Before the MCU became the biggest film series in the world, the X-Men movies were one of the few Marvel movie adaptations that did well with both audiences and critics. Including all 13 X-Men movies, the series is full of prequels, sequels, and standalone hero movies. Now that the story has ostensibly come to an end, with Fox buying Disney, there will be no more X-Men movies as we know them. However, plans to bring the X-Men into the MCU are in the works, quite possibly sooner than we might expect, with Professor X returning to the second Doctor Strange movie.
Of course, you can not forget the most popular hero in the X-Men series, who shows up in most of the movies. Wolverine, also known as Logan, is one of the biggest heroes to come out of the franchise, and quite possibly the most powerful. Not including his three standalone movies, he’s an integral part in some X-Men movies, often seen as the main character.
For someone who has advanced healing powers, though, it’s no surprise he shows up so much, because it’s nearly impossible to kill him. Instead of exploring all the X-Men movies in chronological order themselves, let’s take a closer look at Wolverine’s appearances in order throughout the X-Men franchise, and what exactly it means for his character as he develops through this unique series of films.
Wolverine Movies in Chronological Order
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: First Class shows the beginning of the X-Men, when Professor X and Magneto first meet. Together, they decide to open the Xavier Institute as a safe haven for others like them, and to help train the younger ones so that they can control their powers without being afraid. In order to do this, of course, they need to recruit others to help train, and others still to be trained. Wolverine makes a small appearance in this film as the two approach him to join, and he tells them to leave before they can even fully explain themselves. While it’s not much, it’s technically the first appearance of Wolverine in this universe, so it’s still important to include when talking about the character.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The first of the trilogy of Wolverine movies is X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Though it opens in 1845, the majority of this film happens a decade and more after Wolverine is approached in X-Men: First Class. The popular character is finally given a backstory here, showing what had happened to him before he joined the X-Men.
From his time in various American wars, depicted briefly alongside his troubling relationship with his mutant brother Sabertooth (played by a ferocious Liev Schreiber), to the original bone claws that then get coated in adamantium, this movie has everything you could think of for an origin story. Unfortunately for him, it also shows how he loses his memories, and explains why he does not really remember much of anything in his past.Back to Top
X-Men is when Wolverine finally joins the team, even if it was not originally on purpose, after he and another young mutant, Rogue, are attacked by Magneto and Sabertooth and then saved by Cyclops and Storm. This is his first time meeting other mutants after his memory loss, and he discovers a whole new world he did not know existed. Though he’s reluctant to accept help, he still remains in the mansion after Professor X believes Magneto is interested in him, which could prove dangerous. They discover that it was really Rogue he was after, however, and Wolverine joins the X-Men to help rescue her in this 2000 film which helped start the comic book craze and make superheroes so popular.
X2: X-Men United
Originally, Wolverine had left the Xavier Institute in X2: X-Men United to try and remember his past. He tries exploring an abandoned military base in Alberta, Canada, which is where he got the adamantium from earlier in the timeline, but he does not remember the place. He missed a lot of mutant action while he was gone, though, and after returning to Xavier’s school for mutants, it was attacked by the bitter military scientist Colonel William Stryker, who abducts some students.
However, Wolverine finds that Stryker seems to know about his past, so he tries to learn more when he and other mutants go on a rescue mission for the abducted students. As they try to rescue those who were kidnapped, Wolverine soon discovers that Stryker was the one to graft the adamantium onto his bones, and also is the reason he lost his memories in the first place.
X-Men: The Last Stand
In X-Men: The Last Stand, a supposed cure for the mutant gene is created and released. At the same time, Professor X realizes something is wrong, and sends Wolverine and Storm to investigate. They find that Cyclops has died, and Jean Gray has resurfaced after they thought she had sacrificed herself. When Professor X reveals to Wolverine that he had been suppressing another, evil force inside her that she has now released, he is initially furious. Even though she was engaged, Wolverine had always cared for her. However, when she the force insider her wakes up, he finds she’s not the same Jean Gray he once knew. Now he’s the only one who can stop the Phoenix from destroying the world.
The second of Wolverine’s standalone movies is The Wolverine. It takes place years after the last movie, where Wolverine has now retreated to live alone in the woods, despondent over the death of Jean Gray. Still, when an old friend summons him to Japan, he goes, hoping to repay a debt. His friend offers the chance to move Wolverine’s healing powers into himself, saving his life which is about to end, and relieving Wolverine of what he views as a curse. Though he declines, believing he is simply saving his friend from the curse, he soon finds it will take a lot more for him to escape.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past is a complicated movie, as it does happen in two separate universes, all of which are important to Wolverine. In the present, the mutants are being hunted down by machines that can change depending on who they are fighting, making it difficult for any mutant to survive. When time travel becomes seemingly the only option to stop the machines, Wolverine is the only one who can survive being sent back in time far enough to change the timeline and stop these machines from ever being created.
He creates an alternate timeline as he changes the events of the past, so that the robots could not be made, becoming a hero a lot sooner in his life and waking up to find those who were previously dead have been resurrected as the world returned to normal. Even though there are more films, creators Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg have said that this moment is the ultimate future everything else is aiming for, with Kinberg count reporters“The intention at the end of Days of Future Past was that final future we saw was the destination for the characters. “The rest of the films in the official X-Men series take place in the timeline created by Wolverine.
Though X-Men: Apocalypse is set before many of these movies, it still happens after the timeline changed in the last movie, which consequently erased the events in several X-Men films. This means, without Wolverine going back in time and creating the new timeline, this movie would not have happened, so it is a result of the previous film; Bryan Singer called it an “in-betweenquel” rather than a prequel, and it is one of his last appearances.
Speaking of, Wolverine isn’t around a lot in this movie, except for one important moment. In 1983, Wolverine was locked up after the Weapon X experiments that gave him the adamantium coated bones, essentially a tool of Colonel Stryker. He is a more savage Wolverine than we’re used to, but is Friday after a few of the mutants end up at the same facility. As he goes on a rampage destroying the base, he gives the mutants an opportunity to escape, but before they leave, Jean Gray restores some of his memories, meaning the timeline really is different from the previous one.
Logan is not only the last of the three standalone movies, but is the last time Wolverine is seen in the X-Men universe overall. Director James Mangold has said that Logan takes place roughly two decades after the events of Days of Future Past in the timeline Wolverine wakes up at the end. Unfortunately, time has not been very kind. After the death of most of the other mutants, and the fact that there seems to be no more mutants being born, an older Wolverine is taking care of a dying Professor X as he himself is dying from adamantium poisoning.
He discovers a few young mutants who were created in a lab, including one named Laura (or X-23) who has powers similar to him after they used his DNA. Wolverine decides to try and take them to a fabled mutant sanctuary in Canada. In his final moments, Wolverine dies just as he was in his life – not a murderer, but a protector, a savior, as his sacrifice lets the kids escape. Logan was an emotional and beautiful film, the first live-action superhero movie to get an Academy Award nomination for its script, and one of the highest rated X-Men movie on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wolverine Movies in Order of Their Release Date
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