The fight between werewolves and vampires is a classic millennial favorite. Add in Bill Nighy as a vampire lord, Michael Sheen as the werewolf leader, and Kate Beckinsale throwing punches as an assassin: You have the Underworld movies in order.
This action-packed fantasy film franchise has five theatrical releases and an animated short. It tells the story of an ancient war between vampires and werewolves with a hint of romance throughout the releases. So, if you’re looking for a new series to binge, then the Underworld movies in order is a great option.
About the Underworld Franchise
The first Underworld movie premiered in 2003 from Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment. Box office returns and critical reception did fluctuate throughout the course of the franchise. However, collectively, the theatrical releases grossed more than half a billion at the box office, making it a successful fan favorite among fantasy fanatics.
The main premise of the Underworld movies in order follows Selene. She is an elite assassin among the vampire clan fulfilling the role of a Death Dealer. At the outset of the film franchise she is a loyal soldier to the vampire lord Viktor, intent on killing all of the lycans in the world.
However, all is not fair in love and war, and things soon get complicated. In the first movie Selene develops feelings for a mortal, Michael, who gets caught up in the middle of the war between vampires and werewolves. This tests Selene’s loyalty and results in some epic action scenes.
As previously mentioned, Kate Beckinsale stars as Selene. Joining her for a star-studded cast is Bill Nighy as Viktor and Michael Sheen as the werewolf leader Lucian.
Eagle-eyed Marvel fans may already recognize a few similarities between the universes. That’s because Selene is based on Marvel Comics lore, the X-Men villain Selene Gallio.
However, the two worlds are not affiliated and the rights to Underworld belong to Sony. Furthermore, while the idea was floated around, Marvel creators even nixed the idea of a Blade crossover according to Beckinsale.
While it has been eight years since the last Underworld premiere, in recent years Beckinsale has said she would be willing to return to the role of Selene and don her leather pants once more. Unfortunately, for now, there are only the five feature-length films and the animated short to binge.
#1 Underworld Movies in Order of Release
So, let’s dive into the movies. There are two ways to watch the Underworld movies in order. However, watching the films in order of release is the recommended viewing order for new fans to the franchise.
That’s because Kate Beckinsale is truly the star and center of the franchise with most of the movies concerning Selene and her actions. Therefore, watching the movies in order of release will properly introduce you to her character. This will help explain her actions and motivations.
If you’re getting ready for a movie marathon, it’s also important to note that Underworld: Endless War is not a full-length feature film. It is three animated shorts which take place in various eras. These shorts concern Selene and provide more backstory to the world and the events which culminate in Underworld: Awakening.
- Underworld (2003)
- Underworld: Evolution (2006)
- Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)
- Underworld: Endless War (2011)
- Underworld: Awakening (2012)
- Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)
#2 Underworld Movies in Order of Chronology
However, there is of course a second way to watch the Underworld movies in order. If you’ve already watched the Underworld movies you may be looking for a new way to experience the films. If that’s the case, then you can choose to watch the Underworld movies in order of chronology.
This does change the viewing order a fair bit, but primarily in how you begin watching the films. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans is a prequel that delves into the origins of the tension between Viktor and Lucian. Therefore, this is the first movie chronologically.
As well, in this chronological viewing order, we’ve split up the animated shorts to slot them appropriately into the timeline. However, we have not split up Underworld: Evolution. This movie begins in 1202, but the rest of the movie takes place after the events of Underworld. With the majority of events taking place then, we’ve kept it fifth in the chronological list.
- Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
- Underworld: Endless War – Part 1
- Underworld: Endless War – Part 2
- Underworld: Evolution
- Underworld: Endless War – Part 3
- Underworld: Awakening
- Underworld: Blood Wars
Summary of the Underworld Movies in Order
Now, if you want to learn a little bit more about the finer details for each film, below you will find summaries for each of the Underworld movies in order. This list uses the original order of release.
Due to the nature of the series there will be spoilers for plot as the movies progress. But these summaries will tell you a little bit more about each film, its stars, and how it fared at the box office.
While it may not be the first movie chronologically, Underworld is the best introduction to the franchise. Yes, it may leave you with some questions as to the lore and back story, but what this film does well is create the tension between vampires and werewolves. It also sets the stage for an epic immortal battle.
Under the cover of night, vampires engage in an age-old battle with their sworn enemies, the lycans, a clan of violent werewolves. Selene, a vampire orphaned in the wake of a bloody lycan attack, works for the vampire clan as a trained killer. She is ruthless and there is no doubt about her loyalty.
But then the lycans take a mysterious interest in Michael Corvin, an exceptional mortal doctor. Selene must now struggle to save him from Lucian, a ruthless lycan leader hellbent on ending the vampire bloodline.
Kate Beckinsale stars as Selene, alongside Scott Speedman as Michael Corvin, Michael Sheen as Lucian, and Bill Nighy as Viktor. The director was Len Wiseman and the writers were himself, Kevin Grevioux, and Danny McBride.
While Underworld did not receive a very positive reception among critics, it quickly amassed a cult following and was a financial success. It grossed nearly $96 million worldwide against an estimated budget of $22 million. It has a runtime of just more than two hours.
2. Underworld: Evolution
The next Underworld movie you should watch is Underworld: Evolution. As previously mentioned, this film opens in 1202, which is the earliest of any scene taking place in the franchise. But the majority of events take place very soon after the first movie.
This installment picks up events after Selene and Michael realize their feelings for one another. However, with Michael’s recent werewolf bite, this spells trouble. The seductive vampire Selene and renegade werewolf Michael may love one another, but they find themselves abhorred by the members of their own clans.
Seeking clues that might provide a key to healing the rift between their species, they are hounded by Marcus, an ancient creature obsessed with perpetuating the war between them. Continually beset by enemies from both sides, the lovers explore their pasts as they seek their destiny.
Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Michael Sheen, and Bill Nighy all reprise their roles in this second installment. Joining the cast was Tony Curran as Marcus, Derek Jacobi as Corvinus, and Steven Mackintosh as Tanis.
Len Wiseman was also the director for this installment. Wiseman, McBride, and Grevioux were the writers for this film as well. It was another financial success, grossing nearly $111.5 million against an estimated budget of $50 million.
This movie has a runtime of one hour and 46 minutes.
3. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
This next Underworld movie in order is a prequel which takes place in 1402 about the first werewolf to take human form. Therefore, Selene isn’t the star of this flick.
Instead, it focuses on Viktor, the cruel king of the vampires, who has persecuted the lycans for centuries. But this film delves into the backstory of this bitter feud.
Young lycan Lucian rallies his people against Viktor and his Death Dealer warriors. With his secret lover Sonja, a vampire, at his side, Lucian leads the werewolves in a final battle to break free of enslavement. Or die trying.
Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen star in this movie as Viktor and Lucian respectively. Starring as Sonja is Rhona Mitra.
The director for this movie was Patrick Tatopoulos and the writers were Danny McBride, Dirk Blackman, and Howard McCain. It made $92 million at box offices worldwide against an estimated budget of $35 million. It also has a runtime of one hour and 32 minutes.
4. Underworld: Endless War
Endless War is a bit of a departure from the rest of the Underworld movies in order. This is because it is a collection of three animated shorts. The creation of these videos was supervised by Len Wiseman, the director of the first two Underworld films.
All three shorts depict Selene in Paris, hunting down three werewolf brothers in the city. The first finds Selene in 1890 Paris, the second in 1967 Paris, and the third in 2012 Paris. The third short leads directly into the next movie.
Laura Harris voices Selene in these shorts. Also lending their voices to the productions were Trevor Devall, Brian Dobson, Paul Dobson, and Mark Oliver. The director was Juno John Lee.
5. Underworld: Awakening
The next film in the list of Underworld movies in order is Underworld: Awakening. This installment takes place several years after Underworld: Evolution. But the events from the third part of Endless War lead into the beginning of this movie.
In the years since she and her human-lycan lover, Michael, defeated Elder Marcus, vampire warrior Selene has been taken captive by humans. She is kept in cryogenic suspension while they wage an all-out war against both lycans and vampires.
Awakening after more than a decade, Selene discovers that Michael is dead, but that she has also given birth to their daughter: Eve. Shunned by nearly all surviving vampires, save one, even Selene seems powerless against her latest opponent: A genetically enhanced lycan.
This movie sees the return of Kate Beckinsale as Selene. Starring opposite her as the vampire David is Theo James and starring as her daughter is India Eisley.
The directors for this movie were Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. The writers were Len Wiseman, John Hlavin, and J. Michael Straczynski. Underworld: Awakening made $160 million at box offices worldwide against an estimated budget of $70 million.
Its runtime is just shy of an hour and a half.
6. Underworld: Blood Wars
The final Underworld movie in order, at least so far, is Underworld: Blood Wars. It takes place a few years after the previous movie and contains even more action than the previous ones.
Death Dealer Selene must fend off brutal attacks from both the lycan clan and the vampire faction that betrayed her. She joins forces with allies David and Thomas and embarks on a quest to end the eternal war between the two races. Even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.
Kate Beckinsale reprises her role once more as Selene, as does Theo James as David. Tobias Menzies stars as Marius, Lara Pulver as Semira, Charlie Dance as Thomas, James Faulkner as Cassius, and Bradley James as Varga.
The director for the installment was Anna Foerster and the writers were Cory Goodman, Kyle Ward, and Kevin Grevioux. The movie made $81 million at box offices worldwide against an estimated budget of $35 million. It has a runtime of just more than an hour and a half.
If you enjoy action movies with a fantasy twist, then watching the Underworld movies in order is a great franchise to binge next. There are epic fight scenes between vampires and werewolves, and different romantic interests throughout the course of the movies.
While it’s uncertain if there will be another Underworld movie any time soon, watching the available Underworld movies in order will take you about eight and a half hours.
Looking for more movies in order?
Check out this list of the Mythica movies in order.