It's hard to believe, but the X-Men Cinematic Universe began nearly two decades ago, with the release of X-Men in 2000. And although it technically concluded with 2019's Dark Phoenix, the only thing that's truly ended is 20th Century Fox's involvement with the popular mutant franchise.

Marvel recently acquired the rights to X-Men, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige teased both a reboot and future inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's unclear how this will work out, but to help you prepare, we're combing through all the X-Men films to figure out the best way to watch them. It's a difficult chore to do, considering the X-Men timeline constantly jumps.

Nevertheless, here's how all the X-Men movies fit together, by order of the events that happen in the films. Be aware that our guide below has some spoilers, so be sure to jump to the bottom to check out the spoiler-free version of this X-Men chronological movie order. And, for those of you who'd prefer to watch all the films in order of release, we've included that at the bottom, as well.

X-Men chronological movie order

Note: There are spoilers below.

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X-Men: First Class (2011)

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X- Men: First Class is actually the fifth X-Men film released by Fox, but it’s first on our list, as it’s the origin story for some of the most important characters in the X-Men Cinematic Universe. The story follows James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender’s Erik Lehnsherr as they become Professor X and Magneto. It's set primarily in 1962, as the two assemble a team of mutants to stop another mutant, the energy-absorbing Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who wants to trigger a nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Days of Future Past begins in the dystopian future of 2023 - when mutants are hunted down and murdered by indestructible robots known as Sentinels. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her powers to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to 1973 to stop the assassination of the inventor of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), by the mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). We put this film at No. 2 on our list, as the events that matter most to the timeline take place in the 70s, while the events happening in 2023 are all part of a future that's avoided.

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

This film is considered one of the worst superhero films of all time. That said, we learn important things about Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). It spans Wolverine’s life, from his childhood in the 1840s in Canada, before he and his brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) are forced to run away. A short montage reveals the brothers, who are nearly indestructible, thanks to their healing-factor mutation, have fought in every American war up until Vietnam - when they’re recruited by William Stryker (Danny Huston) to join a special task force known as Team X.

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X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Oscar Isaac plays the first mutant ever, Apocalypse, who awakens in 1983 after being entombed in ancient Egypt. The arrival of Apocalypse causes disturbances that alert James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier to his presence, and soon, the X-Men realise that the mutant-being is intent on destroying the world as we know it, with the help of his own team of mutants, called The Four Horsemen.

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Dark Phoenix (2019)

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This is the final X-Men film released by 20th Century Fox. The studio attempts to portray one of the most beloved X-Men comic storylines centered on Jean Grey. The X-Men - hailed as heroes throughout the world, following their victory over Apocalypse eight years earlier - are sent to space to save a group of astronauts. But the telepath Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) is struck by a mysterious energy force that greatly improves her powers while also awakening traumatic memories that Xavier (McAvoy) suppressed from her mind.

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X-Men (2000)

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The very first film in the franchise is No. 6 on our list. It stars Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Ian McKellan as Magneto. These old friends are on opposite sides of a debate over the Mutant Registration Act, which requires all mutants to reveal themselves and add their names to a government database. Magneto wants to turn the world's leaders into mutants using a machine, in conjunction with the powers of a young mutant named Rogue (Anna Paquin), but unbeknownst to him, the machine kills whomever it turns.

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X2 (2003)

The mutant Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) tries to assassinate the US President, giving Colonel William Stryker (Bryan Cox) an opening to investigate Xavier’s school for its ties to mutants. Stryker leads a team to capture Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Cyclops (James Marsden) - it’s then revealed that Stryker used his son’s mutant abilities of mind control to try to force Professor X to kill all mutants.

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 X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

The Last Stand focuses on a cure for the mutant genome marketed by a company known as Worthington Labs. The cure creates an immediate divide in the mutant population, causing Magneto (Ian McKellan) to recreate his Brotherhood of Mutants. Meanwhile, Jean Grey (Famke Jansen) suddenly returns to life, following her sacrifice at Alkali Lake in the previous film. When her behavior begins to worry Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Professor X (Patrick Stewart) reveals her death unleashed a dangerous side of her personality known as the Phoenix.

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The Wolverine (2013)

This film deals with the aftermath of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) killing Jean Grey (Famke Jansen) at the end of The Last Stand. He’s become a recluse in the woods and is discovered by Yukio (Rila Fukushima), a mutant with the power to foresee anyone’s death. She asks Wolverine to come with her to Japan to meet with Ichiro Yashida, CEO of Yashida Industries, whom Wolverine saved during the Nagasaki atomic bombing.

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Deadpool (2016)

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Ryan Reynold’s technically debuted as the Merc with a Mouth in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and for a normal hero, this would be considered a total reboot, but Deadpool is the furthest thing from normal. So, it’s still worth including here. This film follows mercenary Wade Wilson (Reynolds) as he falls in love with Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). Shortly after they're engaged, Wade receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, leading him to enter an experimental program, in which he receives a serum that awakens his dormant mutant genes.

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Deadpool 2 (2018)

The follow-up to the surprise success of 2016’s original sees Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) team up with Domino (Zazie Beetz), Colossus (Stefan Capicic), Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), and Peter (Rob Delaney) to form X-Force. They try to stop Cable (Josh Brolin), a cyborg soldier from the future, from killing a young mutant named Russel Collins (Julian Dennison), who murdered Cable’s family.

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Logan (2017)

Logan is Hugh Jackman’s final turn as Wolverine. In 2029, Logan is living as a limo driver in a dystopian version of El Paso. His mutant healing factor has begun to fade, and the world hasn’t seen a mutant born in 25 years. While Logan wants to continue his life in peace, taking care of a 90-year-old, dementia-riddled Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), he is forced to protect a young girl, named Laura (Dafne Keen), with powers mysteriously similar to his own, as they journey to a refuge center that may not even exist.


Spoiler-free X-Men viewing orders

The first list below is the same exact chronological one that is detailed above, only free of spoilers so you can read at a glance. As for the second list, it's all the X-Men films - again, listed spoiler-free - but in order of release.

It's up to you which order to follow. 

List 1: X-Men chronological movie order

  • X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  • Dark Phoenix (2019)
  • X-Men (2000)
  • X2 (2003)
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • The Wolverine (2013)
  • Deadpool (2016)
  • Deadpool 2 (2018)
  • Logan (2017)

List 2: X-Men movies in order of release

  • X-Men (2000)
  • X2 (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)
  • Dark Phoenix (2019)
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