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

A screenshot of some X-Men characters looking into the camera for our X-Men movies in order guide
Hugh Jackman's Wolverine heads up the mutant line-up in X2: X-Men United. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Thought the Marvel Cinematic Universe was starting to get a little over-complicated? Compared to watching the X-Men movies in order, the MCU is a walk in the park. Since the first X-Men movie was released in 2000, we've seen sequels, prequels, reboots, familiar characters played by multiple characters, and even a pair of movies about a self-aware mutant who talks directly to the audience. In other words, even if you've been watching from the start, the whole thing can get a little confusing.

Luckily, this guide explains how to watch the X-Men movies in order, across the original trilogy, the prequel series, and the Wolverine and Deadpool spin-offs. Below we explain how to watch the 13-movie saga in terms of release date and franchise chronology, and tell you where you can watch each entry in the series. (Although every X-movie is available to subscribers to Disney Plus, one of the best streaming services, in Australia and the UK, viewers in the US will also need Max, and Starz or Hulu, if they're going to complete an X-marathon.)

And with July's 2024's Deadpool & Wolverine bringing the two fan-favorite characters into the MCU for the first time, we'll also explain how the mutants fit into the wider Marvel Cinematic Universe, and what their arrival could mean for the future of the franchise. So if you want to know how to watch the X-Men movies in order, you've come to the right place.

Stream the X-men movies on Disney Plus

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All 13 X-Men movies to date are available on Disney Plus in the UK and Australia, but the selection is limited to 11 films in the US – find out more in the "Where to Watch the X-Men movies" section below. 

Disney Plus with Ads costs $7.99 (US) / £4.99 (UK) a month while the Premium tier will set you back $10.99 / £10.99 a month or $109.99 / £109.99 per year. There's also an extra ad-free "Standard" tier in the UK. Priced at £7.99 per month / £79.90 per year, it supports downloads and 5.1 audio and 1080p video.

In Australia (where a "with ads" option is not currently available) you can purchase the Standard tier (with 1080p HD video and up to 5.1 video) for AU$13.99 / $139.99, or the Premium tier (with 4K UHD and HDR video, and Dolby Atmos sound) for AU $17.99 / $179.99.

For more details about how much a subscription costs where you live, or other options in the US and UK, check out our <a href="https://www.techradar.com/uk/deals/disney-plus-price" data-link-merchant="techradar.com"" data-link-merchant="disneyplus.com"">Disney Plus price guide.

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

The cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past, fronted by Hugh Jackman's Wolverine.

Two eras of X-Men stars unite for 2014’s Days of Future Past. (Image credit: Twentieth Century Fox)

Considering Marvel-based movies have become the biggest cash cow in Hollywood, it’s hard to believe that they were considered a risky proposition at the turn of the 21st century. But along with Blade (released in 1998), the first X-Men film was at the vanguard of the comic book publisher's successful assault on the big screen – in fact, if it hadn't been a hit, it's unlikely that the MCU would exist in its current form.

In the two decades since, there have been a further 12 movies released in the X-Men universe, the most recent addition being The New Mutants. There have also been a pair of live-action TV shows based on X-Men comics – Legion (2017-2019) and The Gifted (2017-2019) – though we haven't included either project in the list of release-ordered X-Men movies below.

Here's how to watch the X-Men movies in order based on their release date:

  • X-Men (2000)
  • X2: X-Men United (US title) / X-Men 2 (UK title) (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)
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
  • The New Mutants (2020)        

How to watch the X-Men movies in order: by chronology

James McAvoy's Professor Xavier and Michael Fassbender's Magneto front the X-Men: First Class cast.

Famous X-Men characters were reinvented for the excellent First Class. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

This is where things get super complex, because even supercomputer Cerebro would struggle to get its circuits around the intricacies of the X-Men timeline. On the face of it, knowing how to watch the X-Men movies in order based on canonical chronology should be fairly straightforward. Ignoring the numerous flashbacks to the 19th century (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and World War II (X-Men, X-Men: First Class, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine), the mutants’ screen story begins in the 1962-set X-Men: First Class, continuing into the 1973-set X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Then, while some key scenes in X-Men Origins: Wolverine take place in 1973, the majority of the movie – notably the scenes where Logan gets his adamantium skeleton – is set in 1979. An augmented Wolvie with anger management issues then crops up in the 1983-set X-Men: Apocalypse. The prequel saga concludes with the 1992-set X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

Next, the chronology moves onto the original X-Men, which was set in an undefined “near future” when the film was released in 2000. Unsurprisingly, X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand continue from there in linear fashion.

We also know that The Wolverine takes place after X-Men: The Last Stand, as Logan is still coming to terms with being forced to kill the love of his life, Jean Grey, for the greater good. The Wolverine’s end-credits sequence then takes place two years after the rest of the movie, as Professor Xavier and Magneto return to warn Logan about “dark forces building a weapon that could bring about the end of our kind”. 

Given the heavy references to Trask Industries, the company behind the mutant-hunting Sentinels, this is clearly setting up the apocalyptic future we see in the 2023-set sequences of X-Men: Days of Future Past. It's worth noting, however, that this timeline ceases to exist after Wolverine's time-travelling exploits in the movie save the day.

Logan takes place in 2029, a time period when the X-Men are a thing of the past. TV series The Gifted is also set in a post-X-Men world, though it’s never confirmed exactly when that is – whenever it is, it's clearly not the future we see in Logan. Legion, meanwhile, is impossible to pin down, thanks to its retro stylings and intentionally unreliable narrator – a psychic by the name of David Haller who happens to be Professor Xavier’s son.

Thanks to his self-awareness and unconventional approach to narrative, Deadpool’s two movies can fit into the timeline wherever he wants them to. The New Mutants appear to have a tangential relationship to Logan, too, with Essex Corp referenced in both movies. The dodgy organization (run by the villainous Mr Sinister in the comics) also made an appearance in Apocalypse.

Here, then, is a (much briefer) rundown of how to watch the X-Men movies in order based on the franchise chronology:

  • X-Men: First Class (set in 1962)
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (past sequences set in 1973)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (set in 1979)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (set in 1983)
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (set in 1992)
  • X-Men (set in near future from 2000)
  • X2: X-Men United / X-Men 2 (set after X-Men)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (set after X-Men 2)
  • The Wolverine (set after X-Men: The Last Stand)
  • The New Mutants (set in the present day and likely before Logan)
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past (future sequences set in 2023 – though the post-apocalyptic timeline ceases to exist after the events of the movie)
  • Logan (set in 2029)

But, of course, things aren't that simple, because while the above dates (mostly) fit together, there are numerous contradictions in this timeline. 

In the original X-Men movie, Xavier reveals that he met Magneto when they were 17 years old – yet in First Class, we learn that their first meeting took place when both were adults. A hairless Xavier is seen walking and using his psychic abilities in the 1979 of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, yet we see him paralyzed in the 1962 of X-Men: First Class, and losing his hair much later in the 1983 of X-Men: Apocalypse. (Although he’s able to walk in the 1973 of Days of Future Past, that’s thanks to an experimental drug that suppresses his psychic abilities).

The end-credits scene from The Wolverine is particularly confusing. The old Xavier was last seen being vaporized in X-Men: The Last Stand, yet he’s back in one piece here, while the older Magneto has regained the mutant abilities he lost in the same movie. Both mysteries remain unexplained. The scene also shows Wolverine wielding bone claws, having lost his adamantium adornments earlier in the movie – yet by the time Days of Future Past rolls around, he’s back to adamantium. Again, nobody explains why. 

And then there’s the fact that Jean Grey lives through the Dark Phoenix saga twice

Poster for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, dominated by Sophie Turner's Jean Grey.

Jean Grey experiences the Dark Phoenix saga for a second time in the 2019 movie of the same name. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Some of these contradictions can be explained away as continuity errors, while others start to make a bit more sense when you look at the X-Men universe as distinct timelines. 

Think of it like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek movies, where the arrival of a Romulan ship from the future created a whole new timeline for Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise crew. (If you're keen to dive down that particular rabbit hole, you can read an explanation of the so-called "Kelvin" universe in our guide to how to watch the Star Trek movies in order.) The X-Men version is less elegant, but makes sense. Just about...

In the X-Men movies, ground zero is the 1973 segment of X-Men: Days of Future Past, thanks to the intervention of a future Wolverine who's traveled back in time from the post-apocalyptic 2023. As soon as he teams up with the ’70s X-Men on a successful mission to prevent the creation of the Sentinels, they sidestep the future that led to mutant armageddon in the Prime timeline, creating an alternative sequence of events that continues into X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men: Dark Phoenix

We’re already seeing evidence of the “repaired” timeline by the end of Days of Future Past, where Logan/Wolverine returns to an unfamiliar future in which Cyclops and Jean Grey (played by original actors James Marsden and Famke Janssen) are still alive. We also see Kelsey Grammer’s version of Beast, who was last seen in The Last Stand, and whose subsequent death Logan references in Days of Future Past.  

The new timelines, then, look something like this. 

Prime X-Men timeline 

  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (1973 storyline, before future Wolverine's intervention)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • X-Men
  • X2: X-Men United / X-Men 2
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • The Wolverine

Post-Days of Future Past "repaired" timeline

  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (1973 storyline, after future Wolverine's intervention) 
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (“repaired” future sequences, featuring resurrected Cyclops and Jean Grey)

It’s not clear which branch of the X-Men timeline leads into the post-X-Men 2029 of Logan. A (non-canon) deleted scene does mention Jean Grey’s death, suggesting that the movie was originally planned as a continuation of the Prime X-Men timeline. That said, Xavier also refers to Logan and Jean being married before he “killed her”, so – seeing as they were never officially a couple in the movies – this would suggest that Logan exists in its own distinct timeline. 

Then again, the X-Men movie timeline has frequently proved itself to be far from linear, so it's probably best not to lose too much sleep about the contradictions and just enjoy Logan as one of the franchise's best outings.

Deadpool, The New Mutants, Legion and The Gifted should be regarded as their own distinct entities, completely separate from the other X-Men timelines – though Deadpool's penchant for breaking the fourth wall means he can be aware of events in other movies, whichever timeline they're from.

Where to watch the X-Men movies

Ryan Reynolds brandishing two guns as the Merc with a Mouth in Fox's Deadpool movie

The fourth-wall breaking Deadpool exists in his own unique corner of the X-Men universe. (Image credit: Fox)

The good news for viewers in the UK and Australia is that every single movie from the X-Men franchise (including the Deadpool and Wolverine films) is currently available to view on Disney Plus. 

Keeping up with the mutants is a little more complicated in the US, however, as their adventures are spread across various streaming services:

  • Disney Plus: X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, Logan, Deadpool, Deadpool 2 and The New Mutants
  • Starz: X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class and X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • Max: X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Deadpool
  • Hulu: X-Men: First Class

X-Men movies by series

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine emerging from a tank in X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Hugh Jackman's Logan extends his claws in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

The X-Men movies don’t really exist as one continuous saga. Instead, there have been several mini-franchises within the larger X-franchise overseen by 20th Century Fox until it was bought by Disney in 2019. For that reason, it's easier to think of them in granular terms, rather than getting hung up on how they fit together as one big entity.

Things were nice and simple back in the early days, as X-Men, X2: X-Men United / X-Men 2 and X-Men: The Last Stand formed the beginning, middle and end of a standalone trilogy. Fox was never going to let a lucrative franchise die after just three movies, however, so three years on from The Last Stand, Hugh Jackman returned in an origin story for the series’ most popular character, Wolverine.

Michael Fassbender's Magneto uses his metal-manipulating powers in X-Men: First Class

The X-Men prequel trilogy showed us younger versions of familiar characters, with Michael Fassbender taking over from Ian McKellen as Magneto. (Image credit: Fox)

Although plans to make another X-Men Origins movie (focussed on Magneto) were ultimately shelved, Wolverine returned to headline two more standalone films. The Wolverine picked up after The Last Stand, and riffed on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s classic Japan-set comic book arc from the 1980s. The more thoughtful Logan, meanwhile, showed an older Wolverine living in a post-X-Men world, struggling to come to terms with the fact that his healing powers have deserted him. Written and directed by Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny's James Mangold (who's also lined up to write/direct a new Star Wars movie), it became the first superhero film to receive an Oscar nomination for its screenplay.

Alongside the Wolverine movies, X-Men: First Class introduced a new cast playing familiar roles, as the ’60s-set movie explained how the young Charles Xavier and Magneto (then allies) created the X-Men. First Class spawned another three sequels (Days of Future Past, Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix), while the time-travelling shenanigans of Days of Future Past (where the consciousness of 2023 Wolverine is sent back to 1973) brought the stars of the original movies along for the ride, too. It’s a sequel and a prequel in one.

The vast cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past

Meet all the X-Men, young and old, in a promo photo from Days of Future Past. (Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Then things got really weird, as the X-Men series went more leftfield than any superhero franchise in history. Wade Wilson/Deadpool had been a supporting player in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but Rob Liefeld's much-loved character was so unrecognizable that  fans revolted. Star Ryan Reynolds subsequently launched a lengthy campaign to get the so-called ‘Merc with a Mouth’ his own movie, and his wish was granted with the subversive, potty-mouthed, fourth-wall-breaking Deadpool in 2016. 

We've treated The New Mutants as its own entity in the below series breakdown, since it doesn't really fit alongside any of the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies.

Original X-Men trilogy

  • X-Men
  • X-Men 2/X2: X-Men United
  • X-Men: The Last Stand

Prequel series

  • X-Men: First Class
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Wolverine series

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • The Wolverine 
  • Logan 

Deadpool series

  • Deadpool
  • Deadpool 2
  • Deadpool & Wolverine (due for release in July 2024)

The New Mutants

  • The New Mutants

The X-Men in the MCU

Namor stares intensely at Queen Ramonda on an undisclosed beach in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever confirmed that the MCU's Namor is a mutant. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Although the 20th Century Fox version of the X-Men franchise effectively came to an end with The New Mutants, the X-Men will eventually live on in the separate (and even more successful) Marvel Cinematic Universe. While a new X-Men film is not yet on Marvel's slate of forthcoming MCU movies and TV shows, it seems certain to happen. 

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has even teased the mutants' arrival in the MCU, though he's yet to confirm when. "The question is how to do it and when to do it, and that's something we've been working on for years," Feige told Entertainment Weekly in February 2023. "Now we know. But we're not going to talk about it."

In the meantime, the House of Ideas has thrown us a few tantalising X-breadcrumbs...

A third Deadpool installment is definitely on the way in July 2024 as part of Marvel's Phase 5, bringing the Merc with a Mouth into the MCU alongside Hugh Jackman's Wolverine in Deadpool & Wolverine. For the first time, the adamantium-clawed hero will be wearing a version of his classic yellow suit from the comics. 

A version of Patrick Stewart's Professor Xavier appeared briefly in a parallel universe in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, while the M-word (mutant) has now been mentioned in the MCU, courtesy of both Ms Marvel (alongside a tease of the theme from the classic ’90s X-Men cartoon) and Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. There were also references to several mutant characters from the comics (such as Mister Immortal) in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, though they weren't namechecked as such on screen. 

And finally, the mid-credits sequence from the latest MCU movie, The Marvels, saw Monica Rambeau landing in a parallel universe where the X-Men – including the returning Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) as Beast – are very much alive and kicking. 

These are the movies and TV shows that have so far teased the presence of mutants in the MCU:

  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Ms Marvel
  • She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • The Marvels

Wolverine, Beast, Jubilee, Bishop, Morph, Gambit, Rogue and Jean Grey in a briefing.

X-Men ’97 continues a classic cartoon that brought the mutants to the masses in the 1990s. (Image credit: Marvel Animation)

The new X-Men ’97 animated series began on Disney Plus on March 20, with new episodes debuting on Wednesdays. A continuation of the acclaimed cartoon series from the ’90s, it features most of your favorite mutants, and an extremely catchy theme tune. Its story is entirely separate from the other X-Men timelines.

X-Men movies ranked

Claws extended, Hugh Jackman's Logan walks away from a sunset.

The melancholic Logan is arguably the best movie in the entire franchise.  (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

This is how the X-Men movies stack up on review aggregator site IMDb:

Looking at the above ratings, it’s no surprise to see Logan topping the chart. Driven by phenomenal performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, James Mangold’s film pushed the boundaries of what a superhero movie could be – indeed, how the its characters deal with the aging process is just as important as the mutant action. There’s similarly high scores the first Deadpool – undoubtedly the funniest of the X-movies – and Days of Future Past, arguably the most ambitious thanks to its time travel-heavy plot.

It’s similarly predictable that X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants should be the films propping up the list. A critical and box office flop, Dark Phoenix effectively sealed the fate of the X-franchise in its pre-Disney form. After The Last Stand, it also marked the second time a movie had messed up the beloved Dark Phoenix storyline from the comics. Chances are they won’t be trying that again… 

The New Mutants, meanwhile had languished in Fox's vaults for three years before Disney finally brought it to theaters during the Covid-19 pandemic. It really wasn't worth the wait.


If the X-Men have got you in the mood for more Marvel action, check out our guides to how to watch the Marvel movies in order, every MCU film ranked and Marvel villains ranked

Richard Edwards

Richard is a freelance journalist specialising in movies and TV, primarily of the sci-fi and fantasy variety. An early encounter with a certain galaxy far, far away started a lifelong love affair with outer space, and these days Richard's happiest geeking out about Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel and other long-running pop culture franchises. In a previous life he was editor of legendary sci-fi and fantasy magazine SFX, where he got to interview many of the biggest names in the business – though he'll always have a soft spot for Jeff Goldblum who (somewhat bizarrely) thought Richard's name was Winter.

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