With the recent release of the latest trailer for Dark Phoenix, X-Men fans are chomping at the bit for any morsel of new X-Men knowledge. After all, the future of this series is really up in the air. Dark Phoenix has been surrounded by publicized complications, as has the upcoming New Mutants, and could very well be the final movie in this particular franchise before the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes control and totally revamps it.
Perhaps this is a good thing, since the series has one of the most complicated and messy timelines in cinema history. Even the most devoted fans have troubles grasping it. This article will do its best to lay the X-Men movie timeline out as simply as possible even though there are tons of contradictions within the flicks. Without further ado, here is the entire timeline of the X-Men franchise.
10 X-Men: First Class (2011)
If we're following the main members of the X-Men, First Class would be the first movie in the timeline as it contains the formation of the group. However, there are key events that happen before. Most of which happens in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This includes Wolverine's younger years in the 1800s, as well as his involvement in the Civil War and WW1. The Wolverine also contains a sequence from WW2 where Wolverine saves Yashida's life. Then, of course, Apocalypse shows far earlier scenes that involve the world's first mutant in pre-3600 B.C.
But First Class contains important milestones such as Magneto's WW2 origins and Xavier's team stopping Sebastian Shaw from starting World War 3 during the 1960s; an event that reveals the presence of mutants to the government.
9 X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) - Past Sequence
The majority of Days Of Future Past is spent in the 1970s, where governments have already begun to crack down on mutants, thanks to the events of First Class and Magneto's possible involvement in the demise of JFK. Trask creates the Sentinel Program and Mystique does her best to take him out.
In the original universe, this event would cause a war that would all-but eradicate the mutants. This is why the future X-Men send Wolverine back in time to bring Xavier and Magneto together in order to stop her. This eventually works and completely resets the X-Men movie timeline (with a few twists) paving the way for the latest X-Men movies. However, if this didn't happen, we would be in the original timeline...
--Before The Reset: Original Timeline--
8 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Thanks to the events of DOFP, we have two timelines running in parallel. But for now, we'll spend time on the original timeline which begins with X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Here Wolverine has his adamantium skeleton and seeks revenge on William Stryker and Sabretooth. Xavier also rescues Cyclops from Stryker and (for some reason) is still able to walk. This is also where we are introduced to the first (and worst) version of Deadpool.
At the end of the film, Wolverine is hit with an adamantium bullet which causes him to forget the events of the movie and go off into the wilderness; something we all wished happened to us after seeing the movie.
7 X-Men (2000)
This is where the very first X-Men movie comes into play. Wolverine and Rogue are rescued from an attack by Magneto's Brotherhood and brought back to Professor Charles Xavier's school. We are introduced to the already established group of X-Men including Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey, who Wolverine quickly falls for. The group is forced to stop Magneto from turning all the world's leaders into mutants in order to prevent a war that he knows is coming. Little did the X-Men know, Magento was completely right about this.
Wolverine then decides to leave the X-Men in order to discover his past which he tries desperately to remember.
6 X2 (2003) And X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand represents the very best and the very worst of the original timeline. In the fantastic X2, Wolverine returns after finding nothing about his past. He helps the X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood stop Col. Stryker from using Xavier against the mutants. This is where he learns about his past and puts it behind him. But the win is not without casualties as Jean sacrifices herself to save them all.
However, in The Last Stand, we learn that Jean's Phoenix Force saved her and released a dormant monster within. She goes on a warpath that even Magneto can't control. This ends badly for Xavier and Cyclops, among many others. Meanwhile, a mutant "cure" is made and forced upon many mutants. Luckily for them, the "cure" doesn't stick with everyone.
5 The Wolverine (2013)
After the events of The Last Stand, Wolverine has gone into hiding. He's miserable about the demise of Jean, who haunts his dreams. Eventually, he's brought to Japan to say goodbye to Yashida, who he saved years earlier. Wolverine finds out that Yashida is trying to take his mutant healing powers in order to prolong his life. This gets him into a mess with Viper and The Silver Samurai that sees his adamantium claws removed.
In the post-credit sequence, Magneto warns him that a war is coming thanks to a new advancement in Trask Industries. Additionally, Xavier is revealed to have reformed his body. Actually, his resurrection is kind of swept under the rug.
4 X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) - Future Sequence
The post-credit sequence from The Wolverine leads us to the future events from Days of Future Past. Here, Wolverine has miraculously grown back his adamantium claws just in time for a catastrophic war with the Sentinels that leads to the extinction of most of the mutants. He, Magento, Xavier, and the surviving X-Men hatch a plan to send him back in time to stop Mystique from starting the war back in the 1970s.
As we've spoken about, this plan works and resets the timeline. It affects the original timeline positively, as all of the X-Men, including Cyclops and Jean, return from their demise and live in peace. But in the new timeline, the drama is just about to go down...
-- After The Reset: New Timeline --
3 X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) And Dark Phoenix (2019)
After the events of Days of Future Past, the original timeline was reset and paved the way for this new one. In X-Men: Apocalypse, we see Jean Grey and Cyclops as teenagers at Xavier's school, Wolverine captured by Stryker, and Magneto off on his own. However, this changes when they have to come together to stop Apocalypse who returns after a particularly long slumber.
The film is set in 1983 and radically alters what we thought would happen with the characters moving forward. We see Storm, Angel, and Nightcrawler's origins in a whole new way, and even get the events that set up the upcoming Dark Phoenix movie that will take place in the 1990s.
2 Deadpool (2016) And Deadpool 2 (2018)
The two Deadpool movies take place sometime in the 21st Century after the reset in the new timeline. This was proven by a cameo in Deadpool 2 that showed the younger versions of Xavier, Cyclops, and Storm. Although it's not obvious when the films take place exactly, they more than likely happen after the upcoming Dark Phoenix movie as they aren't set in the 1990s.
Deadpool and Deadpool 2 don't impact the X-Men Universe too much. But they do alter Wade Wilson's story from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (thankfully) when Wade uses Cable's time machine to leap into the old timeline. They also include some of the less important X-Men characters like Colossus.
1 Logan (2017)
Although Logan could take place in either timeline as it's a stand-alone piece, it's likely that it takes place long after the events of X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix. Here, Wolverine has aged and become ill, as has Professor Xavier, who has lost control of his incredible powers and may have accidentally taken out his fellow X-Men.
The pair live in a world where most of the mutants have gone extinct thanks to a government that has modified food to suppress the X-Gene. The pair come across a young mutant who transforms their lives and gives them a bit of hope for the next generation, even if that means leaving the old behind.