Skip the soda this time around, friends: “Avengers: Endgame” will run past the three-hour mark, making the final installment in this era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe longer than each of the 21 films that precede it. That’s a whole lot of superhero sparring and interplanetary warfare to keep up with, given that “Endgame” combines nine franchises and more than 30 major characters — all of which began more than a decade ago with 2008’s “Iron Man.” Retaining that much information would be a superhuman ability in itself.

But don’t worry. We created a guide to all the important happenings leading up to “Endgame,” complete with a list of the characters involved in each one. It’ll have you ready to watch the movie in a snap. (Too soon?)

Who are the major Marvel characters?

The main villain


A warlord from the planet Titan who collects all the Infinity Stones and uses their power to destroy half of all life in the universe.

The heroes

Characters with black and white photos either died in “Avengers: Infinity War” or were “dusted” after Thanos’s snap destroyed half the universe. Those with color photos are still alive.

Click the character to learn more

Tony Stark

Iron Man

Steve Rogers

Captain America


Natasha Romanoff

Black Widow

Carol Danvers

Captain Marvel

Bruce Banner


Clint Barton


Scott Lang


James “Rhodey” Rhodes

War Machine



Rocket Raccoon



Pepper Potts


Black Panther


Peter Quill


James “Bucky” Barnes

Winter Soldier

Wanda Maximoff

Scarlet Witch

Stephen Strange

Doctor Strange


Peter Parker


Hope van Dyne

The Wasp

Sam Wilson




Drax the Destroyer



Nick Fury

What’s happened so far?

Walk me through a storyline


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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Infinity Stones are created

After the universe began, the Cosmic Entities formed six Infinity Stones: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Soul and Time.

Characters: Taneleer Tivan

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Asgardians get hold of the Reality Stone

Malekith and his army of Dark Elves attempt to use the Aether, or the Reality Stone, to destroy all Nine Realms of the universe. Asgardians, led by Thor’s grandfather Bor, seize the stone and bury it deep underground, where it remains for thousands of years.

Characters: Malekith

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The planet Titan falls, and Thanos forms his philosophy on “perfect balance”

Thanos’s home planet, Titan, experiences population growth that outstrips its natural resources. Thanos proposes a random execution of half the population as a solution, but the genocidal idea is quickly dismissed. However, his predictions of danger come to pass. Titan goes through an extinction-level event when its resources run out, leaving Thanos as the sole survivor. He sees the same problem occurring throughout the universe and sets out on his quest to bring “balance” back.

Characters: Thanos

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Steve Rogers becomes Captain America

During World War II, Rogers successfully undergoes a government experiment in which he is injected with a super-soldier serum. He is transformed from a sickly, frail man to the peak of human physiology. At first used only as a propaganda piece, he defies orders and singlehandedly frees almost 400 captured Allied soldiers from an Austrian facility run by the villainous organization Hydra. Rogers then forms the Howling Commandos and continues to fight against Hydra.

Characters: Steve Rogers

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Nazis get the Tesseract

The Red Skull, who the film posits is Hitler’s right-hand man, finds the Tesseract, which contains the Space Stone, and uses it to power Nazi weapons.

Characters: Red Skull

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Bucky Barnes becomes the Winter Soldier

Barnes falls off a moving mountainside train during a mission gone wrong with the Howling Commandos. Presumed dead, he is actually found and kept prisoner by Hydra. Hydra experiments on and brainwashes Barnes, enhancing his body with both chemical and mechanical enhancements so he could become the perfect weapon: the Winter Soldier. He is kept frozen in suspended animation for decades and only taken out periodically for missions.

Characters: James “Bucky” Barnes

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

The Red Skull is defeated

Captain America fights the Red Skull on an advanced bomber plane set on course to destroy New York City. The Red Skull is consumed by a space portal after touching the Tesseract, a cube that contains the Space Stone, which falls from the plane into the sea.

Characters: Steve Rogers

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Steve Rogers is frozen and presumed dead

After the Red Skull is defeated, Rogers is left on a plane with bombs on board. He chooses to purposefully crash it into the Arctic and is presumed dead. However, the plane crashes into an ice field and Rogers is perfectly preserved inside for 70 years.

Characters: Steve Rogers

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Howard Stark finds the Tesseract

Stark Industries CEO Howard Stark, looking for Captain America, discovers the Tesseract underwater and locks it away with the Strategic Scientific Reserve for 70 years.

Characters: Howard Stark

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

SHIELD is created, and Hydra secretly rebuilds

Shortly after World War II, three of Captain America’s allies — Peggy Carter, Howard Stark and Chester Phillips — create SHIELD: the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. The secret government organization is built to protect the United States from all threats. But early on, Operation Paperclip recruits multiple former Nazi scientists; among them is Arnim Zola, who secretly rebuilds Hydra.

Characters: Howard Stark, Peggy Carter

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Thanos kills Gamora’s and Nebula’s families

Titan warlord Thanos kills the families of Gamora and Nebula, and then adopts the two as his daughters. They grow up to become skilled and feared fighters, and both eventually defy and desert him. Gamora joins the Guardians of the Galaxy, while Nebula pursues a revenge mission against Thanos.

Characters: Thanos, Gamora, Nebula

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

The Wasp gets trapped

Hank Pym and Janet van Dyne, the original Wasp, try to disarm a Soviet missile. Van Dyne shrinks so she can enter the missile and, though the mission is successful, she gets trapped in the Quantum Realm.

Characters: Hank Pym, Janet van Dyne

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Peter Quill is abducted from Earth

Immediately after his mother dies, Quill is kidnapped from Earth by a Ravager named Yondu, who is under orders from Quill’s biological father, Ego. But once Yondu finds out Ego has been killing the children delivered to him, Yondu instead decides to keep Quill as a surrogate son on his ship.

Characters: Peter Quill, Ego, Yondu

Captain Marvel (2019)

Carol Danvers becomes a Kree hybrid

Air Force pilot Danvers meets Wendy Lawson, who is later revealed to be a Kree scientist named Mar-Vell working to create a light-speed engine harnessing the Tesseract’s power in order to protect Skrull refugees. Danvers joins Lawson on a test flight, but their jet is shot down by Kree soldiers who want the engine. Lawson is murdered, and Danvers, in an attempt to destroy the engine, ends up absorbing its energy. She gets knocked out in the process and wakes up in the Kree homeworld, Hala, without any memories. Kree commander Yon-Rogg gives her a blood transfusion and convinces her that she is a Kree amnesiac who was attacked by Skrulls.

Characters: Carol Danvers, Mar-Vell, Yon-Rogg

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Winter Soldier assassinates Howard and Maria Stark

Bucky Barnes, currently brainwashed as the Winter Soldier, assassinates Howard and Maria Stark and orphans Tony Stark. The deaths set up the final conflict of “Captain America: Civil War.”

Characters: Tony Stark, James “Bucky” Barnes, Howard Stark

Black Panther (2018)

T’Chaka kills his brother, N’Jobu

Wakandan Prince N’Jobu is an undercover intelligence agent in Oakland, Calif. Horrified at the state of black oppression in the world, especially in comparison to the wealth and freedom of Wakanda, he tries to start a global revolution using Wakandan technology. But when confronted by his brother, King T’Chaka, a brief fight breaks out. T’Chaka kills N’Jobu and leaves behind N’Jobu’s secret son, Erik Stevens.

Characters: T’Chaka, Erik Stevens, N’Jobu, Zuri

Captain Marvel (2019)

Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel

An amnesiac Danvers lives on Hala during the early 1990s as Vers, a member of the Kree Starforce. She catches glimpses of her past life while asleep, including interactions with Wendy Lawson. Danvers is captured by Skrulls during a Starforce mission and escapes by flying a space pod to Earth, where she encounters Nick Fury and his SHIELD agents. They team up to find Lawson and eventually learn that she has died, but that Skrull refugees (and the Tesseract) have been hiding away in Mar-Vell’s laboratory since the plane crash. The Starforce shows up and Danvers, realizing the Kree are the real enemies, defeats them. Danvers leaves Earth to help find the Skrulls a new home. Goose, a type of alien that looks like a cat, eats the Tesseract.

Characters: Carol Danvers, Nick Fury, Mar-Vell, Yon-Rogg, Goose

Captain Marvel (2019)

Nick Fury creates the Avengers Initiative

Fury decides to find others with abilities like Carol Danvers’s so that they can protect Earth from intergalactic enemies. Inspired by her Air Force call sign, Avenger, he changes the protocol’s name from the Protector Initiative to the Avengers Initiative.

Characters: Nick Fury

Captain Marvel (2019)

Goose coughs up the Tesseract

Goose, who swallowed the Tesseract in Mar-Vell’s laboratory, coughs it up onto Nick Fury’s desk.

Characters: Goose, Nick Fury

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Natasha Romanoff becomes the Black Widow

The KGB recruits Romanoff at a young age and trains her in the “Red Room,” a top secret Soviet program that turns young women into deadly assassins. She becomes known as the Black Widow, a ruthless master spy.

Characters: Natasha Romanoff

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Clint Barton recruits Natasha Romanoff to SHIELD

SHIELD director Nick Fury sends Agent Barton to Russia to kill Romanoff, who has become one of the world’s greatest assassins. But Barton recognizes her skill and instead suggests that she be recruited for SHIELD.

Characters: Natasha Romanoff, Nick Fury, Clint Barton

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk

The government recruits respected scientist Banner to re-create the serum that created Captain America. While experimenting, Banner is exposed to high levels of gamma radiation and discovers that, when angered, he turns into the giant green monster. (Note: Edward Norton played Banner in the most recent Hulk movie.)

Characters: Bruce Banner

Iron Man (2008)

Tony Stark is kidnapped

The Ten Rings, a terrorist organization, kidnaps Stark in Afghanistan. Scientist Ho Yinsen saves Stark’s life after he is injured and opens Stark’s eyes to how his company’s weapons are being used by terrorists. Stark then secretly builds an Arc Reactor, a power source he implants in his chest, and a suit of armor in an attempt to escape. Yinsen dies during the escape.

Characters: Tony Stark, Ho Yinsen

Iron Man (2008)

Tony Stark publicly becomes Iron Man

After returning home from imprisonment in Afghanistan, Stark builds a sleeker suit of armor to fight terrorists like the Ten Rings and make up for his company’s wrongdoing. In the process, he discovers former business partner Obadiah Stane has betrayed him, and Stane is eventually electrocuted to death. News spreads about Stark’s alter ego — now called “Iron Man” by the press — and instead of denying the claims like SHIELD wants him to, Stark declares to the entire world he is, indeed, Iron Man.

Characters: Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Obadiah Stane, Phil Coulson

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Natasha Romanoff goes undercover as Natalie Rushman

Romanoff, working as a spy for SHIELD, pretends to be Tony Stark’s personal assistant. In reality, she is there to assess whether Stark is a suitable candidate for the Avengers Initiative, a plan to create a superhero team to defend Earth. She is eventually revealed to be an undercover agent, marking the first MCU appearance of the Black Widow.

Characters: Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Tony Stark is attacked by and defeats Ivan Vanko

Ivan Vanko, the son of a scientist who helped Howard Stark design the Arc Reactor but was then deported after Stark reported him for espionage, vengefully attacks Tony Stark. Stark defeats Vanko with the support of SHIELD, which also helps Stark stop the reactor from poisioning his body.

Characters: Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Happy Hogan

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Tony Stark joins the Avengers

After SHIELD helps save his life, Stark accepts an advisory role with the Avengers Initiative.

Characters: Tony Stark, Nick Fury

Thor (2011)

Thor arrives on Earth and defeats Loki

Odin banishes Thor to Earth after he makes the Frost Giants, inhabitants of the planet Jotunheim, declare war on Asgard. After Thor, Jane Foster and Erik Selvig deal with SHIELD, Loki sends the Destroyer, an Asgardian robot, to Earth to try to kill Thor. Thor and Loki fight, and the former ends up in Asgard with the Bifrost Bridge (a portal between the Nine Realms) destroyed.

Characters: Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, Erik Selvig, Jane Foster

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Loki strikes a deal with Thanos

Loki promises Thanos that he will retrieve the Tesseract from Earth in exchange for the latter’s army. Thanos gives Loki the Scepter, which contains the Mind Stone.

Characters: Loki, Thanos

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Steve Rogers is found and unfrozen

Seventy years after he crashed a bomber plane into the Arctic, Rogers is found perfectly preserved in ice off the shore of Greenland. The super-soldier serum allowed him to stay alive, and SHIELD thaws him.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Nick Fury

Thor (2011)

Loki locates the Tesseract

In a post-credits scene, Nick Fury shows Erik Selvig, who is under the mind control of Loki, the Tesseract in a briefcase.

Characters: Loki, Nick Fury, Erik Selvig

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Loki steals the Tesseract and kills Phil Coulson

Loki uses the Scepter to control Clint Barton, Erik Selvig and other SHIELD agents, ordering them to kill Nick Fury and steal the Tesseract. Loki briefly loses the Scepter to the Avengers, but he regains it and murders Coulson. (Coulson is later brought back to life by SHIELD.)

Characters: Loki, Nick Fury, Clint Barton, Erik Selvig, Phil Coulson, Maria Hill

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

The Avengers unite at the Battle of New York

Erik Selvig, whose mind is controlled by Loki, uses the Tesseract to open a portal above Stark Tower. This allows the Chitauri, Thanos‘s personal army, to drop into New York. The Avengers fight them off and eventually capture Loki.

Characters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, Loki, Nick Fury, Clint Barton, Erik Selvig

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Thor takes the Tesseract back to Asgard

Loki is taken back to Asgard by Thor, who brings along the Tesseract for safekeeping. Heimdall uses it to mend the Bifrost Bridge.

Characters: Thor, Loki, Heimdall

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Pietro and Wanda Maximoff gain their powers

Hydra gets hold of the Scepter and tries to give its power to a group of humans recruited for the experiment. All the subjects are killed except for Pietro and Wanda Maximoff.

Characters: Wanda Maximoff, Pietro Maximoff

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Cleanup from the Battle of New York begins

Tony Stark takes over the cleanup contract from Adrian Toomes, which devastates Toomes’s business and sets up the conflict for “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Characters: Tony Stark, Adrian Toomes

Ant-Man (2015)

Scott Lang is arrested

Scott Lang, a rather benign burglar, is arrested after breaking into the VistaCorp headquarters to hack its systems and pay back the customers it cheated. (A break-in at the home of his former boss, Geoff Zorick, leads to his arrest.) Lang serves three years in prison.

Characters: Scott Lang

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Tony Stark is attacked by the Mandarin

A terrorist called the Mandarin destroys Stark’s home. Stark is presumed dead, which allows him to covertly investigate the bombings. He learns that each explosion happened at the hands of soldiers who underwent an experimental treatment and were part of scientist Aldrich Killian’s company. Killian reveals himself to be the Mandarin, and he fights with Stark. Pepper Potts, who underwent the treatment after being kidnapped, kills Killian in the end.

Characters: Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, Aldrich Killian, Happy Hogan

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor frees Jane Foster from the Aether

Jane discovers the Aether (Reality Stone) and Malekith eventually seizes it to try to spread darkness throughout the universe. Thor and Erik Selvig defeat Malekith and give the Aether to the Collector for safekeeping in a mid-credits scene.

Characters: Thor, Erik Selvig, Malekith, Taneleer Tivan, Jane Foster

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Steve Rogers meets Sam Wilson

Rogers meets Wilson, who helps soldiers with PTSD.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

The Winter Soldier returns

The Winter Soldier, revealed to be a brainwashed Bucky Barnes, seemingly kills Nick Fury. He fights against Captain America but saves him at the end and disappears.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Nick Fury, James “Bucky” Barnes, Maria Hill

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

SHIELD falls

It is revealed that Hydra has infiltrated SHIELD for decades. Natasha Romanoff releases all of SHIELD’s files to the public.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Nick Fury, Sam Wilson, Alexander Pierce, Maria Hill

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Star-Lord discovers the Orb

Peter Quill, known as Star-Lord, discovers and steals the Orb, which contains the Power Stone. Gamora, working for Thanos, aims to reclaim it but eventually strikes a deal with Star-Lord — along with Rocket, Groot and Drax the Destroyer — to sell the Orb to the Collector. The Collector’s slave touches the Power Stone and causes an explosion, destroying the Collector’s museum.

Characters: Peter Quill, Thanos, Gamora, Taneleer Tivan, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Battle of Xandar, where the Guardians of the Galaxy are officially formed

The Guardians of the Galaxy fight and defeat Ronan the Accuser, who attempted to destroy Xandar with the Orb. Star-Lord hands the Orb over to the Nova Corps.

Characters: Peter Quill, Thanos, Gamora, Yondu, Ronan the Accuser, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017)

Star-Lord meets, and then helps kill, his father

Star-Lord finds out he’s only half human, and Ego is actually a living planet. Ego’s human form disintegrates after a bomb that Groot plants on his brain explodes. Yondu sacrifices his life, suffocating to death after he gives Star-Lord his spacesuit.

Characters: Peter Quill, Gamora, Ego, Yondu, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Drax the Destroyer, Mantis

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Ultron is created

The Avengers find the Scepter, which Tony Stark uses to create the AI program Ultron. Though intended to bring peace to the world, Ultron becomes too powerful and seeks to destroy the world completely.

Characters: Tony Stark

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Thor’s vision

Thor announces that four of the five Infinity Stones have been located — knowledge he gained at the Water of Sights while recalling an earlier vision that the Scarlet Witch caused.

Characters: Thor, Wanda Maximoff, Erik Selvig

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Ultron creates Vision

Ultron uses vibranium and the Scepter’s Mind Stone to create Vision, who later joins the Avengers in fighting him.

Characters: Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Vision, Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Battle of Sokovia

The Avengers, plus new additions Vision and twins Wanda (Scarlet Witch) and Pietro (Quicksilver) Maximoff, team up to destroy Ultron. Quicksilver is killed while saving Hawkeye. The devastation of this battle kills many innocent civilians and lays the groundwork for the events of “Captain America: Civil War.”

Characters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Thor, Nick Fury, Bruce Banner, Wanda Maximoff, Clint Barton, Vision, Pietro Maximoff, Sam Wilson, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Maria Hill

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

A new post-Ultron Avengers team is formed

After the Battle of Sokovia, a number of the original Avengers sort of retire: Stark shifts to a less intensive role; Barton retires to be with his family; Thor leaves to focus on the Infinity Stones; Banner, as the Hulk, disappears. A new team forms and consists of Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Sam Wilson and James Rhodes.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Sam Wilson, James “Rhodey” Rhodes

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Thanos decides to become more active

In a mid-credits scene after “Age of Ultron,” Thanos puts on his Infinity Gauntlet and essentially declares that he will gather the Infinity Stones himself.

Characters: Thanos

Ant-Man (2015)

Scott Lang takes on the Ant-Man mantle

Lang breaks into scientist Hank Pym’s house and steals the Ant-Man suit, among other things. He later learns that he was meant to find the suit, as Pym wants Lang to become the new Ant-Man and steal the Yellowjacket suit from Darren Cross. Lang and Cross eventually fight, during which Lang shrinks to subatomic size and disables Cross‘s suit. Cross implodes.

Characters: Scott Lang, Hank Pym, Darren Cross, Hope van Dyne

Ant-Man (2015)

Hope van Dyne receives new Wasp suit

Hank Pym gives his daughter, Hope, an updated version of the Wasp suit, which once belonged to his wife.

Characters: Hank Pym, Hope van Dyne

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man

Parker, who lives with his Aunt May in Queens, gets bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like powers. He fights local crime under the alias Spider-Man, maintaining his regular life as a high school student.

Characters: Peter Parker

Doctor Strange (2016)

Kaecilius rebels against the Ancient One

Kaecilius and a group of rebel sorcerers called Zealots steal a forbidden ritual from a book owned by his former mentor, the Ancient One. The stolen pages allow Kaecilius to summon Dormammu, who exists in the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist.

Characters: Kaecilius, Ancient One

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Scarlet Witch accidentally kills civilians during a mission in Lagos

The Avengers, while on a mission to stop Crossbones — also known as Brock Rumlow — from stealing a biological weapon in Lagos, Nigeria, accidentally cause civilian deaths. As a result, the United Nations ratifies the Sokovia Accords, which put the Avengers under government oversight.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff, Sam Wilson, Brock Rumlow

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Peggy Carter dies

While debating the Accords, Rogers learns of Peggy Carter’s death. He attends her funeral in London and discovers that Sharon Carter is Peggy‘s great-niece.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Peggy Carter, Sharon Carter

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

T‘Chaka dies and the Black Panther is introduced

A terrorist bomb in Vienna, where the Accords are set to be signed, kills T’Chaka. Camera footage suggests that Bucky Barnes is behind the attack — we later discover that he was framed — and T’Challa vows to get revenge.

Characters: Steve Rogers, James “Bucky” Barnes, T‘Challa, Sam Wilson

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Clash of the Avengers and Spider-Man’s introduction

The Avengers, split into teams led by Captain America and Iron Man, fight over whether to sign the Sokovia Accords. Vision accidentally fires a beam at War Machine’s Arc Reactor, causing the suit to crash and paralyze Rhodey. Those against the Accords end up on the Raft, a prison for people with superhuman abilities, but are later broken out by Captain America.

Characters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, James “Bucky” Barnes, T’Challa, Clint Barton, Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Peter Parker, Scott Lang, Sam Wilson, James “Rhodey” Rhodes

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Bucky winds up in Wakanda

After Tony Stark finds out Bucky Barnes killed his parents, he fights both him and Rogers. He loses, but Rogers leaves behind his famous shield and escapes with Bucky. T’Challa grants Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers asylum in Wakanda after discovering Barnes was framed for the Vienna bombing. Bucky undergoes cryostasis until he can be fully un-brainwashed.

Characters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, James “Bucky” Barnes, T‘Challa

Black Panther (2018)

T’Challa becomes King of Wakanda

After T’Chaka’s assassination, T’Challa assumes the throne. He is soon challenged by Erik “Killmonger“ Stevens, who reveals himself to be the secret cousin of T’Challa and his sister, Shuri. Killmonger seeks revenge for his murdered father and is eventually defeated, but T’Challa is inspired to rethink Wakanda’s isolationist policies.

Characters: T’Challa, Erik Stevens, Okoye, Shuri, Nakia, Everett Ross, Ulysses Klaue, M’Baku, W’Kabi

Black Panther (2018)

Wakanda ends its isolation

In a speech at the United Nations, T’Challa says he’ll open Wakanda’s borders and share his country’s secret wealth and technology. He also establishes a Wakandan outreach center in Oakland, Calif.

Characters: T'Challa, Okoye, Shuri, Nakia, Everett Ross

Black Panther (2018)

Bucky Barnes comes out of cryostasis

In a mid-credits scene, Bucky Barnes is shown awake and living in Wakanda. Shuri greets him and seems to be helping him recover from his brainwashing.

Characters: James “Bucky” Barnes, Shuri

Doctor Strange (2016)

Stephen Strange survives a car crash

Previously a famous neurosurgeon, Strange irreparably damages his hands in the crash, driving him to seek any and all cures.

Characters: Stephen Strange

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man fights against the Vulture and decides not to become an Avenger

Over the course of the movie, Adrian Toomes (the Vulture) continues to steal Stark Industries technology to sell for profit; Toomes was furious after a government contract to clean up after the Battle of New York was taken away by Tony Stark. Peter Parker, in his new suit, stops Toomes. Parker was initially set on becoming an Avenger, but after confronting Toomes, he decides he is better off staying a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

Characters: Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Adrian Toomes

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange trains in the mystical arts and finds the Time Stone

Doctor Strange trains at the mystical Kamar-Taj under the Ancient One and Karl Mordo. While there, he finds the Eye of Agamotto, which contains the Time Stone.

Characters: Stephen Strange, Karl Mordo, Ancient One, Wong

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange defeats Dormammu and Kaecilius

Strange uses the Eye and its time-reversing power to trap the evil Dormammu in a time loop. He ends the loop after Dormammu agrees to banish himself, Kaelicius and his Zealots from Earth. He then returns the Eye of Agamotto to Kamar-Taj. A furious Karl Mordo leaves the Masters of the Mystic Arts after finding out the Ancient One misused magic, and he sets out to strip rogue sorcerers of their powers.

Characters: Stephen Strange, Dormammu, Kaecilius, Karl Mordo, Wong

Doctor Strange (2016)

Doctor Strange becomes master of the New York Sanctum

After defeating Dormammu, Strange becomes master of the New York Sanctum, one of the three bases of the Masters of the Mystic Arts.

Characters: Stephen Strange

Thor: Ragnarok (2018)

Odin dies, unleashing Hela

Upon Odin’s death, Hela, the banished goddess of death and Odin’s secret daughter, is set free from millennia-long imprisonment. A vengeful Hela destroys Thor’s famous hammer, Mjølnir, and knocks Thor and Loki off the Bifrost Bridge. She then massacres the Asgardian armies and installs herself as queen of Asgard.

Characters: Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, Hela, Skurge, Volstagg, Fandral, Hogun

Thor: Ragnarok (2018)

Thor and Loki reunite with the Hulk

Thor and Loki end up on the planet Sakaar. They meet Valkyrie, a legendary former Asgardian soldier turned drunken mercenary, and reunite with the Hulk, who has become a champion fighter. They team up and return to Asgard.

Characters: Thor, Bruce Banner, Loki, Valkyrie

Thor: Ragnarok (2018)

Asgard is destroyed, and Thor becomes its ruler

During a climactic final battle, Hela is defeated when Loki summons Surtur, a leader of one of the Nine Realms. An Asgardian prophecy that claims Surtur will be the one to bring about the doomsday event Ragnarok is proved true, destroying Asgard (and himself) in the process. Thor takes the throne and heads to Earth with the other survivors, including Valkyrie and Loki. Their ship is suddenly attacked by a mysterious enemy.

Characters: Thor, Loki, Bruce Banner, Heimdall, Valkyrie, Korg

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Janet van Dyne is rescued

Hank Pym finds out that Janet, his wife and the original Wasp, might still be alive in the Quantum Realm. He and his daughter, Hope van Dyne, who took over the Wasp mantle in her mother’s absence, team back up with Scott Lang to rescue Janet. They successfully do so after fending off Ghost, a young woman who requires quantum energy to live because of an accident that killed her parents years ago.

Characters: Scott Lang, Hank Pym, Hope van Dyne, Janet van Dyne, Ghost

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos steals the Power Stone

Thanos steals the Power Stone from the Nova Corps Headquarters after decimating Xandar, which Thor later mentions in “Infinity War.”

Characters: Thanos

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Loki and Heimdall die

Thanos boards the Asgardians’ ship to recover the Space Stone from within the Tesseract. Heimdall teleports the Hulk to Earth (via the Bifrost Bridge) before getting killed by Thanos, who then kills Loki. The warlord places the Space Stone in his gauntlet and uses the Power Stone to blow up the ship. Thor gets expelled into space.

Characters: Thanos, Thor, Loki, Bruce Banner, Heimdall

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Vision is attacked for the Mind Stone

Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive — who are members of the Black Order, Thanos’s adopted children who serve as his generals — arrive in Scotland to attack Wanda Maximoff and Vision, who is powered by the Mind Stone. Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson and Natasha Romanoff turn up to help them fend off the villains, reuniting those who were on Captain America’s side in “Civil War.”

Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Sam Wilson

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Stephen Strange is abducted for the Time Stone

Bruce Banner winds up at the New York Sanctum, where Strange and Wong reside. They call in Tony Stark and realize that Thanos is after the Infinity Stones so he can obliterate half of all life in the universe. Black Order members Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian arrive to steal the Time Stone from the Eye of Agamotto, which Strange wears around his neck, but Maw instead abducts Strange after magic prevents them from removing the necklace. Stark and Peter Parker, who jumped in to help fight the villains, stow away on Maw’s ship and eventually take it over. Banner contacts Steve Rogers.

Characters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Bruce Banner, Stephen Strange, Peter Parker, Wong

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers head to Wakanda to help Vision

Bruce Banner meets up with Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Wanda Maximoff and Vision at the new Avengers facility. They decide that the best course of action would be to take Vision to Wakanda, where Shuri might be able to extract the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Shuri

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos acquires the Reality Stone and kidnaps Gamora

The Guardians of the Galaxy pick up Thor and then split up: Rocket and Groot accompany Thor on his mission to acquire a new weapon, while the rest try to retrieve the Reality Stone from the Collector. When they arrive, they realize that Thanos beat them there. He kidnaps Gamora, the only one who knows where the Soul Stone is.

Characters: Thanos, Thor, Peter Quill, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Mantis, Drax the Destroyer

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Gamora dies and Thanos gets the Soul Stone

Thanos tortures Nebula to force Gamora to tell him where the Soul Stone is, and she takes them to Vormir. (Nebula escapes and tells the Guardians of the Galaxy to meet her on Titan.) On Vormir, Thanos and Gamora discover the Red Skull, who was cursed into becoming the Soul Stone’s keeper after his defeat. The Red Skull says Thanos must sacrifice what he loves most to obtain the stone, so Thanos kills Gamora.

Characters: Thanos, Gamora, Nebula, Red Skull

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thor acquires a new weapon

Thor, Rocket Raccoon and Groot travel to the star forge Nidavellir and meet Eitri, the last of the Dwarves there and the one who was forced to make Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet. Thor convinces Eitri to craft a new weapon for him called Stormbreaker. It draws power from the Bifrost.

Characters: Thor, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Eitri

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos gets the Time Stone after battling the Avengers and Guardians on Titan

Stephen Strange, Tony Stark and Peter Parker meet up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Nebula on Titan. Thanos arrives to steal the Time Stone, and the others almost subdue him until Peter Quill reacts strongly to learning of Gamora’s death and ruins their plan. Thanos almost kills Stark, but Strange hands over the Time Stone in exchange for Stark’s life.

Characters: Thanos, Tony Stark, Peter Quill, Stephen Strange, Peter Parker, Nebula, Mantis, Drax the Destroyer

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Battle of Wakanda, where Thanos gets the final Infinity Stone

The Avengers, including an extra-powerful Thor, team up with the Wakandans to fight Thanos and his army when they attack to try to retrieve the Mind Stone. The Black Order interrupts Shuri as she tries to extract the stone from Vision, leading him to flee to the battlefield. Wanda Maximoff uses her powers to destroy the Mind Stone — and Vision, in the process — when Thanos arrives in Wakanda, but he uses the Time Stone to reverse her actions. He extracts the stone, killing Vision (again), and places the final Infinity Stone in his gauntlet.

Characters: Thanos, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, T'Challa, James "Bucky" Barnes, Wanda Maximoff, Vision, Sam Wilson, James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Okoye, Shuri, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, M'Baku

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Thanos snaps

Thor strikes Thanos in the chest with Stormbreaker, but Thanos survives and mocks Thor for not aiming at his head. Thanos snaps his fingers and then escapes to a faraway planet. One by one, half of the universe’s living population begins to disintegrate. The victims include Drax, Groot, Mantis, Peter Quill, Wanda Maximoff, Peter Parker, Stephen Strange, T’Challa, Shuri, Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, Nick Fury and Maria Hill. In an end credits scene, Fury pages Captain Marvel for help before fully disintegrating.

Characters: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Okoye, Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, Pepper Potts, T'Challa, Peter Quill, James "Bucky" Barnes, Wanda Maximoff, Stephen Strange, Peter Parker, Sam Wilson, Shuri, Drax the Destroyer, Groot, Mantis, M’Baku, Nick Fury, Maria Hill

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Scott Lang gets trapped

In an end credits scene, Lang travels to the Quantum Realm to retrieve energy particles for Ghost. But Hank Pym, Janet and Hope van Dyne disintegrate after Thanos’s snap, trapping Lang in the realm.

Characters: Scott Lang, Hank Pym, Hope van Dyne, Janet van Dyne, Ghost

Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel meets the Avengers

Responding to Nick Fury’s page, Captain Marvel meets up with the surviving Avengers in an end credits scene.

Characters: Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, Carol Danvers, Bruce Banner, James “Rhodey” Rhodes

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Correction: We updated this graphic on April 30, 2018, with some corrections and clarifications. Asgardians get hold of the Reality Stone in the second “Thor” movie, not the first; Steve Rogers crashed the plane because of bombs on board, not because he couldn't fly it; “The Incredible Hulk” is, in fact, considered part of the MCU; and SHIELD “thaws” Captain America, which was changed from “unthaws” to make it clearer for our non-American readers. (“Unthaw” as a verb is used in North America to mean melt or thaw.)

Source: Washington Post research. Photos courtesy of Marvel Studios. Illustrations by Shelly Tan. Originally published April 24, 2018.

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