The Marvel Cinematic Universe

A brief summary of the franchise that has taken 11 years to build and will conclude its main story arc on April 26

Staff Writers Clara Scheidle and Breandain Clarke
Photos provided by Breandain Clarke

Action figures

With the upcoming film “Avengers: Endgame” heading to theaters on April 26, it is a good time to look back at the last decade and recognize just exactly what Marvel Studios has done. Over the course of 21 films, Marvel Studios has weaved this intricate and never before done connected film series. “Endgame” is the 22nd film in this shared universe, and after “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is released on July 2, it will close out what Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has called “The Infinity Saga.”

Feige and Co. have taken audiences on an amazing journey set in a cinematic universe that will be forever changed after this film concludes. In May 2008, Marvel Studios released “Iron Man,” which was met with critical acclaim and financial success. It introduces the MCU’s first superhero, the billionaire-come-savior Tony Stark. That same year in June, they also released “The Incredible Hulk,” and while it did earn a good amount of money, the total gross didn’t meet their expectations, which is why we probably won’t see Hulk get his own stand-alone film anytime soon.

In May 2010, Marvel Studios released “Iron Man 2.” One of the highlights from the film is that it has an end-credit sequence that sets up for “Thor,” which was released the follow year. “Thor” introduced audiences with not only the God of Thunder, but also his brother: the God of Mischief, Loki. It also shows for a split second the Tesseract, which will have several appearances throughout the franchise and ultimately contains the Space Stone.

Later in 2011, given “Captain America: The First Avenger,” released in July and uses the Tesseract as a weapon set up the much anticipated “Avengers,” which came out 10 months later in May of 2012. This movie brought the previous ones together, in which every superhero we knew so far came together to face off the MCU’s first supervillain: Loki himself, who returned from the void he fell into to take over the Earth.

Following a year after the film that first introduced the antagonist Thanos in a mid-credit sequence, Marvel released “Iron Man 3,” which helped further the character arc for Tony Stark. That same year, they released the sequel to Thor, titled “Thor: The Dark World,” which had a higher opening weekend than its first film, signifying a bump in attendance for this particular Avenger. The two most noteworthy occurrences in this film is the appearance of the Aether, which holds the Reality Stone, and the death of Loki.

The same could be said for the April 2014 release of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which introduced us to directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who would helm “Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.” In August of that year, Marvel introduced their ragtag team of killers and thieves in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which was also met with financial success that they didn’t originally anticipate. In this movie, the Power Stone has its debut.

In May of 2015, Marvel Studios released “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which introduced integral characters such as Vision, who is given the Mind Stone, Scarlet Witch, and the film’s main antagonist Ultron. That following July, they released “Ant-Man,” which sets up the important Quantum Realm, something that will most likely be seen and used in “Avengers: Endgame.”

As a way to grant repercussions for the damage in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” released in May of 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” splits the Avengers in half, divided against a set of Accords which continues to keep them apart in “Avengers: Infinity War.” In November of that year, we get the pleasure of meeting doctor turned Sorcerer Supreme in “Doctor Strange,” which brought literal magic into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The following year saw a huge boom in Marvel movies, marking the first time Marvel releases three films in one year. In May, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” further characterizes this team as a found family. “Spider-man: Homecoming” comes out in July, and finally gives an origin story to the well known superhero that can be included in the MCU. In November, “Thor: Ragnarok” reveals where the Hulk has been since Age of Ultron, and what really happened to Thor’s “dead” brother Loki. They team up to save the Asgardians from their previously unknown sister and Goddess of Death, Hela, wherein they form “The Revengers” with the Last Valkyrie, Heimdall, and a rock creature named Korg. The combination of Loki and the Tesseract assures that end credits scene of this film is a direct precursor to “Avengers: Infinity War.”

In February of 2018, Marvel Studios released “Black Panther,” which holds the highest domestic total in the entire MCU thus far. This breakthrough film puts Wakanda on MCU’s map and sets it up to become one of the most important locations for the following film.

In April 2018, they released “Avengers: Infinity War,” leaving audiences at a cliffhanger, watching their favorite characters die or otherwise be turned to dust. This film will be continued by “Avengers: Endgame.”

That July, “Ant Man and The Wasp” debuted. Besides it being the first Marvel Movie to have the female lead’s name in the title, it furthered our knowledge on the Quantum Realm and featured an end credits scene that occurs at the same time as the ending of “Infinity War.”

This past March, Marvel Studios released their first female-led solo film “Captain Marvel,” which is the seventh film in the MCU to cross over the one-billion-dollar worldwide gross. Captain Marvel is a human, who was granted photon-blasting abilities after being in an explosion of an engine- which happened to be powered by the Tesseract.

Following the release of “Avengers: Endgame” in April, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” will be released in July of this year, which will be the conclusion of Marvel’s Phase Three. In the shrouded secrecy that falls upon “Avengers: Endgame,” Marvel Studios have not confirmed any further films as of yet. Though it is rumoured they have several films lined up, the burden of proof will lie upon “Avengers: Endgame.”

In anticipation for the release of “Avengers Endgame,” whoever successfully answers all the trivia questions first will receive one ticket to go see Avengers: Endgame, whether it is your first viewing, or second, or third!

Trivia Questions:
What is Tony Stark’s superhero alias?
In which film is Nick Fury first seen?
What is Captain America’s shield made out of?
Which film first introduces and shows the tesseract? Which stone is the tesseract?
What planet is Loki from?
What film introduces the Reality Stone?
What name is given to Bucky Barnes in Captain America 2?
On what Planet did Star-Lord obtain the orb holding the Power Stone?
Who is Gamora and Nebula’s adoptive father?
Which character is given the mind stone?
What is the name given to the accords in Captain America: Civil War?
Who is the villain in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?
Who is Loki impersonating when first seen in Thor Ragnarok?
What is the name of the tribe that first challenges T’Challa for the Wakandan throne?
What are Erik Killmonger’s final words in Black Panther?
How does Thanos acquire the Soul Stone?
Which members of the Avengers survived Thanos’s snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War?
In what year is Captain Marvel set?
Which branch of the military did Carol Danvers belong to?
What is the name of the flerken that appears as a cat in Captain Marvel?
What color are the new suits featured prominently in the Avengers: Endgame trailers?