Is it important to watch the X-Men movies in order? It can be fun to start at the beginning of a story and watch it through to the end. But for the X-Men movies, chronological order is not the best way to watch them, and frankly, it might leave you confused.
This is a guest post by Logan Entin.
The order I recommend places X-Men: Days of Future Past later in the list so that you get the chance to learn about the characters and create an emotional connection to the cast from X-Men, X2, and X3. It also makes it easier to understand and ties everything together.
Unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), there are many minor continuity errors throughout the X-Men movie franchise no matter which way you decide to watch them. The most common error would be the ages of characters from one movie to another given the time span between them. But I won’t cover all of that here.
Watching the movies in release order works, but still isn’t perfect. This brings us to the movie order I recommend.
Best Order to Watch the X-Men Movies
1. X-Men: First Class
First Class introduces you to Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) when they are first discovering their powers and are actually great friends.
Set in 1962 during the height of the Cold War, they must work together to search for other mutants like them to build a team with the goal of saving the world from what looks to be an inevitable nuclear war.
First Class sets up a confrontation between mutants where they all must choose sides, leading up to the eventual formation of Professor X’s X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. It does not include any mid or end-credits scenes.
2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
A true origin story, X-Men Origins: Wolverine shows the beginning of The Wolverine’s story by following the mutants James Logan and his half-brother Victor Creed.
Throughout the movie there are glimpses and cameos of many mutants that you’ll see in future X-Men movies, so keep an eye out!
Wade Wilson, known in this movie as Weapon XI, (but also known as Deadpool) makes an appearance. His storyline is never continued in future movies, and this version of Deadpool has no connection to the Deadpool and Deadpool 2 movies. It occurs in a different timeline/universe than the Deadpool movies.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine has a mid-credits scene and an end-credits scene.
X-Men takes place in the year 2000. It follows The Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto in a world where both mutants and humans fear each other.
X-Men introduces mutants to the world, and the world doesn’t like it. The U.N hosts a summit to debate what to do about the “mutant problem” and Professor X sets out with the X-Men to prevent Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants from interrupting the summit and showing the world the true threat that mutants could pose to humanity.
X-Men does not include any mid or end-credits scenes.
4. X2: X-Men United
X2: X-Men United is set several years after X-Men. It follows Colonel William Stryker (remember him?) on a mission to destroy every mutant on Earth to save the human race from them.
The X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants have to work together to stop Stryker and save mutant-kind from being tracked down and destroyed.
X2: X-Men United does not include any mid or end-credits scenes.
5. X3: The Last Stand
A government-funded lab announces it has developed a “cure” that can suppress the X-gene and they offer it to any mutant who wants it. This drives Magneto to re-establish his Brotherhood of Mutants to oppose the cure.
Remember the end of X2 where the phoenix showed up above the lake after Jean Grey’s probable death? That was a reference to The Dark Phoenix comic saga. The Dark Phoenix is Jean Grey’s evolved personality that Professor X had telepathically repressed. You get to see a version of that story come to life in The Last Stand.
X3: The Last Stand includes an end-credits scene.
6. The Wolverine
After the events of The Last Stand, Logan, dealing with grief, is invited to Japan by an old friend. He gets caught up in a fight that leaves him changed and stronger.
The Wolverine is more of a solo Wolverine movie than X-Men Origins: Wolverine was. It doesn’t feature any major events except for the continued development of Wolverine’s character. So there’s no need to worry about watching the Wolverine movies in order.
The Wolverine does include a semi-important ending and end-credits scene that foreshadows events that will occur in Days of Future Past.
7. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Days of Future Past changed everything and was the studios’ way of essentially rebooting the franchise with the newer cast from First Class, which you will see in the upcoming Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix movies.
It takes place both in the future and past and includes the young actors from First Class and the older cast from X-Men, X2, and X3.
In the future, what’s left of mutant-kind is battling to stay alive versus the deadly Sentinels, which were referenced at the end of The Wolverine. In a last-ditch effort to save the world the team sends Wolverine back in time to the past to stop the creation of the Sentinels with the goal of preventing the destruction of the mutants and the world.
X-Men: Days of Future Past includes an end-credits scene that sets up X-Men: Apocalypse.
Need the X-men timeline explained? I’ve included below a more in-depth explanation about how Days of Future Past changes the timelines, as well as another watch order based on the timelines.
8. X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Apocalypse is set in 1983 in the new timeline and continues right where Days of Future Past left off.
Apocalypse, the first mutant, can acquire the powers of other mutants and keep himself alive by transferring his conscience into other bodies, making him one of the most powerful and dangerous mutants.
After being asleep for thousands of years, Apocalypse is awoken and decides there is a need to cleanse the corrupt world and all of mankind with it to create a new world that he will reign over.
X-Men: Apocalypse includes an end-credits scene foreshadowing Logan and The New Mutants.
9. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is set in 1992, almost a decade after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse. It follows Jean Grey and the X-Men in what is a do-over of the Phoenix storyline from X3: The Last Stand.
Dark Phoenix is all about Jean Grey and her constant battle with keeping her own mental abilities in check. In the past, Professor X had put in a mental wall to shield Jean from the traumatic events she experienced as a child. Throughout the movie we see that shield fall and The Phoenix break through.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix does not include an end-credits scene and can be considered the last chapter in the main X-Men franchise.
Logan is considered one of the best movies in the entire X-Men franchise. There isn’t a clear answer on which timeline Logan takes place in. The reality is, it probably doesn’t matter and you don’t need to spend too much time thinking about it.
Logan takes place in 2029. The majority of mutants in the world are dead and the X-gene is receding. Both Charles Xavier and Wolverine have aged considerably. Charles’ mind has been affected by a mental disease, and Wolverine is aging and not healing as fast as usual.
Laura, a genetically engineered mutant child using Wolverine’s DNA comes to Logan for help.
Logan is the perfect movie to end the Fox X-Men franchise and does not include an end-credits scene.
Where Does The New Mutants Fit in the X-Men Timeline?
The New Mutants sets up a potential cross-over with X-Men: Apocalypse, Logan, and Deadpool by referencing Essex Corp, which has easter eggs or mentions in all of the aforementioned movies and presumably seems to be setting up a confrontation with the next big bad, Mr. Sinister.
Unfortunately, after many delays to the movie during the Disney/Fox merger, the movie was a disappointment for most people. It doesn’t (and likely won’t) lead to anything new since it is the last X-Men movie released by Fox prior to the merger.
It does not need to be watched, but if you want to watch them all you can add The New Mutants to your list in this spot. There are no end-credits scenes for The New Mutants.
Is Deadpool Related to X-Men?
Deadpool and Deadpool 2 reference events from multiple X-Men movies. The Deadpool movies are connected, but not in any way that really matters to the X-Men universe.
You don’t need to worry about watching Deadpool and Deadpool 2 in any specific order with the rest of the X-Men movies, but I recommend watching them after you’ve seen the rest of the X-Men franchise. Both Deadpool movies include fun cameos and jokes that you’ll enjoy more after you’ve seen the other movies.
Days of Future Past: X-Men Timeline Explained
X-Men: Days of Future Past is set in 2023, after the events of X3: The Last Stand, and The Wolverine. However, most of the movie takes place in the year 1973 (after X-Men: First Class) when they send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to save the world from the rising threat of the Sentinels.
Without spoiling much, Wolverine successfully changes the past, altering the future you’ve come to know and erasing the entire 2023 future timeline as well as all of the events that happened in X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine. The events in X-Men: First Class remain unchanged and occur in both timelines.
If you’re not a fan of watching it after The Wolverine like I recommended, then another way to include X-Men: Days of Future Past in your watch list is to wait until the very end – watching this movie last. This way you already understand both timelines and how they are affected by the changes made by Wolverine in X-Men: Days of Future Past when he travels back to 1973.
The Two “Days of Future Past” Timelines
Another order to watch the X-Men movies is by separating the movies into “Timeline 1” and “Timeline 2” movie lists. If you choose to watch this way, then I recommend the following order:
In the first timeline, Mystique fails to kill Bolivar Trask when the X-Men discover he’s experimenting on mutants. Decades later, his experiments have led to the creation of the Sentinels, a robot army whose goal is to eliminate all mutant-kind.
Based on that timeline, you can watch the films in the following order:
- X-Men: First Class
- X-Men: Days of Future Past
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- X2: X-Men United
- X-Men: The Last Stand
- The Wolverine
In this timeline, Wolverine stops Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask. This saves mutants from extinction, avoiding the future events from the first timeline.
The second timeline continues to follow the younger cast of X-Men and can be watched in this order:
- X-Men: First Class
- X-Men: Days of Future Past
- X-Men: Apocalypse
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Where to Stream the X-Men Movies
The X-Men movie franchise can be found spread out on multiple platforms. The following is accurate as of October 2021, but may change in the future as the movie contracts change or expire.
X-Men Movies on Disney+
- X2: X-Men United
- X-Men 3: The Last Stand
- X-Men: Days of Future Past
- X-Men: Apocalypse
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix
X-Men Movies on Hulu / HuluPlus (Add-on subscription)
- Logan – Hulu
- Deadpool – HuluPlus
- Deadpool 2 – HuluPlus
X-Men Movies on HBO Max
- The New Mutants
X-Men Movies You Need to Rent or Buy on Amazon Prime Video
X-Men: First Class, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine are not currently available on any streaming service in the U.S, although they’re still available on Disney+ in other countries. This is due to previous contracts and they will hopefully be added to Disney+ in the U.S in the future. They can all be found on Prime Video to rent or purchase.
X-Men Movies in Release Date Order
If you want to watch the X-Men movies in the exact order they were released, here is the list:
- X-Men – July 14, 2000
- X2: X-Men United – May 2, 2003
- X-Men 3: The Last Stand – May 26, 2006
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine – May 1, 2009
- X-Men: First Class – June 3, 2011
- The Wolverine – July 26, 2013
- X-Men: Days of Future Past – May 23, 2014
- Deadpool – February 12, 2016
- X-Men: Apocalypse – May 27, 2016
- Logan – March 3, 2017
- Deadpool 2 – May 18, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix – June 7, 2019
- The New Mutants – August 28, 2020
X-Men Movies in Chronological Order
This is not my recommended order, but if you want to watch the movies completely in chronological order, here is the list:
- X-Men: First Class – Set in 1962
- X-Men: Days of Future Past – Set in 1973 but also covers a future time set in 2023.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Set in 1979
- X-Men: Apocalypse – Set in 1983
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix – Set in 1992
- X-Men – Set in 2000
- X2: X-Men United – Set in 2003
- X-Men 3: The Last Stand – Set in 2006
- The Wolverine – Set in 2013
- Deadpool – Set in 2016
- Deadpool 2 – Set in 2018
- The New Mutants – Set around 2026
- Logan – Set in 2029
What’s Next for the X-Men?
There are currently no new X-Men movies (publicly) in the works from the X-Men universe and the next installment that features a member of the X-Men will likely be as part of the MCU as Disney actively works to incorporate characters and elements from the X-Men and other Mutant comics into the MCU after the Disney and Fox merger.
We have already seen the first two characters previously owned by Fox in the MCU. In Black Widow they teased a future appearance of Ursa Major, and Loki gave us our first look at Kang the Conqueror, who will also make an appearance in the upcoming Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania movie.