The Draft227 Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is a media franchise and shared fictional universe that is centered on a series of superhero films, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. The franchise has expanded to include comic books, short films, and television series. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters.
The first film released in the MCU was Iron Man (2004), which began the first phase of films, culminating in Marvel's The Avengers (2012). Phase Two began with Iron Man 3 (2013), and will conclude in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Marvel is also preparing Phase Three, with the release of Ant-Man (2015). The universe began to expand with the release of the Marvel One-Shots direct-to-video short films in 2005, and saw further expansion with the premiere of the TV series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Draedevil and Agent Carter. in the 2013-14 season. Marvel has multiple films and television projects in various stages of development.