A Guide to “X”, “Pearl”, and “MaXXXine”: All about the “X” trilogy universe

It's a mad, mad Mia Goth world.

Who knew what the world needed most was a Mia Goth cinematic horror universe?

In 2022, Ti West’s campy A24 slasher X made its debut and shocked the world. Not only by the gory deaths featured, but also by the killer surprise through its post credits teaser for a secret prequel named Pearl. When X wrapped shooting in New Zealand, West and Goth used the same set and got started on Pearl, starring one of X’s elderly antagonists at a much younger age.

Then by the time of Pearl’s debut later that fall, a teaser of a third installment, MaXXXine, followed the credits, but the latest film was just in development by that point. "If I'd had the forethought ahead of time, and I could have written three in a row, we probably would have done it," West told Entertainment Weekly

With a horror series featuring two separate Mia Goth-led performances across three separate decades within the 20th century, fans can get confused about where Pearl begins and X ends. Who is Pearl? Who is Maxine Minx? Are they — gasp — the same person? Just in time for MaXXXine’s release, here is your guide to the X franchise in chronological order.

Where can I watch the X movies?

Both X and Pearl are available to stream on Fubo.TV and Hoopla. X is available to stream with a Paramount+ subscription, and Pearl is available with a Prime Video subscription.

Both X and Pearl are also available to rent or buy on Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, or Fandango at Home (formerly Vudu).

MaXXXine is now playing in theaters.

Pearl (2022)

<p>Christopher Moss /A24/Courtesy Everett Collection</p> Mia Goth in 'Pearl'

Christopher Moss /A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

Mia Goth in 'Pearl'

In a rural Texas farmhouse in 1918, young Pearl (Mia Goth) lives in a strict Christian household with her emotionally abusive German mom Ruth (Tandi Wright) and paralyzed father (Matthew Sunderland), while her husband Howard (Alistair Sewell) serves in the war. Pearl works to the bone doing chores on the farm, but she dreams of becoming a big movie star so she can escape her surroundings.

Her opportunity arrives with news of a touring dancing troupe holding auditions in town, and Pearl sees it as a chance at her big break. She becomes entangled, however, with a flirtatious projectionist (David Corenswet), a scarecrow, and a growing desire to kill her family. As problems pile up, the aspiring star slowly descends into madness.

X (2022)

<p>A24</p> Mia Goth in 'X'


Mia Goth in 'X'

During the ’70s, amateur adult film actress Maxine Minx (Goth), her boyfriend Wayne, (Martin Henderson), fellow actress Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow), and actor Jackson Hole (Scott Mescudi a.k.a. Kid Cudi), movie-geek director RJ (Owen Campbell), and his mousy girlfriend Lorraine (Jenna Ortega) travel to rural Texas to shoot a porn flick at a farmhouse.

During the shoot, Maxine meets an elderly Pearl (Goth, in heavy prosthetics) who is bewitched by her looks to an uncomfortably, heated degree. Soon, the porn movie crew find themselves at the center of a "f--ed up horror picture" as they are hunted by Pearl and Howard (Stephen Ure).

Related: MaXXXine caps horror trilogy with 'big, sprawling Los Angeles ensemble movie'

MaXXXine (2024)

<p>Justin Lubin</p> Mia Goth and Halsey in 'MaXXXine'

Justin Lubin

Mia Goth and Halsey in 'MaXXXine'

It’s the ’80s and Maxine Minx (Goth), the sole survivor of X, has become a resident of Tinseltown. Oh yes, Ms. Minx is Ms. Hollywood now. She acquires an agent, Teddy Knight (Giancarlo Esposito); has a platonic best friend, Leon (Moses Sumney); and hustles until she lands her big break out of the adult movie scene and into superstardom.

That opportunity hits as she books the role of a lifetime as the star of a B-movie horror picture, The Puritan II, directed by no-nonsense filmmaker Elizabeth Bender (Elizabeth Debecki). But her past seems to catch up to her as Maxine finds herself at the center of a series of murders involving the people within her new orbit, which draws the attention of FBI agents Williams (Michelle Monaghan) and Torres (Bobby Cannavale) and a hired PI (Kevin Bacon), in the process.

Suspecting it might be California's infamous Night Stalker serial killer or someone more mysterious, Maxine takes it upon herself to solve the mystery and stop whoever is preventing her from reaching her dreams.

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