Deadpool and Wolverine in 'Deadpool & Wolverine'

It’s Time for a Superhero Marathon: Prepare Yourselves for ‘Deadpool & Wolverine’

Deadpool 3, perhaps better known as Deadpool & Wolverine, is almost upon us, and with it, Hugh Jackman returns as the one and only Logan Howlett—well, perhaps not the one and only, as this version of Wolverine is a variant responsible for the destruction of his entire world.

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Ouch. Seems like every version of Wolverine comes with their own emotional trauma.

While this may be a new version of Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool is just as perversely charming as he was in the last two Deadpool movies. And yet, there’s a big change on the horizon, as this movie is officially a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s storytelling.

Whereas previous X-Men-related films have all been part of 20th Century Fox’s very own mutant continuity, Deadpool 3 will be responsible for finally introducing the mutants into the MCU’s sacred timeline—or at least we think so, anyway. With all these multiversal shenanigans, anything is possible, and we’ve already caught glimpses of other X-Men variants in other MCU projects, like Charles Xavier’s appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Beast’s cameo in The Marvels’ post-credits scene.

Now, if you want to be prepared for any eventuality, no matter what version of canon Deadpool & Wolverine might be inspired by, blow to smithereens, or make a joking reference to, there’s plenty you can watch before the movie hits theaters on July 26 this year. It’s unlikely that all of the movies on this list will be directly referenced in Deadpool & Wolverine, but if you want to be sure to understand everything about Wolverine, Deadpool, their messy relationship, and all the mutants that will be featured in the movie, each title will give you something to enjoy. Get ready for a proper X-Men-infused superhero marathon.

X-Men (2000)

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men
(20th Century Fox)

X-Men was not only the first live-action adaptation of the X-Men mythos but Hugh Jackman’s first foray as Wolverine, as well. There’s no doubt this movie made his version of the character into the iconic legend he is today. In X-Men, Wolverine and Rogue (Anna Paquin) join the X-Men, just as Magneto (Ian McKellan) hatches his plan to forcibly convert humans into mutants, while a U.S. Senator tries to pass the Mutant Registration Act. This is where it all began, so if you want to understand Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine legacy, this is where you need to start.

X2: X-Men United (2003)

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X2, surrounded by other cast members
(20th Century Fox)

The sequel to the undeniably successful X-Men, X2 sees the mutants combat the Mutant Registration Act and Logan tries to remember his past and figure out how he got his Adamantium claws. A lot of Logan’s backstory is revealed in this movie, which may play a part in Deadpool & Wolverine, so this one should definitely be part of your watchlist.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

X-Men: The Last Stand poster, centred around Hugh Jackman's Wolverine
(20th Century Fox)

The weakest of the original X-Men trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand includes Jean Grey’s (Famke Janssen) “resurrection” and her loss of control as her abilities and the power of the Phoenix threaten to overwhelm her. Magneto and his followers are intent on destroying humanity once and for all as a “cure” for mutant-kind is discovered. While some, like Rogue, are interested in the cure, others are most definitely not, and a rift deeper than ever occurs between the two sides. This isn’t necessarily Logan’s movie, but he’s got an important emotional arc to overcome in it.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men Origins
(20th Century Fox)

X-2 was such a success, and Logan’s backstory is so interesting, that 20th Century Fox thought: we need to explore more of that. Unfortunately, they didn’t succeed, and the result is a messy film with a few cool moments sprinkled throughout. However, this is the start of Deadpool and Wolverine’s on-screen history, as Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with a Mouth makes his strangely silent debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Thankfully, Deadpool 2 recognized this movie’s failures and absolutely destroyed it in its post-credits sequence, but there’s no doubt in my mind this movie will be referenced in Deadpool & Wolverine, so it should still be part of your rewatch.

The Wolverine (2013)

Hugh Jackman as Logan in The Wolverine
(20th Century Fox)

The Wolverine is more of a standalone story than any of the other X-Men movies mentioned thus far, despite being a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand. It provides a great deal of insight into Logan’s character, his powers, his relationships, and his trauma. In this movie, Logan ends up in Japan and encounters an old “friend,” one who wants to examine and essentially replicate Logan’s powers for his own personal gain.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men: Days of Future Past
(20th Century Fox)

Technically, this is the second movie of the rebooted X-Men prequel trilogy. We’ve omitted X-Men: First Class from this list, however, because aside from one wholly effective cameo, Wolverine doesn’t play a particularly important role in it (though it’s a great film, and certainly worth your time). In X-Men: Days of Future Past, however, Wolverine is back in the saddle, as his consciousness is sent back to the 1970s from the distant future and he is tasked with stopping the invention of the Sentinels, robots built specifically to target mutant powers, and preventing the inciting event that leads to the destruction of mutant-kind.

Deadpool (2016)

Deadpool gasping with his hands pressed to his face.
(20th Century Fox)

Deadpool’s legacy was restored in the first Deadpool movie, in which The Merc with a Mouth actually got to be a Merc with a Mouth. Made on a modest budget, Ryan Reynolds embodies this R-rated character perfectly as he and his B-list X-Men friends work together to take down the man who nearly destroyed his life and gave him his powerful yet painful mutant abilities.

Logan (2017)

Hugh Jackman as Logan in Logan
(20th Century Fox)

In what was originally supposed to be Hugh Jackman’s swan song as Wolverine, an older, less agile, and more fragile Wolverine takes care of an equally older and less in control Charles Xavier. When Logan is tracked down by someone working for Transigen, a company performing experiments with mutant DNA, Logan discovers that he’s left behind a bigger legacy than he bargained for. X-23, or Laura (Dafne Keen), has the same mutant powers as him, and together with Charles, these three outcasts go on the run, hoping to bring Laura to a safe haven called Eden. This is the best X-Men film of the lot. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re definitely missing out.

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Deadpool, Domino, Bedlam and more in Deadpool 2
(20th Century Fox)

Deadpool 2 is another genuinely hilarious delight as Deadpool is joined by new heroes and foes like Cable (Josh Brolin), Domino (Zazie Beets), and a handful of minor cameo appearances that are sure to make you laugh out loud. In this movie, Cable travels back from the future to save his daughter’s life, hoping to kill a young fire-wielding mutant before he becomes a deadly pyromaniac. Watch the post-credits sequence for this movie: you won’t regret it.

Loki (2021-2023)

Mobius and Loki stand in the TVA automat, their hands outstretched as they talk to each other.
(Gareth Gatrell/Disney+)

Bit of a curveball, right? But yes, you should, ideally, watch this canon MCU show before diving into Deadpool & Wolverine. The TVA (Time Variance Authority) introduced in Loki will have a big role to play in Deadpool 3, as it is a set of TVA agents that come to kidnap Deadpool from his heartwarming birthday party in Deadpool & Wolverine‘s first teaser trailer. Also, that giant shadow monster you see in the official trailer? Yes, that’s explained in Loki, too. The TVA is an organization that exists outside of time, tasked with maintaining the MCU’s sacred timeline and the multiverse. For some reason, they now need Deadpool’s help, and I, for one, can’t wait to find out why.

Now, if you were so inclined, you could also watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to see one of Charles Xavier’s canon MCU variants, as well as The Marvels‘ post-credits scene to catch a brief glimpse of an alternate universe where the X-Men roam freely. The MCU’s brightest young hero, Kamala Khan, is also implied to be a mutant, so maybe watch Ms. Marvel while you’re at it too. None of these are as important as the list above, however, so don’t stress about it too much!

(featured image: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)


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Author
El Kuiper
El (she/her) is The Mary Sue's U.K. editor and has been working as a freelance entertainment journalist for over two years, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV (she's seen every episode of Midsomer Murders ever made) and franchises like Marvel and Pokémon. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.