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MCU Netflix Order: the Complete Timeline

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This is our Marvel Netflix Episode Order, for those who only want to watch Marvel’s acclaimed series of television shows that debuted on Netflix. These shows include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders, and more!

Every Season of the Netflix MCU Shows in Chronological Order

If you want to watch everything in chronological order, here’s a quick look at all the seasons. Thankfully the release order is also the chronological order, and there’s no interweaving of the episodes, so it’s pretty easy to know what to watch.

  • Daredevil Season 1 (2015)
  • Jessica Jones Season 1 (2015)
  • Daredevil Season 2 (2016)
  • Luke Cage Season 1 (2016)
  • Iron Fist Season 1 (2017)
  • The Defenders Limited Series (2017)
  • The Punisher Season 1 (2017)
  • Jessica Jones Season 2 (2018)
  • Luke Cage Season 2 (2018)
  • Iron Fist Season 2 (2018)
  • Daredevil Season 3 (2018)
  • The Punisher Season 2 (2019)
  • Jessica Jones Season 3 (2019)

Below you will find a breakdown of each episode in order, as well as a detailed explanation of each season in the Marvel Netflix pantheon.

The Complete Episode Order

For those who want to see everything broken down episode by episode, we have this table here. And if you want to see more Marvel goodness, check out our complete MCU timeline.

What Shows Are in This Episode Timeline?

There are five shows plus a limited series that make up these Marvel TV shows. 

  • Daredevil: A show about Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer with gifted abilities that allow him to become a kind of Batman of the Marvel universe. He fights primarily against Wilson Fisk, a crime lord with a vision. It’s, in my opinion, the best show of the bunch.
  • Jessica Jones: This is a show about a mentally scared woman with superhuman strength. Her past reveals a brutal relationship with a villain known as Kilgrave. The show has her dealing with Kilgrave, as well as the PTSD that he’s responsible for giving her.
  • Luke Cage: Protector of Harlem and Mercenary for Hire, Luke Cage is a bullet-proof man with superstrength and an attitude. His adventures pit him against the likes of the supervillain Cottonmouth.
  • Iron Fist: Though less appreciated than the other shows, Iron Fist is still our only live-action look at Danny Rand, a former playboy multimillionaire who has been missing for ten years, and mysteriously returns. 
  • The Defenders: After each of the first four shows had at least one season (Daredevil had two), they all came together for a limited series called The Defenders, which can only be seen on Netflix.
  • The Punisher: In perhaps one of the best bits of casting in Marvel television history, Punisher (played by Jon Bernthal) goes on a revenge rampage after his wife is murdered, becoming a brutally violent vigilante, but also uncovering a conspiracy as he went

These shows don’t deal with the big-shot superheroes like Captain America or Iron Man. Instead, they deal with street-level superheroes. People just living their lives who happen to have some special abilities. 

Though personally, I find these shows to be very different from the Marvel movies, as a Marvel fan, these are some of my favorite live-action stories out there, though there are both hits and misses. 

Each Marvel series brings something unique, and I believe these deserve to remain in the MCU, especially some of the incredible acting from so many of the heroes (and villains, you guys, the villains are so good!)

The Complete Chronology of Marvel’s Netflix TV Shows

For a detailed breakdown of the complete chronology of the Netflix Marvel timeline, keep on reading. Some spoilers ahead, though I keep the juicy ones out.

Daredevil Season 1

  • Release date: Apr 10, 2015
  • Key cast: Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Scott Glenn
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Charlie Cox plays Matt Murdock, a vigilate by night, and lawyer by day. He also happens to be blind.

In the past, Matt had suffered an injury that took his sight, but enhanced his other senses. Over time he was trained in hand to hand combat and took to fighting crime both during the day as a lawyer, and at night as a superhero.

Season 1 shows us how Matt begins to take out various gangs in Hell’s Kitchen, a region of New York City. It also shows us the rise of Kingpin, played by Vincent D’Onofio. 

The season is honestly one of the best seasons of superhero television to ever grace the small screen. The acting is excellent, especially from Vincent D’Onofio, who’s portrayal of Kingpin is chilling.

Daredevil is darker than most Marvel stories that we’re used to, and this set a precedent for the Netflix shows to come. But without a doubt, this season is a great start to the whole thing.

Jessica Jones Season 1 (2015)

  • Release date: Nov 20, 2015
  • Key cast: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Tennant
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

The first season of Jessica Jones involves the title character trying to run a private investigator business while dealing with PTSD and alcoholism.

One day a case comes in that forces her to confront her past, bringing her face to face with the man who caused her so much trouble, Kilgrave, played by David Tennant. 

Jessica was gifted with superstrength as a child after an accident killed her family, and when she tried to become a superhero, things turned ugly when she encountered Kilgrave. Now she must solve that problem.

Jessica Jones is another good season of the Marvel Netflix tv shows. David Tennant is an insanely intense villain, so much so that you can’t look away whenever he’s on screen. 

You’ll also, probably, never watch Doctor Who the same way again.

Daredevil Season 2 (2016)

  • Release date: Mar 18, 2016
  • Key cast: Charlie Cox, Jon Bernthal, Elodie Yung, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Daredevil season 2 continues the events of the previous season, with Matt Murdock dealing with some of the fallout of his actions, and increased activity from an organization called the Hand. 

Season 2 also brings Jon Bernthal in as the Frank Castle, or the Punisher. This is a whole that Bernthal was born to play, he is so perfect. 

The season also introduces Elodie Young as Elektra, and she plays a crucial role in the story.

All in all, a great season, though not quite as universally acclaimed as the first. 

Luke Cage Season 1 (2016)

  • Release date: Sep 30, 2016
  • Key cast: Mike Colter, Mahershala Ali, Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Frank Whaley
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Luke Cage is played by Mike Colter, a huge NFL player of a man who is an ex-cop who was framed for murder. When an experiment makes him essentially invulnerable, he goes to Harlem to try and live a peaceful life.

However, he eventually encounters the crime lord, Coppermouth (played by Mahershala Ali), and he decides to clean up the streets of Harlem.

This season is not quite as great as the first seasons of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but it was absolutely solid, due in large part to a great soundtrack, and a phenomenal performance from Mahershala Ali. 

Iron Fist Season 1 (2017)

  • Release date: Mar 17, 2017
  • Key cast: Finn Jones, David Wenham, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Henwick, Jessica Stroup, Tom Pelphrey
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 20%

Iron Fist’s real name is Danny Rand, played by Finn Jones. When he was 10, he survived a plane crash that killed his family, and spent 10 more years being raised by warrior munks of K’un-Lun, a mythical sanctuary.

Danny eventually returns to New York to find that the multi-billion-dollar company that belonged to his family is now being run by his father’s business partner. Danny’s return causes a huge upset, for both the business and the crime in New York.

Iron Fist season 1, unfortunately, was a huge train wreck of a season when compared to those that came before. As you can see from the Rotten Tomatoes score. It just didn’t have the same level of character development and polish that the other seasons had. 

There are some redeeming qualities. David Wenham is decent as the villain, and the overall plot development related to the Hand is nice, but overall it just isn’t that great.

The Defenders Limited Series (2017)

  • Release date: Aug 18, 2017
  • Key cast: Charlie Cox , Krysten Ritter , Mike Colter , Finn Jones , Sigourney Weaver
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

The Hand has shown up several times throughout the different shows up to this point, and in this season that storyline comes to a head, with the introduction of Sigourney Weaver as the head villain of the Hand. 

This limited series brought Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist all together for one explosive season. 

However, it wasn’t as well received by critics, though it was nowhere near as problematic as the first season of Iron Fist. But if you’re itching to see what it’s like to see these four heroes together, then you can’t miss this season.

The Defenders also acts as the end to the first “wave” of stories from the Netflix shows. I place these stories before Captain America: Civil War in my MCU timeline, because it just makes the most sense. Stories that come after reference the Sokovia Accords, which means that they take place after Captain America: Civil War.

The Punisher Season 1 (2017)

  • Release date: Nov 17, 2017
  • Key cast: Jon Bernthal, Ebon Moss-Brachrach, Deborah Ann Woll, Ben Barnes, Amber Rose Revah, Michael Nathanson
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

This is an example of a show that was wished into existence by the reaction to Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Frank Castle in the second season of Daredevil. The casting choice and his near-perfect performance of the titular character turned some heads, and created the demand for the character to have his own show.

This season shows Castle, aka the Punisher, uncovering a conspiracy in New York after successfully finding revenge over his wife’s death. He sets out to “punish” those involved in the conspiracy, including a former friend of his.

The season wasn’t necessarily the best of the lot, though it really isn’t that bad. Fans and critics are divided, but I would personally rank it just slightly below Luke Cage in my list of favorite first seasons.

Jessica Jones Season 2 (2018)

  • Release date: Mar 8, 2018
  • Key cast: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, David Tennant, Janet McTeer
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

The second season of Jessica Jones brings her on a quest to discover more about her past and her superhero origin story. It also brings her back together with several mysterious figures from her past, one of which is crucially important if she wants answers.

Though not as good as the first season, Krysten Ritter’s performance is still a solid mainstay of this show, and I thought it was a good continuation. 

That said, if the first season of Jessica Jones wasn’t your cup of tea (I personally found it almost a little too depressing), then this season will not change your mind.

Luke Cage Season 2 (2018)

  • Release date: Jun 22, 2018
  • Key cast: Mike Colter, Simone Missick, Rosario Dawson, Alfre Woodard, Theo Rossi, Mustafa Shakir
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage brought in Mustafa Shakir to play Bushmaster, another villain whose portrayal was just right, and he gives Luke Cage a run for his money, after the man was praised as a hero for all he’d done before.

The consequences of the first season are not all gone, however, and some of those come back to haunt him.

Overall, Luke Cage season 2 is alright. But being just alright at this point means that it kind of blends together with many of the other less-than-stellar seasons of the Marvel Netflix shows. 

In other words, it’s just one season to get through.

Iron Fist Season 2 (2018)

  • Release date: Sep 7, 2018
  • Key cast: Finn Jones, David Wenham, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Henwick, Jessica Stroup, Tom Pelphrey
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%

Where the first season of Iron Fist was a critical disaster, the second season improves significantly, but not enough to come close to the likes of Daredevil or Jessica Jones.

The show was not renewed for a third season, despite the doors being kept open for it. Though this is, no doubt, in part due to its poor reception overall, this also has to do with the cancellation of all the shows once production shifted towards Marvel Studios.

Daredevil Season 3 (2018)

  • Release date: Oct 19, 2018
  • Key cast: Charlie Cox, Elodie Yung, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn, Vincent D’Onofrio
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Daredevil barely survived the events of The Defenders, but during his recovery, he learns that Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) has been released from prison.

This news enrages him, and he vows to kill the man, breaking his own moral code. It’s up to his friends to try and stop him. 

Almost as good as the first season, Daredevil season 3 brings back what was originally good about the show, some solid character development, and, let’s face it, D’Onofrio’s performance as Wilson Fisk.

The Punisher Season 2 (2019)

  • Release date: Jan 18, 2019
  • Key cast: Jon Bernthal, Ben Barnes, Amber Rose Revah, Jason R. Moor, Josh Stewart, Floriana Lima
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%

Largely considered an improvement on the first season, the second season of The Punisher was just as brutal and bloody as the first. 

Unfortunately, this was the last season of the Punisher, but who knows what the future may bring.

Jessica Jones Season 3 (2019)

  • Release date: Jun 14, 2019
  • Key cast: Krysten Ritter, Rachel Taylor, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss, Benjamin Walker, Jeremy Bobb
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 72%

The last season of Jessica Jones also marks the last season of the MCU Netflix shows. While I think it’s likely we will see these characters again, hopefully portrayed by the same actors, this was definitely the end of an era.

The season isn’t considered to be as good as the first two, but you should watch and decide for yourself.

Which season has been your favorite?

Are the Netflix Shows Part of the MCU?

When Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist were first developed, they were confirmed to be part of the MCU.

However, recent comments from some directors (such as James Gunn) have thrown this into doubt.

We know that the shows were never that well connected. There were some references to events that happened in The Avengers and a few other movies. But at no point were the Netflix shows or any of their characters referenced in any Marvel movie.

It’s clear that Marvel Studios and Marvel Television had little to no collaboration. That said, the shows stand on their own well enough that they could easily be included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with few ramifications.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige has also stated that they would “never say never” when asked about the Netflix characters joining the MCU proper at some point.

Whatever happens, I can confidently say that if they appear in the future, they will be far more integrated into the MCU as a whole, ever since Marvel Studios took over the production of television for Marvel, resulting in the Disney Plus (Disney+) shows like Wandavision and Loki.

Why Did the MCU Netflix Shows End?

The MCU shows ended abruptly, around the same time that Marvel Television was folded into Marvel Studios.

Even hit shows like Daredevil received the axe, which led people to wonder if there was more than just ratings that affected the decision to cancel the show.

These shows were produced in collaboration with Netflix, but since 2019 when Disney launched Disney+, those shows essentially were aiding and abetting a competitor.

Therefore it’s safe to say that it may have been Disney or even Netflix that ended those shows, because doing so would “contaminate” the brand when they were trying to set themselves apart.

I don’t know for sure if it was Netflix that cancelled the series, or if it was Disney/Marvel. We don’t know if it was for business or creative reasons (it was likely both). 

But we do know that Kevin Feige, chief creative officer at Marvel, is aware of the love that fans have for these characters and the actors who portrayed them. 

Personally, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see them again, though probably in a form that is much different than what we originally got.

Where to Start Watching the Marvel Netflix Series?

You should definitely start watching these episodes chronologically, starting with Daredevil. 

Most of the shows do stand on their own, particularly some like Jessica Jones. However, it helps to see Luke Cage after Jessica Jones, or Iron Fist after the first 2 seasons of Daredevil. 

The Defenders definitely requires prior knowledge of the characters, much like The Avengers does for each previous MCU movie. Bottom line, we recommend you watch them in order.