Before the universe began, six singularities existed: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Time, and Soul. After the universe began, Cosmic Entities - Death, Entropy, Infinity, and Eternity - created the six Infinity Stones from these singularities.
The most ancient beings in the universe, Celestials, are born. The oldest of them, Ego, comes into existence and finds itself alone. Ego spends millennia slowly learning to control matter, eventually creating a planet around itself, as well as a human-like extension of itself to explore the universe, searching for other life.
Ego finds life but feels disappointed in what he finds and decides to spread himself across the universe. He travels the universe planting seeds of himself on different planets. At the same time, he fathers children with a number of species, hoping for a child that can help him activate the seeds.
Some time later, beings known as Elders of the Universe come into existence. Among them are Taneleer Tivan, later known as The Collector, and En Dwi Gast, later known as The Grandmaster.
3500 BC (Inhumans)
In order to raise their chances in the war against their enemies, a rogue Kree faction visits numerous planets, genetically altering a number of sentient life forms in order to create biological weapons. One of the planets visited is the Earth, and the Kree's experiments give rise to an unique caste of genetically altered Humans. When these humans are deemed ready for war, the Kree expose them to Terrigen Mist, which activates their special genetic ability of Terrigenesis; a process which imbues the human with a power unique to them. They construct the Diviners, containment devices built to hold Terrigen Crystals.
The Diviners will only open if one of these genetically altered humans brings them to a cityscape built beneath the planet's surface, releasing the mist so as to "divine" those who have the altered Terrigen Gene. The Kree hierarchy discovers the faction's illegal activities and the operation is abandoned. The Kree disperse from Earth, leaving behind six Diviners, the city, and at least one of their deceased kin. These genetically altered humans eventually start to call themselves Inhumans.
A powerful Inhuman, referred as Alveus, is created by the Kree to dominate the rest of his race, but eventually overpowered his own creators and banished them from the Earth. The humans and other Inhumans, afraid of his powers, banished him to a distant planet through a Kree Monolith. Followers of the exiled Inhuman founded a secret society and start planning its return to Earth in order to let him rule it.
On the distant planet, the Inhuman finds nine powerful and advanced, yet very divided, civilizations. The Inhuman consumes all life in these civilizations until they are completely wiped out.
The Kree and Nova Empires engage in a war which lasts for over a thousand years.
Timeline: Ant Man
1960s-70s (Hank Pym)
Entomologist and Physicist Dr. Hank Pym is recruited from the U.S. Army to become a researcher and consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D. His research will eventually lead to the creation of Pym Particles, subatomic particles with extra dimensional properties that can reduce the space between an object’s atoms as well as increase or reduce relative mass and physical density, allowing objects to grow or shrink to sizes otherwise physically impossible.
Pym creates a suit to help him harness these particles, and begins running covert S.H.I.E.L.D. operations under the code name Ant-Man.
By this time, Hank Pym and his Wife, fellow scientist Janet Van Dyne, have invented a device that allows them to communicate with and command ants. Janet has also made a suit of her own to control Pym Particles, and joins Hank on missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. under the code name The Wasp.
That same year, Ant-Man and The Wasp are sent on a mission to disarm a Soviet missile launched toward the U.S. by separatists. The Wasp is forced to shrink to fit between the molecules of the casing to get inside and is lost in the subatomic Quantum Realm, seemingly forever. In his grief over Janet’s apparent death, Hank gives up being Ant-Man.
Pym resigns from S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to keep anyone from replicating his technology, and forms company Pym Industries, which focuses on nanotechnology and human enhancements, as well as molecular and atomic studies.
Electrical engineer Scott Lang, a former cat burglar who went straight after getting married and having a daughter, discovers that the company he works for, VistaCorp, is willfully overcharging customers. Fired after trying to blow the whistle on them, he pulls off a daring heist, breaking into VistaCorp HQ to hack their systems and return the money to the customers. He’s arrested soon after and sentenced to three years at San Quentin prison.
Recently-paroled, Scott Lang breaks into Hank Pym’s home in hopes of stealing something valuable to pay for child support. Instead, he finds Pym’s Ant-Man suit and its capabilities. Pym and his daughter, Hope Van Dyne, convince Lang to become the new Ant-Man in order to help them stop Pym’s former protege, Darren Cross, from recreating Pym Particles and selling them to former HYDRA members.
Amid all this, he fights Falcon, who will later recruit him during the Marvel Civil War. During his final battle with Cross, Scott is forced to shrink to subatomic size and ends up in the Quantum Realm, but manages to escape; this convinces Hank and Hope that Janet might still be alive.
As a result of his heroics, Scott repairs relations with his ex-wife, becomes friends with her fiancee, and is accepted back into his daughter’s life. He and Hope also begin dating.
Timeline: Iron Man
HYDRA deploys the Winter Soldier to assassinate Howard Stark and his wife in order to steal S.H.I.E.L.D.’s remaining super-serum, while making the deaths look like an accident. Howard’s son, Tony Stark, inherits Stark Industries.
News Year’s Eve 1999-2000
Tony Stark meets scientist Aldrich Killian, who promotes his company, Advanced Idea Mechanics. Stark promises to meet Killian later, but blows him off to spend the night with Maya Hansen. Hansen, another scientist, shows him her research into a means of rewriting genetic codes to regrow human tissue that has the side effect of causing biological material to explode. They sleep together, but the next morning, Tony leaves without saying goodbye.
Tony Stark, who turned Stark Industries into a major weapons manufacturer, is captured by terrorists during a missile demonstration in Afghanistan. Stark takes shrapnel to the chest during the attack, but a fellow captive scientist named Yinsen creates a device that keeps the shrapnel from destroying his heart. Tony adapts this into the power source for a prototype Iron Man suit, which he uses to escape.
He now must live with the device permanently lodged in his chest, or he’ll die. Upon his return, Stark discovers that his father’s business partner, Obadiah Stane, orchestrated Stark’s capture and has been using the company to sell weapons to terrorists. Stark perfects the Iron Man suit, defeats Stane, and reveals he is Iron Man during a press conference, becoming only the second publicly-known superhero.
Soon after, he is recruited into the Avengers Initiative by S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury.
Tony Stark is now a celebrity for his exploits as Iron Man, but the Arc Reactor in his chest, which keeps him alive, is also poisoning him. He’s attacked by Ivan Venko, who believes that Howard Stark ruined his father. Venko is helped by rival industrialist Justin Hammer.
Tony’s best friend, Air Force colonel James Rhodes, is forced to use one of Stark’s prototype suits to stop Stark’s increasingly reckless behavior, and Rhodes confiscates the suit for U.S. Air Force, becoming known as War Machine. Stark and Rhodes patch things up and team up to defeat Venko and Hammer.
Tony Stark, suffering PTSD after nearly dying during the Battle of New York, once again encounters Killian, who has since teamed up with Hansen to create super soldiers based on her earlier work. Killian has nursed a grudge against Tony for twelve years and using a made-up terrorist called “The Mandarin” (actually a drugaddled actor) as a smokescreen, plans to kill the U.S. president, sell super soldiers to the government, and destroy Tony Stark.
On Christmas Day Stark, with help from Rhodes and Pepper Potts, Stark Industries CEO and Tony’s girlfriend, defeats Killian. Shortly after, he invents a way to remove the shrapnel from his heart, and decides to retire as Iron Man.
Timeline: Guardians of the Galaxy
Ego, still seeding the universe, reaches Earth, where he falls in love with Meredith Quill. They have a son, Peter Quill. Ego leaves Meredith, although he returns on two occasions to visit her.
Meredith Quill dies from cancer that was given to her by Ego; he had fallen in love with her and feared staying with her would lead him to give up on his plans to remake the entire universe in his own image, so he killed her. Moments after her death, aliens called the Ravagers abduct their son, Peter Quill, from the Earth.
Ego had hired The Ravagers, led by Yondu, to abduct his children from across the galaxy but Yondu soon discovers Ego has been killing them, and so keeps Peter to raise him as a Ravager.
Peter Quill - now known as Star-Lord - teams with Drax, Gamora, Groot and Rocket Raccoon create the Guardians of the Galaxy in order to stop Kree warrior Ronan the Accuser (also working on behalf of Thanos) from possessing an object called the Orb, actually the Power Infinity Stone.
The Guardians defeat Ronan by managing to briefly control the power of the Infinity Stone, an impossible feat that should have killed them. After initially wanting to sell it to The Collector, the Guardians instead leave the Orb in the care of Nova Corps. In the chaos, Gamora’s sister Nebula (also raised by Thanos, and like Gamora also hates him) escapes.
A few months later, Peter Quill and the Guardians encounter Ego, who found out about Peter after hearing he briefly held the Infinity Stone without dying. Ego explains that Quill is his son and that he’s also part Celestial, which is why the Infinity Stone didn’t kill him immediately.
Ego attempts to use Quill to power up his seeds and take over the galaxy, but the Guardians, joined now by Nebula and Yondu, stop him - although Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill.
As part of a government project, Dr. Bruce Banner uses gamma radiation in an attempt to recreate Abraham Erskine’s super-soldier formula. Banner experiments on himself but the process turns him into The Hulk. General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross pursues Banner, and Banner goes on the run. He remains at large for the next six years.
Bruce Banner is discovered hiding in Brazil. After escaping capture by covert military forces, he makes his way north to the United States seeking a cure for his Hulk problem. Instead, the military replicates his condition in military contractor Emil Blonsky, who turns into The Abomination and rampages through New York City. Banner is forced to transform into the Hulk to defeat him, but in the process large sections of Harlem are destroyed. Banner goes back into hiding.
S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps tabs on Banner but leaves him be for the time being.
The Hulk’s Quinjet is discovered by the last surviving Valkyrie, who now works as a slave catcher for the Grandmaster under the name “Scrapper 142.” She brings Hulk to Sakaar to fight in the Grandmaster’s gladiator games.
Aware that earth is vulnerable to extraterrestrial threats, S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits Selvig to study the Tesseract in order to develop weapons that could defend against invaders. Unknown to everyone, Loki survived, somehow made his way to Earth, and now secretly controls Selvig’s mind.
Using a scepter that allows him to control minds, Loki steals the Tesseract and attempts to conquer the Earth with the help of an alien army. In response, Nick Fury assembles Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Tony Stark, and Bruce Banner as The Avengers, soon joined by Thor.
After an uneasy start, The Avengers pull together and defeat Loki, though much of New York City is destroyed during the battle. Thor returns to Asgard with Loki, and takes the Tesseract with him. Bruce goes to work for Tony Stark, and Captain America becomes an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. alongside Black Widow and Hawkeye. S.H.I.E.L.D. also takes possession of Loki’s mind control scepter.
Shortly after the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes and his crew are contracted by the city to salvage alien wreckage and clean up the battle site. They lose the contract when Damage Control, a joint venture between the government and Stark Industries, takes over. Toomes switches to a life of crime, using salvaged alien technology his crew didn’t turn over to Damage Control to build illegal weapons and sell them on the black market.
Unknown to The Avengers, the scepter is powered by an Infinity Stone, the Mind Stone. Further, Loki was actually working for Thanos, who by this time has begun his quest to locate all six Infinity Stones. Thanos is warned by his henchmen that Earth is a much greater threat than previously assumed.
Tony Stark comes out of retirement to help The Avengers mop up remaining HYDRA forces. They retrieve Loki’s Scepter and the Mind Stone inside it, and Stark and Bruce Banner use it to create what they hope will be a peacekeeping artificial intelligence that could replace the Avengers. Instead they accidentally create the powerful robotic entity Ultron, which attempts to destroy humanity and remake the planet in his own image. The Avengers defeat Ultron, but not before it destroys a city in Sokovia, costing many lives.
Ultron’s scheming results in the birth of The Vision, a merging of Stark’s JARVIS AI with the Mind Stone. He joins the Avengers along with Wanda Maximoff.
Meanwhile, Banner, traumatised by the events and his own uncontrollable nature as Hulk, leaves Earth in the Avengers’ Quinjet for an unknown destination.
Already distrusted after disasters like Sokovia and New York, the Avengers cause an international incident when operation in Yemen accidentally causes the death of several Wakandan aid workers. This prompts the Sokovia Accords, an international treaty to make the Avengers subject to UN oversight. Captain America opposes the accords while Iron Man supports them, forcing the other Avengers take sides.
A bomb is detonated at the signing of the Sokovia Accords in Vienna, killing T’Chaka, the king of Wakanda, and Bucky Barnes is subsequently framed for it. The king’s son, T’Challa, assumes the identity of Black Panther and vows to kill Bucky, while Captain America moves to protect him.
Barnes and Cap learn that Helmut Zemo was really responsible for the attack, and believe he is trying to get control of several remaining HYDRA super-soldiers. But the Accords make unsanctioned attempts to stop Zemo illegal, and he is now a wanted man.
Tony Stark convinces the authorities to let him be the one who brings Steve in. He assembles the Avengers who support the accords - Vision, War Machine, Black Widow, joined by Black Panther - and recruits Peter Parker as well. Steve gathers those who oppose the accords - Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Falcon and Bucky - as recruits Scott Lang.
The two factions clash, but in the battle War Machine is severely injured. Steve and Bucky escape, and the Avengers who joined Cap’s side are arrested and sent to The Raft, a secret prison for super powered people.
Stark realizes that the Avengers have been manipulated by Zemo and goes to help Steve and Bucky. But his friendship with Steve is nearly destroyed when he learns Bucky killed his father. While the three of them fight, Black Panther apprehends Zemo.
Afterward, the Avengers functionally break up. Cap goes on the run with Wanda and Black Widow. T’Challa takes Barnes to Wakanda to heal his mind. And Hawkeye and Ant-Man cut deals for extended house arrest in order not to be separated from their families. Only Vision and War Machine remain on the team, and War Machine’s recovery is very slow-going. But Steve sends a message to Tony apologising for not being forthcoming about Bucky’s role in the deaths of Tony’s parents, and promises to help if the need ever arises.
Timeline: Spider Man
Queens high school student Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider and develops super powers. He makes a makeshift costume and operates in Queens as Spider-Man.
After the Avengers civil war, Peter Parker returns to New York along with the new technologically advanced Spider-Man suit Stark gave him, and sticks to low-level crime-fighting.
Two months later, Spider-Man struggles to balance high school and a social life with his responsibilities as Spider-Man. He encounters criminals robbing an ATM, using powerful weapons created from salvage from the Battle of New York. Spider-Man tracks the sales back to Toomes, who uses specially designed flying "vulture" armor to steal technology from Damage Control to build weapons.
Spider-Man stops Toomes, who is sent to prison, where he encounters one of his buyers, Mac Gargan (Scorpion), who vows revenge against Spider-Man. Tony Stark offers to make Spider-Man an Avenger, but Spider-Man turns down the offer, opting to help the regular people of New York instead. Tony Stark proposes to Pepper Potts.