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X-Men: Watch Marvel's mutants in all of their animated adventures before X-Men '97 is streaming on Disney+

From the original animated series to X-Men: Evolution to the Wolverine anime, here's how to watch the Children of the Atom, cartoon-style

Image credit: Disney+

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For a superhero team whose whole deal is living in a world that hates and fears them, Marvel’s X-Men sure are popular. Aside from starring in a Sentinel-sized stack of best-selling comic books, the Children of the Atom have headlined a range of successful licensed media, including several hit animated TV shows.

Keeping track of the X-Men’s cartoon canon can be a bit tricky – and it’s about to get even trickier with the release of Disney+ series X-Men '97. So, here’s an Xavier Institute-certified guide to every X-Men cartoon, including how to watch them in order.

How to watch the X-Men cartoons in release order

Image credit: Marvel

There are currently seven X-Men cartoons, including X-Men '97. This doesn’t include the mutant supergroup’s guest appearances in other Marvel-inspired animated shows, such as 1966’s The Marvel Super Heroes and 1981’s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The mid-90s crossover between X-Men: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series doesn’t count, either (although we will cover this in a later section). Here’s how to watch the core cartoon X-canon in release order:

  • X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men (1989)
  • X-Men: The Animated Series (1992)
  • X-Men: Evolution (2000)
  • Wolverine and the X-Men (2009)
  • Wolverine (2011) - part of Marvel Anime
  • X-Men (2011) - part of Marvel Anime
  • X-Men '97 (2024)

How to watch the X-Men cartoons in chronological order

Image credit: Marvel

Generally speaking, the seven X-Men cartoons take place in completely separate continuities. The only exceptions are X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men '97, and (possibly) the Marvel Anime X-Men shows. As such, unless otherwise noted, you can watch each X-Men cartoon independently of the others, in any order you want. The full chronological watch order breaks down as follows:

X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men

There’s only one X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men episode – a 30-minute (shorter, sans commercials) pilot for an ongoing series that ultimately never materialized. This lone Pryde of the X-Men installment takes place in its own continuity, so once you’ve watched it, you’re done!

X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men '97

X-Men: The Animated Series is notorious for airing episodes out of order, as its script and production timelines were often out of whack. We’ve outlined the correct chronology below, plus where the Spider-Man: The Animated Series crossover and revival show X-Men '97 fit in:

  • Season 1: “Night of the Sentinels” Parts 1-2, “Enter Magneto,” “Deadly Reunions,” “Captive Hearts,” “Cold Vengeance,” “Slave Island,” “The Unstoppable Juggernaut,” “The Cure,” “Come the Apocalypse,” “Days of Future Past” Parts 1-2, “The Final Decision”
  • Season 2: “‘Til Death Do Us Part” Parts 1-2, “Whatever It Takes,” “Red Dawn,” “Repo Man,” “X-Ternally Yours,” “Time Fugitives” Parts 1-2, “A Rogue’s Tale,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “MojoVision,” “Reunion” Parts 1-2
  • Season 3: “Out of the Past” Parts 1-2, “Phoenix Saga” Parts 1-5, “No Mutant Is An Island,” “Obsession,” “Longshot”, “Cold Comfort,” “Savage Land, Savage Heart” Parts 1-2, “Dark Phoenix Saga” Parts 1-4, “Orphan’s End,” “Love In Vain,” “The Juggernaut Returns,” “A Deal with the Devil”
  • Season 4: “Sanctuary” Parts 1-2, “Xavier Remembers,” “Courage,” “Secrets Not Long Buried,” “Nightcrawler,” “One Man’s Worth” Parts 1-2, “Proteus” Parts 1-2, “Family Ties,” “Bloodlines,” “The Lotus and the Steel,” “Weapon X, Lies, and Videotape,” “Have Yourself A Morlock Little Christmas,” “Beyond Good and Evil” Parts 1-4.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series Season 2: “Chapter IV: The Mutant Agenda,” “Chapter V: Mutants' Revenge” (both set at an unspecified point in X-Men: The Animated Series Season 4)
  • Season 5: “The Phalanx Covenant” Parts 1-2, “Storm Front” Parts 1-2, “The Fifth Horseman,” “Jubilee’s Fairy Tale Theatre,” “Old Soldiers,” “Hidden Agendas,” “Descent,” “Graduation Day”

X-Men: Evolution

Unlike its predecessor, X-Men: Evolution released all four of its seasons in the correct chronological order. This 2000 cartoon reboot also boasts its own, unique continuity – so, queue up Season 1 and let ‘er rip, bub!

Wolverine and the X-Men

2009’s Wolverine and the X-Men came out in chronological order and only lasted one season. That said, series co-creator Craig Kyle and writer Christopher Yost have since confirmed that the X-Men characters seen in direct-to-DVD movie Hulk Vs. and Disney XD series The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are the same as their Wolverine and the X-Men counterparts. Here’s how it all fits together:

Marvel Anime

It’s unclear whether the Marvel Anime X-Men shows are actually set within the same continuity. The character models in Wolverine and X-Men are different, however, the Japanese and English dub voice casts are the same for both. What’s more, neither anime explicitly contradicts the other, so – given they’re both part of the same parent production – we’re going to treat them (and the rest of the Marvel Anime line) as connected.

Based on plot details littered through the various Marvel Anime shows, here’s how Marvel Anime’s X-centric chronology (probably) shakes out:

  • Iron Man Episode 4: Wolverine makes a guest appearance; continuity details are thin on the ground, so it could arguably take place at any point in the Marvel Anime timeline.
  • Blade Episode 7: Wolverine makes a guest appearance, ultimately departing in search of A.I.M. – which seemingly ties into the start of his solo Marvel Anime series.
  • Wolverine Episodes 1-12: Cyclops makes a guest appearance in Episodes 5-6, which implies the X-Men haven’t disbanded yet.
  • X-Men Episodes 1-12: The X-Men are disbanded when Episode 1 kicks off, indicating that the X-Men anime takes place after Wolverine.

Why is it called X-Men '97?

Image credit: Marvel

X-Men '97 is an X-Men: The Animated Series revival and effectively functions as that show’s sixth season. That’s why it’s called X-Men '97: because both its fictional setting and real-world touchpoint is the year 1997 – when X-Men: The Animated series ended.

Where can I watch the original X-Men cartoon?

It depends on what you mean by “original.” If you mean X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men – technically the first-ever X-Men solo cartoon – you’ll have your work cut out for you. Pryde of the X-Men isn’t currently available to stream on any streaming service or VOD platform (although bootleg uploads are on YouTube). VHS copies of the pilot still crop up on the likes of Amazon and eBay, too.

By contrast, the other “original” X-Men cartoon, X-Men: The Animated Series, is much easier to access. All five seasons of the show (plus the Spider-Man: The Animated Series crossover) are on Disney+ , as part of its library of legacy Marvel content. Continuation series X-Men '97 will debut on Disney+ , as well.

How long did the X-Men cartoons run?

Image credit: Marvel

Interested in how long each X-Men cartoon lasted? Here’s a rundown of each show’s duration, measured in seasons, episodes, and years:

  • X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men – N/A (pilot episode only) (1989)
  • X-Men: The Animated Series – Five seasons (76 episodes); five years (1992–1997)
  • X-Men: Evolution – Four seasons (52 episodes); three years (2000–2003)
  • Wolverine and the X-Men – One season (26 episodes); one year (2009)
  • Wolverine (part of Marvel Anime) – One season (12 episodes); one year (2011)
  • X-Men (part of Marvel Anime) – One season (12 episodes); one year (2011)
  • X-Men '97 – One season (10 episodes); five years (2024 –)*

*X-Men '97 debuts on March 20, 2024, and has not yet completed its run.

What are the upcoming X-Men cartoons?

Currently, only one new X-Men cartoon is on the horizon: X-Men '97. This X-Men: The Animated Series continuation show is slated to premiere on Disney+ on March 20, 2024. The online rumor mill claims that at least one member of the team, Storm, will star in Season 3 of Marvel Studios’ animated anthology series What If…?, however, this remains unconfirmed for now.

Once you've finished with their animated exploits, let Popverse guide you through the X-Men's live action films as well.

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About the Author
Leon Miller avatar

Leon Miller

Contributing Writer

Leon is an Australian freelance blogger based in the UK. His writing credits include articles on film, TV, video games, and comic books for Popverse, Polygon, PanelxPanel, Screen Rant, CBR, Cultured Vultures, The Things, and Taste of Cinema.