The X-Men franchise is a beloved collection of 13 movies that began all the way back in 2000 with such fan favorites as Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. However, the films take a bit of Star Wars approach and begin later on in the stories of many of the characters before going back to their origins.
This means there are many different ways to watch these films, and the choice of how you watch them will determine how certain reveals and moments will pay off. While it can be easy to just watch them as they were released, we’ve organized the 13 films into how they roughly fit into one big timeline. This will allow you to experience the X-Men story from the beginning and follow each character’s journey from its earliest point.
With the X-Men set to break into the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that there are mutants in the MCU, we thought the best way to get ready for the future was to honor the past. If you’d like to watch them in order of release, we’ve included that below as well.
Without further ado, here is our mostly spoiler-free look at how you can watch the X-Men movies in chronological order!
The X-Men Movies in (Chronological) Order
X-Men Movies in Chronological Order
1. X-Men: First Class (2011)
X-Men: First Class is the start of a new X-Men chapter that rewinds the clock to the earliest point on the film franchise’s timeline. The film begins in 1944 at the Auschwitz concentration camp before jumping ahead to 1962. The story follows a young Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto and the origins of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants.
Read our review of X-Men: First Class.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
X-Men: Days of Future Past is a bit hard to place on the timeline as it features the X-Men from both the original films and the newer ones. Much of the story takes place in 1973, but plenty of time is spent in an alternate version of 2023 as well. Certain story elements we won’t spoil here make us comfortable placing it here on the timeline, but having an affection for the original crew definitely does help make it a more special moviegoing experience. This means it can also fit right near the end of this list if you so choose.
Read our review of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
The first X-Men spinoff movie starts back in 1845, but the bulk of the story is set in 1979 and explores the… well, origin of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Not only do we get to see how he got his iconic adamantium claws, but we also get our first introduction to Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson/Deadpool. It's an essential part of the Wolverine timeline.
Read our review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
4. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
X-Men: Apocalypse stars Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse and pits him against our reboot X-Men crew. While the film starts all the way back in 3600 BC, much of the story is set in 1983.
Read our review of X-Men: Apocalypse.
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is the last film starring the X-Men crew led by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, and it tells the story of the transformation of Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey into Phoenix. The film begins in 1975 but takes place mostly in 1992.
Read our review of X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
6. X-Men (2000)
Due to how these movies play out, the switch from Dark Phoenix into X-Men doesn’t happen as smoothly as a film like Rogue One transitions to A New Hope, but the first X-Men live-action film does fit next into the timeline as it takes place in the early 2000s. While James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender played their younger versions in the previous films, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen take on the role of the older versions of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in these films.
Read our review of X-Men.
7. X2: X-Men United (2003)
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video
Taking place not too long after the original, X2: X-Men United picks up the story as a brainwashed Nightcrawler attempts to murder the President of the United States. Some big events happen at the end of the film that set up The Last Stand and tease the arrival of this trilogy’s iteration of Phoenix.
Read our review of X2: X-Men United.
8. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
X-Men: The Last Stand was the first live-action film to tell the Phoenix story, but in terms of the series’ internal chronology, it is the second. Either way, we get to see Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey resurrect as the dangerously powerful Phoenix and go up against our favorite X-Men in this final film in the original trilogy.
Read our review of X-Men: The Last Stand.
9. The Wolverine (2013)
The Wolverine is a sequel of sorts to both X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand and takes place shortly after the latter film and deals with the fallout of the events it portrayed. It also introduces Yukio, a later version of whom would appear in Deadpool 2.
Read our review of The Wolverine.
10. Deadpool (2016)
While he made his first appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds Wade Wilson/Deadpool makes his solo feature film debut in 2016’s Deadpool. This film is mostly separate from the happenings of the mainline films, but Deadpool is in the same universe so this would give you a complete picture of the franchise. There is no specific time Deadpool takes place, but it seems to take place around the time it was released – 2016. As one of the best Ryan Reynolds movies, you can watch this one out of order if you need to.
Read our review of Deadpool.
11. Deadpool 2 (2018)
Much like the original, Deadpool 2 doesn’t have an exact date it takes place and its events mostly happen outside of everything else going on in the X-Men franchise. That being said, this sequel does feature some returning, younger X-Men and a spoilery moment/reference for Logan, so it’s possibly set in the late 2020s. All that being said, it’s Deadpool and all jokes are fair game for this fourth-wall-breaking merc with a mouth.
Read our review of Deadpool 2.
12. The New Mutants (2020)
The New Mutants appears to take place sometime in the late 2020s as it features a connection to Logan, which is set in 2029. Much like Deadpool, The New Mutants mostly tells its own contained story and can be safely viewed at this spot or somewhere around it.
Read our review of The New Mutants.
13. Logan (2017)
As previously mentioned, Logan takes place in 2029 and follows Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier in a world where mutants are basically extinct. This is clearly the film that takes place farthest ahead in the timeline and thus should be the one to finish them all off. And it’s a great one to end on.
Read our review of Logan.
X-Men Movies in Order of Release
- X-Men (2000)
- X2 (2003)
- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
- X-Men: First Class (2011)
- The Wolverine (2013)
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
- Deadpool (2016)
- X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
- Logan (2017)
- Deadpool 2 (2018)
- Dark Phoenix (2019)
- The New Mutants (2020)
- Deadpool 3 (2024)
Upcoming X-Men Movies and Shows
While we wait for the X-Men to finally get their MCU premiere beyond what we've already seen, we don't have many X-Men films or TV shows on the way. The only projects we know about are Deadpool 3 and X-Men 97, which will be a revival of the original animated series as an all-new original series. The latter drops in Fall 2023, but if you're waiting for Deadpool 3, you have to wait for November 8, 2024. See our guide to all upcoming MCU movies for more details.
Adam Bankhurst is a news and features writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.