Sequels, superheroes, Spielberg, dinosaurs, Deadpool and a female Doctor Who. It’s going to be a big year on the big screen and the small – here are 14 things to get excited about in 2018. Save the date!
The nominations for the 90th – yes, 90th – Academy Awards will be announced on January 24, with the ceremony to follow on March 5. Early frontrunners for Best Picture this year include Dunkirk, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water and Call Me by Your Name, with Frances McDormand, Sally Hawkins and Christopher Plummer certain to nab nominations, as well as Guillermo del Toro and Christopher Nolan in the directing honours. However, the biggest question isn’t who will win, but how will host Jimmy Kimmel address the elephant in room named Harvey Weinstein?
THE SHAPE OF WATER
A new film from Guillermo del Toro is always an event and his latest hits cinemas on January 18. A major contender at this year’s awards season, critics are praising this period fairy tale as the director’s best film since Pan’s Labyrinth. And if anyone can pull off a convincing inter-species romance between an amphibious creature and a mute female janitor, it’s the great GDT!
A big year for Marvel, with three films out in 2018 – the first of which focuses on titular hero T’Challa and his African homeland. The fantastic tribal tech of Wakanda looks worth the price of a ticket alone, and we can’t wait to see what Creed director Ryan Coogler brings to the MCU on February 15.
READY PLAYER ONE
Ernest Cline’s love letter to ‘80s pop culture is a perfect fit for Steven Spielberg, who practically invented a lot of what we love about the era. The virtual world of the OASIS contains more Easter eggs than a bunny’s basket, and geek overload is guaranteed. This is shaping up as a worthy successor to The Matrix, and with Cline onboard as a co-screenwriter, fans of the novel can expect a faithful adaptation. Due March 29.
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
The Marvel movie to end all Marvel movies? You’d be forgiven for thinking so, however all phases have been leading to this. Infinity War unites the Avengers, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, the Guardians, and, well, everyone from the MCU (including Stan Lee) for the long-awaited confrontation with Thanos (looking a bit like Shrek in the trailer). Captain America: Civil War proved that the Russo brothers could wrangle a huge cast of characters without short changing anyone, so this superhero showdown is in very capable hands. April 25 doesn’t seem all that far away…
WESTWORLD: SEASON 2
HBO’s brilliant expansion of Michael Crichton’s 1973 film engaged our grey matter and then left us hanging for over 12 months. The good news is it will be back in the US spring, leaving plenty of time to revisit – and get our heads around – the events of season one. Will we see Samurai World?
THE NEW MUTANTS
In the latest addition to the X-Men universe, five young mutants – including GoT’s Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane – discover their emerging superpowers in a secret facility. Like TV’s Legion, this promises to be a dark and subversive take on the heroes – in fact, it more resembles a Nightmare on Elm Street film than an X-movie. Indeed, director Josh Boone has cited the third Freddy film, Dream Warriors, as an inspiration. Due April 12.
SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
No waiting until December for the next Star Wars film, but will this second spin-off deliver the goods after a troubled production history that saw Ron Howard step in after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were shown the door? It might be best to keep expectations low. The plot is of course under wraps, but surely we’ll see the Falcon make the Kessel run? Due May 25.
The working title is “Love Machine” and while plot details are still vague – mention of “ninjas, the yakuza, and aggressive canines” – we do know that Cable and Domino are joining Ryan Reynolds’ mouthy merc for the sequel. However, following “creative differences” with Reynolds, original director Tim Miller won’t be back, leaving Atomic Blonde’s David Leitch a tough act to follow. Due June 1.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM
It’s the dinosaurs that need saving this time when a volcanic eruption threatens the island, and Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are up for the challenge. Jeff Goldblum returns as Dr. Ian Malcolm, and will no doubt do the math on the chances of success. On the strength of director J.A. Bayona’s previous films, The Orphanage, The Impossible and A Monster Calls, this could be the best Jurassic adventure since Spielberg’s original. Due June 7.
Pixar’s track record with quality sequels is strong and writer-director Brad Bird is back, so we can expect something special here. Mr. Incredible is looking after the kids while Elastigirl fights crime, and discovers the extent of baby Jack-Jack’s superpowers. John Ratzenberger voices new villain The Underminer, and best of all, fashion designer Edna Mode returns! Due June 14.
Who history was made in the Christmas Special with the introduction of Jodie Whittaker as the first female Doctor, but we’ll have to wait until September to see her interpretation of the iconic Time Lord – and how she survives being expelled into space by a seemingly miffed TARDIS. This year is also a changing of the guard in terms of showrunner, with the Moff passing the baton to Chris Chibnall. It’s an exciting new regeneration for the series, as well.
It’s been eight years since we last saw the dreadlocked alien hunter, and writer-director Shane Black promises an “inventive sequel” with a modern setting. Action veteran Black’s involvement, along with co-writer Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad), is reason enough be optimistic, even without Arnie. Due August 2.
John Carpenter is producing and scoring and Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode for a final confrontation with Michael Myers. That’s good news for fans after Rob Zombie’s trashing of the horror classic, but can the Eastbound & Down team of David Gordon Green and Danny McBride restore the franchise to its former glory? Find out this October, of course.