The X-Men are all about mutation, something born out of the many changes to the team’s roster over the years. The X-Men first premiered in 1963 as a five-person team fighting against evil mutants and doing their best to protect humanity. This group was only the beginning, as the team grew bigger over the years. The X-Men fought to save a world that hated and feared them, and this meant expanding their numbers and recruiting more powerful mutants.

The X-Men were initially slow to change members, but all of that changed as the team became more popular and more mutants were introduced. The X-Men’s mega-popularity in the 1980s and ’90s meant that the team was always changing, as the most popular mutants changed. The first ten rosters of the X-Men, in chronological order from when the team debuted, have each grabbed several generations of fans and never let go.

10 The First Roster Of The X-Men Have Become Legendary

Roster: Cyclops, Marvel Girl (Jean Grey), Beast, Iceman, Angel, and Mimic


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The X-Men are among the most popular superhero teams ever, but it wasn’t always that way. The X-Men in the Silver Age started with a bang, but after Stan Lee and Jack Kirby left, it was a cycle of diminishing returns. However, the original team had a lot of potential. They were Marvel’s first team of teenage superheroes, with X-Men founder Charles Xavier training the team to use their powers to become superheroes and use their powers wisely. During this time, the X-Men battled Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the Juggernaut, the Sentinels, the Living Monolith, and many other threats. Mimic, a human who could copy the powers of the X-Men also joined around this time.

The original X-Men were nowhere near the most powerful team of X-Men – Jean and Iceman hadn’t mastered their powers yet, Cyclops was still getting the hang of things, Beast was still mastering his fighting style, and Angel had cool wings. However, they were constantly practicing and learning, becoming a well-oiled unit. This team has become legends, but it all started with five mutants brought together to make the world a better place.

9 Havok And Polaris Joined The X-Men And Were Taken By Krakoa

Roster: Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, Angel, Havok, and Polaris

The original X-Men met many mutants during their time together, some of whom would later become team allies, like Banshee and Sunfire. However, the first two additions to the team would come near the end of their run, and fans would barely see much of them as a team. Havok was Cyclops’s brother, and his powers allowed him to absorb energy and fire off powerful plasma blasts. Polaris was a magnetic-powered mutant like Magneto and would become Havok’s girlfriend.

The two mutants joined the team sometime between the end of the X-Men’s original run and Giant-Size X-Men #1. This team ended up getting kidnapped by the mutant island of Krakoa. Despite heavy hitters like Polaris and Havok joining the team, Krakoa was able to take them hostage, leeching away their energy and forcing Professor X to bring together another team of X-Men.

8 The All-New, All-Different Team Began The X-Men’s Climb To Stardom

Roster: Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird, Banshee, and Sunfire


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Due to retcons, another roster of X-Men existed before the All-New, All-Different team, but that wasn’t established until the mid-00s. Therefore, the All-New, All-Different team is the next in line. After Krakoa captured the original team and the retconned team failed, Xavier traveled the world and found a group of new mutants to try to save his old students. Cyclops was tapped as leader, and Xavier went to Department H in Canada to get Wolverine.

Xavier then traveled to Russia, Africa, and Germany to get Colossus, Storm, and Nightcrawler, found Thunderbird on a reservation, and then called up Banshee and Sunfire. The team was introduced in Giant-Size X-Men #1. They defeated the mutant island of Krakoa and saved the original X-Men. Most of the old team left, and the new team became the main X-Men. However, this entire team wouldn’t last very long. Sunfire didn’t stick around, and Thunderbird was killed in the team’s next mission after Krakoa.

7 Jean Grey Rejoined The Team And Became The Phoenix

Roster: Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Phoenix, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, and Banshee

Jean Grey rejoined the X-Men and sacrificed herself to get the team back to Earth after attacking a Sentinel station in orbit. However, Jean was reborn out of the ashes and became the Phoenix. Banshee left soon after, and Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men hit its stride during this period. The X-Men had gotten popular, but this team would see them truly become the most popular team in comics.

Kitty Pryde was introduced during this period, joining the team just before The Dark Phoenix Saga began, which would be the X-Men’s biggest test. Dark Phoenix would wipe the floor with the team, but they could appeal to their friend under all that, and she’d eventually sacrifice herself after the Shi’ar came to take her to task for her crimes. The inclusion of Phoenix would make this team the most powerful X-Men roster for years, and their battle against her later helped define just how formidable the X-Men truly were.

6 The Core Of The X-Men Stayed The Same, But New Members Started To Join

Roster: Cyclops (leaves team), Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, Lockheed, Phoenix II, Rogue, Professor X, and Magneto


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The death of Jean Grey was a turning point for the X-Men. The team would mostly stay the same, although Cyclops would soon become disillusioned with his role. Rogue joined the team during this period, and Kitty Pryde found her pet dragon, Lockheed. Xavier regained the use of his legs, got an interesting yellow, high-collared costume, and started going on adventures with the team. Cyclops ended up meeting Madelyne Pryor during this time, leading to him leaving the team, with Storm defeating him in combat to become the leader.

Magneto, formerly the team’s greatest enemy, would get his redemption during this time and took Xavier’s place as the school’s headmaster. Forge was also introduced during this period but wouldn’t join the team until later. Rachel Summers appeared from the Days Of Future Past future and joined the team as the second Phoenix. This era saw Wolverine also mature much as a team player, becoming Storm’s second in command. However, soon, the X-Men would have a great fall, leading to the biggest shake-up of the team for years to come.

5 The Outback Era Was A Huge Shake-Up Of The X-Men Formula

Roster: Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Dazzler, Longshot, Psylocke, Havok, Gateway, Madelyne Pryor, Jubilee, and Polaris

Fall Of The Mutants saw the X-Men travel to Dallas to help Forge battle the Adversary. This led to the team going through the Siege Perilous, with the world believing the team dead. Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, and Phoenix II left the team before this to start Excalibur, and many of the members of this team joined before Fall Of The Mutants, but this story led to a new era for the X-Men – the Outback era. Since the world thought the team was dead, the team moved to the Outback, taking over the base of the Reavers, a group of cyborgs led by Donald Pierce.

The team could travel from Australia thanks to the Aborigine mutant Gateway. Jubilee joined the team then, and Cyclops’s wife, Madelyne Pryor, was on constant monitoring duty. When she learned what happened to Cyclops – reuniting with a returned Jean Grey and the original X-Men as X-Factor – she left the team and became the villainous Goblin Queen. Gambit also hung around this team at this point but wasn’t technically a member yet.

4 The Muir Island X-Men Were Formed To Find The Outback Team

Roster: Jean Grey, Forge, Strong Guy, Legion, Multiple Man, Polaris, Siryn, Amanda Sefton, Brigadier, Banshee, Tom Corsi, Sharon Friedlander, and Alysande Stuart

Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men got weird in the late ’80s. After the main team disappeared, Moira MacTaggert called together a new group of X-Men. This team isn’t often considered an official X-Men team since Xavier didn’t have anything to do with it. The team combined mutants and human friends. It was based out of Muir Island and aimed to find the lost members of the X-Men.

This group ended up battling the Reavers, Shadow King, Legion, Masque and the Morlocks. This team would hunt for clues about where the X-Men were but couldn’t find them, so they eventually rejoined the X-Factor. However, Banshee and Forge were able to find Storm and went to the Shi’ar galaxy with most of the main team of the X-Men. This would lead to “The Muir Island Saga,” reuniting the X-Men and leading to the team’s next evolution.

3 The Blue Team Is The Bestselling Team Ever

Roster: Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, Beast, Psylocke, and Jubilee


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At the end of “The Muir Island Saga,” the mansion was rather crowded. Many secondary team members left, and what remained was split up into two different teams. The Blue Team would become the most popular, helping the X-Men dominate the ’90s. The Blue Team had all the most popular X-Men – Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, and Jubilee – with Cyclops in the lead and Beast becoming the team’s muscle. This group ended up battling Magneto and his Acolytes in their first mission.

Next, they’d discover Wolverine’s history with Team X and battle Omega Red and Matsuo Tsurayaba. The Blue Team formed the nucleus of the animated X-Men team – which subbed Jean Grey for Psylocke – and is easily the most well-known X-Men team in pop culture. The Blue and Gold split would only last a few years, but it gave readers some of the most popular X-Men stories of the 1990s.

Roster: Storm, Jean Grey, Colossus, Iceman, Archangel, and Bishop

The Gold Team was the other half of the X-Men during this period. The Blue Team had the most popular mutants, but the Gold Team was where all the power was. Storm led this team and she was joined by Jean Grey, Iceman, and Archangel. The team’s first mission took them to the Hellfire Club, which the Sentinels immediately attacked. Jean Grey was thought killed in the assault, but she put her mind into the body of Emma Frost, who had put her mind into Iceman. Bishop traveled from the future pursuing Trevor Fitzroy and joined the X-Men.

The Gold Team had way more adventures than the Blue Team tied to the characters’ past. Storm, Iceman, Bishop, and Jean Grey would travel to the past to stop Legion from killing Magneto. They’d fail, which would change everything.

1 The Age Of Apocalypse X-Men Fought Against An Evil Mutant Empire On An Alternate Earth

Roster: Magneto, Rogue, Quicksilver, Iceman, Sabretooth, Wild Child, Blink, Morph, Storm, Nightcrawler, Exodus, Dazzler, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Bishop, Banshee, Sunfire, Chamber, Husk, Mondo, Vincente, Skin, and Know-It-All

Legion accidentally killed Professor X twenty years in the past. Xavier never formed the X-Men, with Magneto taking up his dead friend’s dream. Apocalypse decided to attack the world much earlier, conquering the US. Readers picked up with the team in the classic story The Age Of Apocalypse and were introduced to three different X-Men teams. Astonishing X-Men starred Rogue, Sabretooth, Blink, Morph, and Sunfire, as they battled Holocaust, the son of Apocalypse. Amazing X-Men had Quicksilver, Storm, Dazzler, Exodus, Banshee, and Iceman fighting to save humans and battling the Horseman Abyss. Nightcrawler left the team to find his mother in X-Calibre at Magneto’s behest. Generation Next starred the trainee team led by Colossus and Kitty Pryde, consisting of Chamber, Husk, Skin, Mondo, Vicente, and Know-It-All. Magneto sent this team to the Seattle Core to retrieve Illyana Rasputin.

Bishop’s status as a temporal anomaly meant he wasn’t overwritten when reality changed and was found by the X-Men. With his help, they devised a plan to change the world, using Illyana Rasputin and the M’Kraan Crystal, which Gambit and his X-Ternals retrieved. Apocalypse captured Magneto and the Crystal thanks to a traitor on Gambit’s team, forcing the X-Men to fight a climactic battle. Apocalypse was defeated and the timeline was restored, restoring the X-men to their former roster.


Since their debut in 1963, Marvel’s X-Men have been more than just another superhero team. While the team really hit its stride as the All New, All Different X-Men in 1975, Marvel’s heroic mutants have always operated as super-outcasts, protecting a world that hates and fears them for their powers.

Key members of the X-Men include Professor X, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine, Iceman, Beast, Rogue, and Storm. Often framed as the world’s second strongest superheroes, after the Avengers, they are nonetheless one of Marvel’s most popular and important franchises.

“}]] From the original five students who followed Xavier’s dream to the multiversal X-Men who formed during the ’90s, these rosters have defined the team.  Read More