If you like sequels, superheroes and Star Wars, you’re in for a big year.
If you’re feeling franchise fatigue, 2017 isn’t going to help. While we’re sure there will end up being plenty of great indie gems to enjoy this year, these are the movies that have already got their publicity machines in overdrive.
Okay, so the first solo Wolverine movie sucked and the second one, while much improved, still wasn’t great. But this thing… just watch this trailer, if you haven’t already. It’s the best trailer of 2016 — dark, intense and surprisingly heartfelt. Director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman are talking up a good game about sending out everyone’s favourite mutant on a high note, and we want to believe them.
Release date: March 2
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy blew us away in 2014 — it was the perfect blend of Star Wars and superheroes that we never knew we always wanted. The sequel, also directed by Gunn, brings the whole gang back, except Groot is an adorable baby now. Also, Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone are in it, for some reason. It’ll be worth it for the soundtrack alone.
We’re also looking forward to Marvel Studios’ other big 2017 flick, Thor: Ragnarok — partly shot in Brisbane, and directed by Kiwi legend Taika Waititi — but there’s no sign of a trailer for that one yet.
Release date: April 25
This one’s a bit of a strange beast — a co-production of Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios, it’s the second reboot of the Spider-Man franchise in the past four years, following the failed Andrew Garfield films. But Tom Holland made a strong impression as the wallcrawler in Captain America: Civil War, and this one has a massive cast, including Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark, Donald Glover in an undisclosed role and Michael Keaton (aka Birdman) as The Vulture. We’re optimistic.
Release date: July 6
Beauty and the Beast
Call it a cash-grab if you will, but Disney have been on a roll with their live-action adaptations of their classic animated films — Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book was a legit masterpiece, and David Lowery’s Pete’s Dragon was very solid, too. This one’s directed by Bill Condon, whose involvement in the Twilight saga raises a red flag, but Emma Watson is perfectly cast as Belle, Dan Stevens makes for an impressive Beast and the trailer brings up plenty of nostalgic feels. This is going to be huge.
Release date: March 23
The Lego Batman Movie
The break-out star of The Lego Movie, Will Arnett’s hilarious take on Batman, gets his own movie with a cast that includes Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, Michael Cera as Robin, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face (!), and Mariah Carey as the Mayor of Gotham City. Seriously. It’s a shame we’re getting it 48 whole days after the US, but it’ll be worth the wait.
Release date: March 30
Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created with 1978’s Alien (and basically ruined with 2012’s Prometheus). But while Prometheus smacked of pretension, Covenant looks like it’s not trying to be anything more than a slasher movie in space. It could be the Force Awakens of the Alien franchise — a back-to-basics, very deliberate return to what worked about the first movie. Whether or not you think that’s a good thing will depend on what you want out of an Alien movie.
Release date: May 18
Blade Runner 2049
Speaking of Ridley Scott, his other classic sci-fi movie, Blade Runner, is getting a sequel in 2017. It stars Ryan Gosling as a new blade runner on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a legendary blade runner who has been missing for 30 years. Okay, yes, the synopsis sounds a lot like The Force Awakens, but we trust director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario, Prisoners) to do something interesting with it.
Release date: October 5
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson is back with a new film that’s very much in the mold of his classic Fifth Element. Based on a French comic book series that probably inspired certain elements of Star Wars, Valerian stars Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, John Goodman and, uh, Herbie Hancock in a trippy sci-fi epic that looks set to blow a few minds.
Release date: TBA (Most likely July 20)
The DC Comics movies we got in 2016 — Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad — were underwhelming, to say the least. So the pressure is on them to deliver in 2017, first with Wonder Woman — the first solo female superhero movie — in June, and then with this all-star jam in November.
We’re excited for both films, but of the two, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little more excited to see the world’s greatest superheroes team up on screen for the first time. Zack Snyder is back in the director’s chair, so there’s a chance it could be a trainwreck — which could make the fall-out for DC and Warner Brothers interesting to watch.
Release date: November 16
Star Wars: Episode VIII
To say we’re ‘looking forward to’ Episode VIII might not be quite right. Certainly, we’re keen to see what happens next to Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren and co, but the anticipation is tinged with sadness by the knowledge that this will be the last time we’ll see Carrie Fisher’s General Leia on screen (unless ILM use their CGI trickery to bring her back for Episode IX, and ain’t nobody got time for that).
Still, no film in recent years left us on the edge of our seats quite like The Force Awakens, and we can’t wait to see what Luke Skywalker has to say for himself.
Release date: December 14