With the release of Minions: The Rise of Gru, Gru and his army of clumsy yellow minions returned to theaters, and it’s simple to see all of the Despicable Me movies in chronological sequence. After nearly a decade on The Office, Steve Carell decided to work with Horton Hears a Who! Producer Chris Meledandri and Horton Hears a Who! Writers Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio on a new animated feature project for Meledandri’s up-and-coming firm Illumination Entertainment.
Critical and audience acclaim for the final product, the Despicable Me films, led to two direct sequels, the Minion films, as well as numerous shorts, TV specials, video games, and even a theme park attraction at multiple Universal Studios locations. The films have grossed over $540 million worldwide.
Supervillain-turned-father Felonious Gru (Carell) and his three adoptive kids, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Fisher), as well as his future wife Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig), are the subjects of the first three Despicable Me films (Kristen Wiig).
Despite spending most of their time in the Despicable Me films as comic relief for Gru during his many schemes, the franchise’s weird yellow Minions were so successful that they got their own movie in 2015. To cement their status as Illimunation’s anarchic mascots and a tremendously marketable brand for parent company NBCUniversal, the Minions were the first installment in the series to gross more than $1 billion at the global box office.
With the release of Minions: The Rise of Gru on streaming platforms, here is a complete rundown of the Minion movies and Despicable Me series, including the order in which they were first released and how they should be watched to get the most out of each.
The Sequence of the Despicable Me and Minions Films
Even though the films in the Despicable Me franchise haven’t been released in utterly sequential order, everything is still relatively easy to understand. The first animated film was released in 2010, one year prior to Steve Carell’s departure from The Office to pursue a career as a full-time actor in feature films.
The release of the Minions prequel film in the gap between the second and third films in the core trilogy was necessitated by the extraordinary increase in demand for the Minions cartoon characters. Although it will be a sequel to the Minion movies, Minions: The Rise of Gru will still occur before Gru’s attempt to steal the moon in Despicable Me.
The movie will be titled “Minions: The Rise of Godz.” Already, Illumination has stated that the fourth installment of the Despicable Me franchise will hit theaters in July of 2024. The following is the order of release for the franchise:
- Despicable Me (2010)
- Despicable Me 2 (2013)
- Minions (2015)
- Despicable Me 3 (2017)
- Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
- Despicable Me 4 (2024)
The Films of Despicable Me and the Minions, in Order of Their Release
Although they are often erratic and unpredictable, the Minions are, in their very essence, loyal henchmen. There are scenes early in the movie that date back billions of years, as Minions are almost as old as the Earth itself. The main plot of Minions is in 1968, when Kevin, Stuart, and Bob (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) try to find a new supervillain to serve.
However, some scenes take place in the past. Minions: The Rise of Gru will pick up with the Minions serving a 12-year-old Gru during the early years of his super-villainy, some 40 years before the crew adopted Margo, Edith, and Agnes in Despicable Me. The first prequel ends with a young Gru, age 8, meeting the Minions. Minions: The Rise of Gru will pick up with the Minions serving a 12-year-old Gru. The following is the order of events in chronological order within the franchise:
- 1968: Minions (2015)
- 1972: Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
- 2012: Despicable Me (2010)
- 2013: Despicable Me 2 (2013)
- 2014: Despicable Me 3 (2017)
How the Timeline of the Minions Cleverly Sidestepped World War Two and Other Contemporary Atrocities
As a result of the opening scene in the movie Minions, it has been established that the Minions existed in the same universe as several dictators and other real-life villains from throughout history. This is a subject that the movies in the Despicable Me franchise have deftly skirted.
When they can make fun of tyrants like Napoleon in the opening sequence of the Minion movies, everything is lighthearted and humorous. However, the tone shifts dramatically when one thinks about the tragedies that occurred during World War II. For the Minion movies to triumph over this bleak period of history, Gru’s minions were rendered dormant during the Second World War.
After the war, Gru brought his minions back to the latter half of the 20th century and into the 21st century so that they could be with him. Because their primary goals are anarchy and devastation, the series can sidestep the difficult subject of who the Minions would have been working for during this period of time, thanks to this plot point. Inactivating the Minions during the aforementioned time period removes the ethical implications that were associated with the aforementioned topic.
Either way, watching Minions: The Rise of Gru and Despicable Me movies in any order makes for a diverting afternoon. Furthermore, watching them in this order demonstrates how the series was able to avoid tackling complicated matters of history that would have either directly or indirectly involved their villainy.