2017 was a wild year and 2018 promises to be just as packed with interesting celebrities or at least celebrities that make news. People to watch include, Shohei Ohtani, the newly signed Los Angeles pitcher and hitter from Japan who is sure to shake things up. Alden Ehrenreich, who is playing Han Solo in the Star Wars movie to be released in May, is about to go into hyperdrive. The Olympics are coming up soon in South Korea and athletes including alpine skiers Julia Mancuso and Lindsey Vonn promise to heat things up on the frigid slopes. These are just a sampling of the celebrities to watch and enjoy in 2018.
15. Sugarland Express
Jennifer Nettles, a co-founder of Sugarland, along with Kristian Bush, stormed onto the country music scene in 2002 with hits like Stay and Something More. After a string of hits and successful tours Sugarland decided to hit the pause button in 2013 and go their separate ways. The band members pursued their solo careers for a four year stint that felt a lot longer to their enthusiastic fans who have been counting the days until the band got back together. Near the end of 2017 the fans got their wish, but Jennifer Nettles made it clear they intend to continue with their solo work in 2018 and beyond, calling their situation “the best of both worlds.”
14. 2018: The Year Tourists go into Space
Richard Branson has been in business for a long time. He achieved great wealth with his Virgin Megastores, Virgin Atlantic Airline and Virgin Atlantic. But he founded his true passion project in 2004 when he started work on getting tourists into space with Virgin Galactic. For more than a decade Branson has poured untold millions and suffered numerous setbacks in his quest to achieve commercial space flight with SpaceShipOne. The company has since progressed with SpaceShipTwo and Branson has recently confirmed tests have progressed to the point that the first flights could happen in 2018. More than 500 customers have already payed the $250,000 to be the first to go into space six at a time. Many things could still go wrong, but if it happens Branson and his company would rocket back into the headlines.
13. Its all Downhill
Everything going downhill is a good thing for U.S. Olympic Alpine skier Julia Mancuso. She won a gold medal in the giant slalom at the 2006 Olympics as well as a pair of silver medals in 2010. The 33-year-old athlete hopes to bring home the gold from South Korea in 2018. In 2010 Mancuso launched her own lingerie line called Kiss My Tiara and has also modeled for the company. When she’s not on the slopes Mancuso enjoys other sports such as surfing and freeride skiing. Although only in her early thirties this is not young for a competitive downhill skier and one has to wonder how many runs she has left so fans should expect a lot from her at the 2018 Olympics.
12. Every Man
Jesse Plemons is one of those nondescript working actors in hollywood who gets steady work, but will likely never be a household name. Lemons has ben working steady in both television and film for over a decade with t.v. credits that include Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, Fargo and Black Mirror. He has also had roles in several movies including the 2017 Hostiles with Christian Bale. Though not blessed with traditional leading man looks, Plemons acting chops are solid. With several more projects currently in the works it feels like the breadth and quality of his work will reach a tipping point and 2018 could be banner one for him and he gets the recognition he deserves.
11. Shohei the Money
According to Japanese baseball player Shohei Ohtani, he always wanted to play America’s Major League Baseball. However, he did agree to play for several years in Japan after being drafted by the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Unlike most starting pitchers, Ohtani is also a formidable hitter who can hit home runs. He has also shown to have good speed out of the batter’s box. When he signed a big contract with the Los Angeles Angles it sounded too good to be true for some fans. American League pitchers are not supposed to be good hitters, but Ohtani wants to hit when he isn’t pitching. it remains to be seen just how much action he’ll see at the plate, but the young star is definitely worth watching in 2018.
10. Aussie Beauty
Doesn’t it seem like there are too many attractive Australians? It doesn’t seem fair. Anyway, Samara Weaving has been acting in Australia for a few years, but she may have had her break out role in America after appearing in the acclaimed 2017 movie Three Billboards in Ebbing Missouri. It probably didn’t hurt that Hugo Weaving is her uncle, but Ms. Weaving worked her way up getting small television and movie roles that have added up to an impressive resume considering she is only 25-years-old. Viewers of Showtime are probably familiar with her small recurring role on the comedy series SMILF. Samara’s combination of looks and recent roles should make her someone to watch, not just in 2018, but in the years ahead.
9. California Dreaming
Travis Allen had only been a member of the California State Assembly for five years when he announced his candidacy for governor. Anyone who knows anything about California politics knows what an uphill climb this will be for the 45-year-old from Huntington Beach. On the plus side he is handsome, articulate and good on television. His policies appear to be solidly conservative in an self-consciously Left-Wing state which makes him a genuine outsider in an era when outsiders are getting a better hearing from many voters. Now the bad news: California has a Left-Wing government in Sacramento that goes out of its way to attack President Trump. Even so, Allen’s only hope is likely an appeal to Trump voters and independents of all stripes who want to overturn the establishment. Good luck with that.
More people have likely heard of LaVar Ball than Lonzo Ball even though it is the latter who starts for the Los Angeles Lakers. LaVar Ball is Lonzo’s outspoken father who got embroiled in a Twitter feud with the president when Ball’s other son was arrested in China for shoplifting and Trump reportedly helped get the boy home. Loans Ball is the one worth watching in 2018 because despite all the distractions of all the media coverage he is actually a talented player. At 20-years-old he has a lot of maturing to do if he’s going to be a great NBA player. But as the 2018 season progresses he could hit his stride and showcase the athletic gifts fans have been waiting to see. Hopefully his father will recede into the background and let Lonzo settle into his role as a Lakers star.
7. Lara Croft: Rebooted Heroine
Alicia Vikander has appeared in some notable movies including The Danish Girl and Ex Machina. She won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her work in The Danish Girl, but that was still a small movie. Vikander is about to become known to the world as Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot being released in March 2018. Reboots on top of reboots are a fact of life in Hollywood and as long as they are good fans seem willing to continue to embrace them. Many of these fans grew up watching Angelina Jolie portray the video game heroine turned action movie icon. Big budget blockbusters are a game for the young (mostly) and Vikander is only 29. The pieces seem to be in place for 2018 to be her breakout year.
6. Skaters From the Hermit Kingdom
Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik of North Korea are almost unknown outside skating circles and not particularly well known in skating circles but in February 2018 the pair will get their chance in the spot light. Pyeongchang, South Korea is just across the demilitarized zone from Communist North Korea where the pair hail from. Tensions between the two countries have been high over the past year as North Korea continues to pursue a dangerous nuclear missile program. Politics will be sidelined for a few weeks in favor of the inspiring spectacle of sport as Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik pursue gold. This may be the only chance these two young athletes have to get any recognition before they have to return to the Hermit Kingdom.
5. Stanton Room Only
Looking back it seems obvious that Giancarlo would not spend his entire baseball career with the Marlins. The 28-year-old slugger agreed to a deal to be traded to the New York Yankees. The Yankees agreed to take on the bulk of Stanton’s huge $295 million contact with the Marlins. Stanton ranks fourth in home runs among active players with 267 and a slugging percentage of .554 since 2010. The Bronx can be a great stage for players to showcase their talents, but it can also be a pressure cooker that can wear down players who can’t rise to the occasion. The slugger is joining a Yankee team with plenty of fire power so he won’t be under a lot of pressure right away, but the size of his salary means he’s expected to perform.
4. Rabbiting to the Top
You may not have not have heard of Stacy Brown-Philpott, but you may have heard of TaskRabbit the “Convenient and Fast Way to Get Things Done.” This service, which you can access from your smart phone connects people who need work done around their homes with people willing to do the work. brown-philpott became the CEO TaskRabbit after spending ten years at Google. As a graduate from both the Wharton School of Business and Stanford University she seems well prepared to continue to make an impact in 2018 at the highest levels of American business.
3. Hurd Him on the Radio
Right now country music fans probably know Ryan Hurd best as the writer of Blake Shelton’s hit “Lonely Tonight.” The Kalamazoo, Michigan native is 31-years-old and has worked for years to make it in Nashville. In 2017 he signed a deal with Sony Music Nashville to release his debut album. He’s had some success on Spotify with a couple of songs and he would like to transfer this success to his albums going forward. As a talented artist with good looks and a low-key personality he is poised for a break out in 2018.
2. 11 in 2018
When Netflix released the first season of Stranger Things in 2016 the combination of dark conspiracy and 1980’s pop culture revival it quickly became a sensation. The cast is good all around and includes veterans like Wynona Ryder and Matthew Modine, but Millie Bobby Brown as “Eleven” is the star. Born in in Spain in 2004, she was barely 12 when she filmed the the first season of hit science fiction show. Brown and the second season of the show proved to be just as popular with fans and there is already anticipation for the third and perhaps final season. In the meantime she has finished work on the forthcoming monster movie Godzilla: King of Monsters. However, this movie isn’t due in theaters until 2019 so fans are going to have to give Stranger Things another look.
1. You’re all Clear Kid
Han Solo is one of the popular culture icons you don’t want to mess with. Disney has had a pretty good run since buy-in Lucasfilm in 2012, but Solo: A Star Wars Story, to be released in May 2018, feels like a gamble. Alden Ehrenreich is the young man they have entrusted with the keys to the Millennium Falcon. He appears to have a certain roguish charm that could make the movie work or it fall flat. Ehrenreich is a talented actor with work Hail, Caesar!, Yellow Birds and Rules Don’t Apply. He has the unenviable task of trying to put on Harrison Ford’s boots and blaster and play a character who has been an important part of many kids’ childhoods. He seems to have the talent and the looks to pull it off, but only time will tell.