How to watch the X-Men movies in order (release and chronological) (2024)

How to watch the X-Men movies in order (release and chronological) (1)

It's official, the X-Men are in the MCU. A proper movie reboot has yet to be announced (and X-Men '97 is, sadly, not canon), but that doesn't mean we haven't had a plethora of Easter eggs and cameos. With a variant of Charles Xavier showing up in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Kamala Khan discovering she's a mutant in Ms. Marvel – and more where that came from, too – why not catch up on the full X-Men movie franchise?

Because of prequels, spin-offs, jumps back (and forward) in time, recastings, parallel universes, and more – things might get a little confusing. But no worries, we've figured it all out so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy. Below, we have a guide that follows their release order, and a slightly more complicated chronological order.

And before you ask, we don't know how Deadpool 3 (starring Hugh Jackman's Wolverine) fits into the X-Men story just yet (especially after Jackman himself said he was retired from playing the character, prompting fans to assume that he'd be recast for Wolverine's proper MCU introduction) but be sure to watch this space for more info.

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

Best for: Our recommended viewing experience.

By watching the X-Men movies in release order, newcomers get to experience the stories as everyone else did, plus it's simply much easier than attempting to make any kind of sense of the time-traveling and parallel universes. Trust us.

  • X-Men
  • X2: X-Men United
  • 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
  • New Mutants

Side note: Days of Future Past: The Rogue Cut takes place in a future that is erased by the time the credits roll, so don’t beat yourself up if you’d prefer to watch the theatrical cut or don’t want to give up precious hours to watch them both.

And, don't forget, nearly all the X-Men movies are on Disney Plus, so be sure to catch them on there.

How to watch the X-Men movies in order: chronological order(s)

How to watch the X-Men movies in order (release and chronological) (2)

Things are about to get a little complicated. Now, there are a few ways this can be done. First up, we have The Easy Way, which puts all the X-Men movies into a strict order of when they are set – so we go from the '60s to the far future. This, unfortunately, leads to some issues as Dark Phoenix does not lead particularly nicely into the first X-Men, and then you also have the fact the Dark Phoenix catastrophe happens again with Jean Grey in The Last Stand... This one's a very literal chronological order without taking in varying timelines.

Instead, you're perhaps better off taking into account the multiple timelines that are caused when Days of Future Past erases the future we knew in the original trilogy. This one starts with X-Men: First Class, which technically applies to both timelines, and goes right up until the far future and the catastrophe that prompts Wolverine to travel back to 1973 and stop the Sentinels. It will perhaps make more sense if we show you the order – but, in short, there are two timelines that don't line up...!

The Easy Way

Best for: No one, really... This one's just a literal timeline of events without taking into account multiple timelines.

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

It could be argued that Days of Future Past should be last here, in its setting of 2023, but a whole lot of it takes place in 1973, so switch that about as you like according to taste. And Deadpool 2 also references Wolverine’s death in Logan, the latter of which is set in 2029, so let’s just assume Deadpool marches to the beat of his own drum.

The two X-Men timelines

How to watch the X-Men movies in order (release and chronological) (3)

Prime timeline

  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • X-Men
  • X2: X-Men United
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • The Wolverine
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Second timeline

  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (past events)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • New Mutants
  • Deadpool
  • Deadpool 2
  • Logan

There are a lot of issues with the X-Men timelines, so many that they probably warrant a whole article of their own. Yet, by taking the series as two timelines, which almost works in release order, you can just about grasp and understand the series.

We would suggest simply ignoring any inconsistencies. The X-Men series, after all, came way before the MCU, which established how movies should relate to one another. It’s therefore no use trying to apply real-world logic to a world of mutants and mad scientists (we’re looking at you, Bolivar Trask), but that’s what’s so special about the X-Men: they’re a microcosm for real-world prejudice in a fantasy world full of superheroes – and we love them for it.

For more, check out our guide on how to watch the Marvel movies in order or our list of the most exciting upcoming superhero movies.

Millicent Thomas was once a freelance games and film journalist, writing for publications including GamesRadar, Total Film, Space.com, GamesIndustry.biz, Wireframe, Little White Lies, Culturess, SciFiNow, and more. She is now in international PR and marketing for Ubisoft.

With contributions from

  • Bradley Russell

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