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

How to watch every X-Men film in order

X-Men: First Class
Image credit: 20th Century Films

We get it. Certain… elements of certain Marvel Studios projects recently have gotten you thinking about the X-Men in the past few weeks, and you’re feeling the need to revisit Marvel’s Mighty Mutants on film again. And why not? As admittedly varied in quality as the movies could be — there is at least one stinker in there, let’s be honest — there’s also a lot to enjoy in the 20-year history of the series.

The basic set-up is simple: In a world inhabited by mutants, the X-Men want to prove that love will triumph over hate. Despite being hunted by a world that fears them, the X-Men hope to use their mutant powers to make the world a better place. At times they find themselves at odds with other mutants like Magneto, who believe that mutants are destined to rule over mankind. These ideological battles serve as the core of the X-Men franchise. Based on the popular Marvel Comics, the X-Men films have been bringing this fight to the big screen since 2000.

X-Men is one of the longest and most successful comic book film franchises. Debuting eight years before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born, X-Men and its sequels have thrilled audiences for years. In addition to numerous sequels, X-Men has also launched successful spin-off films, such as Deadpool. With 13 films (and more to come) and numerous timelines, we understand if things might seem confusing for a first time viewer. Not to worry, because we’ve got you covered! If you’re interesting in watching all the X-Men films, here’s how to do it!

We have included links to buy these, but they're all also available streaming on Disney's streaming service Disney+ and Hulu.

If you're looking ahead to the future, we have a guide to all the upcoming Marvel movies and TV shows on the horizon.

Every X-Men film in release order

Storm in X2
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

There are many ways to enjoy the various X-Men film series. If you’re looking to watch them in the order they were released, here’s how you would do it.

The next (and, likely, final) film in the series is the as-yet-untitled Deadpol 3, currently scheduled for release July 26, 2024.

Every X-Men film in chronological order

Mystique in the X-Men films
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Not all the X-Men films take place in the order they were released in. If you wanted to watch the films in chronological order, we’ve put together a list to help you do that. As a note, some films jump around the timeline. Because of that, some movies are listed twice based on time jumps occuring in the films.

Are all these movies in the same continuity?

Are all the X-Men movies in the same continuity? Yes... and no...? It might seem a bit confusing, but it’s not too hard to make sense of. The original X-Men trilogy took place in the modern era. In 2011 20th Century Fox released X-Men: First Class, which served as a prequel to the original trilogy. While the original trilogy took place in our modern era, X-Men: First Class was set in 1962 against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Because the film was set 38 years before the first X-Men film, characters like Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr are played by different actors.

The 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past linked the original film series and the prequel film by having the 2023 version of Wolverine travel back to 1973. Wolverine’s time traveling caused our modern era to change, resulting in a new timeline. As a result, every X-Men movie released after 2014 takes place in a new timeline caused by Wolverine’s intervention.

This is how the film series has two different versions of Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool. The Deadpool seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine was erased from history due to Wolverine’s time traveling, allowing the character to be reintroduced in his 2016 solo film.

If you’re still confused, think about the Back to the Future film series. Remember when Marty McFly returned to 1985 at the end of the first movie, only to find that his family dynamics had changed? That’s more or less what happened with the X-Men. The films still share a continuity, but time travel has altered the history.

Watch the X-Men films in time travel order

X-Men: Days of Future Past still
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Since time jumps around in the X-Men film universe, it’s understandable that some of you might want to view the series in what we call the time travel order. This prevents some of the confusion you might have by watching the films in their chronological order, which weaves in and out of different timelines. The time travel order tracks the original timeline chronologically, followed by Wolverine’s trip to the past, then begins tracking the altered timeline.

X-Men movies' Original Timeline

X-Men movies' revised timeline thanks to Wolverine in Days of Future Past

The Original X-Men trilogy

X2: X-Men United publicity still
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

The X-Men film franchise can be broken up into several different series. If you’re interesting in viewing these films by series, we’ve provided several watchlists to help you do that, starting with the original X-Men trilogy. The original trilogy introduced a majority of the characters, and was one of the first successful comic book film franchises of the 21st century.

The Wolverine trilogy

Logan publicity poster
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine proved to be quite popular. Wolverine soon became the breakout character of the X-Men film franchise, just like the original version of the character had been for the comics. This resulted in Hugh Jackman starring in his own trilogy of Wolverine films. Here’s how to watch them in order.

The First Class series

In 2011 the X-Men film franchise began exploring the early days of the team in a series of prequel films. Since the films were set decades in the past, characters like Magneto, Beast, and Mystique were played by younger actors than the ones seen during the original trilogy. The timeline change in X-Men: Days of Future Past meant that this series wasn’t bound by the events of the original trilogy. This meant that they could tell their own versions of stories like Dark Phoenix. If you’re interested in watching the First Class series, here’s the correct order.

The Adventures of Deadpool

Deadpool publicity photo
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

The Deadpool films march to the beat of their own drum, much like their title character. The Deadpool film series captures all the humor and meta-commentary seen in the comics, thanks in part to Ryan Reynolds’ comedic skills. If you want to watch the Deadpool films series in order, here’s how to do it.

A third Deadpool film is currently in the works from Marvel Studios. The film will feature the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and is set to be released in 2024.

Where do The Gifted and Legion fit in?

The Gifted poster
Image credit: Fox

In 2017 two separate X-Men related television series debuted. The series Legion focused on David Haller, the son of Charles Xavier. The series ran on the FX cable network for three seasons. Promotional interviews for the show gave mixed signals about its place in continuity, with executive producer Lauren Shuler Donner stating that the series shared a universe with the films. However, the events of the series point to it taking place in a separate continuity. This is backed up by comments made by FX President John Landgraf, who described the television series as an alternate universe.

The Gifted focused on the Strucker family. Reed and Caitlin Strucker discover that their children Lauren and Andy are mutants, and seek to protect them from a world that wants to destroy them. The Gifted takes place in a timeline where the X-Men have disappeared after an apocalyptic event. The series does not take place in the same continuity as the X-Men films, but can be considered another parallel universe.

Are the X-Men movies set in the MCU?

Patrick Stewart in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Image credit: Marvel Studios

The X-Men films released before 2024 do not take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe... technically. Years before the launch of the MCU, Marvel licensed the film rights for the X-Men to 20th Century Fox. This gave 20th Century Fox exclusive film rights to the X-Men characters, which prevented Marvel Studios from using them in the MCU. Characters like Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch fell into a gray area, since there characters were also a part of the Avengers franchise.

As a result they were included in both the 20th Century Fox X-Men films, and Marvel Studios’ MCU films. However, in the MCU the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were presented as empowered humans, rather than mutants. In 2019 Marvel’s parent company Disney purchased 20th Century Fox, which opened the door to the X-Men appearing in future MCU films. Evan Peters, who played Peter Maximoff in the Fox films, showed up in the Disney+ series WandaVision, claiming to be Pietro Maximoff. In reality his character was a brainwashed man named Ralph Boner, and Peters’ casting was an Easter egg.

Patrick Stewart, who played Charles Xavier in the Fox X-Men films, reprised his role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022). He appeared to be playing an alternate version of the character, but his inclusion was another sign of the metaphorical walls crumbling between the X-Men film universe and the MCU... as was Kelsey Grammer's re-appearance as Beast in the mid-credit sequence of The Marvels (2023). Recent MCU properties have also been introducing the idea of mutants existing in the universe, setting the stage for the X-Men’s eventual introduction.

The third Deadpool film will be the first X-Men related movie produced by Marvel Studios. There is speculation that this film could open the door to the Fox X-Men films being retroactively integrated into the MCU’s canon, courtesy of the Multiverse concept. Are the X-Men films part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? As of now the answer is no, but that answer might change in the next few years.


Want more? Make sure you've read all our recommended best Marvel Comics stories of all time.

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.

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