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X-Men movies in order: Chronological & release order

X2: X-Men United (2003) cast
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

With all the time-travel shenanigans, it’s hard to keep track of Professor X and his cohort of mutant heroes, but our guide to the X-Men movies in order should straighten out the timestream.

If you can’t save the world in bright yellow spandex, then you can’t save the world. For 22 years, the X-Men film franchise has given a plethora of X-Men movies, filled with questionable costumes, creative accents, and more blue characters than James Cameron’s wildest dreams. The X-Men have been seen in print, on the small screen, animated, and in the minds of every kid who tried to jump off their car roof just in case they could fly (not a true story, don’t worry about it).

Since Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness returned the yellow-chaired Professor X back to us, it has left fans wondering when the X-Men will get their next standalone movie? We have to imagine more X-Men movies are on Gambit’s explosive cards, but in the meantime, why not rewatch the tangled timeline that is the previous 13 outings?

This list is going to be your guide through the XCU (X-Men Cinematic Universe), with stops in the past, the future, the days of future past, and also an awkward bit in the 70s where everyone is in bell-bottoms for 2 hours.

The XCU has started and restarted a couple of times, but that’s going to happen whenever time travel is a plot point. So, instead of just giving you a release list (boring) we’re getting tricky, and this will be an undoubtedly controversial take on a chronological watch list.  If you want more great Marvel content, check out our guide to the Marvel movies in order, or our list of the best Marvel movies.

X-Men movies in chronological order

  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • X-Men
  • X2: X-Men United
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • The Wolverine
  • Deadpool
  • The New Mutants
  • Deadpool 2
  • Logan

1. X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release date: June 3, 2011
  • Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence

We’re already kicking off our list with a disclaimer about the number one spot. If you want to get technical, then X-Men Origins: Wolverine has scenes set in 1845, but the bulk of that film doesn’t take place until later. That’s why First Class, set mostly during 1962s Cuban Missile Crisis, is your safest bet for the first chronological X-Men film. 

You’ll see the humble beginnings of the X-Men team, as well as the blossoming turbulence of Prof X and Magneto, watching as they transition from best friends to mortal frenemies. 

Fun Fact - X-Men Origins: Magneto was the original plan, but First Class took its place. 


2. X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: May 23, 2014
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Another contentious piece of chronology here, as Days of Future Past takes place in both 1973, and “The Future” simultaneously. With the return of both the original, and prequel actors, as well as a smattering of fan favorite characters, Days of Future Past promises action, confusion, and really horrendous hairstyles.

This mid-franchise take on the iconic comic book story was generally well received by both critics and audiences, as it rang out with the new Marvel cinematic style. 

Fun Fact - For those of you who want a little extra, check out “The Rogue Cut”, a version of the film that adds Rogue to the main roster. 


3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: May 1, 2009
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston.

In a blink and you miss it cameo in First Class, you’ll spot Wolverine in a bar, telling Prof X and Magneto to “go f**k themselves”. Just a few years later, chronologically, we come to Wolverine’s origin film, set mostly in 1979. 

A series of flashback scenes starting in 1845 take us through almost every major war that Wolverine was a part of, up until his character defining adamantium surgery. We also get Ryan Reynold's first appearance as Deadpool here, but the cursed monkey paw version of it - don't worry, they correct their mistakes down the line.

Fun Fact - Wolverine actor, Hugh Jackman, confessed his dislike of the film. He felt it didn’t go deep enough into the character, and said it felt like a fourth X-Men film, with different characters. 


4. X-Men: Apocalypse 

X-Men: Apocalypse

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: May 27, 2016
  • Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender,Oscar Isaac

In Oscar Isaacs first of two different Egyptian Marvel characters, X-Men: Apocalypse sees the updated X-Men team fight off against the titular villain, Apocalypse. Another point of contention as this film does open with a sequence in 3600 BC, but sees 1983 taking over both the plot and the fashion choices. The reception for this film split audiences pretty much in half, some loved the classic villain, and others felt it was overloaded with action. We’ll let you make up your own mind. 

Fun Fact - Olivia Munn was a fan of her character Psylocke before filming, and requested she wore the comic accurate, purple suit. 


5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: June 7, 2019
  • Cast: Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Jennifer Lawrence

Closing out the prequel films is another attempt at the Dark Phoenix storyline. We’ll see Jean Grey become the Phoenix again, but for this attempt we’re confronted with an alien invasion, and another change in the Mystique style. For this film, she’s a soft corn-flower blue, but her suit is yellow … and red. 

Fun fact - This is the first X-Men film since 2000 that doesn’t involve Hugh Jackman as a main character, or in a cameo. 


6. X-Men 

X-Men

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: July 14, 2000
  • Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen

The film that started it all! Set in the same year as its release (2000) this was the first official X-Men film, if not the sixth chronologically. It might get a little confusing to watch, as many of the characters have changed, and the timeline has been cut and stuck back together a few times since this film's release. But the nostalgia factor is high, and Sir Patrick Stewart hasn’t aged a day. 

Fun Fact - Although famous for their in film chess matches, neither Patrick Stewart nor Ian McKellen knew how to play - a chess master was brought in to teach them. 


7. X-2: X-Men United

X2: X-Men United

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: May 2, 2003
  • Cast: Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden

Picking up where the last film let off, X2 takes place in the very same year as the previous instalment. Colonel Striker kidnaps Prof X, and we’re all left wondering “How will Wolverine make this about him?” and in a shocking twist - he does. New characters include Lady Deathstrike, and Nightcrawler. Both of whom pay their way with great fight scenes. 

Fun Fact - Openly gay actor, Sir Ian Mckellen, worked with production to make a scene where parents find out about their child's mutation as similar to a “coming out” conversation as possible. 


8. X-Men: The Last Stand

X-Men: The Last Stand

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: May 26, 2006
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen

The final of the three original X-Men films, and this was the first attempt at the Dark Phoenix storyline. Jean Grey returns with her powers buffed up, and ready to take on the new mutant cure. This is also the last time on this list that you’ll the X-Men team together. From here on out, it’s all spin-offs, and alternate timelines. 

Fun Fact - Kelsey Grammar was so interested in playing Hank McCoy/Beast, that he auditioned for the first time in over 20 years. 


9. The Wolverine 

The Wolverine

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: July 26, 2013
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto

Does this film even exist? Technically yes, but in an even more technical way, no, not at all. Because of the plot in Days of Future Past, the events of this film were ret-conned out of existence, and if you want to watch it’ll really be just for fun. Of course, the majority of this film takes place in Japan, because Wolverine is a notorious nerd when it comes to the country. With some of his comic children/clones coming from there, depending on the universe. 

Fun Fact - In a bonus scene, released on Blu-ray, Yukio presents Logan with his classic, comic accurate, yellow suit. The scene was cut, much to the dismay of fans.


10. Deadpool

Deadpool

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: February 12, 2016
  • Cast: Ryan Reynold, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein

Ryan Reynold's take on the fourth wall breaking merc with a mouth is included in this list, since it includes X-Men, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
With a few brief shots of the X-Mansion, this film earns its place a little tenuously, but as the first R-rated mutant film it's well worth a watch. 

Fun Fact - The Deadpool film had been shelved for a long time, with Reynolds playing the character in Origins: Wolverine. When test footage was leaked, the fan reaction was so great that the studio just had to take it forward.


11. The New Mutants

The New Mutants

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: August 28, 2020
  • Cast: Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton

Taking place in the XCU this film follows a set of mutants kept in a mental institution for the sake of their “safety”. Magik, Cannonball, Sunspot, Wolfsbane, and Mirage team up to escape their fate, and take on their own issues too. If you love giant demon bears, and some really unnerving villains, then this movie could be the X-Men experience for you. Though originally planned to be a 90s flick, it ended up taking place in 2017. 

Fun Fact - Originally planned as a horror trilogy, sequels are looking unlikely because mutants are being incorporated into the MCU.


12. Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 Domino

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)
  • Release Date: May 18, 2018
  • Cast: Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Ryan Reynolds

This film earns its place a little more on this list than its predecessor. With long scenes in the X-Mansion, plus a cameo from the prequel X-Team. It’s another complex time travel web, with Josh Brolin’s “Cable” jumping throughout the timeline to murder, save, and look ripped as hell. We also get a bevvy of celebrity cameo’s from Brad Pitt, Bill Scargaard, and more, not to mention introduction of fan-favorite Domino.

In another meta twist, Deadpool himself jumps through time to make a load of changes to the continuity of both the films' chronology, and the real world.

Fun Fact - A third Deadpool film is in the works, so check back here to see how it fits in the X-Men movies in order. 


13. Logan 

  • Release Date: March 3, 2017
  • Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen

The final film for this X-Men movies in order list take us to the year 2029, where mutants are nearly extinct. This particular story comes from the “Old Man Logan” comics. Introducing the Wolverine clone Laura, or “X-23”. The film marks the final appearance of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, and was his most intense film physically. Logan is older, weaker, but no less dangerous, and the action sequences are some of the finest in the XCU. 

Fun Fact - Dafne Keen (X-23) was too young to shoot some scenes inside a casino, she was green screened in, or they used her body double who was over 18.

X-men movies in release order

X-Men Logo

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

If you'd rather watch the X-Men movies in release order, we've got a list below to help you out there too. It's a lot easier to follow, because we haven't invented time travel in the real world yet.

  • X-Men
  • X2
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • X-Men: First Class
  • The Wolverine
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Deadpool
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • Logan
  • Deadpool 2
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • The New Mutants

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Bobby is a Freelance Copywriter who has worked with Space.com, and its sister site, Top Ten Reviews. He’s been writing since his teens, and has worked for a number of media outlets, turning his talents to education, travel, fitness, retail, and more. Bobby loves to write fiction (Fantasy, Horror, and Cosmic Fiction), woodwork, and walk his Romanian rescue dog Garnet. You can often find him and Garnet walking across the Scottish wilds, or through the New Forest in the South of England.