The MCU and the Multiverse of Rewatch Orders

Since the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), fans have debated on what the correct order in watching each movie should be. With Phase Four coming to a close, that order looks very different than what it did after the release of “Endgame.”


The MCU is a collection of movies and Disney + shows that follow characters such as Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Blank Panther, Moon Knight, and many others. They all stem from comics written or owned by Marvel, and have captivated audiences since the first MCU movie, “Iron Man,” in 2008. The releases are grouped into what are known as phases, making Phase Four all the MCU content that has come out since 2021’s “Black Widow.” 


Some fans chose to watch the MCU in the order it was released. In this manner, the viewer learns all new information in the same way it was revealed to fans originally. With Phase Four introducing TV shows into the MCU, movies occasionally were released in the middle of the show’s run, making traditional “release order” viewing problematic. An example of this is “Black Widow,” which was released just two days before episode 5 of “Loki.” Fans doing a rewatch need to decide if they want to watch these movies in the middle of their rewatch of the Disney + shows, or if they want to view them separately. 


Another popular order used in rewatching is timeline order. Some fans prefer this order because it gives them the opportunity to experience the stories in the order that the characters going through it experience it. One problem with timeline order is that it changes with each new addition to the canon. For example, it used to clearly start with Captain America, but with the 2021 release of “Eternals,” it is less clear where to begin. “Eternals” spans over thousands of years, meaning it begins long before Captain America takes place. Most of the story takes place present day, which leaves no clear place to put it on the timeline.


This problem greatly affects other MCU-related media. Marvel fans have even created other ways to watch the series, such as the comically named Spaghetti Order, which has fans watch whatever movie the post-credit scene builds up to next. For example, in this order, you would watch 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1,” 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2” and then 2014’s “Captain America and the Winter Soldier,” while other orders would never put them together.  With the unprecedented amount of MCU content now being created compared to years prior, all we know for sure is that watching the MCU “in order” is getting more and more complicated. 


Choosing the order for a rewatch is a personal decision and there is no right or wrong way of watching. It is clear that Marvel has no intention of slowing down any time soon, so watching all the MCU content will continue to be a lengthy endeavor. Having different ways of rewatching the MCU gives fans something to talk about and new ways to experience their favorite movies and TV shows.