B.C.: A Vibranium meteorite falls in East Africa, in the region that eventually becomes Wakanda.
Around 8000 B.C.: Humans settle in Vibranium-affected land. Multiple tribes war over the territory, but they are ultimately united by Bashega, who was guided in a vision from the panther god Bast to the Heart-Shaped Herb, granting him the powers of the Black Panther. He establishes Wakanda, the first great civilization, which advances ahead of the rest of the world technologically, due to its rich Vibranium resources. The Jabari tribe isolates itself in the mountains.
Around 3000 B.C.: The Kree expand their empire across the universe. Those who resist, notably the Skrulls, are subjected to genocide. The Kree reach Earth, and their experiments on humans result in the creation of the Inhumans. The first Inhuman, Alveus, drives the Kree from Earth, but his powers of possession frighten humans and Inhumans alike, leading to his banishment to the planet Maveth. Alveus' followers form the cult of Hydra, while most of the other Inhumans move to a Kree lunar outpost, which they name Attilan.
2988 B.C.: The Dark Elves seek to recreate their original universe of darkness through use of the Reality Stone, but Asgardian King Bor wipes them out. However, a few survivors led by Malekith escape and hide in suspended animation until the next cosmic Convergence.
Some time after that: Bor's son Odin takes the throne. Along with his daughter Hela, he seeks to build an empire, but centuries later, he renounces his warlike ways and banishes Hela, who slaughters the Valkyries in a last act of retaliation. Odin and Frigga have a son, Thor.
Dates unknown: Sorcerer Supreme Agamotto, in possession of the Time Stone through unknown means, founds the Masters of the Mystic Arts and the Sanctum Santorums. Another mystical group establishes the city of K'un Lun, protected by the Iron First. Five K'un Lun disciples, seeking the secrets of immortality, are banished and form a new organization: the Hand.
79 A.D.: The Hand triggers the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, destroying Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Iron Fist forms a new organization, the Chaste, to combat the Hand.
Date unknown: During a famine, two Choctaw children become the first Divine Pairing. One sacrifices herself in a ritual that ends the famine. Divine Pairings emerge throughout the history of New Orleans.
Around 1000: Frost Giant King Laufey of Jotunheim invades Midgard (Earth), and Odin leads the Asgardians in defending the realm. Odin adopts a Frost Giant child, Loki.
1014: The Kree and Nova empires go to war.
1300s: Asgard launches another campaign in Midgard, and a Berserker warrior deserts.
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