Marvel Cinematic Universe

media franchise and shared universe

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise. It is set in a fictional universe with the setting of several superhero movies and television shows made by Marvel Studios, based on characters by Marvel Comics. This shared universe was shown in the movies by using the same characters or mentioning the same events. For example, Tony Stark appears at the end of The Incredible Hulk (2008), even though he has nothing to do with the rest of the story. This is the same way that the comic books were linked into the same universe. The franchise also includes television series, short movies, digital series, and literature.

Marvel Cinematic Universe
Created byMarvel Studios
Original workIron Man (2008)
OwnerThe Walt Disney Company
Print publications
Book(s)Marvel Cinematic Universe books
ComicsMarvel Cinematic Universe
tie-in comics
Movies and television
Short movie(s)Marvel One-Shots
Television seriesMarvel Cinematic Universe television series
Web seriesMarvel Cinematic Universe digital series
Television special(s)Marvel Studios Special Presentations
Theatrical presentations
Musical(s)Rogers: The Musical
Video game(s)Marvel Cinematic Universe video game tie-ins
Original musicMusic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Theme park attraction(s)Marvel-themed attractions

The franchise has been commercially successful, becoming the highest-grossing franchise of all time, and has generally received a positive critical response. It has inspired other movie and television studios with comic book character adaptation rights to attempt to create similar shared universes. The MCU has been the focus of other media, outside of the shared universe, including attractions at various Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, an attraction at Discovery Times Square, a Queensland Gallery of Modern Art exhibit, television specials, guidebooks for each movie, multiple tie-in video games, and commercials.

Movies change

The movies in the MCU are organized in sections called Phases. Phase One began in 2008 with the release of Iron Man and ended in 2012 with the release of The Avengers. Phase Two began in 2013 with the release of Iron Man 3 and ended in 2015 with the release of Ant-Man. Phase Three began in 2016 with the release of Captain America: Civil War and ended in 2019 with the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home. The first three phases in the franchise are collectively known as "The Infinity Saga".

Phase Four began with the release of Black Widow in 2021 and ended with the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in 2022. Phase Five began with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in 2023 and will end with the release of Thunderbolts* in 2025. Phase Six will begin with The Fantastic Four in 2025 and end with the release of Avengers: Secret Wars in 2026. The second three phases are collectively known as "The Multiverse Saga".

TV series and specials change

Marvel Television expanded the universe to network television with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC in 2013, followed by streaming television with Daredevil on Netflix in 2015 and Runaways on Hulu in 2017, and cable television with Cloak & Dagger on Freeform in 2018. Marvel Television produced the digital series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot. Marvel Studios themselves expanded to streaming with Disney+, starting with WandaVision in 2021 as the beginning of Phase Four. They also produced television specials known as Marvel Studios Special Presentations, starting with Werewolf by Night (2022) in Phase Four. Soundtrack albums have been released for all the movies and many of the television series, as well as compilation albums containing existing music heard in the movies. The MCU includes tie-in comics published by Marvel Comics, while Marvel Studios has produced a series of direct-to-video short movies, called Marvel One-Shots, and a viral marketing campaign for its movies and the universe with the faux news program WHIH Newsfront.

Shorts change

Movie U.S. release date Director Screenwriter Producer Home media release
The Consultant September 13, 2011 Leythum Eric Pearson Kevin Feige Thor
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer October 25, 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger
Item 47 September 25, 2012 Louis D'Esposito Marvel's The Avengers
Agent Carter September 3, 2013 (digital)

September 24, 2013 (physical)

Iron Man 3
All Hail the King February 4, 2014 (digital)

February 25, 2014 (physical)

Drew Pearce Thor: The Dark World
Team Thor August 28, 2016 (digital)

September 13, 2016 (physical)

Taika Waititi Captain America: Civil War
Team Thor: Part 2 February 14, 2017 (digital)

February 28, 2017 (physical)

Doctor Strange
Team Darryl February 20, 2018 (digital)

March 6, 2018 (physical)

Thor: Ragnarok
Peter's To-Do List September 17, 2019 (digital)

October 1, 2019 (physical)

Jon Watts Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal Spider-Man: Far From Home

Web series change

Web Series Season Episodes Air Dates
WHIH Newsfront 1 5 July 2, 2015 - July 16, 2015
2 5 April 22, 2016 - May 3, 2016
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot 1 6 December 13, 2016

Recurring cast and characters change

List indicator(s)

This section includes characters who will appear or have appeared in at least three MCU movies/series and received main billing credit in at least two franchises.

  • An empty, grey cell indicates the character was not in the media, or that the character's presence has not yet been confirmed.
  • A P indicates an appearance in onscreen photographs.
  • A V indicates a voice-only role.
Character Movies Television series Short movies Digital series Animation
Ayo Florence Kasumba
Bruce Banner


Edward Norton

Lou FerrignoV

Mark Ruffalo Mark Ruffalo
Mark Ruffalo
James ''Bucky'' Barnes

Winter Soldier / White Wolf

Sebastian Stan Sebastian Stan
Clint Barton

Hawkeye / Ronin

Jeremy Renner Jeremy Renner
Laura Barton Linda Cardellini
Yelena Belova Florence Pugh
Emil Blonsky


Tim Roth
Luke Cage Mike Colter
Peggy Carter Hayley Atwell Hayley Atwell
Sharon Carter

Agent 13 / Power Broker

Emily VanCamp Emily VanCamp
Frank Castle


John Bernthal
Phil Coulson Clark Gregg
Carol Danvers

Captain Marvel

Brie Larson Alexandra Daniels
Drax the Destroyer Dave Bautista Fred Tatasciore
Hope van Dyne


Evangeline Lilly Evangeline Lilly
Wilson Fisk


Vincent D'Onofrio
Valentina Allegra de Fontaine Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Nick Fury Samuel L. Jackson Samuel L. Jackson
Gamora Zoe Saldaña Cynthia McWilliams
Groot Vin DieselV Fred Tatasciore
Justin Hammer Sam Rockwell Sam Rockwell Sam Rockwell
Heimdall Idris Elba
Maria Hill Cobie Smulders Colbie Smulders
Harold ''Happy'' Hogan Jon Favreau Jon Favreau
Kamala Khan

Ms. Marvel

Iman Vellani Iman Vellani
Mercedes ''Misty'' Knight Simone Missick
Korath Djimon Hounsou Djimon Hounsou
Scott Lang


Paul Rudd Paul Rudd
Darcy Lewis Kat Dennings Kat Dennings
Loki Tom Hiddleston Tom Hiddleston
Mantis Pom Klementieff
Wanda Maximoff

Scarlet Witch

Elizabeth Olsen Elizabeth Olsen
Matt Murdock


Charlie Cox Charlie Cox
Nebula Karen Gillan Karen Gillan
Franklin ''Foggy'' Nelson Elden Henson
Kraglin Obfonteri Sean Gunn Sean Gunn
Okoye Danai Gurira Danai Gurira
Karen Page Deborah Ann Woll
Peter Parker


Tom Holland Tom Holland Hudson Thames
Virginia ''Pepper'' Potts Gwyneth Paltrow Beth Hoyt
Hank Pym Michael Douglas Michael Douglas
Peter Quill


Chris Pratt Brian T. Delaney
Monica Rambeau Akira Akbar Teyonah Parris
Teyonah Parris
Ramonda Angela Bassett Angela Bassett
Danny Rand

Iron Fist

Finn Jones
James ''Rhodey'' Rhodes

War Machine / Iron Patriot

Terrence Howard Don Cheadle Don Cheadle
Don Cheadle
Rocket Bradley CooperV
Steve Rogers

Captain America

Chris Evans Josh Keaton
Natasha Romanoff

Black Widow

Scarlett Johansson Lake Bell
Everett K. Ross Martin Freeman
Thaddeus Ross William Hurt Mike McGill
Harrison Ford
Erik Selvig Stellan Skarsgård

Black Panther

Letitia Wright Ozioma Akagha
Sif Jaimie Alexander Jaimie Alexander
Trevor Slattery Ben Kingsley
Howard Stark Gerard SandersP Dominic Cooper Dominic Cooper
John Slattery
Dominic Cooper
Tony Stark

Iron Man

Robert Downey, Jr. Mick Wingert
Dr. Stephen Strange Benedict Cumberbatch Benedict Cumberbatch
Talos Ben Mendelsohn

Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman Chadwick Boseman
Claire Temple Rosario Dawson
Thor Chris Hemsworth Chris Hemsworth Chris Hemsworth
Valkyrie Tessa Thompson


Paul Bettany Paul Bettany
Sam Wilson

Falcon / Captain America

Anthony Mackie
Colleen Wing Jessica Henwick
Wong Benedict Wong Benedict Wong
Jimmy Woo Randall Park

Notes change

  1. ^ Zak Penn was the first screenwriter of The Incredible Hulk. Edward Norton re-wrote the screenplay under the pseudonym "Edward Harrison". Both drafts were sent to the Writers Guild of America, who ultimately gave sole credit to Penn based on the final cut of the movie.

Sources change

Other websites change