The X-Men have a revolving door of team members since their first comic book launched. Beginning with just five mutant youngsters and a team leader with telepathic abilities, the team expanded, split up, spun off, and disbanded altogether dozens of times since. With all those changes comes a whole lot of team members.
The usual prerequisites for joining the X-Men include having the mutant gene and someone in leadership inviting you in. The mutant gene rule can be surprisingly flexible, as some characters with brief stints can demonstrate. Those who aren’t mutants still bring plenty of their own unique abilities to the table though.
Since the team began, more than 100 core team members joined the mission of peaceful coexistence between humans and mutants. That doesn’t include honorary members, temporary members, students of the Xavier or Jean Grey Schools who participated in missions, or those who only appeared in other X-related teams.
This means that there are a ton of characters in Marvel comic books to keep track of, so there might be a few that slipped by the notice of even the most devoted readers.
To make sure they get remembered, we’ve got the 15 Marvel Characters Even Die-Hard Fans Didn’t Know Joined The X-Men.
Quicksilver might be an X-Men in the movie universe, but in the normal comic book continuity, he never officially joined up and sported a uniform. Instead, readers know him as an Avenger and a member of the Brotherhood. That’s not always true.
Quicksilver found himself a place to belong, even if it was temporary, at Xavier’s mansion and school. He lived on the grounds while separated from his father, and again when he thought both his wife and sister died during the “Onslaught” story arc. As a result of his help while staying there, the X-Men considered him an honorary member.
During the “Age of Apocalypse,” Quicksilver was made official. He led the Amazing X-Men team with Storm. It was his plan put into action as he split the team into smaller factions to take on Apocalypse. He died during the events of the arc.
14 Scarlet Witch
Like her brother Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch isn’t known for her X-Men affiliation. Instead, she’s worked with the Brotherhood to be close to Magneto, but she’s also gone good and been an Avenger. Her reality warping abilities made her a villain just as often as they made her a hero.
In “Age of Apocalypse,” Scarlet Witch is an X-Men, again, just like her brother. The two of them actually work under their father, who formed the X-Men in that version of reality.
She only appears in a single issue of the story arc: X-Men Chronicles #1. Before Quicksilver begins battling Apocalypse in earnest, Scarlet Witch sacrifices herself to save other mutants.
Her dying request is that Rogue, the newest mutant recruited to the cause, stays close to her family and protects them.
Marvel fans know Domino as Cable’s partner in crime and the sometimes team leader of X-Force, an offshoot of the X-Men. Despite most of her adventures happening with Cable and Deadpool, she also spent quite a bit of time as an actual X-Man.
By the third volume of X-Men comics, Domino officially joined the team, specifically, working with Storm. She worked on Storm’s security detail guarding Utopia from outside forces to help keep the young mutants inside safe. She also worked on one of Cyclops’ strike teams.
Domino even returns to comics this year for more adventures! Gail Simone is penning a new solo series for the character, which debuts in comic shops in March. She’s also coming to live action for the first time in the Deadpool sequel, played by Zazie Beetz. The movie hits theaters in May.
12 Ms. Marvel
No, Kamala Khan didn’t become an X-Men when you weren’t looking. Before Carol Danvers was Captain Marvel, she was Ms. Marvel, and she had a chance to join up with the X-Men.
Carol’s relationship with the X-Men, and her break from the Avengers, came when she returned to Earth from Limbo with no memories.
Professor Xavier helped her remember that she was brainwashed and taken there by the villain Marcus, who obsessed over her. The Avengers, believing she loved him, helped him spirit her away. She felt betrayed.
Ms. Marvel, despite not being a mutant, received an invitation to stay. Following them giving her a safe place to heal, she teamed up with the X-Men on more than one occasion. She had several adventures with them in space and became an honorary member.
Deadpool works alone-- unless he teams up with Hydra Bob or his BFF Cable. There was, however, a time when he received an invitation to the X-Men.
Deadpool wasn’t exactly a card carrying member of the team, though he designed his own uniform. Instead, he was invited after paying a visit to the mutant sanctuary Utopia. Cyclops and Wolverine initially told him to leave, but then thought better of it, sending Domino to recruit him.
Deadpool wanted to impress his possible new teammates by eliminating a very public threat to them, which backfired as it actually put him at odds with the team he tried to join, who didn’t want anyone dead.
Of course, Deadpool was smarter than Cyclops gave him credit for and his “probationary period” was all an act to make the X-Men look like heroes on national television when they fought him and saved the day.
Not exactly a traditional member of the X-Men, Spider-Man was put in a different role than protector or combatant. He was a teacher.
While Wolverine was running the Jean Grey School and training a new generation of X-Men, he was sure that someone was a mole, and he shared his concern with his friend Spider-Man.
Upon Wolverine’s death, Spider-Man kept his promise to help find the mole. He did it by becoming a guidance counselor and teacher at the Jean Grey School, a special member of the X-Men team.
Needless to say, since he wasn’t a mutant and no one knew his real identity, there wasn’t a lot of trust there. When chosen to become the trainer for new Phoenix Force host Hope Summers, he was even more lost than he was as a counselor. The relationship didn’t last long.
Legion, whose Dissociative Identity Disorder makes it difficult for him to join many of the comic book fights, joined the X-Men a handful of times after his existence came to light. It’s easy for readers to miss that he was a team member.
The first time he joined an X-Men team was in the late '80s following the “Fall of the Mutants” story arc. The main X-Men team sacrificed themselves to save humanity.
Though their lives were later restored by a goddess, Banshee didn’t know that, and created his own team of X-Men on Muir Island, Legion among them.
During X-Men: Legacy, Legion also appeared as an official member of the team with a special piece of equipment that allowed him better control of the powers and identities that came with them.
Legion made his live action TV debut in 2017 and his series will return this year.
Sabretooth tends to be thought of as a villain thanks to his frequent tangles with Wolverine, but he’s played both sides of the field often enough to join the X-Men and some of their associated teams - though not always by choice.
Sabretooth first joined the team when Professor Xavier decided to keep him in a holographic prison. The telepath probed the villain’s mind during a confrontation, discovering that he remembered single one of his victims. It was Xavier who thought Sabretooth might actually value human life, despite essentially being a serial killer.
During that time, Sabretooth joined the team on missions and was considered one of the team when he suffered a brain injury. He was kept safe and nursed back to health by members of X-Factor, whom he later betrayed and attacked.
Not the best guy to have watching your back.
Dazzler was initially created as a friend to the X-Men in the 70s by an entire committee of Marvel employees. The plan was to cross promote their material by partnering with Casablanca Records to create a real singer to record the comic book character’s music. The cross promotion didn’t last, but the character did.
She first joined the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #214, but she didn’t stick around. She left to pursue her singing and acting careers, always willing to help them out when they needed her ability to create light in a pinch.
Nearly 180 issues later, she became a member of an emergency team put together by Jean Grey to save Professor Xavier before leaving again.
That friendship with Jean Grey came back into play this year. Dazzler appears in the new Phoenix Resurrection comics with Jean!
6 Stepford Cuckoos
Most often seen as students of the X-Men, or in some cases antagonists, the Stepford Cuckoos graduated to full team member status on more than one occasion.
While still students, the Stepford Cuckoos were put through their paces. They lost one of their sisters when she took on a villain on her own and another when she defected to the Brotherhood.
The remaining three stayed and trained under Cyclops and Emma Frost. Cyclops drafted them for a team when he was in a pinch, and they proved themselves capable in the field.
A future-set storyline revealed the three would eventually bond with Cerebro, growing their psychic abilities as they sought out mutants and could see the future.
The Stepford Cuckoos made their live-action television debut this year on The Gifted. The series, set in a world where the X-Men vanished, was renewed for a second season.
5 Molly Hayes
As the youngest of the Runaways, Molly Hayes was a mutant with super strength. An admirer of the X-Men, being constantly on the run meant she wasn’t in a position to train at the Xavier School.
The “Battle of the Atom” story arc gave fans a surprise. Molly, along with a group of mutants, appeared from the future as a member of an X-Men team, all grown up and in better control of her abilities. There was a catch.
This team of “X-Men” were actually imposters. They were really a group from the Brotherhood, intent on stopping another group of time displaced X-Men. They were also mind controlled and their actions weren’t their own.
Like many of the surprising X-Men team members here, Molly recently made her live-action debut, though not as Molly Hayes. Molly Hernandez was adapted for Hulu’s series Runways, which just landed a season two renewal.
Namor is affectionately known as Marvel’s first mutant, but he’s not one of the first characters to come to mind when readers think of a team of X-Men.
Namor has worked with the Avengers and the Illuminati, but he doesn’t really play well with others, making him a difficult fit for a group like the X-Men who rely on one another so much.
When Norman Osborn recruited telepath Emma Frost to create his own team of X-Men, Namor was the one person he already had in custody that Emma wanted on the team.
Emma, as it turned out, didn’t plan on sticking around. Instead, she led the team and brought Namor back to the real X-Men with her after betraying Norman Osborn to make sure they were still fighting for the good guys.
3 Liz Allan
One of Marvel’s most unlucky characters when it comes to love, Liz Allan (sometimes appearing as Liz Allen) had her heart broken by several Spider-Man characters. She’s not a mutant, and she’s not a superhero - except for the one universe where she is.
Liz Allan of the Ultimate universe was anti-mutant until she discovered she was one. Her powers manifested as a teen and she learned the Blob was her father. Angry at being lied to her entire life, she accepted an invitation to train at Xavier’s School, where she eventually learned to control her powers.
Liz as Firestar worked with the X-Men, but the X-Men didn’t last long in the Ultimate universe. She attempted to go back to a normal life, but eventually, her abilities were discovered again. She ended up being recruited by Jean Grey for a new team and joining S.H.I.E.L.D.
2 Cloak and Dagger
This comic book couple isn’t known for being team players. Instead, Cloak and Dagger typically work as a duo, occasionally working with other superheroes or police officers.
After first appearing in a Spider-Man title, having their own brief miniseries, and making guest appearances in other heroes’ books, they received an offer to attend Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters - but the teens turned it down. So, how did they end up with a short X-Men stint?
The two were part of the 80s and 90s “war on drugs effort,” and were approached while literally burning drug cartels to the ground in South America. Norman Osborn invited him to join his team of X-Men to help reshape their image, to make up for the mistakes they’d made in the past.
Eventually, the two discovered the team wasn’t all that was promised, and Emma Frost actually invited them to join the real X-Men.
1 The Forgotten Team
In between the original X-Men and the secondary lineup, there was actually another forgotten team of X-Men. Readers can be forgiven for not remembering them as they were introduced in a retcon in the early 2000s.
The original team of X-Men found themselves trapped on the island of Krakoa. The island, mutated by radiation it had been exposed to, had its own sentient hive mind.
For decades, readers believed the team consisting of Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Banshee, Sunfire, and Thunderbird saved the original team on their first major mission together. They weren’t the first sent to retrieve them though.
X-Men: Deadly Genesis revealed that Professor Xavier and Moira MacTaggert assembled another team of young mutants in between, but the group of Petra, Sway, Darwin, and Vulcan were lost. Sway and Petra died, while Vulcan and Darwin survived, but weren’t seen for years. Xavier erased everyone’s memories of the event.
Did you know all of these characters were members of the X-Men at one point in the comics? Or did we surprise you? Let us know who your favorites are in the comments!