In the past few years Marvel has built a cinematic facsimile of its comic book universe. In practical terms that means that there is now a collection of films with interrelated plotlines, all of which come to a narrative point in The Avengers. With that film in theaters outside the US now, and opening in the States next week, it’s a good time to revisit the full timeline of Marvel’s movie universe. That’s where this infographic comes in — it maps out the major and minor events of all Marvel’s moving images.
You can find the entire image below, and because the text in the infographic is difficult to read, it is all pasted below as well.
Patrick Casey Bennett of CBM made this graphic.
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• The Frost Giants, from the realm of Jotunheim, attempt to invade Earth. Odin and his army, from the realm of Asgard, stand in their way and strip the Frost Giants of their power source. After the war is over, Odin finds a small Frost Giant infant abandoned in Jotunheim and takes it with him back to Asgard.
• Steve Rogers is chosen to take part in Project: Rebirth and, as a result, is transformed into the super soldier known as Captain America. He fights the Axis powers during World War II and becomes an icon of American patriotism and heroism. On several occasions, he comes to blows with the Nazi leader of Hydra, Johann Schmidt. After taking a serum that disfigured his face and increased his strength, Schmidt adopted the intimidating alias of the Red Skull.
• After taking control of an aircraft created by Schmidt, Rogers sacrifices himself by flying it into the ground somewhere in Greenland. If the plane had reached America, mass destruction would have been unavoidable as it would have dropped bombs on major cities around the country. He is assumed dead by most of the world. An artifact called the Tesseract, which was thought to be a myth and was used by Schmidt to power his weapons, falls from the aircraft and into the ocean before the crash. Rogers’ friend, Howard Stark, discovers the Tesseract on the ocean floor during a mission to locate Captain America.
• Dr. Bruce Banner makes himself the subject of a scientific experiment involving Gamma radiation and finds himself transforming into the monstrous Hulk when his heart rate becomes elevated. After an altercation with General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross, Banner goes on the run from the government to avoid the Hulk being used as a weapon.
• Billionaire industrialist, Tony Stark, is taken captive by a terrorist group, called the Ten Rings, and is held prisoner until he secretly creates a suit of mechanical armor powered by arc reactor technology that protects his injured heart and helps his escape. Once free, Stark uses an improved version of his armored suit to combat terrorists as the mystery hero known as Iron Man.
• Tony Stark announces to the world at a televised press conference that he is Iron Man.
• Ivan Vanko sits by his father’s side as he takes his dying breath. Stark’s press conference airs on a television in the corner. Vanko decides that Stark is going to pay for the sins of his family and starts working on his own arc reactor.
• Tony Stark enters his Malibu home after his surprise announcement to find that the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, has broken in. The two discuss Stark’s involvement in the Avenger Initiative.
• Tony Stark deals with the fact that he’s dying from paladium poisoning brought on by the arc reactor in his chest and defends his right to keep the Iron Man suit out of the government’s hands. He hires Natalie Rushman as his assistant and fights off Ivan Vanko who’s equipped himself with his own weaponized harness that’s powered by an arc reactor.
• Bruce Banner has settled in Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro working in a bottling factory and has successfully avoided turning into the Hulk for more than five months.
• Nick Fury, is pulled away from his mission to attempt to find Captain America in Greenland to meet with the World Security Council. The council tells him that he is wasting time searching for Steve Rogers, monitoring Tony Stark and keeping tabs on Bruce Banner. They remind him that the primary goal of S.H.I.E.L.D. is to reignite the Tesseract, which is in their possession due to deceased S.H.I.E.L.D. founder Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s father.
• General Ross discovers the location of Bruce Banner and attempts to apprehend him. During the mission, Banner turns into the Hulk and escapes General Ross’ team.
• Nick Fury is informed by S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists that Tony Stark is dying of palladium poisoning and is told that lithium dioxide could be administered as a temporary cure, but that there is no known permanent solution.
• Tony Stark’s birthday party takes a dangerous turn when he becomes drunk and begins to act recklessly in his Iron Man armor. Frustrated by his behavior, Stark’s best friend Colonel Jim Rhodes, dons one of Stark’s older Iron Man suits and the two fight. After a destructive brawl, Rhodes leaves wearing Stark’s armor.
• Undercover S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Natasha Romanoff, who is posing as Stark’s assistant Natalie, makes a call to Nick Fury to inform him of the wild birthday party and tells him that Stark has flown away in his armor after the fight with Rhodes. After discovering where he is, Fury and Agent Romanoff drive to Randy’s Donuts to confront Stark.
• Fury and Agent Romanoff sit down with Stark in Randy’s Donuts and reveal Natasha’s true identity to him. They also tell him that they know about his illness and inject him with the lithium dioxide.
• Bruce Banner travels back to the United States.
• S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jasper Sitwell secretly trails Bruce Banner as he travels.
• After a discussion with Nick Fury at his Malibu home about what could be done to fix his condition, Tony Stark puts his mind to the task of discovering something that can help. Fury leaves S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson to watch over Stark.
• While on Stark duty, Agent Coulson monitors atmospheric disturbances happening in New Mexico, brings them to Fury’s attention and gets reassigned to investigate the situation.
• Stark eventually uncovers clues left to him by his father, helping him to create a new element that can power his suit and heart without killing him. Coulson checks in with Stark to tell him he’s leaving for New Mexico.
• A ceremony meant to result in Odin passing on the title of King of Asgard to his son, Thor, is interrupted when Frost Giants sneak into the Asgardians’ realm in an attempt to reclaim their former power. In retaliation, Thor leads a small band of warriors into Jotunheim to intimidate the Frost Giants. The confrontation goes terribly wrong and after the dust settles, Odin punishes Thor by banishing him the the realm of Midgard which is also know as Earth.
• At the Stark Expo, Ivan Vanko strikes back against Tony Stark by taking control of Jim Rhodes’ Iron Man suit and sending an army of robotic Hammer drones after him. Agent Romanoff finds the console that Vanko was using to control the drones at Hammer Industries and returns control of Rhodes’ suit to him.
• Fury gives Agent Romanoff the order to take all the data from Hammer Industries and then destroy the building.
• After a final showdown with Vanko, Stark and Rhodes flee the Expo before explosive charges set by Vanko explode, killing him in the process.
• Thor falls to Earth outside of Puente Antiguo, New Mexico and is almost immediately struck by a van. The van was being driven by a small group of astrophysicists, led by Jane Foster, who were investigating the atmospheric disturbances. Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, falls from the sky nearby as they bring Thor with them back to the city.
• Agent Coulson makes his way from California to New Mexico and prevents a pair of thieves from robbing a convenience store on the way.
• In Puente Antiguo, Jane Foster and Erik Selvig look after Thor and begin to think he’s a crazy person because of his confusion over simple human culture.
• Agent Coulson reaches the crater where Mjolnir has fallen and calls Nick Fury to let him know what he’s found.
• Thor overhears townspeople talking about something that is about fifty miles outside of town and it sounds like his hammer. He leaves Puente Antiguo to go and recover it.
• Fury calls S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Clint Barton and tells him to meet Agent Coulson to assist with the New Mexico situation.
• Agent Barton arrives at the structure that S.H.I.E.L.D. has erected around the hammer crater.
• General Ross discovers that Bruce Banner has come to Virginia and is staying with the General’s daughter, Betty Ross, who used to be Banner’s coworker and love interest.
• Thor finds the location of Mjolnir, breaks into the facility and finds out that he can no longer even lift his hammer when he attempts to wield it. During the break-in, Thor narrowly avoids being shot with an arrow by Agent Barton but instead gets taken into custody on Agent Coulson’s orders without putting up a fight.
• Agent Barton tells Agent Coulson that he should let Thor go to find out where he came from. Agent Romanoff trails Bruce Banner at Culver University when General Ross’ men corner him and force him to transform into the Hulk.
• After an intense battle with General Ross’ team, the Hulk carries a wounded Betty Ross from the campus and into the nearby woods.
• Agent Romanoff reports back to Nick Fury about what she witnessed at Culver University.
• Erik Selvig comes to the crater structure attempting to take Thor with him. Agent Coulson releases Thor to Selvig and plans to have him followed.
• Tony Stark meets with Nick Fury to discuss Agent Romanoff’s assessment of him and his possible inclusion in the Avenger Initiative. The two reach an agreement which results in Stark becoming a S.H.I.E.L.D. consultant for the Initiative. News footage from the Culver University incident plays on a nearby monitor.
• Bruce Banner and Betty Ross try to stay out of site and make their way to Harlem, New York where they meet Dr. Samuel Sterns, a man Banner has discussed his condition with online.
• After being driven mad by discovering that he was the Frost Giant infant that Odin had adopted, Thor’s brother Loki sends the Destroyer to Earth to kill Thor. Thor defeats the Destroyer in the middle of Puente Antiguo and regains the ability to wield Mjolnir in the process.
• Agent Barton drives toward Puente Antiguo to help handle the Destroyer attack and watches Thor win the battle with the killing machine from a distance. Once Agent Barton reaches the town, he finds the lifeless husk of the Destroyer sprawled out in the main street. S.H.I.E.L.D. takes the Asgardian automaton into custody.
• General Ross discovers Bruce Banners whereabouts and, as he’s about to board a helicopter to Harlem, is stopped by Nick Fury who warns him to be cautious with his situation.
• General Ross has his team raid Dr. Samuel Sterns’ lab to take Banner into custody. A power hungry soldier from Ross’ team, named Emil Blonsky, confronts Dr. Sterns and forces him to inject Blonsky with Gamma contaminated blood even after Ross had already enhanced him with an experimental super soldier serum. The process changes Blonsky into a large, freakish abomination and he bursts out of the building to try out his new strength. In the midst of the chaos, Dr. Sterns is knocked to the ground where a portion of the gamma blood then drops into an open wound on his head.
• After witnessing Blonsky rocket from Sterns’ lab, Agent Romanoff enters the building to find Dr. Sterns with a somewhat mutated head.
• Thor uses the Bifrost Bridge to return to Asgard so that he can stop Loki’s schemes.
• Dr. Samuel Sterns begins raving about his newfound intellect and asks Agent Romanoff to join him in his quest for power. She subdues him quickly to be brought into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody for examination.
• Emil Blonsky tears through the streets of Harlem with no regard for human life. General Ross and Bruce Banner see the destruction he’s causing and decide that the Hulk is their only way to combat him. The Hulk takes down Blonsky and saves General Ross along with many other lives. The Hulk then runs off without being persued.
• Thor stops Loki’s genocidal plan by destroying the Bifrost Bridge, the Asgardians’ only known means to reach other realms. As a result of the destruction, Loki ends up falling into the endless abyss that lies just beyond what‘s left of the Bifrost Bridge. Jane Foster continues her research in hopes of seeing Thor again someday.
• Nick Fury has a meeting with the World Security Council and makes the case to them that everything he’s done related to the Avenger Initiative has helped the goal of understanding the Tesseract better. The World Security Council agrees to let Fury proceed as he wishes with whatever resources he needs.
• Bruce Banner secretly settles in Bella Coola, British Columbia and continues honing his ability to control the Hulk.
• Nick Fury meets with Erik Selvig in a labyrinthine S.H.I.E.L.D. facility to discuss the possibility of harnessing the power of the Tesseract. Unbeknownst to Fury, Selvig now shares a mysterious bond with the missing Loki.
• Agent Coulson meets with Agent Sitwell in a diner to discuss the fact that the World Security Council wants Emil Blonsky to be a part of the Avenger Initiative plan. The two decide that the best course of action is to send S.H.I.E.L.D. consultant Tony Stark to pitch the idea to the man who has possession of the abomination, General Ross.
• Tony Stark meets General Ross in a bar to discuss the Avenger Initiative.
• Agent Coulson meets Agent Sitwell in the diner again to talk about the results of Stark’s discussion with General Ross. Coulson says that after Stark pitched the idea of recruiting Blonsky, Ross aggressively refused.
• Two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are called in to investigate a strange craft that’s been discovered in Greenland. They enter the craft and eventually find Captain America’s shield covered in ice. They contact Nick Fury to inform him of what they’ve found.
• Fury makes plans to fly out to Greenland after receiving word that Steve Rogers has been found frozen in ice. Before leaving the country, Fury drives Agent Barton out to a Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. facility in the Mojave Desert. At the facility, Erik Selvig is attempting to unlock the secrets of the Tesseract using the new element that Tony Stark has created. Nick Fury leaves Agent Barton at the facility to keep an eye on Selvig.
• Steve Rogers wakes up in a fabricated situation room in New York City, breaks out of the building after realizing he’s being misled and ends up in the middle of Times Square. Nick Fury approaches Rogers to tell him how long he’s been missing from the world.
• Nick Fury joins Steve Rogers in a boxing gym to give him an assignment. The goal of the mission is to save the world…