We won’t be getting Star Wars IX until 2019, but that’s not to say that 2018 movies have nothing to offer us gamers. From Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther to Deadpool 2. Are you Ready Player One?
Black Panther – February 16th
After the events of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakanadan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
Directed by Fruitvale Station and Creed helmer Ryan Coogler, Black Panther promises to be a fearsome addition to Marvel’s pantheon of origin stories. Read up on all the movie details in our Black Panther breakdown.
Tomb Raider – March 16th
Video game movies are almost always a dicey proposition. Every time we feel ourselves opening our hearts to the prospect, we get burned. Nevertheless, it seems like there is a reason to hope for Tomb Raider, not least of all because it stars the newly minted Oscar winner Alicia Vikander. Fresh off winning awards gold, Vikander has given her full commitment to the role of Lara Croft in a movie that looks like it is trying to earnestly adapt the 21st-century gaming reboot entry of the same name.
Though movies based on video games are rarely good, Lara Croft‘s gritty, grounded tale from the recent games hopefully lends to its transition to live-action film. In a film that also includes Walton Goggins, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Nick Frost, we’re daring to let ourselves hope again. So maybe this time, we’ll be lucky?
Pacific Rim: Uprising – March 23rd
Okay, okay, okay. Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim wasn’t exactly the highest form of art, but the giant robots vs. kaiju movie made enough eight-year-olds (or inner-eight-year-olds) happy to earn a sequel.
And Pacific Rim: Uprising has some new blood that could dig a little deeper into the premise. After all, writer-director Steven S. DeKnight is all about melodramatic character work (see Spartacus: Blood and Sand or the first season of Netflix’s Daredevil for more). And with John Boyega aboard, we’re game for a second round of kaiju fight night.
Ready Player One – March 30th
Director Steven Spielberg hasn’t really taken a stab at a crowd pleaser in a long time. He has, of course, made some great movies in recent years but not since the disappointment of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has he attempted to make the big kind of mass entertainment he was once synonymous with. Until now.
Ready Player One adapts the beloved book of the same name by Ernest Cline. A story dripping with ‘80s nostalgia, it would make sense that the helmer and/or producer of the most iconic ‘80s blockbusters (E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Poltergeist) would tackle this beloved book. It’s an intentional reworking for the next generation wherein a dystopian future, a boy living in a garbage heap (Tye Sheridan) will compete in virtual reality to discover the hidden secret of a dead inventor’s mystery box prize… one that will grant the right ‘80s nostalgia enthusiast the keys to his VR kingdom. Expect gaming easter eggs galore.
New Mutants – April 13th
A horror-based superhero movie? Genres have turned on such ideas as the incredibly appealing premise of New Mutants, a movie that is tangentially connected to the X-Men film universe but in spirit appears to be a whole different beast (or demon?) altogether. A passion project from writer-director Josh Boone, New Mutants owes as much to Stephen King as it does Stan Lee, and its premise of scared teenage mutants in a mental asylum haunted by demonic forces is positively supercharged.
Featuring talented up-and-comers like Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams, Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton, and an emerging genre queen Anya Taylor-Joy (Split and The Witch), New Mutants looks very gifted, indeed.
Rampage – April 20th
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fresh of his recent video game movie success Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle enters the wrecking classic movie adaptation of Rampage. The 30-year-old game has been through numerous iterations since its relatively primitive origins, but the premise of giant monster animals wrecking cities is almost stupefyingly simple—in other words, perfect for Johnson, a living, breathing high-concept himself.
The last version of the game was released 11 years ago, so it’s hard to say whether this will register on the cultural radar, but the trailer does look like it could be (ahem) monstrous fun.
Avengers: Infinity War – May 4th
This is it: part one of the grand culmination of the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Everyone—and we mean everyone—is in this movie, from the Avengers to Doctor Strange to Spider-Man to the Guardians of the Galaxy, all in the battle against the reality-shattering big bad Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his minions. The Russo Brothers direct their third Marvel movie following the last two Captain America entries, with screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus back on duty as well (all are also returning for the untitled Avengers 4 in 2019).
Two things will make this a colossal smash: giving the dozens of characters all something interesting to do, and making the stakes equal at last to the build-up that has surrounded this massive endgame. If Marvel can do this—while bending the course of the MCU in a whole new direction—the studio will be in unprecedented territory.
Solo: A Star Wars Story – May 25th
The second standalone Star Wars movie is also the second straight prequel, as a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) embarks on a string of adventures with Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) that also bring him into contact with future frenemy Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke are also along for the jump to light speed as Han’s mentor and an undisclosed female lead, respectively.
As with all the recent Star Wars films (except The Last Jedi), this one comes with a healthy load of baggage: directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were dismissed some four months into principal photography after the Lucasfilm brain trust did not like what it was seeing, with Ron Howard brought on board to reshoot a large portion of the movie. But hey, a lot of Rogue One (and even a percentage of The Force Awakens) was reworked too, so hopefully, Howard and his terrific cast will pull it together. And maybe, at last, we’ll see the Kessel Run as it happens.
Deadpool 2 – June 1st
This one sells itself, and in fact, already has begun doing just that with a string of viral videos and one cleverly anarchic teaser trailer. The first Deadpool was a lot of fun but doesn’t hold up as a particularly strong movie overall (it’s basically four scenes held together with a lot of jokes), so there’s room for improvement. But hell, do we really need to worry about that when you’ve got Ryan Reynolds returning to his now-signature role and Josh Brolin suiting up as the legendary Cable?
John Wick co-director David Leitch takes over from Tim Miller behind the camera, so expect the bone-smashing action to ramp up as well as the raunchy humor and general out-of-control tone. Welcome back Deadpool we’ve missed you.
The Incredibles 2 – June 15th
Fourteen years after The Incredibles movie rocked our world, the most beloved superhero family around is back. Original writer/director Brad Bird and the entire principal cast has returned, with Holly Hunter’s Helen Parr otherwise known as Elastigirl taking center stage while Bob Parr (Craig T. Nelson) plays around as a stay-at-home-dad. There’s also a new supervillain in town known as the Underminer (John Ratzenberger).
The Incredibles is one of Pixar’s al-time classics, so the pressure is on for Bird and his actors to capture lightning in a bottle a second time—which can sometimes happen (Toy Story 2) and sometimes not (Finding Dory).
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – June 22nd
2015’s Jurassic World was entertaining enough because dinosaurs are always fun to some degree. But it was also as dumb as a box of rocks and possessed none of the awe or wonder of the original. Unfortunately, the film’s director and co-writer, Colin Trevorrow, is still listed as a writer on this one, although the director this time is the humanistic J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls). Whether that makes a difference and Bayona can instill something fresh into this well-worn franchise remains to be seen.
Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and B.D. Wong are back, along with Jeff Goldblum, who we last saw as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park: The Lost World 20 years ago. Goldblum’s encore alone gives us a bit of hope… But if all else fails, there are always dinosaurs.
Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6th
I have to say I liked Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man a lot more than I thought I would. So let’s hope this doesn’t pull a Thor 2.
Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas are all back, along with director Peyton Reed, for the sequel to one of Marvel’s most improbable success stories. This time out, Scott Lang, Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym are navigating their way around the authorities as they battle a mysterious villain known as Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen) and probe further into the Quantum Realm in search of Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Yes, the film will give us the long-awaited debut of Lilly in her Wasp regalia, but hopefully, it will also provide the charm, fun, and general weirdness that made the first movie such a pleasant and nimble surprise as well.
Alita: Battle Angel – July 20th
James Cameron has had Yukito Kishiro‘s Battle Angel Alita manga in development as a film since 2000, with Cameron himself gung-ho to direct for a while. He long ago abandoned that idea as Avatar took over his life, but stuck resolutely with the property. Cameron is still listed as a producer on the upcoming film, with Robert Rodriguez in the director’s chair and Rosa Salazar (The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials) landing the role of Alita (the rest of the cast includes Christoph Waltz, Jackie Earle Haley, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, and Ed Skrein).
Manga has been notoriously hard to translate into American mainstream films (see the recent Ghost in the Shell as an example), and while we are interested to see how Alita is brought to life by Cameron’s formidable effects wizards, this one has a big question mark slapped on it.
The Predator – August 3rd
When Shane Black appeared in a small role in the original Predator 30 years ago, little did the director of Iron Man 3 know that he’d one day be asked to reboot the entire film franchise. Well, that time has come, but all we know about The Predator is that it takes place sometime in between Predator 2 and the underrated Predators and that it stars Boyd Holbrook (Logan), Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Keegan-Michael Key, and Thomas Jane.
From this director, expect lots of weird humor and male bonding, in addition to gut-crunching violence and lots of Predator action. We’re putting our money on Black with this one.
Venom – October 5th
So, first of all, let’s just all agree to collectively ignore Topher Grace‘s Venom portrayal in Spider-Man 3.
The Venom movie has a terrific cast that includes Tom Hardy who makes almost anything better and we can’t help but be intrigued by seeing Hardy in the ultimate Jekyll-and-Hyde role. Hardy has previously revealed that the film will be inspired by the Lethal Protector storyline, which was published in 1993.
The comic book begins with Venom and Spider-Man agreeing to a truce and Venom moving to San Francisco. Once in there, he’s attacked by the son of one of his past victims and his hunted down by the Life Foundation, who want to study the Venom symbiote and use it for their own purposes. This results in the creation of five new symbiote spawn: Scream, Phage, Riot, Lasher, and Agony.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix – November 2nd
The Fox X-Men Universe takes its second crack at telling this classic Chris Claremont story, one of the most revered in X-Men and comic book history. Jean Grey (Sophie Tucker) experiences an exponential growth in her powers, turning her into a being capable of wreaking mass destruction on a cosmic scale. Do the X-Men sacrifice their friend to save the universe from her? And why is an alien empire known as the Shi’ar intent on doing the job first?
Although the studio should make sure it doesn’t screw up this story again, it’s placed longtime X-Men producer/writer Simon Kinberg behind the camera for the first time, always a risky proposition. Most of the current cast is on hand—including Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult—with the addition of Jessica Chastain in an undisclosed role. We truly hope they get this tale right this time around.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – November 16th
The saga of Harry Potter prequels continues with this Fantastic Beasts sequel. When its predecessor dropped in 2016, screenwriter and literary giant J.K. Rowling felt like she was sincerely grappling with a fear of creeping rightward nationalism and fascism. The movie will also feature the return of fan favorites like Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Dan Folger as Jacob Kowalski, Alison Sudol as Queenie, and Katherine Waterston as Tina. Plus, Jude Law is making his grand debut as a young and sexy Dumbledore. So there should be plenty of magic of the fantastic variety too.
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 – November 21st
Traditionally, Disney is fairly gunshy when it comes to theatrically released animated sequels. However, these sequels began to increase in 2018 when Wreck-It Ralph sees a sequel of its own, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-it Ralph 2.
The first Wreck-It Ralph explored arcade culture, but with the internet pushing gaming into new frontiers, Ralph must also adapt. After a Wi-Fi router gets plugged into the arcade, Ralph goes on a mission across the internet to find a replacement part for one of the broken games. The first movie featured several cameos from gaming icons including Sonic and Zangief, and this sequel will be adding a ton more including characters from Marvel, Star Wars, and Nintendo.
Aquaman – December 21st
Despite the somewhat uneven portrayal of Aquaman in Justice League the success of Wonder Woman leaves us hope that the King of Atlantis will fare these seas better.
By the looks of things, Aquaman may have just carefully studied the lessons of that double-headed snake of Justice League and Wonder Woman, as the Jason Momoa underwater vehicle appears to be as much its own standalone beast as Wonder Woman was removed from Batman v Superman.
Directed by reliable crowd pleaser James Wan (The Conjuring, Saw, Furious 7), we’ll be looking forward to seeing Amber Heard getting something to do this time, and maybe Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, and Patrick Wilson too while we’re at it!