Superhero films had a resurgence in the 2000s thanks to one action-packed hit: "X-Men." The first big-screen appearance of the famed Marvel mutants was a massive summer blockbuster that grossed more than $296 million worldwide. Bryan Singer's adaptation of the comic heroes transformed the star-packed ensemble into household names and spawned a major film franchise with 12 released thus far that have grossed more than $6 billion worldwide. In honor of the hit's 20th anniversary on July 14, 2020, join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at how the lives of the cast have changed…
RELATED: 'X-Men' movie characters ranked
Hugh Jackman made his big-screen debut as the "X-Men" franchise's most famous mutant, claw-wielding Wolverine, who reluctantly joins the team while trying to piece together a painful past that left him with a metal-encased skeleton.
Wolverine became a massive breakout role for Hugh Jackman, who has since become one of Hollywood's biggest leading men. Hugh even holds the Guinness World Record for longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero, having starred in 11 of the "X-Men" films, including three Wolverine spinoffs. He immediately followed the success of "X-Men" with hits like "Swordfish" and "Kate & Leopold" in 2001 and "Van Helsing" in 2004. Hugh, who got his start on the stage in his native Australia, continued working in the theater with Broadway productions of "Carousel" and "The Boy From Oz," which earned him a Tony Award. He then hosted the Tonys from 2003 to 2005, winning an Emmy for his 2004 effort. He was named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive in 2008. It was his work in the big-screen adaptation of the musical "Les Misérables" that really caught the attention of critics, leading to both a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination in 2013. Hugh scored even bigger box office success with his leading role in 2017's "The Greatest Showman," which grossed $435 million worldwide. He also won a Grammy for the musical's winning soundtrack. Hugh then went on his first world tour, performing a mix of famed showtunes and the biggest numbers from "The Greatest Showman." He more recently starred in the HBO drama "Bad Education" alongside Allison Janney and is next set to return to Broadway for a revival of "The Music Man" with Sutton Foster in 2021. Hugh married actress Deborra-lee Furness in 1996 after meeting her on the set of the Australian soap "Corelli" the year before. They have two children, Oscar and Ava.
Halle Berry made a massive splash as fan favorite Storm, a mutant with the ability to manipulate the weather and create lightning storms. Storm teaches at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters and becomes increasingly frustrated with the world's hatred of mutants.
Halle Berry was the biggest star going into "X-Men," having already shot to the A-List in the '90s for her work in hits like 1994's "The Flintstones," 1997's "B.A.P.S.," 1998's "Bulworth" and an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning turn in 1999's "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge." Halle reprised her role as Storm in the next two "X-Men" sequels as well as in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." She reunited with co-star Hugh Jackman in the 2001 actioner "Swordfish" and went on to become the first woman of color to win the Academy Award for best actress, for her work in the gritty drama "Monster's Ball" in 2002. That same year, Halle added "Bond girl" to her resume, starring opposite 007 actor Pierce Brosnan in "Die Another Day." Soon after, the Cleveland-born actress made headlines for a very different reason: her Razzie-winning performance in the critically reviled comic book flop "Catwoman." By the end of the 2000s, Halle had received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and become one of the highest paid actresses in the industry. But the star's career has been a mixed bag since, with films like "Frankie & Alice" in 2010, "Cloud Atlas" in 2012, "The Call" in 2013 and "Kidnap" in 2017. More recently, Halle's appeared in the hit sequels "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" in 2017 and "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" in 2019. She'll next play an MMA fighter in her directorial debut, "Bruised." Halle has been married three times: to baseball player David Justice from 1993 to 1997, to musician Eric Benét from 2001 to 2005 and to actor Olivier Martinez from 2013 to 2016. She has one son with Olivier and a daughter from a previous relationship with model Gabriel Aubry.
Patrick Stewart played the X-Men's fearless leader, Professor Charles Xavier, aka Professor X. The telepathic founder of the superhero squad is wheelchair-bound and determined to create peace between humans and mutants.
Patrick Stewart's lengthy career began with a long run in the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s and '70s — he even won a Laurence Olivier Award (the British equivalent of a Tony) for his work. His first major on-screen roles were in the BBC works "Hedda" and "I, Claudius" in the late '70s. The British actor made the leap to the big screen in the '80s with small roles in 1981's "Excalibur" and 1984's "Dune." It wasn't until 1987's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" that Patrick hit the mainstream in a big way. He reluctantly took the lead role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, believing the show would quickly die and allow him to return to the theater. However, the sci-fi series became a massive hit, running for seven seasons and making Patrick an icon in the "Star Trek" universe. He reprised the role in four big-screen "Star Trek" films as well as on the 2020 CBS All Access series "Star Trek: Picard." After signing onto the original "X-Men" film in 2000, the actor would go on to star in six more films in the massive franchise and lend his voice to several "X-Men" video games. Patrick has said his work in the 2017 spinoff "Logan" would be his last as Professor Xavier. The Brit has also built a lengthy resume as a voiceover actor, most notably in the 2012 hit "Ted" and on FOX's "American Dad!" He's continued with the Royal Shakespeare Company, winning a second Olivier Award in 2008 for his work in a production of "Hamlet." Patrick more recently starred as Bosley in the 2019 reboot of "Charlie's Angels." He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been knighted by the queen. Patrick has been married three times: to Sheila Falconer — with whom he has two children — from 1966 to 1990, to "Star Trek" producer Wendy Neuss from 2000 to 2003 and to musician Sunny Ozell since 2013 (best friend and "X-Men" co-star Ian McKellen officiated the wedding).
Ian McKellen starred as everyone's favorite "X-Men" villain, Magneto. An Auschwitz survivor with the ability to generate magnetic fields and manipulate metal, Magneto is determined to gain power over humans, who he believes will never co-exist with mutants.
Like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen got his start as a stage actor in his native England. After making his stage debut in the 1960s, he became a well-known figure in British theater, performing in the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre in the '70s and '80s. Ian also worked on the big screen in 1969's "A Touch of Love" and 1980's "Priest of Love," but it wasn't until the '90s that he found his box office stride with hits like "Six Degrees of Separation" and "Last Action Hero" in 1993 and "Apt Pupil" in 1998. He received an Oscar nomination for his work in the 1998 drama "Gods and Monsters." After getting cast as the villainous Magneto in the original "X-Men" film, Ian returned in the role for the next two sequels, as well as 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." This wasn't the only major franchise the actor found himself in at the time: He also took on the role of Gandalf in the hit "Lord of the Rings" trilogy beginning in 2001, garnering another Oscar nomination for his work. Ian reprised the role in several video game adaptations as well as in the "Hobbit" trilogy in 2012. Outside of that, he has taken roles in "The Da Vinci Code" in 2006, "Mr. Holmes" in 2015 and "Beauty and the Beast" in 2017. Ian's also continued his theater work, even performing a one-man show that toured Britain in 2019. More recently, he was seen in the big-screen adaptation of "Cats." The openly gay star publicly came out in 1988 and has since become a major activist in the LGBTQ+ community. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006 but is in remission.
James Marsden had to hide his face for the role of Cyclops, who has the ability to produce a strong red beam of energy from his eyes. Cyclops keeps them covered to retain control of his power.
"X-Men" was a big-screen breakout for James Marsden, who was best known up to that point for his work on '90s TV hits like "Party of Five," "Touched by an Angel" and "Saved by the Bell: The New Class." James portrayed Cyclops in the first three "X-Men" films and in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Over the following decade, the actor built a career as one of Hollywood's go-to supporting players, creating a hit list that includes 2004's "The Notebook," 2006's "Superman Returns," 2007's "Hairspray" and "Enchanted" and 2008's "27 Dresses." That doesn't even cover the lead roles James tackled in 2009's "The Box," 2011's "Hop" and 2014's "The Best of Me." The Oklahoma-born star has also developed a strong career on TV with major arcs on the final season of "Ally McBeal" in 2001, "30 Rock" in 2012 and the FX period drama "Mrs. America" in 2020. James most recently received acclaim for his work on the HBO series "Westworld" and Netflix favorite "Dead to Me." He also hit the big screen in 2020 in the children's hit "Sonic the Hedgehog." James was married to Lisa Linde, with whom he has two children, from 2000 to 2011. He also has a son with model Rose Costa. James has been dating English singer-songwriter Edei since 2015.
Rebecca Romijn is the actress hidden behind the blue-scaled makeup of Mystique, a villain able to alter her shape and voice to mimic any human or mutant. The skilled fighter also serves as Magneto's second in command.
"X-Men" marked the first major acting role for Rebecca Romijn, who until then was known for her successful modeling career. Rebecca also hosted MTV's "House of Style" from 1998 to 2000 just before moving onto the big screen with "X-Men." She returned as Mystique for the following two sequels before the role was recast with Jennifer Lawrence, who played a younger version of the character, in later films. Following "X-Men," Rebecca continued her film run with 2002's "Femme Fatale" and "Rollerball" and 2004's "The Punisher." Rebecca found bigger acting success on TV with major roles on hit comedy "Ugly Betty" in 2007, "Eastwick" in 2009 and "The Librarians" in 2014. In 2019, she joined the sci-fi hit "Star Trek: Discovery" on CBS All Access. Rebecca was married to actor John Stamos from 1998 to 2004 and wed actor Jerry O'Connell in 2007. The pair have twin daughters.
Famke Janssen stars as one of the most powerful mutants in "X-Men," the telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey. Jean is the resident medical doctor and fiancé to Cyclops who's still coming to terms with the full extent of her abilities.
Before signing onto "X-Men," Famke Janssen was best known as James Bond film femme fatale Xenia Onatopp in 1995's "GoldenEye." The Dutch star started as a model, working for brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Armani and Chanel before transitioning to acting full time. In that same decade, Famke starred in 1998's "Celebrity" and "The Faculty" and 1999's "House on Haunted Hill." She returned as Jean Grey in "X2," "X-Men: The Last Stand," "The Wolverine" and 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Beyond the "X-Men" franchise, Famke had roles in 2002's "Men in Black II," 2013's "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" and the "Taken" trilogy opposite Liam Neeson. She also garnered a lot of attention for her TV work on "Nip/Tuck" in 2004, "The Blacklist: Redemption" in 2017 and "When They See Us" in 2019. Famke was married to writer-director Kip Williams from 1995 to 2000.
Anna Paquin brought to life the youngest member of the "X-Men" team, Rogue, a teen mutant with the ability to absorb anyone's memories or life force as well as a mutant's powers through physical touch.
Anna Paquin was a veteran child actress when she signed on to the "X-Men" films — she'd won an Academy Award at 11 for her performance in the 1993 drama "The Piano." The Canada-born, New Zealand-raised star also had notable roles in 1996's "Fly Away Home" 1997's "Amistad" and 1999's "A Walk on the Moon" and "She's All That" before landing her first blockbuster with "X-Men." Anna returned as Rogue in the following two "X-Men" sequels and in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Beyond that, the actress had parts in 2000's "Almost Famous," 2002's "Darkness" and 2007's "Trick 'r Treat." Anna's most notable role to date is Sookie Stackhouse on the HBO supernatural-creature drama "True Blood," which ran for seven seasons from 2008 to 2014 and earned her a Golden Globe. Since then, Anna has lent her voice to 2015's Pixar hit "The Good Dinosaur" and taken part in the 2016 remake of the classic TV miniseries "Roots." More recently, she was seen in Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman," the final season of acclaimed drama "The Affair" and as the lead character in Pop's drama series "Flack." The openly bisexual actress married "True Blood" co-star Stephen Moyer, who played her vampire lover on the show, in 2010. The pair welcomed twins in 2012.
Former professional wrestler Tyler Mane made his American big-screen debut in "X-Men" as Sabretooth, one of Magneto's henchman. He has enhanced animal-like senses, fangs, healing abilities and claws extending past each finger.
Tyler Mane started his wrestling career in the late 1980s, working for various wrestling organizations around the world before signing with World Championship Wrestling in 1993 under the name Big Sky. Tyler retired in 1996 after serving two years in the Universal Wrestling Federation and moved into acting full time. Following the first "X-Men" film, he had roles in 2001's "Joe Dirt," 2002's "The Scorpion King" and 2004's "Troy." The 6-foot-8 actor then found success as iconic horror villain Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's 2007 "Halloween" remake and its 2009 sequel. More recently, Tyler appeared alongside fellow former wrestler John Cena in the 2019 comedy "Playing with Fire." He was married to Jean Goertz, with whom he has two children, from 1988 to 2003. Tyler then wed actress Renae Geerlings in 2007. They have their own production company.
Ray Park took on the part of villainous Toad, another one of Magneto's henchmen. He has enhanced agility and a frog-like tongue and can spit a slimy substance onto others.
Ray Park started his career as a martial artist, competing in tournaments around the world, until he decided to move into acting in the late 1990s. Ray's first Hollywood gigs were as a stunt double for the video game adaptation "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation" in 1997 and Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow" in 1999. Also in 1999, he made his on-screen debut as red-faced Sith Lord Darth Maul in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace." "X-Men," however, gave Ray his first speaking role on film. The Scottish actor then took on the role of Snake Eyes in 2009's "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and its 2013 sequel, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." He also had a part on the fourth season of the TV hit "Heroes" and reprised his role as Darth Maul in "Solo: A Star Wars Story," as well as on an episode of the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Ray has two children with wife Lisa.
Shawn Ashmore had a small role in the first "X-Men" film as Bobby Drake, aka Iceman. The mutant with the ability to manipulate ice develops a close bond with Rogue and plays a much larger part in the film's sequels (he's pictured here in 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand.")
"X-Men" was a major gig for Shawn Ashmore, who was best known for his lead role on the hit Nickelodeon kids series "Animorphs" up until that point. Although his role in "X-Men" was minimal, Shawn played a much bigger part in the sequels "X2," "X-Men: The Last Stand" and 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." The Canadian actor built a solid TV career with parts in hits like "Smallville," "In A Heartbeat" and Disney Channel favorite "Cadet Kelly" in 2002. He then became a bit of a "scream king" with the horror flicks "The Ruins" in 2008 and "Frozen" in 2010 as well as FOX's thriller series "The Following" from 2013 to 2015. Shawn now has a recurring role on the hit cop drama "The Rookie." He married film executive Dana Wasdin in 2012 after meeting her on the set of "Frozen." They have a son.