The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

We know the X-Men timeline is far from simple, with alternate dimensions and time travel at play. So, we’ve listed all the X-Men movies in order, both release and chronological, and broken down how they tie into one another.

With Deadpool 3 set to make Wade Wilson an undeniable part of the X-Men canon, it’s time to do some Days of Future Past time-traveling back to the beginning.

From Wolverine’s origin to the upcoming Marvel movies tying the mutants of the past and present together, it’s one big entertaining mess.

If you’re familiar with the franchise, the best method to marathon all the X-Men movies is chronologically. However, we’ve also listed the release order — this is ideal for people who have never seen any of the mutant franchise.

Contents:

All the X-Men movies in chronological order

  1. X-Men: First Class
  2. X-Men: Days Of Future Past
  3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  4. X-Men: Apocalypse
  5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  6. X-Men
  7. X2
  8. X-Men: The Last Stand
  9. The Wolverine
  10. Deadpool
  11. Deadpool 2
  12. The New Mutants
  13. Deadpool & Wolverine
  14. Logan

X-Men: First Class (2011)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

The first film in the timeline is X-Men: First Class. It was released in 2011 and is a prequel to the original X-Men movies, set in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

First Class introduced us to young Erik Leshner (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and depicts the early days of the X-Men. Determined to create a better world for mutants and display how they could help humanity, Charles wrestles against opposing philosophies while navigating his fraught relationship with Erik.

Soon to become Professor X and Magneto, First Class is anchored by their brotherhood, which is doomed by the narrative. Their diverging paths add pathos and crucial context to everything that comes later in the story.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

While it’s easy to rank it as one of the best movies on this list, Days of Future Past is hard to neatly place in the timeline because it’s split between the past and the future. The Avengers Endgame of the X-Men saga, Days of Future Past intertwines the X-Men cast from the 2000s with their younger counterparts from First Class.

Starting in a dystopian 2023 where Sentinals are hunting the few remaining mutants, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is sent back to 1973 to change the past. What he finds is a depressed and drug-addicted Charles and a rift in mutant-kind that could set the future’s events in stone if not rectified.

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If you’re completely new to X-Men, you should watch it after the original trilogy instead, so you have the context of those early films. Future Past retconned story events from X-Men: The Last Stand (set later in the timeline) and assumes you’ve seen the originals. If you haven’t, watching in order of release is less confusing.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

Origins takes place in 1979, but because Days of Future Past is set before it, we’re unsure if its events still happen in the retconned timeline. However, there’s no reason not to watch the old timeline just because a new one was created, so we’re including them.

Origins covered Logan’s time before finding Charles in 2000’s X-Men. It’s a skippable movie for quality and canon reasons — you’re not missing much if you don’t want to sit through one of the worst-rated films.

You might want to watch it for Ryan Reynold’s first Deadpool appearance though; just be warned, it’s not the version you know and love from new movies.

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

Apocalypse is the first movie set in the new timeline Wolverine created in Days of Future Past. Not knowing what could happen without the original trilogy’s framing added some fun stakes for longtime fans, and gave new ones an on-boarding point.

Set in 1983, it brought one of the most lethal X-Men villains to the screen. Charles’ team, with new teenage recruits like Storm, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler, faced an ancient threat determined to wipe humans from the Earth.

Apocalypse didn’t live up to its potential. Still, the third act’s battle, when Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey flirts with the Phoenix Force for the first time makes it worth watching. That context is also vital going into Dark Phoenix.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

Marvel Comics’ iconic Dark Phoenix Saga was first adapted in live-action for The Last Stand, which comes later. However, we’re in a new timeline following Days of Future Past, so 20th Century Fox opted to use the storyline here, in 1992.

While there are hints of greatness in Dark Phoenix, it was a rough production with lots of reshoots and poor test screenings, and you can tell.

A beautiful Hans Zimmer score, cosmic powers, and a committed Turner kept it from falling completely flat, but the comics remain the quintessential way to experience this tragic Jean arc.

X-Men (2000)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

If you’ve made it this far, you’re back at the franchise’s humble beginnings. X-Men is the original film, released in and vaguely set around 2000.

When lone-wolf Wolverine finds a troubled young mutant named Rogue in a seedy bar, the pair have a run-in with Sabretooth and end up at Professor X’s mansion. Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey lead his team, and Charles is set on adding Logan to the lineup.

Remember, in Days of Future Past, Logan told Charles to ensure he finds Logan at this point in the timeline, so that Logan would end up where he’s meant to: the mansion. However, what we see from this point forward is part of that old reality, which Logan changed. Semi-canon, then?

X2: X-Men United (2003)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

One of the certified bangers on this list, X2 is set shortly after X-Men.

If its exhilarating cold-open in The White House doesn’t win you over, its deft sociopolitical commentary will. The X-Men have always worked effectively as an allegory for oppressed minorities, and X2 understood that perfectly.

There’s no complicated timeline stuff here, just a sequel that outdid its predecessor simply and effectively.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

The original trilogy finished with The Last Stand, which directly followed X2’s ending. With a teammate down, cosmic forces lingering in the periphery, and Magneto at his most extreme, The Last Stand took place while a ‘cure’ for the mutant gene was being rolled out.

The Last Stand is the first live-action stab at the Dark Phoenix arc. Like 2019’s Dark Phoenix, it misses the mark. Still, it’s not all bad. There are some great scenes with Logan, who is in love with Jean, and the discussion about curing mutants has a dark and meaty subtext.

While flawed, it did show Jean’s grim potential, with her Omega-level abilities decimating some of the most powerful mutants.

The Wolverine (2013)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

The Wolverine is one of three solo movies focusing on Logan. This one aligns with the canon in the original 2000s movies and is set sometime after The Last Stand.

Lots of people forget it was directed by James Mangold, who directed Logan in 2017. The Japanese setting was refreshing, and The Wolverine has a unique tone and aesthetic. The action in this is great, and it’s a nice break from the usual locations and stories in the franchise.

Its supporting characters don’t return and it’s a bit of an outlier, narratively, like a comic book one-shot. It’s solid though — we don’t recommend skipping it.

Deadpool (2016)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

With ‘multiverse’ being superhero movies’ favorite word right now, we can safely include Deadpool here. This is thanks to some X-Men character variants in his films, clashing universes in the MCU, and Deadpool 3’s focus on Wolverine.

Deadpool is set in the present day. A year isn’t specifically stated, but around 2016 sounds right when all is said and done. It features an alternative take on Colossus but largely is in its own sandbox.

If you’re not much into Wade’s sardonic humor and meta-commentary, the first Deadpool can be safely passed as it has no direct impact on any overarching X-Men stories.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

Deadpool 2 is set shortly after the first and includes a fun little cameo with X-Men characters from Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix.

At the time, it was more of a joke than a statement about the timeline: Deadpool 2 is clearly set in the modern day, but the cameoing X-Men looked as young as they did in Dark Phoenix, which was set in the ’90s, so we likely weren’t meant to overthink it.

Deadpool 2 added other X-Men characters not seen in other films to the mix though, like the underrated Domino and Cable, so it’s more expansive than its predecessor. With that said, the quirky sequel is delightful if you’re a Deadpool fan.

The New Mutants (2017)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

Do you have a morbid curiosity about projects born in development hell? Oh boy, we have one for you.

COVID-19 delays and reshoots tarred The New Mutants, which takes place in the late 2020s. Director Josh Boone told Den of Geek, “It started being in the original X-Men timeline, [but] ended up completely its own thing. Still, with connections to X-Men and all that, it’s obviously in the same universe, but not tethered to the Dark Phoenix universe.”

As an X-Men horror movie, it was a big letdown. Although its canon is complicated, it does operate as a standalone film for the most part. Anya Taylor Joy’s Magik could have been amazing, but we’ll likely not see her or any other New Mutants again.

Deadpool & Wolverine (2024)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

If you’re wondering how Wolverine is alive here, he’s a variant of the X-Men character, which seems to be set around 2024. So, this is technically a different branch from Logan’s reality.

In this multiverse-hopping threequel, Cassandra Nova will go up against the Deadpool we’re familiar with and a version of Wolverine we’re not.

Logan (2017)

The X-Men timeline explained — how to watch all the movies in order

Logan is a standalone adventure set in dystopian 2029 — a gloomy future when most X-Men have fallen. Think of it as a ‘What-if’ style story.

A Johnny Cash-infused trailer, a weathered Wolverine, an ending that had finality and teeth for Jackman… until Deadpool & Wolverine dragged him back into the fray.

Logan is a masterpiece about his tattered soul, hope, and the X-Men ethos of defending your kin. It was an excellent farewell.

How to watch the X-Men movies in order of release

The first X-Men movie to be released was X-Men, back in 2000. Deadpool & Wolverine will be the newest in the X-Men timeline when it arrives in July.

  1. X-Men (2000)
  2. X2: X-Men United (2003)
  3. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  5. X-Men: First Class (2011)
  6. The Wolverine(2013)
  7. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
  8. Deadpool (2016)
  9. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  10. Logan (2017)
  11. Deadpool 2 (2018)
  12. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
  13. The New Mutants (2020)
  14. Deadpool & Wolverine (2024)

Where to watch all the X-Men movies in order

You can watch all the X-Men movies in order, including the first two Deadpool movies, on Disney+ in the US.

If you’re in the UK, you’ll find all of them in the same place, too.

If complicated marathons are your catnip, there is a combined way to watch the MCU and X-Men movies. Although, we’ll stick to the simpler Marvel movies in order for now.

For more, check out our Deadpool 3 trailer breakdown for Easter eggs, see our hand-picked best Wolverine comics, or read about how Deadpool 3 could give the MCU the Kang it deserves.

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