The science fiction genre is a great one, and no, it’s not just for geeks. Science fiction is all about opening its audience’s minds to new and exciting ideas and expanding their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Take Blade Runner, for example. It’s about a bunch of manmade artificial intelligences that become sentient, turn against the human race, and then assimilate themselves into society. Already, we have a lot to consider. We have the moral ethics of creating artificial intelligences and robots and cybernetic organisms to take into account. We have the fears of those A.I.s becoming sentient and trying to kill us, and the fear that if we made them look exactly like us, then we wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from anyone else, and we could be talking to a robot and not even realize it. With these ideas in mind, science fiction has grown from the early stories of H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov to become the most thought-provoking, interesting, and brilliant genre in fiction, and film has given it a huge helping hand in that respect. That longstanding tradition is looking to continue this year, with these 15 exciting upcoming science fiction movies!
This science fiction movie tells the story of a father who is plagued by a recurring nightmare in which his whole family dies. And then a terrible and evil force invades Earth and it looks as though this nightmare will come true. And then the father realizes he has some secret and hidden power that gives him a fighting chance against this evil force. The script was written, along with a couple of other writers, by Eric Heisserer, who received a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination at the Academy Awards a couple of years ago for writing the movie Arrival, which turned out to be a modern classic of the sci-fi genre. Hopefully the same will happen with this one (although Universal Pictures mysteriously pulled it off the release schedule recently).
14. Pacific Rim: Uprising
Pacific Rim did pretty well back in 2013, but not well enough to really warrant a sequel – that was, until the stars aligned and a Chinese conglomerate bought Legendary Pictures, because Pacific Rim performed really well in China and they were dying for a sequel. Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba are out, but John Boyega and Scott Eastwood are in. The plot of this sequel revolves around the kaiju monsters returning to our dimension to once again wreak havoc, but now the younger generation of Jaegers have to deal with them. It’ll be a fun little twist to keep the robots versus monsters big-scale destruction elevated above blind entertainment for two hours or so. The original’s director Guillermo del Toro and writer Travis Beacham have left the project, but in their place in Daredevil’s Steven S. DeKnight as writer and director. If you like huge sci-fi spectacle, this’ll be a real treat. Plus, in a move that surprises absolutely no one, Pacific Rim: Uprising is being groomed as the springboard into a wider cinematic universe, so you can expect to see a lot more Pacific Rim and its robots versus monsters carnage from now on.
Keanu Reeves has been on a roll lately, ever since John Wick brought him back into the public eye in 2014. According to IMDb, his 2018 sci-fi thriller Replicas is about a scientist (Reeves) who “becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident,” even if this means taking on the police and the government in order to clone their DNA back to life. The message will likely be not to mess with cloning technology, but we’ll be taken on a cinematic ride first. Based on the trailer, Ars Technica writer Annalee Newitz predicted that the movie would fall into the “so bad it’s good” category, writing: “It’s the best example I’ve ever seen of a movie that combines every sci-fi cliché into one intoxicating suicide soda of a plot. Can’t wait to watch this one.”
12. Fahrenheit 451
This adaptation of the classic dystopian sci-fi novel by the great Ray Bradbury will be airing on HBO later this year. The novel and this movie take their title from the temperature at which books burn, which should give you some idea of the kind of story you’re in for. This is Bradbury’s answer to the likes of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. This is science fiction for the Trump era. The teaser trailer was released a couple of weeks ago by HBO via their Twitter account and attached to it was the movie’s promotional tagline, which seems to elude to today’s age of fake news. The tagline reads, “Fact. Fiction. It all burns.” The movie is being written and directed by Ramin Bahrani, who was hailed by Roger Ebert as “the director of the decade” in the 2000s.
11. The Titan
“There can be no hope without sacrifice,” and so goes the tagline for this intriguing sci-fi movie about a military family who take part in a dangerous scientific experiment to advance humankind’s knowledge of our own species and our exploration of outer space. It’s certainly aiming for big things, which is always exciting, even if it doesn’t always pan out. This will be the feature length directorial debut of short film director Lennart Ruff, and it stars Sam Worthington, although it does not have any connection to his previous Titan-related movies, Clash of the Titans and Wrath of the Titans. Taylor Schilling (aka Piper Chapman) and Tom Wilkinson also star in the movie, which is set for a nice, early April release later this year.
10. Captive State
Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ Rupert Wyatt is directing and co-writing this interesting take on the alien invasion concept, which is set ten years after aliens have already come to Earth and enslaved the human race. The cast includes the always brilliant John Goodman and the story is original, which there’s a serious lack of in Hollywood these days. In an interview with Den of Geek, Wyatt described his movie as “very grounded and relatable to our world.” Just like all the great science fiction stories out there, this one will be allegorical of our current social and political climate (which has never been more terrifying or divisive, so this is perfect). An urban setting, an oppressive force, bleak dystopia – this is relevant stuff.
9. Mortal Engines
The movie Mortal Engines will adapt the beloved science fiction novel series of the same name by the great author Philip Reeve. The script is being written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens, the trio behind the critically acclaimed and universally adored The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it’s an adventure story set hundreds of years after a catastrophic apocalyptic event. The movie is set in a bizarre steampunk world of the future, where whole cities have been turned into motor vehicles that chase each other. Jackson won’t be directing Mortal Engines, but replacing him in the director’s chair is his long-time friend Christian Rivers. They met at the age of seventeen and Rivers has storyboarded almost every movie Jackson has ever directed, and now, it’s time for him to take up the mantle.
8. Ready Player One
Ready Player One was the movie that spent so long in the visual effects stage of post-production that director Steven Spielberg had enough time to duck out, do a whole entire other movie (The Post), get it financed and produced and distributed into theaters and nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture, and then come back in time to put the finishing touches on it. What can you say? The guy is a movie god. Based on Ernest Cline’s novel, IMDb describes the movie’s premise as this: “When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg.” As if that’s not exciting enough, check out the cast: Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, T.J. Miller – so many terrific, talented people.
This one will probably change its title at some point to include Cloverfield, since it’s been reported by /Film to be a part of that franchise. Netflix dropped The Cloverfield Paradox recently, which was a retooled version of the Bad Robot production God Particle – much like The Cellar became 10 Cloverfield Lane, God Particle had its script rewritten to become The Cloverfield Paradox, a sci-fi adventure that tells the story of how the monsters of the Cloverfield franchise came to be. Overlord will also serve as a part of that mythology, taking it back into a historical setting as two World War II troops are shot down over Normandy during the D-Day invasion and have to face supernatural forces that resulted from Nazi experimentation. As usual with J.J. Abrams productions, the movie is shrouded in secrecy – but it’s bound to be awesome!
6. Bumblebee: The Movie
This movie went from being called Transformers Universe: Bumblebee to simply being called Bumblebee to the title it now has, which is Bumblebee: The Movie. If you haven’t guessed already, it’s a Transformers spinoff movie about the Bumblebee character. It’s the first move toward expanding the Transformers franchise into wider, larger cinematic universe, although they may have jumped the gun early on that one – the diminishing box office returns of The Last Knight made it very clear that audiences are being turned off the robots in disguise. Still, this ‘80s-set tale of the relationship between a young, naive Bumblebee and a Californian teenage girl (Hailee Steinfeld) could be the one to bring it back around. After all, the incomparable John Cena plays a government agent!
Mute is Duncan Jones’ passion project – Duncan Jones, of course, being the son of music legend David Bowie and director of the movies Moon and Warcraft. It’s like Blade Runner meets Casablanca, and it stars Alexander Skarsgard and Paul Rudd. Deadline.com has outlined the movie’s plot: “The film is set in Berlin, 40 years from today. A roiling city of immigrants, where East clashes against West in a science-fiction Casablanca. Leo Beiler (Skarsgard), a mute bartender, has one reason and one reason only for living here, and she’s disappeared. But when Leo’s search takes him deeper into the city’s underbelly, an odd pair of American surgeons (led by Rudd) seem to be the only recurring clue, and Leo can’t tell if they can help, or who he should fear most.” Mute will be released on Netflix next month.
4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Director J.A. Bayona, who’s already proven himself to be a whiz behind the camera with movies like The Orphanage and The Impossible, is taking over from Colin Trevorrow as the director of the sequel to Jurassic World, which will see Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return to their roles as they head back to dinosaur-infested Isla Nublar to preserve what they can and make sure the dinosaurs don’t somehow manage to escape and run rampant on the mainland (this is probably what will happen in the third act). Oh, and also, along the way, they discover that the island is also a volcano, so they have that bit of joy to contend with. Bayona has compared the sequel to The Empire Strikes Back and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (read: darker than the first one), while Trevorrow, who has written the script for this one, says that its story is inspired by a Dr. Alan Grant quote from the first film: “Dinosaurs and man, two species separated by 65 million years of evolution, have suddenly been thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea of what to expect?” Oh, and plus, Jeff Goldblum is returning to the role of Dr. Ian Malcolm! Life does find a way!
3. Alita: Battle Angel
This mega budget sci-fi action adventure extravaganza is coming at you from none other than James Cameron. Cameron himself was initially interested in directing the film, but since he’s busy with not one, not two, but four Avatar sequels, he handed over the reins to Robert Rodriguez of Spy Kids fame. Cameron is still producing and writing the movie, so he’ll get to oversee the $200 million production to make sure everything goes according to plan. His intentions are to adapt “the spine story” of the original manga comics by Yukito Kishiro, which were introduced to him by The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro, so that all the key plot points from the first few volumes of the source material are put on the big screen.
The trailer for this movie makes it look super weird and indecipherably intellectual, but we should all have faith in Alex Garland. The same could be said about the trailers for the last movie he directed, Ex Machina, and that turned out to be amazing. Annihilation is about a biologist who is trying to figure out the mysteries shrouding her husband’s disappearance. This one will be very female-centric, with a terrific cast behind it: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson (it will surely pass the Bechdel test), Oscar Isaac, and Benedict Wong. Although the books that the movie is based on are a trilogy, Garland has only based this one on the first installment: “At the point I started working on Annihilation, there was only one of the three books. I knew that it was planned as a trilogy by the author, but there was only the manuscript for the first book. I really didn’t think too much about the trilogy side of it.”
1. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Let’s not get into that old debate about whether or not Star Wars is science fiction or not, since it has robots and lasers and spaceships and aliens, but it doesn’t have a grounding in any real science and it’s all pure fantasy, so maybe it’s fantasy, but like space fantasy. Forget all that. For the purposes of this list, it’s science fiction. Solo: A Star Wars Story is the next “anthology” movie in the Star Wars franchise. In other words, it’s not an “episode” that continues the main saga, like who Rey’s parents are or if Kylo Ren will get his redemption or any of that. It’s more of a detour, like Rogue One. This detour will take us through the early life of Han Solo, the intergalactic smuggler who’s been a cinematic icon for over forty years, so it should be pretty darn good.