STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII
The past two years have been great for Star Wars fans, as the franchise added two new installments only a year apart. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens was well received in 2015, and Star Wars: Rogue One sales continue to dominate other 2016 holiday releases.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, which will come out in late December 2017, will likely reach, if not surpass, the box office successes of its predecessors. Episode VIII will continue where The Force Awakens left off, following Rey on her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker. The upcoming film will feature Kylo Ren, his knights, and explore Rey’s origins.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT
Transformers: The Last Knight, formerly Transformers 5, is a direct sequel to 2014’s Transformers: Age of Extinction. The film follows Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobot forces, as he searches universes for Quintessons, mysterious beings thought to have created the Transformers race.
Meanwhile, Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), the main character of Transformers: Age of Extinction, will meet a new alien threat on Earth. Although there is little information about characters available, actors such as NBC’s Jerrod Carmichael have apparently signed on as comic relief personas.
The film primarily takes place in Detroit, Michigan, but various scenes will be shot at sites around the world, including Cuba. The Last Knight is the second major Hollywood production to film in Cuba following President Obama’s relaxation and eventual lift of restrictions against Cuba. The fifth and final addition to the Transformers live-action series will hit theaters on June 23, 2017.
This sixth installment in the overall Alien film series is the sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus, and it promises to be almost as frightening as Prometheus was confusing. The sci-fi horror will follow the crew of the colony ship Covenant on their journey to a remote planet on the edge of the galaxy.
During the trip, they stumble upon a planet they come to believe is an uncharted paradise. However, the crew quickly realize their utopian haven is a dangerous world inhabited by monstrous creatures, and David, the sole survivor of the failed Prometheus mission.
Michael Fassbender plays as Walter, a synthetic android that aids the crew aboard Covenant, and as David, an earlier, less advanced android and former crew member of Prometheus. Alien: Covenant will be available in theaters on May 19, 2017.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES
Whether another Pirates of the Caribbean film seems warranted or not, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will provide a much-needed break from the darker themes of 2017’s blockbuster lineup. Audiences will join Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in a brand-new adventure filled with treasure and misfortune.
The premise of the film has Captain Jack Sparrow fleeing from his old nemesis, Capitan Salazar. Determined to exterminate all pirates and enact revenge on Jack Sparrow, Salazar escapes from the Devil’s Triangle with his army of ghost pirates in tow.
Sparrow’s only hope of surviving Salazar’s vendetta lies in the Trident of Poseidon, a mythical artifact that grants its wielder control over the seas. The newest entry to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is scheduled for theater release on May 26, 2017.
The new Spider-Man film takes place just after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Following his experience with the Avengers, young Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, returns home to live with this aunt in Queens, New York.
Parker finds it challenging to balance his life as a high school student with the duties of his alter ego. Still, he hopes to prove himself to his mentor Tony Stark, and the larger superhero community, that he is more than just a “friendly neighborhood superhero.”
His skills are soon put to the test with the appearance of Vulture, a reoccurring supervillain in the Spider-Man comic universe. Spider-Man: Homecoming will be released in U.S. theaters on July 7, 2017.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
The first Guardian of the Galaxy film performed phenomenally in domestic and international theaters, and the 2017 sequel aims to match its predecessor’s success. As with most films released by Marvel Studios, the Guardians of the Galaxy series is based on serialized comics by the same name.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the intergalactic superhero team travel to the outer reaches of the universe and embark on even greater adventures. Along the way, old enemies become allies, and the guardians struggle to keep their newfound family together as they help Peter Quill unravel the mysteries of his parentage. Vol. 2 takes place exactly two months after Guardians of the Galaxy. The film is set to arrive in theaters on May 5, 2017.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
War for Planet of the Apes is the sequel to 2014’s critically acclaimed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and the third installment in the Planet of the Apes reboot series. Following the events of the previous film, the apes suffer heavy losses in their war against the human army led by a merciless Colonel.
Caesar (voiced by Andy Serkis) struggles with his darker, base instincts as he resolves to avenge his kin in a bitter battle that will ultimately decide the fate of both species. If Dawn of the Planet of the Apes documented Caesar’s transformation into a husband, father, and a powerful leader, the upcoming film will detail how he protects or loses everything he holds dear. War for the Planet of the Apes will be released on July 14, 2017.
Precious few details have been released regarding the plot of Marvel’s upcoming Thor movie. However, leaks and teasers hint at a few character deaths, and the involvement of Hela, the Norse Goddess of Death. The title itself is indicative of the film’s importance to Marvel’s cinematic universe.
In Norse mythology, Ragnarök or the “twilight of the gods” is a series of future events that ultimately result in the deaths of prominent Norse deities such as Odin, Thor, Heimdall, and Loki. Specific details differ depending on the interpretation, but Ragnarök is usually depicted as the Norse version of the apocalypse.
Regardless of the myth, the events of Ragnarök result in the destruction of many, if not all, worlds. However, whether Thor: Ragnarök will adhere to the mythological canon is yet to be determined, as some details (such as Hela being Loki’s daughter) may drastically affect the plot. The new Thor movie will arrive in theaters on November 3, 2017.
Much to the delight of its fans, DC plans to add another superhero movie to the DC Extended Universe in late 2017. Justice League, which comes on the heels of the animated film Justice League Dark, is set a few months after the events of Batman v. Superman. Inspired by Superman’s selfless sacrifice, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince assemble a team of superhuman individuals to thwart Steppenwolf and the threat he poses to the inhabitants of Earth.
The Justice League will include Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), the Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Green Lantern will also appear in the film, but only as a cameo. Justice League will hit box offices on November 17th.
GHOST IN THE SHELL
Despite the controversy surrounding its casting choices, Ghost in the Shell is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated films of the new year. The film is based on a popular Japanese comic series by the same name. Since its serialization in 1989, Ghost in the Shell has had many video game, film, and television series adaptions.
Although many individuals eagerly await the release of Hollywood’s take on the iconic series, it will be heavily scrutinized by fervent fans and critics alike. The sci-fi action film will follow the story of The Major (played by Scarlett Johansson), a cyborg policewoman, and her counter-terrorist task force Section 9 as they track and apprehend cyber criminals. Ghost in the Shell will be available in U.S. theaters on March 31, 2017.
DC is pulling out all the stops for 2017, and fans of the Extended Universe are overjoyed to finally watch their beloved heroine on the big screen. Wonder Woman is intended as the fourth installment of the overall DC Extended Universe, starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
Film production for Wonder Woman started in late fall of 2015 under the working title Nightingale. Since then, the production has filmed scenes in the United Kingdom, France, and Southern Italy. In the movie, an American pilot by the name of Steve Trevor crashes on Themyscira, the island home of the Amazonian race.
There, the military pilot meets Princess Diana and tells her about the world war occurring at the time. Prompted by his tales of battle, Diana leaves her island home, explores the world, and brings an early end to World War I as Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is scheduled for a late spring release on June 2nd.
BLADE RUNNER 2049
Out of the many science fiction and science fantasy film to be released in the new year, Blade Runner 2049 is arguably the most iconic. The neo-noir sci-fi movie is the sequel to Blade Runner (1982), starring Harrison Ford. The upcoming movie is set thirty years after the first film.
New blade runner and LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling) uncovers a secret with the potential to plunge what remains of society into chaos. K’s discovery sparks his search for Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for thirty years. The Blade Runner series is based on the hit 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Blade Runner 2049 will arrive in theaters on October 6, 2017.
Power Rangers (2017) is based on a popular live-action TV series by the same name. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers debuted on the Fox Kids programming block in August 1993. The television series borrows much of its footage from the Japanese television drama Super Sentai, produced by Toei Company.
The premise of the film is as follows: Millions of years before the events of Power Rangers (2017), the warrior Zordon leads the original Power Rangers in a battle against the fearsome Rita Repulsa, a megalomaniacal intergalactic being. The Rangers stop Repulsa, banishing her to the edges of the cosmos, but they lose their physical forms in the process.
Sixty-five million years later, five high school outcasts discover artifacts known as Power Coins, which were the source of the original Ranger’s powers. These teenagers awaken as the new Power Rangers, inadvertently drawing Rita back to earth.
Power Rangers will portray most of the characters from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, but with a new cast. Although the trailers alluded to heavier themes in the movie, Power Rangers will not have a dark tone. Furthermore, its rating is unlikely to stray past PG-13, so older and younger fans alike will be able to enjoy Power Rangers on the big screen. The 90s TV show reboot will be available in theaters on March 24, 2017.
KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Amidst the numerous superhero, science fantasy, and science fiction themed films of 2017, the British-American spy action comedy Kingsman: The Golden Circle, is a breath of fresh air. For those unfamiliar with the original film, Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) was like a brilliant mix between a Spy Kids movie and a James Bond film, complete with cool spy gadgets, tailored suits, espionage, explosions, and a lot of dark humor.
In the upcoming film, secret agent Galahad or “Eggsy” Unwin, “Roxy” Morton or Lancelot, and Merlin are forced to travel to the United States and join forces with Statesmen, Kingsman’s American counterpart. Together (though very reluctantly), both agencies work to put a stop to Poppy, a criminal mastermind who locates and destroys Kingsman’s headquarters.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is scheduled to reach theaters in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2017, and in the U.S. on October 9th.
Before you take in one of these superhero, science fantasy and science fiction flicks, be sure to get your fangear before the films hit the theater. Fan merchandise is available two weeks before the release so you can be ready for the big show!