What science fiction films do best is warp our deepest concerns and immediate dangers, so that we can watch them bloom into larger than life stories on the big screen. It makes us feel less small in the context of their grand scope and message by reminding us that any insurmountable situation can be thwarted by the weight and wonder of our imagination. They give us hope. They make us dream. They inspire our will to make our ideas become reality.
There are so many films coming out in 2018, but we’ve got our eyes on some of the biggest, most interesting, and peculiar ones that keep us checking for release dates and ticket pre-sales. Sci-fi films have made a serious comeback with adaptations like Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Matt Reeves’ War of the Planet of the Apes, and Bong Joon Ho’s original Okja. This year continues the trend of sci-fi films that are sure to dazzle audiences of movie theaters all around the globe. Some are sequels to franchises we hold dear to us, others are original films, and some are adaptations of books that we love. There are gems on this list waiting to be discovered and possibly even talked about for generations to come.
Original sci-fi films are hard to find because studios so rarely take chances on them. However, Universal Studios took a chance on this sci-fi/horror thriller movie written by Spenser Cohen, Brad Kane, and Eric Heisserer. It is about a father who has the same recurring dream where he loses his family; a nightmare that inevitably becomes a reality. Its star Michael Peña and his family are sent scrambling to survive an invading force that dooms the planet.
With a stellar cast featuring Peña, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Colter, and so many more, it stands as one of the most anticipated films of the year. Also, it has critically acclaimed Arrival writer Heisserer at the helm, which only further entices what this original sci-fi film can do. While Universal Studios originally had it slated for a January 2018 release, it has been pulled off schedule to return later.
14. MORTAL ENGINES
One of the most incredible teaser trailers of recent memory has got to be Mortal Engines. It is a steampunk-style film, based on the novel of the same name, that reimagines cities as raucous, roving metropolises intent on finding and pillaging smaller transient towns for their resources. The whole premise is wildly imaginative on paper, but witnessing it come to life on the big screen is sure to pump some life back into the sci-fi genre.
It is adapted by Lord of the Rings super scribes Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson, along with Jackson’s longtime friend, storyboard artist, and creative collaborator Christian Rivers in the director’s chair. It also stars Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Jihae, and Robert Sheehan. With a December 14 release date, this will be a movie you won’t want to miss during the holidays.
13. CAPTIVE STATE
Rupert Wyatt is no stranger to the realm of science fiction. He launched the critically acclaimed and commercially successful remake of the new Planet of the Apes trilogy with Rise of the Planet of Apes. Now he’s directed and co-written Captive State with Erica Beeny. It is a film set ten years after extraterrestrial life lands on Earth and explores the lives of people in Chicago under alien occupation.
There’s cooperation among the humans and extraterrestrials, but there is still massive tension between the two factions. It shares a similar premise with District 9, but instead sets it in the United States, which could give it a refreshing and varied take. It stars John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Vera Farmiga, and Machine Gun Kelly with an August 17 release.
12. THE PREDATOR
With all the “reboots” and sequels that the Alien movies have had, it was only a matter of time until Hollywood unearthed this ‘80s sci-fi monster for new generations. It will be the fourth installment of the original series with Shane Black directing and co-writing with Fred Dekker. Black has said that this installment of the films will attempt to create a “mystery” for the serial killing aliens. He also believes that the film would bring down its scale to something more intimate, much like the original film with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Black has also compared his approach to that of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind on this film. The director and writers seem to want to elicit the same wonder and amazement that blockbusters from the ‘70s that made audiences run to the movie theater to see. It sounds like an event not to be missed.
Director Ruben Fleischer hasn’t had the same success of his first film Zombieland, but that could change with his new movie, Venom. A standalone story that follows one of Spider-Man’s more popular villains with stars Tom Hardy playing Eddie Brock/Venom and Michelle Williams playing Ann Weying/She-Venom is sure to entice many fans of the web-head’s nemesis. Though the plot is still unknown, the inclusion of She-Venom means it must be delving further into Eddie Brock and the symbiote’s relationship.
It is an R-Rated Sony film that, unfortunately, will not be directly tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has been described as an “adjunct” film to the MCU by producer Amy Pascal. However, Marvel Studios has no plans to integrate the character into its larger cinematic universe. Venom is slated for release on October 5.
10. JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
The rebooted and sequel trilogy to the original Jurassic Park is now on its sophomore film with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The first Jurassic World starred Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and B.D. Wong, who are all returning for the next adventure on Isla Nublar. Jeff Goldblum will also be returning from the original trilogy to reprise his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm, who was a consultant for the first Jurassic Park.
They will be returning to the island where, following the events of Jurassic World, the dinosaurs are allowed to roam freely until a destructive volcano threatens their existence. Now, the heroes must come back to save them from the natural disaster without falling prey to the island’s inhabitants. It is a fresher take on the destructive forces of nature affecting the animal kingdom. It will be released on June 22, 2018.
9. NEW MUTANTS
With the success of Marvel films like Logan and Deadpool, 20th Century Fox is continuing to take risks with its superhero properties. New Mutants is the latest example of this trend as the studio is adapting the story for the younger mutants into an all-out horror fest. The story follows five teenage mutants who are trapped in a secret facility where they must confront the sins of their past to escape with the help of Cecilia Reyes.
The film features many characters who haven’t had the big screen treatment like Illyana Rasputin/Magick, Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane, Sam Guthrie/Cannonball, Roberto De Costa/Sunspot, and Danielle Moonstar/Mirage. If that isn’t enough, it also has Stranger Things actor Charlie Heaton, Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, Elysium’s Alice Braga, and Split’s Anya Taylor Joy. It’s coming out April 13, 2018.
8. PACIFIC RIM UPRISING
What more can you ask for than giant robots fighting extinction-level monsters in your sci-fi blockbuster? The sequel to 2013’s Pacific Rim is sure to satiate your thirst for the big blockbuster featuring Kaiju and Jaegers battling out for the world’s survival. It is set 10 years after the “Battle of the Breach,” as the Jaeger program has become the planet’s most powerful defense and follows the life of ex-Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost who is played by John Boyega.
The film is stacked with an all-star cast featuring Boyega, Scott Eastwood, and Jing Tian, with Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi, and Burn Gorman returning from the original movie. It is also directed and co-written by Steve S. DeKnight who was a showrunner for Marvel’s Daredevil and Starz’s Spartacus. The film will be released on March, 23.
7. GOD PARTICLE
The second installment of the Cloverfield franchise, 10 Cloverfield Lane was a critical and commercial success. It gave audiences a new perspective on the events of the original film. God Particle is intent on giving us a set of new characters dealing with the alien phenomenon that’s plagued others in the franchise. Instead of the story taking place on Earth, it is set on an international space station where scientists are experimenting with a particle accelerator.
However, trouble looms when their science experiment makes the Earth vanish. All of a sudden, a space shuttle appears and the crew must fight for their lives after making their frightening discovery. Its cast includes Captain America: Civil War’s Daniel Brühl, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s Elizabeth Debicki, and Chaos Walking’s David Oyelowo. The release date is currently set for April 20, 2018.
6. SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
The Star Wars fan favorite smuggler is finally getting his own film. Solo: A Star Wars Story will follow in the new tradition established by Rogue One, telling a story set during or before the original Star Wars trilogy. It follows Han Solo, in all his space western glory, during his life before the events that led him to meet Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. These adventures will also have his partner Chewbacca by his side, as well as his encounter with another fan favorite, Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover.
Though the film has had production problems as its original directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, exited during principal photography due to “creative differences” with Lucasfilm. Ron Howard was brought in to finish the movie. Glover stated the director change didn’t change the film “a ton.” It will be released on May 25, 2018.
5. READY PLAYER ONE
The novel Ready Player One is a love letter to the ‘80s and a majority of the pop culture that followed it. This will be Steven Spielberg’s own love letter to a pop culture that he helped define by bringing this story to the big screen. It follows Wade Watts, a lower-class student in a dystopia, who finds solace in a virtual reality game called OASIS. His life is changed forever after participating in an easter egg hunt set up by the OASIS creator.
It is a mash-up of every pop culture reference you can imagine, ranging from War Games to Nightmare on Elm Street to Cowboy Bebop. The trailer was a celebration of those popular films and television that made an international impact. The cast features Tye Sheridan, Simon Pegg, Olivia Cooke, Mark Rylance, and so many more. It comes out March 30, 2018.
4. BLACK PANTHER
One of Captain America: Civil War’s best features was the introduction of the Wakandan King T’Challa more popularly known as Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman. The character is an integral piece of the Marvel Comics Universe, so it was only a matter of time before the hero got his own film. It will take place after the events of Civil War where T’Challa’s rule of Wakanda, the most scientifically advanced nation in the world, will be challenged by the ambitious Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan.
The continued adventures of the Black Panther constitutes one of the most anticipated Marvel stories to hit the big screen. The film’s cast is comprised of Boseman, Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whittaker, Martin Freeman, and Andy Serkis. Creed’s Ryan Coogler directed and co-wrote the film with American Crime Story’s Joe Robert Cole. It will be released on February 16.
3. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
This is the biggest Marvel film ever, featuring all of the heroes from the 18 movies the studio has so far released. It is the culmination of everything Marvel Studios has been working toward by finally pitting Thanos against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos has arrived on Earth to collect the Infinity Stones for his gauntlet, which will let him manipulate reality however he sees fit. In order to stop him, the Avengers must team up with the Guardians, but this may spell the beginning of the end for some of our heroes.
It is without a doubt one of the biggest blockbusters to ever hit the screen, with a cast so stacked that we couldn’t mention them all. Its story is grand in scope and is bound to change the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it forever. Infinity War comes out May 4.
2. A WRINKLE IN TIME
A science fiction book that took the shelf of our childhood has been adapted into a film by Selma and 13th’s Ava DuVernay directing and Frozen and Wreck-It-Ralph’s Jennifer. It tells the story of a young girl whose astrophysicist father is held captive by forces on a planet deep in the universe far, far away. She must employ the help of her extremely intelligent brother, her classmate, and three travelers to save her father. The trailer promises a wonderfully rich and inventive world that grips our curiosity with its wonder.
It is a film that will explore the depths of our humanity and what will do for those we love as its protagonist Meg Murry (played by Storm Reid) searches for her missing father. It also has Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Michael Peña, and Chris Pine featured in the film. Its release will be March 9.
It seems like a lot of sci-fi films are becoming adaptations of best-selling novels and Annihilation is no exception to that ongoing trend. Ex-Machina’s Alex Garland is directing and writing the film that follows a biologist who enters an environmental disaster zone after her husband is the sole survivor of an event that occurred within that zone. She becomes a part of an expedition to find out what exactly happened to her husband with horrifying and cataclysmic results.
The film’s trailer makes one wonder about the severity of what exactly is occurring in the designated Area X, but the tone quickly sours and we are reminded that nature will not submit to us. It is a cautionary tale about our perceptions of beauty in nature. It is an allegory for an environment that fights a species it created by evolving humanity’s greatest threat — the Earth itself.