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All the "X-Men" Live-Action Movies (and Shows) in Chronological Order

How to watch all 13 films, plus those two live-action spinoff shows.

It's a truth universally acknowledged: The longer a comic book franchise continues, the more complicated its timelines and multiple universes become. And Marvel's X-Men have been around (in print at least) since 1963. The characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby began showing up in animated TV series not long after that, but it took until the year 2000 for Hollywood to put them in a live-action blockbuster. Since X-Men hit theaters, 12 more movies in the series have followed, with still more on the horizon. And while it's easy enough to see the order in which they were released, figuring out where each falls in the broader timeline is slightly more difficult. To help the sticklers out there, we've organized all the X-Men movies in chronological order. We've even thrown in some advice as to where to slot in the live-action TV series.

Read on to learn more about the X-Men movies and how to watch them, whether you prefer to do it in release or timeline order.

RELATED: Ranking Every Marvel Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best.

The X-Men Movies in Chronological Order

1. X-Men: First Class (2011)

Still from X-Men: First Class
20th Century Fox

Released 11 years after the X-Men's first big-screen outing, the action of X-Men: First Class precedes it in the timeline. It begins with a flashback to Erik Lehnsherr, who will later be known as Magneto, as a child in a concentration camp in 1944. But the majority of the movie takes place in the '60s, as the X-Men are founded. In First ClassJames McAvoy and Michael Fassbender make their debuts as Charles Xavier and adult Erik, respectively.

2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

If you want to complicate your chronological watch, you could do that starting here. The sequel to First Class creates an alternate timeline, as Logan, AKA Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), goes back in time to change the course of some catastrophic events. He travels from a dystopian 2023 back to the '70s, where he finds Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters closed and the X-Men scattered around the world.

3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

As a prequel to 2000's X-Men (still a ways down this list!), this Wolverine spotlight film mostly takes place in 1979. However, it starts with a chronicle of Logan's life that runs from the 1840s through various major wars, including Vietnam. A few years after that, some (very) bad blood with his brother leads Logan to leave his peaceful homestead and join the Weapon X program, which is how he gets his signature adamantium claws.

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4. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Should you want to be strict about it, you could put X-Men: Apocalypse at the very (like, very) beginning of the timeline, as it traces its titular villain all the way back to 3600 B.C. Our X-Men (still the younger versions of the other 2010s films) don't encounter him until the early '80s, though.

This film is notable for introducing more key characters, including this series' incarnations of Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).

5. Dark Phoenix (2019)

As the title suggest, this sequel to the other prequels tracks Jean's transformation into the uber-powerful but also chaotically destructive Phoenix after being imbued with the Phoenix Force during an X-Men mission to space. (Just go with it.) The movie takes place in 1992, making Erik/Magneto canonically age 63 in this scene. (Again, just go with it.)

6. X-Men (2000)

Still from X-Men
20th Century Fox

Years of development of the Marvel Comics property finally led to the first live-action feature film featuring the heroes in 2000. This one introduced Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, Ian McKellen as Magneto, Jackman as Wolverine, Halle Berry as Storm, and Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, among others. X-Men is set in the present, meaning that your chronological watch has officially crossed over in the new millennium.

7. X2: X-Men United (2003)

In X2, set a few years after X-Men, Xavier's school is raided by the anti-mutant Colonel Stryker (Brian Cox), and the professor is kidnapped. To save him, the X-Men, who seek to live peacefully alongside normal humans, have to enlist the help of Magneto, who sees humans as the enemy.

8. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

The trilogy that began with 2000's X-Men ends with The Last Stand—another take on the Phoenix storyline. It also involves the creation of a "cure" for mutants, giving our heroes the choice between remaining extraordinary or fully assimilating into humanity. Unfortunately the trilogy ended on a low note: The Last Stand did not fare nearly as well with critics as the first two movies.

9. The Wolverine (2013)

Despite The Last Stand being something of a disappointment, Jackman's version of Logan/Wolverine lived on to fight another day at the multiplex. Though The Wolverine begins with a scene set during World War II, the majority of it takes place after the events of the prime '00s trilogy, when Logan travels back to Japan and becomes immersed in a conspiracy involving an old friend.

RELATED: The 15 Movies That Won the Most Oscars.

10. Deadpool (2016)

Still from Deadpool
20th Century Fox

After making his first appearance as a villain in X-Men Origins: WolverineRyan Reynolds returned as a much more irreverent, foul-mouthed version of the character is his own spinoff movie. It makes plenty of references to Xavier's team, but the only official X-Men member who shows up is Colossus.

11. Deadpool 2 (2018)

The first Deadpool was a massive hit, so naturally it was quickly followed by a sequel. It's not totally clear when either Deadpool or Deadpool 2 take place, but they likely exist within the alternate timeline created by Logan in Days of Future Past. Either way, this one is even more tied to the X-Men canon, as Deadpool and his compatriots hide out at X-Mansion and form the X-Force—a sort-of militia-esque offshoot of the X-Men.

12. The New Mutants (2020)

Released to very little fanfare amid the COVID lockdown, The New Mutants is another spinoff that lives in the nebulous space post-Last Stand and prior to Logan. Looper points out that Xavier's School is still operational during the events of this film and that a character has a vision of young Laura in a Transigen facility, meaning that you can slot this side story about a group of teen mutants being held captive in before James Mangold's 2017 Wolverine spotlight film.

13. Logan (2017)

Logan, representing a major thematic shift in the franchise, is also the end of the line as far as the timeline is concerned. (For now.) Set in 2029, it reunites Jackman's Wolverine with Stewart's Xavier, who is 97 and struggling with dementia—a dangerous condition given his mutation. They end up on the run with a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen), who was created from Logan's DNA to be used as a weapon.

Logan gives Wolverine and Xavier one heck of a send off—though both have since reprised their characters (Jackman in the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine and Stewart in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), thanks to some mind-bendy comic book logic.

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The Live-Action X-Men Shows

1. The Gifted (2017-2019)

Still from The Gifted

The Gifted follows a family that goes into hiding with a group of other individuals with extraordinary abilities when their two children begin to show evidence of mutations. They can't just send them off to Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, because in this world, the X-Men have disappeared. In an interview with, The Gifted showrunner Matt Nix confirmed that the series takes place in an anti-mutant timeline created in Days of Future Past, as he was instructed to "stay out of the way of the movies."

"It doesn't touch your movie timeline because it's the timeline you erased," he said he told executives. "Just give me that and then I'll do that."

Given that logic, you could watch The Gifted after Days of Future Past, or just save it until after you finish the movie timeline.

2. Legion (2017 -2019)

Marvel Comics character David Haller, AKA Legion, got a trippy series of his own in the late 2010s. Dan Stevens starred as Xavier's son, who's institutionalized when his mutation is mistaken for mental illness. As reported by Inverse, showrunner Noah Hawley has always been cagey about where Legion may fall in the timeline, noting that even the time period is kept purposely vague. However, he did note that "in the [Days of Future Past], mutants became public knowledge, and our idea is that they're not public knowledge." Either way, Legion is truly its own beast, and it fully stands alone.

RELATED: The 8 Most Confusing TV Shows of All Time.

The X-Men Movies in Release Order

Still from Logan
20th Century Fox
  1. X-Men
  2. X2: X-Men United
  3. X-Men: The Last Stand
  4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  5. X-Men: First Class
  6. The Wolverine
  7. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  8. Deadpool
  9. X-Men: Apocalypse
  10. Logan
  11. Deadpool 2
  12. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
  13. The New Mutants
Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
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