Despicable Me Movies in Order: All 6 Films & How to Watch Chronologically

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Despicable Me Gru and minons

The Despicable Me franchise will soon include half a dozen movies, all following a chronological timeline.

Produced by Universal, Steve Carrell's now-iconic Gru and his extended family have gained incredible success over the past 14 years with over $4.5 billion in box office revenue (per The Numbers).

The franchise includes three Despicable Me movies and two Minions spin-offs before Despicable Me 4 hits theaters in July, although they jump back and forth through time on multiple occasions.

[ Despicable Me 4 Gets Unsurprising Rating ]

Every Despicable Me Movie in Order

Below is the chronological order of the six movies in the Despicable Me franchise and where they can be viewed.


Minions Movie

2017's Minions gives viewers a look at the origin story of Despicable Me's adorable and chatty yellow creatures, starting in 3,800,000,000 BC.

They first appear on Earth when the planet comes into existence as the film shows them working for dinosaurs, pharaohs, and vampires after evolving from single-cell organisms.

Most of this movie takes place in 1968 after the Minions meet Scarlet Overkill at a supervillain convention. Scarlet sees a rise to power as the world's first super-villainess, and the Minions find their way to her side as they push through a state of depression.

The end of Minions shows the fan-favorite army meeting Steve Carrell's Gru, setting the stage for the rest of the movies as they journey into evil.

Minions is available to purchase or rent digitally and is streaming on Netflix.

Minions: The Rise of Gru

Minions The Rise of Gru

The Minions take center stage for a second time in 2022's Minions: The Rise of Gru, following up on their '60s-centric adventures in the '70s.

Minions: The Rise of Gru's is set in 1976 as 11-year-old Gru and the Minions hope to join a supervillain team called the Vicious 6 after their leader, Wild Knuckles, is pushed out.

The rest of the Vicious 6 go after Gru and kidnap him, leaving the Minions on their own to rescue him. They team up with unlikely allies in search of their dear friend.

While this sequel does not advance much further into the timeline by the time the credits roll, it adds a new layer of character development for Gru and the Minions with more mayhem in their future.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is available for purchase and rent digitally, and it is streaming on Peacock and Freeform.

Despicable Me

Despicable Me

Released in 2010 as the first film in the franchise, Despicable Me starts the saga in a then-present-day setting: 2012.

Gru is deep into his villainous ways as he devises a plan to steal the Earth's moon, pitting him against an opposing supervillain in Bill Hader's Vector.

He also adopts three young girls (Margo, Edith, and Agnes) as part of his plan against Vector, but he has a change of heart through the story and winds up caring for them as an adoptive father.

Surrendering the moon to Vector, Gru refuses to let the girls go, inciting a change in his life as he has a family for the first time.

Despicable Me is available for purchase and rent digitally and can be streamed on Peacock and Freeform.

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2

Despicable Me 2 hit theaters three years after its predecessor in 2015, pushing the story forward about a year within the timeline as Gru embraces his new role as a father.

The Anti-Villain League (AVL) sends an agent named Lucy Wilde to recruit Gru, who reluctantly joins their cause and helps them search for the culprit behind a massive heist.

Finding himself facing mutated Minions and his former assistant, Doctor Nefario, Gru gets help from Lucy before she's kidnapped by another villain named El Macho, who puts his whole family in danger.

Saving Lucy from being blasted into space by a rocket, she and Gru go on over 100 dates before they get married, making Lucy the girls' new mother.

Despicable Me 2 is available for purchase and rent digitally and can be streamed on Peacock and Freeform.

Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me 3

Continuing the story is 2017's Despicable Me 3. The plot picks up that same year, two years into Gru and the kids' next chapter.

This threequel throws a wild plot twist into the mix as Gru finds out about his twin brother, Dru, teaming up with him to defeat '80s-inspired antagonist Balthazar Bratt.

Lucy and Gru then face setbacks in stopping Bratt, leading to their dismissal from the Anti-Villain League before Bratt kidnaps the young girls and enacts his mission to destroy Hollywood.

Beating Bratt in a dance battle, Gru and Dru reconcile before Gru and Lucy are reinstated into the AVL. Dru also escapes while Gru and Lucy give him a short headstart before pursuing him as their family bonds grow stronger.

Despicable Me 3 is available for purchase and rent digitally and can be streamed on Freeform.

Despicable Me 4

Despicable Me 4

The newest movie in this franchise is 2024's Despicable Me 4, although it is still unconfirmed how long after Despicable Me 3 it will take place within the franchise's timeline.

Gru and Lucy are back in the game with their three adopted girls as they take on a brand-new challenge: raising their young son, Gru Jr., who wants nothing to do with his father.

The family is quickly targeted by the franchise's newest villain, Will Ferrell's Maxime Le Mal, who forces them out of their homes as he seeks revenge on Gru for an undisclosed past event.

Plot details remain under wraps, but Despicable Me 4 is due for a theatrical release on July 3.

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- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.