What Exactly is the MCU?

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As an avid Marvel fan, I do a lot of reading online about fan theories and reviews of current films and television shows that take place in the MCU. One of the things I’ve noticed the most, though, is that people often confuse what belongs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and what does not.

What is the MCU?

The MCU consists of any television shows, One-Shots, web series, films, or streaming television shows that take place within the same cinematic universe. The MCU began with 2008’s Iron Man and has exploded to consist of countless shows and films and an innumerable amount of characters. For the most part, the feature films that have been released have debuted in chronological order in the timeline of the MCU, but shows like Agent Carter have gone back in time to show us events in the MCU that have taken place prior to the events of the feature films.

Feature Films:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Thor (2011)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Ant-Man (2015)
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016)

Television Shows (with premier dates)

  • Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (2013)
  • Marvel’s Agent Carter (2015)
  • Marvel’s Daredevil (2015)
  • Marvel’s Jessica Jones (2015)
  • Marvel’s Luke Cage (2016)

One Shots and Web Series

  • The Consultant (2011)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer (2011)
  • Item 47 (2012)
  • Agent Carter (2013)
  • All Hail the King (2014)
  • Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Slingshot (2016)

What’s NOT in the MCU?

  • Anything released by FOX or Sony before their deal with Marvel & Disney such as:
    • Any X-Men film like, Days of Future Past, X-Men: United, Logan, Deadpool, or Apocalypse.
    • Any Fantastic Four film.
    • Spider-Man films that don’t feature Tom Holland as Peter Parker.

What I love about the MCU is that while we’re watching Star Lord and Gamora and the rest of the Guardians out in some distant galaxy battling aliens and other beings, Jessica Jones and Daredevil are beating up bad guys and evil ninjas on the streets of New York. While the Avengers are dealing with global threats or their own family drama, Doctor Strange is battling supernatural threats in another dimension. About 70 years ago, Agent Carter was working her way to becoming the founder of SHIELD, and now, SHIELD Agents Fitz, Simmons, Coulson, Johnson, Mack, and May are doing what they can to make sure another android doesn’t try to destroy all life on the face of the earth.

With every new feature film release and every new episode, we see another chapter and another perspective into the universe that is ever expanding and ever evolving and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon.

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