There seem to be (so far) 7 X-Men films (as per Wikia):

  • 1.1 X-Men (2000)
  • 1.2 X2 (2003)
  • 1.3 X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
  • 1.4 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • 1.5 X-Men: First Class (2011)
  • 1.6 The Wolverine (2013)
  • 1.7 X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Clearly, the first 3 are canon with each other.

Where do the other 4 stand as far as being canon relative to the first 3 and each other?

I would accept the answers based on "word of God" canon, however, for this question, I'm far more interested in "practical" canonicity, that is:

  • Are important events and facts from the earlier films referenced in later films?
  • Are plots building on earlier films?
  • Are there major contradictions between films that would lead one to consider them not-same-canon (similar to Star Trek: Lens Flares being a "reboot")?
  • Is there continuity?

3 Answers 3


No, they are not all considered part of the same canon anymore.

According to Lauren Schuler Donner, one of the producers of all of those films, you can now safely consider X-Men 3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine as non-canon. She explains this at the premier to X-Men: Days of Future Past:

“Just forget about ‘X3’ and the first ‘Wolverine’ - forget about that, too!“

That means things like, e.g. Professor X's death, Logan and Victor Creed being brothers, and the original Deadpool are no longer canon.

As far as the continuity between the remaining films, they all appear to fit into a single coherent continuity, but it's a bit complicated, partly because there is time travel involved.

X-Men and X-Men 2 follow neatly one after the other. Things that were set up in the first film (Senator Kelly's character, Wolverine's past) are paid off in the second.

First Class is actually a prequel, occurring at a much earlier point in time. However, it does make reference to plot elements from the first two movies, particularly the fact that Charles and Erick were initially friends, but we also see a young Stryker make an appearance and become fascinated with mutants. (There are issues in First Class with characters that based on the comics don't make sense; I think Havoc is way too old to be Cyclops' brother, so he just isn't, things like that. I don't think there's any real continuity problems just within the movies.)

The Wolverine is almost entirely independent of the previous movies, though it clearly occurs after X-Men 2. The final scene in that movie calls back to X-Men 3, with Wolverine being surprised that Xavier is alive; but they never explain how that happened, and now that X-Men 3 is non-canon they don't have to.

Days of Future Past acts as a bridge between the two different movie eras. We see the both the original X-Men and the First Class X-Men co-existing in the same movie, with a time-travelling Wolverine acting as the connecting point.

Days of Future Past also effectively rebooted the series, with Wolverine changing the past and altering the status quo of the "present time" into something a bit more upbeat that it previously had been. This was intentional on Fox's part; as Donner points out, Days of Future Past was partly trying to "fix" all the dumb things that happened in X-Men 3.

Future movies, such as the upcoming X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, seem to be set in this new post-Days of Future Past timeline, though they don't necessarily occur chronologically. Age of Apocalypse, for example, will be set in the 1980s, about 10 years after the end of Days of Future Past and 20 years before X-Men and X-Men 2, and show the evolution of many of the X-Men characters into their modern X-Men versions.

  • 1
    Yeah, DFP rebooted the whole story, everyone lives happily once more! Hooray.
    – Spandan
    Oct 28, 2015 at 13:50
  • 4
    They do explain how Xavier is back alive in Wolverine: check this scene at the end of X-Men 3. Also its untrue thatWolverine happens after X-2 - Logan clearly remembers killing Jean Grey from the X-3 movie
    – Yasskier
    Oct 28, 2015 at 20:30
  • That scene explains how Xavier's mind survived; it doesn't explain how he got his body back. Also, since X-3 happened after X-2, then by definition, Wolverine also happened after X-2.
    – KutuluMike
    Oct 28, 2015 at 20:41
  • 1
    and show the evolution of many of the X-Men characters into their modern X-Men versions Will it also show the evolution of Nicholas Hoult into Kelsey Grammer?
    – Chahk
    Oct 29, 2015 at 16:27
  • 1
    @Chahk: Kelsey Grammer is going to toss Nicholas Hoult’s salad and scramble his eggs. Jan 29, 2016 at 17:46

The continuity of this film franchise can be understood a lot better if audiences split the six core X-Men films into two trilogies and ignore the spin-off films altogether. The way I see it, X-Men and X2 tells the story of the mutants and their conflict with humanity that concludes with The Last Stand.

Whereas First Class provides a proper retelling of the X-Men mythos by showing an alternative origin to the X-Men; continuing with an eventual war against humanity and mutancy alike that spans two different timelines in Days of Future Past (while retconning the original trilogy); and concluding with the resurfacing of the first mutant who acts as the first true test for the young students who would eventually become the modern, reformed version of the X-Men in Apocalypse.

One can take the events of the original trilogy as a deconstruction of the X-Men, whereas the events of the revised trilogy act as a reconstruction of the X-Men.

  • According to Lauren Donner in one of the other answers, this is true. But it could use some backup (per the question). For example, how much continuity is there between the trilogies?
    – Adamant
    Sep 15, 2016 at 6:41
  • @Adamant: The only continuity I see between both X-Men film trilogies are the events in X-Men: Days of Future Past: The future segment of Days of Future Past, which is a follow-up to the events of The Last Stand (with The Wolverine as an optional interim film). And the past segment, which is a strict follow-up to First Class. They are like two different continuities being combined into one film, with the changes being made in 1973 overriding the history of the events in the original trilogy that eventually lead to humanity and mutancy alike being subjugated by the Sentinels.
    – user71579
    Sep 15, 2016 at 8:51
  • 1
    So they basically took the George Lucas approach: making IV, V and VI before I, II and III?
    – steenbergh
    Sep 15, 2016 at 9:24

I have a theory about this. Though this is just my interpretation.

In Logan it is revealed that the X Men became legendary and that people made comic books about them etc. So I think certain films are fiction within the X Men Universe where others are based in the reality of that world.

So with that in mind I think of the following films as canon: X1,X2, Days of Future Past (Rogue cut) and Logan.

These films are pretty consistent with each other.

There are two fictional X Men universes within the main universe. One comic book company wrote Origins, they accurately captured X1 and X2, then wrote X3 and The Wolverine. Another wrote First Class, Days of Future Past (theatrical), Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix and Deadpool.

Some of the events still happened just not the way we saw it. Charles would still have gone to Oxford and grown up with Revan, as this is mentioned in DOFP, but he would have already known Eric by then since they met when he was 17, they would have also built cerebro together.

Anyway, that's just my interpretation.

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