The Coronavirus Pandemic has millions of fans on lockdown all over the word, and to fight the strains of boredom and isolation, people are getting creative. Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have been especially clever in using their favorite franchise to pass the long days trapped inside (see: Comicbook.com's #QuarantineWatchParty event!). In fact, it's been revealed that Marvel fans have gone back over the MCU's Phase I - III films and found not one, but six new way for fans to experience the Infinity Saga all over again, in completely new viewing orders.
Scroll below for the new viewing orders for MCU movies, based on different thematic criteria (via The Direct):
The Side-Character Cut
Films in order: Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Spider-Man: Far From Home
This viewing order allows a fan to experience the big event of the MCU from the peripheral view of heroes that helped shape (Captain Marvel), or were shaped by (Ant-Man, Black Panther) the stories of bigger players around them (Nick Fury, Hank Pym). It's a way of entering the larger world of the MCU right from the outset, with the mystery of the bigger milestone events (Battle of NY) propelling you forward.
The Iron Man Cut
Films in order: Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame. (Optional: Spider-Man: Far From Home)
Ok, so if you don't want to begin you MCU experience from some strange peripheral angle through side characters, then you can start with true MCU godfather himself: Iron Man. This lineup allows you to focus in on the saga of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark from his noble Iron Man beginnings, to his now-iconic Avengers: Endgame end - and you even get his heroic legacy (mentoring Spider-Man) as a bonus!
The Captain America Cut
Films in order: Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame
Maybe you're not #TeamIronMan - maybe you've been #TeamCap all along. If that's the case, the Chris Evans Steve Rogers has an epic story you can focus in on with the viewing order above. From his beginning as a scrawny kid with a heart of gold, to his end as a scrawny old man with a heart of gold - Cap arguably has the best single storyline in the whole franchise.
The Infinity Stone Cut
Films in order: Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain Marvel, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame
If you are not interested in a particular character storyline, the MCU also offers a wonderful lineup of MacGuffins you can chase - all the way to Thanos' galactic supremacy with the all-powerful Infinity Guantlet. The movie ordering above will allow you to get familiar with each of the Infinity Stones - the true stars of Marvel's Infinity Saga.
The Cosmic Marvel Cut
Films in order: Captain Marvel, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame
There are two clear halves to the MCU franchise: Superhero saga's set on Earth, and Superhero sagas set in the vast reaches of space. Marvel fans tend to enjoy one side of the franchise over the other, depending on who you ask. For those who love the wild sci-fi galactic stories that Marvel Studios has told, this is the viewing for you.
The Arc Reactor Cut
Films in order: The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, (Optional: Captain America: Civil War), Avengers: Infinity War, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame
Deemed to be an "experimental cut" of the MCU Saga, the "Arc Reactor Cut" starts off with the Avengers rising to power, then tracks how they slowly pull apart, allowing Thanos to utterly defeat them. After the harrowing losses of Infinity War, we then go back and see the long road our heroes took to get to that tragic place. After the background is established, we see the whole MCU come back together in that epic Endgame final battle. It's essentially a "en media res" approach to the franchise: start with the biggest action, the get the flashback origins, then use that expanded context for an emotional finale. It didn't work for DC's Justice League universe, but it could work here.
Your Fav Viewing Order
So, those are the new MCU viewing "cuts" that The Direct has come up with - but what about you? We know that plenty of Marvel fans have customized their own MCU Infinity Saga viewing orders, based on everything from true chronology (watching the events of the MCU in historical order), to using crossover moments or post-credits scenes as the roadmap through the series.
What is YOUR favorite custom ordering for MCU movie viewing? Give us the breakdown in the comments!
Here's Marvel updated MCU Movie release dates:
- Black Widow - November 6th
- The Eternals - February 12, 2021
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings - May 7, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - November 5, 2021
- Thor: Love And Thunder - February 18, 2022
- Black Panther 2 - May 6, 2022
- Captain Marvel 2 - July 8, 2022