Despicable Me & Minions Viewing Order (Release & Chronological)


Gru and his legion of clumsy yellow sidekicks returned to theaters with Minions: The Rise of Gru, and there is an easy path to binge-watching the entire Despicable Me film franchise in the correct order. Nearing the end of his iconic run on The Office, Steve Carell reunited with producer Chris Meledandri and screenwriters Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio—with whom he’d worked previously on Horton Hears a Who!—for a brand new animated feature film for Meledandri’s emerging studio Illumination Entertainment. The end result – the Despicable Me movies – was received with open arms by both critics and fans alike and went on to gross more than $540 million worldwide, spawning two direct sequels, the Minion movies, and a mountain of short films, television specials, video games and even a theme park attraction at multiple Universal Studios locations.


The original trio of Despicable Me movies follows the story of supervillain-turned-father Felonious Gru (Carell), his three adopted daughters Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), and eventually his wife Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig). While the franchise’s odd yellow Minions are largely presented as Gru’s slapstick backup in his various masterplans throughout the Despicable Me movies, the popularity of the little cylindrical creatures saw them receive their very own prequel in 2015. Minions became the first entry in the series to generate more than $1 billion at the global box office, securing their spot as Illimunation’s chaotic mascots and a massively marketable brand for parent company NBCUniversal. With Minions: The Rise of Gru now on streaming services, here’s a full breakdown of the Minion movies and Despicable Me series both in the order they were released, as well as the recommended chronological viewing order.

Related: SNL Spoofs Trump’s Impeachment Trial With Minions & Jar-Jar Binks

Despicable Me & Minions Movies In Release Order

The Despicable Me movies haven’t been released in a perfectly straight line, but it’s still fairly straightforward. The first animated film was released in 2010, one year before Steve Carell took his leave from The Office and ventured into full-time feature film acting. A massive surge in popularity for the Minions characters led to the release of the Minions prequel in between the second and third films in the core trilogy. Minions: The Rise of Gru will follow as a sequel to the Minion movies, but will still take place prior to the events of Gru’s attempted moon heist in Despicable Me. Illumination has already confirmed that Despicable Me 4 will arrive in theaters in July 2024. The franchise’s release order is as follows:

  • Despicable Me (2010)
  • Despicable Me 2 (2013)
  • Minions (2015)
  • Despicable Me 3 (2017)
  • Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
  • Despicable Me 4 (2024)

Despicable Me & Minions Movies In Chronological Order

While wild and unpredictable, the Minions are all dedicated henchmen at their core. The central plot of Minions takes place in 1968 as Kevin, Stuart, and Bob (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) attempt to find a new supervillain to serve, although there are also scenes early in the movie that date back billions of years, as Minions are almost as old as the Earth itself. A young 8-year-old Gru meets the Minions at the end of the first prequel, while Minions: The Rise of Gru will pick up with them serving a 12-year-old Gru during the early years of his super-villainy, some 40 years prior to the crew adopting Margo, Edith, and Agnes in Despicable Me. The franchise’s chronological order is as follows:

  • 1968: Minions (2015)
  • 1972: Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
  • 2012: Despicable Me (2010)
  • 2013: Despicable Me 2 (2013)
  • 2014: Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Related: How Much Money Has Minions: The Rise Of Gru Made (& Why)

How The Minions Timeline Cleverly Avoided WW2 & Other Modern Atrocities

It’s been confirmed that the Minions existed in the same universe as several dictators and other real-life villains of history, thanks to the Minions opening scene — a topic that the Despicable Me movies have cleverly avoided. The Minion movies’ opening scene is all fun and games when they’re able to poke fun at dictators like Napoleon, but it becomes much darker when one considers something like the atrocities of WWII. How the Minion movies surpass this dark moment in history is by making the minions inactive during the Second World War and then bringing them back to the later part of the 20th and into the 21st century to be with Gru. This helps the series avoid tackling the question of just who the Minions would’ve been working for during this time since their main purpose is chaos and destruction. Making the Minions inactive during this time period also takes the ethical ramifications of said subject away. Either way, watching Minions: The Rise of Gru and Despicable Me movies in any order makes for a diverting afternoon, and watching them this way shows how the series was able to avoid tackling complex matters of history that would have directly or indirectly involved their villainy.

Next: Everything We Know About Despicable Me 4


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