Your Guide to Watching X-Men Movies in Order

X-Men movies in order

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means we may earn a small commission from links you click on this page at no extra cost to you.

Like the X-Men comic books, the X-Men movies can be tricky to figure out when it comes to chronology. Alternate timelines, retcons, and cast changes can make it hard for a beginner to know how to watch the X-Men movies in order.

Luckily, this handy dandy list is here to guide any fans looking to get into the franchise who are still confused about the proper order of the X-Men films. While we’ve chosen to focus on chronological order, feel free to watch the movie by release date or in whatever order works for you.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

X-Men First Class 2011
Image: Disney

Despite being the fifth film in the series according to release order, X-Men: First Class is number one when putting the X-Men films in chronological order. Barring a couple of minor exceptions, that is, but we’ll get to those later.

Magneto X-Men First Class
Image: Disney

Fox was initially developing First Class as a Magneto origin film, but after the negative reaction fans had to X-Men Origins: Wolverine two years prior, Fox decided to make it about the early days of the X-Men as a whole. After a brief prologue set in WWII Germany, the movie jumps ahead to the 1960s, where Professor X (James McAvoy), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) meet for the first time and form the original X-Men.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

X-Men Days of Future Past 2014
Image: Disney

This is where things get a little complicated. The bulk of X-Men: Days of Future Past takes place in 1973 and continues the story from the previous film. However, the beginning and end of the film take place in a nightmare version of 2023, where the surviving X-Men send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to try and prevent the future from becoming a dystopia. 

Wolverine Days of Future Past
Image: Disney

If that’s not confusing enough, the 1973 scenes feature the same actors as First Class, while the future scenes star the older cast from the first three X-Men movies located farther down on the list. We told you putting the X-Men movies in order was tricky.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Image: Disney

X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells the backstory of fan-favorite X-Men member Wolverine. The film starts in 1845 with a young James Howlett popping his iconic claws for the first time. It quickly moves on to a montage showing Wolverine and his brother Sabertooth (Liev Schreiber) fighting in every major American war, from the Civil War to Vietnam. From there, the movie picks up in 1979 and follows Wolverine as he deals with his evil brother, joins the Weapon X program, and slowly becomes the character we see in the first X-Men movie.

Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Image: Disney

Fans regard Origins as one of the weakest entries in the X-Men canon, and for good reason. The movie offers up the worst versions of Sabertooth and Deadpool—characters that will pop up later on this list in much better films—and perhaps worst of all, it wastes the only onscreen appearance of fan-favorite mutant Gambit (Taylor Kitsch). Luckily, two more Wolverine solo films would be released, each exponentially better than the first.

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

X-Men: Apocalyspe
Image: Disney

If we were putting each scene of the X-Men movies in chronological order, the beginning of Apocalypse would be at the top of the list. The film begins in 3600 BC Egypt and introduces viewers to one of the most powerful Marvel villains: the first mutant, En Sabah Nur, otherwise known as Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). 

Marvel Apocalypse
Image: Disney

From there, the movie jumps forward to 1983 and again follows the cast of X-Men: First Class as they attempt to stop a newly awakened Apocalypse from taking over the world. This time, a group of new mutants, including Cyclops (Ty Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), join the old team to take on the ancient threat.

Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo from a certain mutant with sideburns and claws who is conspicuously absent from the main story.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Image: Disney

The Dark Phoenix saga is one of the most famous X-Men storylines, so it’s no wonder Fox adapted it for the big screen not once but twice. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is technically the second Phoenix movie released, but it’s the first, according to the chronological order of the X-Men films.

Sophie Turner as Jean Grey
Image: Disney

Dark Phoenix follows one of the best female Marvel characters, Jean Grey, in 1992 as she gains and tries to control a terrible new power that threatens to destroy her and the rest of the X-Men. The film marks the first time aliens would be introduced into the X-Men movie universe and the last time the younger cast from Apocalypse would appear together onscreen.

X-Men (2000)

X-Men from 2000
Image: Disney

This is the movie that started it all. While it may look corny next to today’s modern superhero films, X-Men predates even Spider-Man (2002) as the first big-budget Marvel movie ever attempted.

Halle Berry as Storm in X-Men
Image: Disney

The movie is set in the early ‘00s and follows a young mutant named Rogue (Anna Paquin) as she runs away from home and meets a cage fighter named Wolverine. The pair end up at Charles Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) Mansion and, after some awkward introductions, become members of the X-Men just in time to help the team stop the evil Magneto (Ian McKellen) and his Brotherhood of Mutants from turning all of New York into mutants.

X2: X-Men United (2003)

X2 order for how to watch X-Men movies in order
Image: Disney

X2: X-Men United is the first X-Men sequel, according to the release order of the X-Men films. As such, it does what all good sequels do: build upon what came before while forging its own path forward. X2 is set a few years after the first X-Men movie and introduces audiences to the mutant-hating Colonel William Stryker (Brian Cox). Stryker, a mysterious figure from Wolverine’s past, leads an assault on the X-Mansion, resulting in Professor X’s abduction.

Image: Disney

The X-Men have no choice but to team up with their biggest enemy, Magneto, as they fight to stop a threat bigger than their rivalry—the extinction of every mutant on Earth at the hands of Stryker.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Placement of X-Men: The Last Stand for how to watch X-Men movies in order
Image: Disney

X-Men: The Last Stand attempted to combine two famous X-Men storylines—Dark Phoenix and the mutant cure—into one 90-minute superhero movie. While the result isn’t as bad as you may have heard, it’s not great either.

Storm from X-Men
Image: Disney

Last Stand takes place a year or two after X-2 and once again sees the X-Men at odds with Magneto and his gang of evil mutants as they go to war over a cure for the mutant gene. Standing in the middle is Jean Grey (Famke Jansen) and her newly discovered Phoenix persona. X-Men: The Last Stand left such a negative impression on fans that it would end up being the last X-Men movie until X-Men: First Class in 2011.

The Wolverine (2013)

Watch X-Men movies in order like The Wolverine
Image: Disney

Wolverine’s second solo outing serves as a sequel to both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Set in the 2010s, The Wolverine sees Logan traveling to Japan to visit an old friend on his deathbed. While there, Wolverine gets caught up in a Yakuza conspiracy, culminating in a showdown with a mechanized suit of Japanese armor nicknamed the Silver Samurai.

The Wolverine
Image: Disney

The Wolverine was a definite step up from Origins and a solid sci-fi action movie in its own right. However, as good as it was, Wolverine fans would have to wait four years for the definitive take on the character.

Deadpool (2016)

Image: Disney

When it comes to putting the X-Men movies in order, Deadpool stands out as a unique specimen. The film, set in 2016, has no connection to the other X-Men movies save for a couple of meta-gags, and if it weren’t for those, the creators could have very well set Deadpool in its universe.

Deadpool 2016
Image: Disney

The film follows Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), a mercenary with cancer who’s willing to do anything for a cure. When an experimental program manages to unlock his X-gene through physical torture, Wade becomes Deadpool, a wisecracking, live-action cartoon character on a revenge mission.

Full of crude humor and extreme violence, Deadpool was the first X-Men movie to earn an R-rating, and with good reason. Make sure to put the kids to bed before you watch this one.

The New Mutants (2020)

X-Men movie The New Mutants
Image: Disney

Another movie almost totally disconnected from the other films, The New Mutants, was originally supposed to be set in the ‘90s before executives at Fox decided to place it in the present day. So if it’s set in the present day and came out in 2020, how come it comes before Deadpool 2 when putting the X-Men movies in chronological order?

The New Mutants from Marvel
Image: Disney

Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, the movie ended up on a shelf somewhere for several years until the studio finally decided to release it. The New Mutants follows a group of gifted teenagers stuck in a secret facility that may not have their best interests at heart.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool 2
Image: Disney

Deadpool 2 is bigger than its predecessor in every way: it has a bigger budget, more raunchy humor, and a few more references to the other X-Men movies. In this sequel, which takes place in 2018, Deadpool tries to save a troubled young mutant from a time traveler named Cable (Josh Brolin), who is on a mission to assassinate him. 

Deadpool 2
Image: Disney

Unlike the first Deadpool, this one comes in two flavors: R-rated and a slightly censored PG-13 version titled Once Upon a Deadpool, which removes much of the more offensive humor and replaces it with scenes of Deadpool reading to actor Fred Savage in an extended parody of The Princess Bride.

Logan (2017)

Logan movie from 2017
Image: Disney

Logan is the end of the X-Men movies chronologically, and that’s very much by design. Written to be the definitive ending for Hugh Jackman’s version of Wolverine, Logan was purposely set in 2029—well after all of the other films—so that it could act as a coda for the entire X-Men saga.

Logan is unlike any other movie on this list. It takes a more serious and grounded approach to the X-Men mythos, even hinting that many of the earlier films on this list might be exaggerated versions of events in the Logan timeline.

Logan X-Men movie
Image: Disney

In Logan, an aging Wolverine must deal with his own mortality as the adamantium in his system starts to poison him and shut down his healing powers. The movie introduces Wolverine’s daughter, Laura (Daphne Keen) a young mutant Logan has been hired to protect from a group called the Reavers, featuring a younger, more ferocious clone of himself dubbed X-24.

Taking a page from Deadpool, Logan is the first Wolverine film with an R-rating: this time, less for dirty jokes and more for the blood and gore resulting from Wolverine finally being allowed to use his claws as intended. 

Upcoming X-Men Movies

Deadpool & Wolverine

Deadpool & Wolverine
Image: Disney

The next X-Men movie in the pipeline is Deadpool & Wolverine, a sequel to Deadpool 2 scheduled for release on July 26, 2024. It’s speculated that the film, which will see the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine for the first time since Logan, is intended to bridge the gap between Fox’s X-Men movie universe and the MCU.

Deadpool & Wolverine
Image: Disney

The movie involves the Time Variance Authority, first seen in the Loki series. Many fans have speculated that the plot will revolve around Deadpool pruning the hanging timelines from the older X-Men films to set up the team’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe proper. Hopefully, Wade won’t get up to any shenanigans that would require us to change how to watch the X-Men movies in order.

Marvel Studios’ X-Men Reboot

Mister Sinister
Image: Marvel

Not much is known about Marvel Studios’ X-Men reboot except that they’re working on one. There are rumors that the studio has begun hearing pitches from writers and that Disney intends to give Magneto a break and make Mister Sinister—another recurring X-Men foe from the comic books—the main antagonist of the first film.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top