Super-Heroes
on Film

X-Men


Greatest Super-Hero Films
(chronological by time period and film title)
Introduction | Flash Gordon | Buck Rogers | Superman | Batman | Spider-Man | X-Men
Marvel Cinematic Universe | The DC Extended Universe
Iron Man | Hulk | Thor | Captain America | The Avengers | Guardians of the Galaxy
Others: A - F | Others: G - N | Others: O - Z

Greatest Super-Hero Films: X-Men
(chronological by time period and film title)

X-Men - this Marvel Comics series was created by artist Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. The superhero X-Men team first appeared in the comic book The X-Men # 1 (September 1963). In the initial issue (published bi-monthly), it told about five peace-keeping mutant characters, who were born with special mutant powers. They didn't require origin stories for the source of their unique, extraordinary powers. They were appealing because of the metaphoric sub-text about how they were different and were subject to prejudice and persecution.


The X-Men # 1
September 1963

The X-Men # 4
March 1964

The X-Men # 12

July 1965

The five original X-Men in the first comic book, The X-Men # 1 (September 1963), were five teenagers still learning to control their powers. They included Marvel Girl, Angel, Beast, Cyclops, and Iceman (see chart below). The telepathic teacher of the student mutants was Professor Charles Francis Xavier (aka Professor X) (with assistance from Cerebro, a powerful supercomputer), who taught the mutants in Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, located in Westchester County, New York. Professor X was first introduced in The X-Men # 12 (July 1965).

Professor X
(Charles Xavier)
Marvel Girl
(Jean Gray)
Angel, or Archangel
(Warren Worthington III)
Beast
(Henry "Hank" McCoy)
Cyclops
("Slim"/Scott Summers)
Iceman
(Bobby Drake)
The telekinetic Professor X with tremendous psychic powers, enrolled young mutants in his school.
Marvel Girl was the original alias of Jean Grey, with telekinetic powers, who later underwent a powerful transformation and became Phoenix.
Warren Worthington III, otherwise known as The Angel, possessed white feathered wings.
Beast was a mutant with ape-like features, including blue fur, superhuman strength, and excellent hand-to-hand combat skills.
Scott had the ability to shoot red optic blasts or beams from his eyes. The only way for Cyclops to stop his optic-blasts were by closing his eyes, or wearing ruby quartz glasses.
Iceman had the ability to create subzero temperatures in the environment and create various types of ice walls and projectiles, and could turn his body into ice.

Other early X-Men comic book issues, such as The X Men # 4 (March 1964), introduced a Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The group was led by Magneto who controlled magnetism and believed in mutant superiority and domination, with other supervillains such as:

  • Mastermind (Jason Wyngarde)
  • Toad (Mortimer Toynbee)
  • Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff)
  • Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff)

There were no new stories involving the X-Men, from the spring of 1970 to mid 1975.


Giant-Size X-Men # 1
May 1975

The X-Men # 94

August 1975

Then, there was a revival of the X-Men, evidenced in a special comic book issue, Giant-Size X-Men # 1 (May 1975) - with the first new X-Men story in five years. The issue served as a link between the original X-Men and a new team of X-Men.

 
 
Storm
(Ororo Munroe)
Wolverine
(Logan)
Nightcrawler
(Kurt Wagner)
Colossus
(Peter Rasputin)
Thunderbird
(John Proudstar)
White-haired and in control of the forces of Mother Nature; the first black female hero in mainstream comics
(see below)
(see separate listing)

The new X-Men team, making their first appearances in Giant-Size X-Men # 1 (May 1975) included Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Thunderbird, and Wolverine also joined the team (see more below). They joined two previous members, including Banshee and Sunfire. In the first story, Cyclops explained that something strange had happened to the five original X-Men members (plus Havok and Polaris, minus Beast) who were on a mission to Krakoa (a South Pacific island), to investigate a new mutant menace. Marvel then began publishing new issues of X-Men with The X-Men # 94 (August 1975) - and these new X-Men became extremely popular, far surpassing the original X-Men in sales.

The Wolverine
The clawed X-Men hero Wolverine (born James "Logan" Howlett) had first debuted in the last 'teaser' panel of the comic book The Incredible Hulk # 180 (October 1974). His first full appearance was in the next issue The Incredible Hulk # 181 (November 1974), with a yellow and blue costume. Wolverine was created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita, and was later enhanced by writer Chris Claremont and co-writer/artist John Byrne. The Wolverine was soon to become the most popular break-out character on the X-Men team. He was born in Canada in the late 1800s, and his main superhero abilities were due to his mutations - switchblade claws that emerged from the knuckles of each hand, and his ability to heal himself.
The First Appearances of the Wolverine

The Incredible Hulk # 180
October 1974

Wolverine's Initial Debut
in the Final Panel of
The Incredible Hulk # 180

The Incredible Hulk # 181
November 1974

First Full Appearance of Wolverine in
The Incredible Hulk # 181

See Greatest Film Series Franchises - X-Men

Title Screen
Super-Hero Films
Poster


The Marvel Super-Heroes (1966) - TV series

The first TV appearance of the X-Men was on this 1966 animated TV series. It was syndicated and first shown in the US in 1966, first airing on September 1, 1966, and running through December 1, 1966. It was a half-hour show. It was Marvel's first TV series. The series had limited, crude or minimal animation. The cartoons were made as a series of static comic-strip panel images, and only the lips of those speaking moved.

The anthology series rotated between five stories of Marvel comic-book super-heroes: The Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and The Sub-Mariner. In each half-hour show (or episode), there were three separate seven-minute segments that focused on an individual super hero each day of the work week. Each segment was separated by a short description of one of the other four heroes featured in the series. Each of the superheroes was the star of 13 episodes (or 39 segments), adding to a total of 65 half-hour episodes for all five superheroes.

The aquatic Sub-Mariner, also known as Prince Namor, was Prince of the sunken continent of Atlantis. John Vernon was the voice of The Sub-Mariner. The character would eventually join the X-Men in the comic books several decades later.

In the 12th (of 13) Sub-Mariner episode titled "Dr. Doom's Day/The Doomed Allegiance/ Tug of Death," the X-Men guest-starred - but were referred to as "The Allies for Peace" (composed of Angel, the Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Girl).





Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981-1983) - TV series

Another Marvel Productions animated TV series (aired on NBC-TV on Saturday mornings) ran for three seasons, from September 12, 1981 to November 5, 1983, with a total of 24 episodes.

Season 1 (Sept. 12 - Dec. 5, 1981): 1-13 episodes (13 episodes)
Season 2 (Sept. 18 - Oct. 2, 1982): 14-16 episodes (3 episodes)
Season 3 (Sept. 17 - Nov. 5, 1983): 17-24 episodes (8 episodes)

The animated TV show was mostly about Spider-Man, although he was teamed up with two other 'Amazing Friends' superheroes: Iceman (Robert "Bobby" Drake) and Firestar. This made the Iceman the first X-Men character to have a regular role on TV.

The X-Men themselves and other associated characters made appearances in several episodes of TV's Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends:

Season 1:
Season 1, Episode 4: "Sunfire"
Sunfire was a Japanese mutant and former X-Men member.

Season 2:
Season 2, Episode 1: "The Origin of the Iceman"
This episode about the origins of Iceman included the first Amazing Friends appearance of the X-Men as a team. Iceman had been recruited by Professor Xavier, and other original X-Men members, including Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, and Angel.
Season 2, Episode 3: "A Firestar is Born"
Included in this episode was the origin story of Firestar, and the first TV appearances of Storm and Wolverine. X-Men arch-nemesis Magneto also made a brief cameo in a flashback.

Season 3:
Season 3, Episode 3: "The Education of a Superhero"
Very similar to the X-Men 'Super-Friends' in "The X-Men Adventure," except Thunderbird was missing and Wolverine was included.
Season 3, Episode 7: "The X-Men Adventure"
The X-Men in this episode included Cyclops and Storm and several characters making their first TV appearance: Colossus, Nightcrawler, Sprite (aka Kitty Pryde) and Thunderbird.



X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men (1989) - TV pilot

This was a 30-minute (with commercials), animated TV pilot by Marvel Productions that was originally broadcast on September 16, 1989. It was narrated by X-Men co-creator Stan Lee. It was a self-produced pilot that Marvel hoped would become an animated X-Men TV series. This one-episode pilot for an ongoing X-Men animated series was not picked up.

Mutant Kitty Pryde (aka Sprite) was the main character - she joined the X-Men team including Cyclops, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine and the Dazzler. Magneto was the main villain, with a Brotherhood Team of Mutants composed of Juggernaut, Toad, Pyro, the Blob and eventual X-Men member Emma Frost/The White Queen.

X-Men (1992-1997) (aka X-Men: The Animated Series) - TV series

This was Marvel's second attempt to broadcast an X-Men TV series, after the failure of X-Men: Pryde of the X-Men in 1989.

It debuted on October 31, 1992 in the US on the Fox-TV as part of its Fox Kids Saturday morning lineup. This Fox-Kids animated TV series had a successful five-season run from 1992-1997, with a total of 76 half-hour episodes. X-Men was the longest-running Marvel Comics-based show, lasting a full 76 episodes.

Season 1 (1992-1993): Episodes 1-13
Season 2 (1993-1994): Episodes 14-26
Season 3-4 (1994-1996): Episodes 27-62
Season 5 (1996-1997): Episodes 63-76

The series, mostly a continuous narrative, featured a core X-Men team led by Professor X, similar to that of the early 1990s comic-books: Wolverine, Gambit, Beast, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, and Jubilee. The main villains or enemies included Magneto, The Sentinels and Sabretooth.

It was the main TV series to air before the first feature-length X-Men film in 2000.

Spider-Man (1994-1998) - TV series

There was some X-Men cross-over with the animated Spider-Man (1994-1998) TV series, when Spider-Man sought the X-Men's help to stave off his progressing mutation.

Some of the X-Men characters and Professor Xavier appeared on the Spider-Man animated TV series during its five-year run from 1994-1998, in these episodes:

Season 2: Episode 17 - "The Mutant Agenda"
Season 2: Episode 18 - "Mutants' Revenge"
Season 5: Episodes 61-63: - "Secret Wars" (in three parts)

 

Generation X (1996)

This was a full-length, live-action TV movie (a TV movie pilot that never materialized any further) directed by Jack Sholder, marking the first ever live-action portrayal of any of the X-Men characters.

It was based on the Marvel Comics comic-book series Generation X, a spin-off of the X-Men franchise, created by writer Scott Lobdell and artist Chris Bachalo.

The plotline was about a team of young students (mutated teens with super-powers) in super-hero training. They were not mentored by X-Men founder Charles Xavier at his New York estate, but by Banshee (Jeremy Ratchford) and former super-villain Emma Frost (Finola Hughes) at a splinter school in western Massachusetts.

It originally aired on Fox-TV network on February 20, 1996.

Future X-Men characters included Emma Frost/The White Queen (Finola Hughes) and Sean Cassidy/Banshee (Jeremy Ratchford) - both seen in X-Men: First Class (2011). Also appearing was Jubilee (Heather McComb). The villain was a silly mad scientist, Doctor Russel Tresh, portrayed by Matt Frewer (Max Headroom).

There were originally three X-Men feature-length films (from 2000 to 2006) from 20th Century Fox.

X-Men (2000)

X2: X-Men United (2003)

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) (aka X3)

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)

The original trilogy was then followed by a prequel film in 2011, a sequel in 2014, and another sequel in 2016.
A spin-off series (two films in 2009 and 2013) involved one of the X-Men characters, Wolverine/aka James Howlett or Logan.
Another spin-off character was Deadpool, appearing in his own film in 2016.

X-Men (2000)

This was the first X-Men feature film (not a made-for-TV movie). It was the lowest-grossing film of the original trilogy.

Director Bryan Singer's surprise hit X-Men (2000) was about Charles Xavier's (Patrick Stewart) school of mutant X-Men that were against villainous forces:

Good
Evil
Rogue (Anna Paquin) Magneto (Ian McKellen) (aka Eric Lensherr)
Storm (Halle Berry) (aka Ororo Munroe) Sabretooth (Tyler Mane)
Logan (Hugh Jackman) (aka Wolverine) Mystique (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos)
Cyclops/Scott Summers (James Marsden) Toad (Ray Park)
Iceman/Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore)  
Jean Grey (Famke Janssen)  
Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat (Sumela Kay)  
Pyro/John Allerdyce (Alex Burton)  

X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003) - TV series

This re-imagining of the X-Men plotline was an animated TV series which aired on The Kids-WB. The fan favorite comic book title was brought onto the TV screen, somewhat faithfully.

There were 4 seasons and a total of 52 half-hour color episodes. (There were 4 two-part episodes, appearing at the conclusion of each season.)

Season 1: (2000-2001) - Episodes 1-13 (13 episodes), Nov. 4, 2000 - May 12, 2001
Season 2: (2001-2002) - Episodes 14-30 (17 episodes), Sept. 29, 2001 - May 11, 2002
Season 3: (2002-2003) - Episodes 31-43 (13 episodes), Sept. 14, 2002 - May 23, 2003
Season 4: (2003) - Episodes 44-52 (9 episodes), Aug. 30, 2003 - October 25, 2003

In this teen-oriented series, most of main cast members had been turned into kids (with the exception of Wolverine, Professor X, and a few select others). The six X-Men mutants included: Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde (using her Shadowcat codename), Rogue, and Spyke (a new original character created specifically for the series), and later, Angel and Iceman. The students were taught by Professor X, Wolverine and Storm, at Xavier's School for the Gifted.

X2: X-Men United (2003)

Director Bryan Singer's X2: X-Men United (2003) was an inevitable (and superior) sequel, with the X-Men battling against the mysterious anti-mutant militant Col. William Stryker.

It was a true sequel, with most of the characters returning from the original film, with some additional ones.

Two new young X-Men were introduced: (1) Rogue's (Anna Paquin) mutant student boyfriend Iceman/Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore) (he had only a minor role in the first film), and (2) their angry young friend Pyro/John Allerdyce (Aaron Stanford).

It was the second highest-grossing film of the original trilogy.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) (aka X3)

Director Brett Ratner's X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - the third film in the series, was about the uncovering of the Dark Phoenix force (a Marvel comics entity Jean Grey, class 5 mutant portrayed by Famke Janssen).

It was the highest-grossing (domestic) film of the original trilogy - and of the entire X-Men series of franchise films until Deadpool (2016) took the lead.

Wolverine and the X-Men (2008-2009) - TV series

Wolverine/Logan (voice of Steve Blum) headlined this X-Men animated TV series. It only aired for a single season, with a total of 26 episodes.

Season 1: (2008-2009) - Episodes 1-26, aired from January 23, 2009, to November 29, 2009. In Canada, it aired beginning on September 6, 2008.

The first episode, "Hindsight," was a 3-part episode, as was the last episode, "Foresight." The series opened with an explosion at the Xavier mansion, experienced by Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Professor Xavier. Then the timeline jumped to a year later, with flashbacks revealing that the X-Men had disbanded following the explosion, and the disappearance of the Professor and Jean Grey. Meanwhile, the government's fascistic Mutant Response Division (MRD, referred to colloquially as the "Mardies") was attempting to capture and imprison all mutants.

It was the fourth adapted, X-Men related animated TV series, following:

  • Pryde of the X-Men (1989)
  • X-Men (1992-1997) (aka X-Men: The Animated Series)
  • X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Director Gavin Hood's X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) was the first spin-off variation. It was a derivative origin-story prequel with both Wolverine and Sabretooth. Wolverine was aka James Howlett or Logan (Hugh Jackman), with accelerated healing, enhanced senses, bone claws, and an adamantium skeleton (his bones had been fused with indestructible metal adamantium).

It was the first stand-alone feature and origin story of the X-Men franchise, set about 20 years before the film trilogy.

The Super Hero Squad Show (2009-present) - TV series

This animated TV series by Marvel Animation, targeted at younger audiences, included many of the X-Men characters, including Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Colossus and others from the expanded Marvel Comics universe.

It aired for two seasons on The Cartoon TV Network, from September 14, 2009 to October 13, 2011, with 26 episodes per season.

Season 1 (2009-2010): Episodes 1-26 (Sept. 14, 2009 - Feb. 20, 2010)
Season 2 (2010-2011): Episodes 27-52 (Oct. 23, 2010 - Oct. 13, 2011)

It was based upon the Hasbro line of toy action figures, in the Marvel Super Hero Squad. It portrayed the Avengers, the X-Men, and various other characters in the Marvel Universe.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Director Matthew Vaughn's mutant origin story X-Men: First Class (2011) was a prequel to the first three films. It was set in 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 20th Century Fox envisioned this film as the first film in a new trilogy.

It presented the beginnings and origins of the entire X-Men saga, describing the youths of the two main protagonists and their collaboration against a common powerful adversary, before they split off and became mortal arch-enemies due to their ideological differences.

The two main protagonists were Professor Charles Xavier or "X" (James McAvoy) and Eric Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender). It showcased the early friendship of the two and how Professor X became a peaceful revolutionary leading the X-Men, while the Professor's future rival-nemesis separated and led the Brotherhood of Mutants.

It was the second-lowest-grossing X-Men movie of the entire X-Men series of 7 franchise films through 2014.

The Wolverine (2013)

Director James Mangold's The Wolverine (2013) was a second spin-off film of Marvel's solo character - the immortal, self-healing, clawed mutant Wolverine. This marked the 6th appearance of Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine/Logan, and Hugh Jackman's second solo turn as the razor-clawed mutant. It was also the first time that X-Men wasn't part of the film's title.

This film was set long after all the existing trilogy entries in the X-Men series-franchise - after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).

The immortal, self-healing mutant traveled to modern-day Japan to say farewell to dying friend Yashida, a wealthy tycoon, and found himself protecting sheltered, rich heiress Mariko (Japanese supermodel Tao Okamoto) from deadly opponents while struggling with his own immortality. The Wolverine fought off two mutant enemies, Marvel's Silver Samurai (Will Yun Lee) and Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), and a host of samurai warriors, ninjas, and yakuza (Japanese mafia members).

It was the lowest-grossing (domestic) film of the entire X-Men series of 7 franchise films through 2014.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

The next film in the series was X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - again directed by Bryan Singer, with a $200+ million budget, making it the priciest and most complicated X-Men film to date. This was director Bryan Singer's third X-Men film, following his helming of the 2000 and 2003 films. It was a sequel to both X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men: First Class (2011).

It was the second highest-grossing (domestic) film of the entire X-Men series of 7 franchise films through 2014.

The superhero film combined the casts of both the original X-Men Trilogy (including Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Prof. Charles Xavier, and Ian McKellen as Erik Lehnsheer/Magneto) and Matthew Vaughn's prequel X-Men: First Class (2011) (featuring James McAvoy as a younger Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, and Jennifer Lawrence as Raven/Mystique).

The story involved time-travel - the X-Men had to alter the past to save the future - a dystopia ruled by robots (known as Sentinels) who were rounding up mutants in camps for extermination. A distant-future Wolverine consciousness was sent back to the 1970s by the X-Men to prevent war, by brokering peace and uniting friends-turned-adversaries Charles Xavier and Magneto, in order to prevent the rise of the Sentinels.

With a number of new mutant characters, including Bishop (Omar Sy) who could absorb energy, Blink (Fan Bingbng) with the ability to open teleportation portals, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) - a 70s-era mutant with super-speed, Sunspot (Adan Canto) who could harness solar power with powerful heat blasts, and Warpath (Booboo Stewart) - a Native American mutant warrior (aka James Proudstar) with super-speed and strength.

Deadpool (2016)

This superhero comedy film was directed by Tim Miller and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The film's title character was portrayed by Ryan Reynolds.

It was the eighth installment in the X-Men film series.

The origin of Deadpool was in the comics, in New Mutants # 98 (1991), by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Rob Liefeld.

The character of the vengeful anti-hero Deadpool, formerly known as Wade Wilson, had balletic agility, and the ability to regenerate, and he was also anarchic in his scandalous behavior.

X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

This was the ninth installment in the X-Men film series and a sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). It was directed by Bryan Singer.

Logan (2017)

The third installment of the solo Wolverine franchise, again starring Hugh Jackman.



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