Despicable Me and Minions: The order in which to watch the films in the franchise

Author: Simona Vitale ,
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Despicable Me and Minions cover: the order in which to watch the films in the franchise

In 2010, no one would have expected that a simple animated film for children would have resulted in a franchise, complete with catchphrases and characters so iconic that it transforms into a cultural and economic empire in every corner of the globe. 

The very bad Crane and his handyman helpers called Minions they have succeeded in this incredible feat, even more impressive when you consider that Despicable Me is the debut film from the animation studio Illumination Entertainment. 


The story of Gru and above all the funny presence of his Minions helpers have turned into an indispensable economic resource for Universal, which has given the green light to a flood of feature films dedicated to the characters. 

TMDB / Illumination Entertainment
the protagonists of Despicable Me
Despicable Me: Gru with his two adopted daughters

More than a decade after his film debut, the aspiring "super-villain" Gru boasts a main saga and a spin-off entirely dedicated to his Minions, whose origins and character are explored. With the films we also discovered something more about the supporting characters of the saga: the little daughters of Gru Margo, Edith e Agnes, doctor Nefario and his wife Lucy Wilde.

Considering the takings at the end of 2021, Despicable Me has already become the most profitable animated franchise in the history of cinema: the box office has broken through the 3,7 billion dollar mark, with the latest film of 2022 set to grind new box office records.

Starting to see the Despicable Me film cycle now can be tricky, given the large number of films and the various sagas that exist.

If you want to know in what order to see the Despicable Me movies you can consult this guide. Below you will find all the films in order of release, divided by sagas and two possible viewing orders to enjoy the story of Grue and his Minions, including prequels, sequels and spin-offs.

Universal Pictures
Despicable Me 2, Gru
Gru, the protagonist of Despicable Me 2 became a loving father

All Despicable Me movies

TMDB / Illumination Entertainment
the protagonists of Despicable Me
Despicable Me: Gru with his two adopted daughters

Despicable Me: The Original Franchise Movies

The story kicks off with Gru, an evil and dark criminal who he aspires to become a real super villain. Known as one of the most evil people in the city, Gru enjoys teasing and seeing other people suffer, so much so that he has a series of strange contraptions with which to do his wickedness. However, his wickedness has a sad origin: Gru lived a terrible and uncomfortable childhood mainly due to his mother. After learning about the theft of the Great Pyramid of Giza by another super-villain, Gru decides to commit an even more egregious crime: steal the moon along with his Minions helpers!

Over time, and over the course of the other films in the franchise, we will see a progressive change of Gru, that from a hardened criminal he will be able to become a person capable of feeling and taking care of other people.

Despicable Me (2010)

Original title: Despicable me
Film script: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Regia: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Duration: 95 minutes

In a delightful little neighborhood just outside the city, the villain lives Crane, a criminal endowed with countless weapons and gadgets with which he enjoys teasing everyone and making people suffer. Thanks to its powerful devices and the help of its little handyman slaves, the buffi Minions, Gru tries to overwhelm everything in his path and aspires to become a real super-villain. To do so, he even aspires to want to carry out a seemingly impossible theft: steal the moon. His "arduous task" will be hampered by the presence of his neighbors, three orphaned sisters (Margo, Edith e Agnes) that in him they will see a different person from what he shows. The three girls will see in Gru the possibility of having a dad ...

Despicable me 2 (2013)


Original title: despicable me 2
Film script: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Regia: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Duration: 98 minutes

Gru's life has now changed dramatically, having become a loving adoptive dad to Margo, Edith and Agnes. The doctor Nefario, on the other hand, who certainly does not want to get used to renouncing wickedness, decides to run for cover by placing himself under the wings of another, obviously bad, master. Gru, on the other hand, is hired by the agent Lucy Wilde of the Anti-Villains League: The former supervillain must pretend to be the manager of a candy store inside a shopping mall, in order to unmask another, dangerous, villain who wants to subjugate the world for his own shady purposes.

Despicable me 3 (2017)

Original title: despicable me 3
Film script: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Regia: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda and Eric Guillon
Duration: 96 minutes

Gru has now left his past as a super-villain behind and leads a peaceful life with his three daughters and Lucy, now his wife, who tries to be a good mother to the little girls. The couple, who works for an agency that catches criminals, are fired and cannot stop the criminal intentions of Balthazar Bratt, a former child prodigy protagonist in the 80s of a show in which he committed all sorts of crimes. Bratt mixes reality and fiction and acts as if he is still in the world of TV. Not only. Gru will also have to build a relationship with Dru, the twin he did not know he had and who nurtures a profound aptitude for taking action, although not very used to the world of crime. 

Despicable Me 4 (2024)

Original title: despicable me 4
Film script: Mike White
Directed by: Chris Renaud, Patrick Delage
Duration: -

There is still no precise news on the plot of Despicable Me 4, but we already know when it will arrive in theaters: July 3, 2024, the US release date.

The production of the film was already confirmed in 2017 by Chris Meledandri, CEO of Illumination Entertainment. The cast of American voices from the first chapters has already been confirmed: Steve Carell and associates will reprise their roles. 

Minions: the chapters of the spin-off franchise

Minions (2015)

Original title: Minions
Film script: Brian Lynch
Regia: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
Duration: 90 minutes

Prequel to Despicable Me, this film reveals the origin of the Minions, born at the dawn of time. At first yellow unicellular organisms, the Minions have evolved over the centuries by placing themselves at the service of the most evil and unscrupulous master on duty. Over time they fell into depression, having failed to preserve their masters. However, the ingenious minion Kevin devises a plan and, together with the rebel Stuart and to the little one Bob, they venture into the world to find a new evil master to follow. Their incredible journey will take them from the freezing cold Antartide in London, having to solve an intricate problem: saving all the Minions from annihilation!

Minions 2 - How Gru becomes very bad (2022)

Original title: Minions: The Rise of Gru
Film script: Brian LynchMatthew Fogel 
Directed by: Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, Jonathan del Val
Duration: 90 minutes

Minions 2 - How Gru becomes very bad takes us to the heart of the 70s, where a boy named Gru is growing up on the outskirts of the city. The film therefore tells the rise to crime of the evil Gru who, helped by Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto - a new, sporty, Minion - will build his first hiding place with his friends, will experiment with his first weapons and bring completed his first missions.

Despicable Me 3 brings together the twins Gru and Dru
The twins Dru and Gru in Despicable Me 3

Franchise viewing orders

The films by release date

For all those who would like to enjoy the films of Despicable Me e Minions, following the theatrical release order, here's how you should watch films (including upcoming films).

  1. Despicable Me (2010)
  2. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
  3. Despicable Me 3 (2017)
  4. Minions (2015)
  5. Minions - How Gru Gets Bad (2021)
  6. Despicable Me 4 (2022)

History in chronological order

For those who, on the other hand, would like to enjoy the films of Despicable Me e Minions, according to the chronological order of the story, here's how to watch the two films in the franchise.

  1. Minions (2015)
  2. Minions - How Gru Gets Bad (2021)
  3. Despicable Me (2010)
  4. Despicable Me 2 (2013)
  5. Despicable Me 3 (2017)
  6. Despicable Me 4 (2022)

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