“Ah’ll be bahck.” — some guy in some movie
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It’s a great time to be a sci-fi/fantasy and/or action/adventure fan. We have such a plethora of upcoming genre films, it’s like being a little kid watching as a toy/candy store is built and stocked before our eyes. I can hardly wait to get in there and sample the goods!
A few months ago, I briefly discussed the non-sequel films scheduled for 2015 release that I was most looking forward to. I thought I would do something similar this week in regards to sequels but without limiting myself to this year, which is more than half over. (Note: Just for the record, if they hadn’t already been released, I would have listed Avengers: Age of Ultron as one of my most anticipated, Mission: Impossible 5 as second tier, and Jurassic World as an also-ran.) So, I reviewed everything scheduled for the next few years on the “Upcoming Movie Release Dates” page, and here’s what strikes my fancy (should you care)….
Star Wars VII-IX + solos (Dec. 18, 2015 and subsequent dates): The most obvious entries here are the new additions to the Star Wars franchise. While many things about the prequels (i.e., I-III) left a bad taste in the mouths of us older fans, at least they gave us more Lucasverse alien races, ships, characters, and backstory to enjoy(?) and mull over. Now, George Lucas in no longer in control and JJ Abrams is steering the ship for new owner Disney. Both the Abrams and Disney names cause a significant cringe-factor for some of us. But, on the other hand, this could be just what the franchise needs to revitalize it. It all depends on how true the visuals, pacing, and tone of the stories are to the original films that we all fell in love with. That, of course, assumes that the plots are pretty good, too. I am cautiously optimistic, if only because I really want the new films to rekindle that joy and amazement from my child/teenhood. I may even start reading some of the old Star Wars novels to get in the mood….
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Mar. 25, 2016): Despite my initial misgivings re casting and choice of plot, I find myself looking forward to this more than I thought I would. Of course, it helps that it involves two of my all-time favorite heroes — my top 2 from DC — with appearances by at least two more. The recently released trailer actually piqued my interest and made me think it could indeed be enjoyable, rather than disappointing. But, even more than Bat-fleck (who I have to admit is not looking bad at all), it is the wimpy-looking, long-haired “Lex Luthor” that I have the most reservations about. (Jesse Eisenberg? Really??) I am also a little bugged about this being a 40-something, retired Batman vs. a younger and new-to-the-game Superman. On the other hand, that difference in age and experience will likely be an advantage in Batman’s fight against an out-of-control(?) Superman. We’ll see.
Star Trek Beyond (aka Star Trek 3) (July 8, 2016): As with the others, I can’t help but be excited for this, despite issues with its predecessors. It’s Star Trek, so of course I’m gonna watch. There is a lot of controversy over the whole reboot, and I am sympathetic to both sides. (I’ll probably write an opinion piece on it, eventually.) So, even though I have my concerns, I will support the franchise and try to enjoy any new movie as its own entity. That said, the writing and directing team have an enormous responsibility to long-time fans to create a film that feels more like the classic Trek — especially since this next one will essentially be marking the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Want it or not, recognize it or not, the pressure is there, and it is justified. I’m rootin’ for ya, guys!
Alien 5 (or whatever it ends up being titled) (2017?): True, we don’t know much about it, since it is barely into the “Pre-production” stage. But, what we do know is that some people who care very deeply about the franchise are involved — Ridley Scott, Neill Blomkamp, Sigourney Weaver. And, we know that they all want to do right by the main characters and the fans, bringing a proper end to the story-arcs for Ellen Ripley and, hopefully, Cpl. Dwayne Hicks. If it does indeed come out in 2017, that will mark 20 years since Alien: Resurrection and 10 years since Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. While we can always watch the previous movies as many times as we want, it is high time we got another! This is one fan who is really excited to finally get another film filled with xenomorphic terror and suspense, especially if it “fixes” the fates of Ripley, Hicks, and maybe even Newt. If anyone can do it right, this is the team.
Avengers: Infinity War, Parts 1 & 2 (May 4, 2018 & May 3, 2019): There has been a lot of talk about the “Infinity War” adaptation for the MCU Avengers, with everyone piecing together the clues about the various infinity stones/gems from the other Avengers team & solo movies. And, of course, the supervillain, Thanos, the Mad Titan, has been teased with references and cameos in at least three films. Thanos is a true heavyweight in the Marvel Universe, whose genocidal tendencies in the name of his beloved Death know no bounds. I like what I have seen and heard, so far. Appearance-wise the CGI’d Thanos looks perfect (assuming they make him Hulk-size), and while I would’ve gone with a deeper voice and maybe an accent of some sort, I think Josh Brolin is a fine choice. I look forward to an epic battle between Thanos and the Avengers (and maybe a few other heroes?) Of course, that won’t be for another 3 years, but hopefully they do a good job with the continued set-up via other Marvel-based films.
Those would be my “Top 5”, most anticipated sequels. But, there are several others that I look forward to seeing that — for one reason or another — didn’t quite make the cut. So, these are my second-tier choices (also in chronological order):
- Spectre (aka Bond 24) (Nov. 6/7, 2015)
“Bond. James Bond.” The rebooted Bond franchise with Daniel Craig has been surprisingly good, I have to admit. The struggle is to keep it feeling like Bond and not just another action flick.
- Prometheus 2 (2016)
Not quite sure what to expect with this, but, hey,… it’s Ridley Scott working within and expanding the “Alien” universe!
- Captain America: Civil War (May 6, 2016)
As much as I want to be psyched for this one, I am of two minds about it. On the one hand, I love Cap and I want to see more of him on the big screen. On the other hand, I think “Civil War” is a poor choice of story to try to adapt for the movies, let alone for a Captain America sequel. (If anything, it should be an Avengers story.) But, I will elaborate more of my thoughts on that in a future post. Suffice to say, I will be there with popcorn in hand to watch the next Cap movie, regardless of the plot and who else may or may not be in it. I am not expecting another Winter Soldier, but I’ll be satisfied as long as it’s decently put together and doesn’t disrespect the source material.
- X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27, 2016)
I honestly don’t know what to think about the X-Men movies. There is so much potential for great stories with familiar characters, but what comes to the big screen is always at least a bit disappointing. Not that I haven’t enjoyed them, so far. But,… Anyway, I am intrigued with the “reset” from Days of Future Past and the use of teenage versions (of some characters) set in the 1980s. However, the overly purple, smallish, Ivan Ooze-looking version of Apocalypse that I’ve seen in set photos is rather disappointing, which doesn’t bode well.
- The Incredibles 2 (June 22, 2016)
I’m glad they didn’t rush to get a potentially inferior sequel out, but… why’d they have to wait so long?!
- Independence Day 2: Resurgence (June 24, 2016)
Like many of you, I’ve been waiting and hoping for this for awhile. I just hope they can bring back the same look & tone as the original, so that it actually feels like a continuation. Of course, a decent plot would be nice, too.
- Bourne 5 (July 29, 2016)
Word is that Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne character will be back for this new installment, which is awesome. Tommy Lee Jones is joining him, which makes it more awesome! Know what could also be awesome? Pairing Bourne with Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross character from The Bourne Legacy! Maybe next time.
- Wolverine 3 (Mar. 3, 2017)
This will apparently be Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as Logan/Wolverine, and last I heard, they were still soliciting story ideas. I didn’t think the last Wolverine solo movie was that bad, but I do hope they finally do right by the ol’ canucklehead….
- Furious 8 (Apr. 14, 2017)
Just a few weeks ago, I finally got caught up with all of the Fast/Furious films. Well, all except 7, which I’ll probably see once the DVD is out. Good/great action flicks!
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017)
I only recently saw GotG and was pleasantly surprised. I still would rather have seen a film with the original Guardians, but that would have been a very different movie. Still, I had few expectations and it turned out to be a fun ride. With James Gunn remaining at the helm, chances are the sequel will be, too.
- Terminator: Genisys 2 & 3 (May 19, 2017 & June 29, 2018)
I really wanted to put these in the top tier, but I haven’t seen the first one, yet. So, I don’t really know what to expect, other than that the trailer I saw looked unexpectedly good.
- War of the Planet of the Apes (July 14, 2017)
I was a big fan of the original PotA movies from my childhood — once they made it to TV, of course — and the TV series. So, while I would like to (finally) see a TV/movie series that’s closer to the original Pierre Boulet novel, I am enjoying the current movies. The ape F/X are fantastic, and I’m intrigued with where they may take the franchise storywise.
- Thor: Ragnarok (Nov. 3, 2017)
I think they went too soon to the “Ragnarok” story, but it could turn out to be quite literally epic. As with many of these others, I am cautiously optimistic. Will also be interested to see how it leads into the Avengers: Infinity War.
- Avatar 2, 3, 4 (Dec. 2017/2018/2019)
I don’t usually care for environmentalist, save-the-planet type themes, but the first Avatar was sufficiently full of aliens and action — on an amazing, alien world — that I was able to still enjoy it. Here’s hopin’ the sequels don’t get too preachy, either.
That’s a whole lot o’ (potentially) cool movies to look forward to, and I didn’t even hit ’em all!