Sequels are like old friends. Though they might occasionally overstay their welcome, you're usually glad to have them around. 2017 is a banner year for cinematic follow-ups, from independent movies to Academy Award winners to franchise cash-cows.
The Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises won’t be the only movies lighting up cinemas this year. Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting is getting a sequel, as is Sicario, which will see the return of Benicio Del Toro in the lead role of Soldado. Though Denis Villeneuve won’t be reprising his role as the movie’s director, he’ll be off promoting Blade Runner 2049, a follow-up to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi game changer.
Star Wars will continue its mainline story with Episode VIII, and the battle between humans and primates will peak in War for the Planet of the Apes. And that’s just the beginning. From Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to Jumanji, 2017 is a sequel lover’s dream come true. If you're all about entirely original works, though, you might want to close your eyes.
Here are the 15 Biggest Sequels Coming In 2017:
15 John Wick: Chapter Two
Release Date: February 10, 2017
The Baba Yaga and his dog have returned. As the follow-up to the 2014 sleeper hit, John Wick: Chapter 2 promises to up the ante and summon Keanu Reeves’ famed hitman back out of retirement. Chad Stahelski, who co-directed the first film, returns behind the camera and leads an all-star cast of actors, including Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, Peter Stormare, Thomas Sadoski, Peter Serafinowicz, and Common, the latter of whom plays a rival assassin of John Wick.
Judging by the trailer, all of the hallmark traits of the original film will be returning with a vengeance. From the breakneck editing to the sizzling action scenes, John Wick: Chapter 2 will use the holy city of Rome as a backdrop for a visceral showdown of competing assassins. Given its February 10th release date, and more than two years for viewers to have watched the first John Wick, you can expect the sequel to light up the box office when it debuts.
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Many superhero movies give viewers what they want, but most never deliver what they truly deserve. Logan is poised to do both, turning Wolverine into the gritty, R-rated action star he was always seemed destined to become. We knew it as soon as Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” strummed over the Marvel Comics logo in the trailer: this X-Men anthology film was going to break new ground. Those R-rated fantasies were then confirmed in the red-band trailer when Logan’s adamantium claws tore through a henchman’s skull.
Hugh Jackman returns in what will likely be his final appearance as Wolverine, but he’s in good company. Flanked by Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, who appears to be in even worse condition than the battered and bruised protagonist, Wolverine is also joined by Laura Kinney (Dafne Keen), the hotly-anticipated X-23. Under the oversight of Wolverine-veteran director James Mangold, Logan also stars Stephen Merchant as Caliban, Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce, leader of the Reavers, and Richard Grant as Dr. Zander Rice. Simply put, it's shaping up to be a distinctly different superhero flick, the likes of which we've never seen before. Here's hoping it lives up to the hype.
13 T2 Trainspotting
Release Date: March 3, 2017
For Danny Boyle, Ewan McGregor, and everyone else involved with the movie, Trainspotting was a career-defining project. By masterfully adapting Irvine Welsh’s gonzo novel, the 1996 black comedy reached an untouched echelon of cinematic brilliance. Set in Glasgow, Trainspotting follows the dangerous and unpredictable lives of heroin addicts, Mark Renton (McGregor), Spud (Ewan Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Tommy (Kevin McKidd), all of whom deal with the wanton behavior of the psychopathic pugilist, Begbie (Robert Carlyle).
Against all odds, almost every character from the original story is still alive, and they’ll be back in T2 Trainspotting this March. Now 20 years on, things are different for the motley crew, and Renton begins his journey home to make peace with his friends. Based off Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting sequel novel, Porno, T2 shows the gang delving back into old habits, familiar places, and doing their best to avoid trouble with Begbie. Though 2017 will see a great many films open in theaters, few of them are poised to present an experience as raucous as this.
12 The Fate of the Furious
Release Date: April 14, 2017
They’re back, and this time, they have a tank. The furious family is making their eighth appearance this summer, and if the trailer is any indication, they’ll be dealing with their biggest threat yet: the betrayal of Dominic Toretto. In The Fate of the Furious, the erstwhile leader of the pack turns his back on the team and partners up with Cipher (Charlize Theron), a criminal temptress who manages to seduce Dom’s allegiance.
Enter Frank Petty (Kurt Russell), head of a special ops outfit who dares to put Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) on the same team to track down Dom. This time around, it’s all-out war. With Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray in the driver’s seat, The Fate of the Furious features the series’ most daring action sequences yet, including one with a nuclear submarine breaking glaciers under the wheels of Roman, Tej, and Letty.
11 Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Not since the Star Wars original trilogy has intergalactic space action so perfectly blended with comedy. Thanks to James Gunn’s wildly entertaining adaptation of the comics, Guardians of the Galaxy turned a high-risk cinematic bet into one of the most popular franchises in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After raking in an impressively large domestic sum of $333 million, it’s hardly surprising that a sequel got moved to the fast-lane.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of the most anticipated movies of the year, but rather than coast on the success of its founder, the sequel aims to expand its cosmic reach. Loaded with action and a more complex and personal story, Vol. 2 enlists Kurt Russell as Peter Quill’s (aka Star Lord) dad, Ego the Living Planet. Nathan Fillion will also play a prominent role in the movie, as will veteran actors Tommy Flanagan and Elizabeth Debicki.
10 Alien: Covenant
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Since Ridley Scott first introduced us to the Xenomorph, we’ve never wanted to say goodbye. While the Alien franchise has had its highs and lows over the years, it is positioned to make a comeback in the director’s much-ballyhooed return to the franchise. Following the events of Prometheus, consider Alien: Covenant as a “prequel sequel.” Though plot details are known, the violent teaser trailer makes clear that the movie has embraced its horror roots. Considering no film had truly merged science fiction with unabashed horror sequences, the original Alien blazed new trails.
Michael Fassbender will return, as will Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw (though the extent of her role is unknown), but the Covenant cast enters a new team to the Alien universe. Katherine Waterson’s “Daniels” seems like a Ripley-esque heroine, while Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir and James Franco round out the squad. May can’t come fast enough.
9 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Release Date: May 26, 2017
With its fifth film set to sail this summer, the Pirates franchise is about to celebrate its fourteenth birthday. Not bad for a series of movies based off a simple ride at Disneyland. Of the four movies already released, two of them hauled in well over a billion dollars, including the most recent Jerry Bruckheimer-driven adventure, On Stranger Tides. Anyone who doubts the box office power of Johnny Depp in swashbuckling gear should simply look at the box office receipts.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see how Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales fares after a six-year hiatus in cinemas. Jack Sparrow is a legendary character, but the fifth movie will see him behind the wheel not of The Black Pearl, but of a new ship, The Dying Gull. Here’s hoping his vessel has reasonable speed, because Sparrow will be on the run from the vicious Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) who aims to kill every last pirate. Sparrow’s only hope is to partner with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), as they seek to find the Trident of Poseidon.
8 Transformers: The Last Knight
Release Date: June 23, 2017
Also in its fifth iteration, the Transformers franchise looks set to enhance its longevity with The Last Knight. Michael Bay returns to the director’s chair for what he claims will be his final outing in the world of Optimus Prime. For Paramount Studios and every producer involved with the franchise, Transformers confidently trades critical praise for hefty payouts and a total international box office of over $3.5 billion. Hasbro always had a hot property on their hands, but surely no one could anticipate the toys' insanely lucrative potential in theaters.
Mark Wahlberg will be reprising his role as Cade Yeager, joined by Transformers veterans Stanley Tucci, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and John Turturro. But this time, things are different. The Last Knight looks beyond American cities and small towns, delving deep into global history and legend. Featuring King Arthur, Nazis, Winston Churchill, cryptic artifacts and more, The Last Knight looks to put the Autobots in their most complex narrative yet.
7 War for the Planet of the Apes
Release Date: July 14, 2017
In the hotly anticipated culmination of the trilogy, War for the Planet of the Apes delves into the inevitable. From that fateful relationship of Will Rodman (James Franco) and his young chimp, Caesar (the inimitable mo-cap master, Andy Serkis), to growing dissension between the humans and the primates in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, all roads have lead to a bi-species war that will determine the rightful heirs of planet Earth.
The new Apes trilogy would make Charlton Heston proud. Though the first movie debuted nearly 50 years ago, the re-imagined story has parlayed those original themes into something truly primal. War for the Planet of the Apes is set to tell a cautionary tale full of violence and discord, where a hope of resolution is nowhere in sight. Director Matt Reeves (who also shepherded the previous film), has admitted to drawing on a panoply of classic westerns and war movies to deliver something truly exciting. With that in mind, it’s little wonder he has introduced a Colonel Kurtz-like villain in the form of Woody Harrelson.
6 Blade Runner 2049
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Denis Villeneuve is among the most exciting directors in the industry. Each of his movies have made a lasting impression, from the gut-wrenching Prisoners to the disarmingly beautiful Arrival. Alongside frequent collaborator and world-renowned director of photography, Roger Deakins, Villeneuve makes movies few other creative minds can equal. When it was announced that he would be helming the sequel to Ridley Scott’s hugely influential Blade Runner, Villeneuve seemed to not only be a perfect fit, but the only director suited to taking on such a daunting task.
Blade Runner 2049 is a long ten months away, but we already know that Harrison Ford is reprising his role as Rick Deckard. LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling) is armed with a deadly secret and the urgent mission of tracking down Deckard, the former blade runner who has been off the grid for thirty years. Plot details are at a minimum, but considering the movie is almost a year down the pipeline, that’s to be expected. Either way, Blade Runner 2049 is the kind of movie you want to go into knowing as little as possible.
5 Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Guy Ritchie’s smash-mouth style created a genre, and with Kingsman: The Secret Service, director Matthew Vaughn took it to the next level. There’s something distinctly pulpy in British cinema, a devil-may-care cockiness that infuses its stories and characters with unmatched panache. The first Kingsman took viewers by surprise. By starting with an immensely satisfying geopolitical satire and packing it with an eclectic cast of Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and even Mark Hamill, The Secret Service played out like a Roger Moore-era James Bond on speed.
F-bombs flew, heads exploded and Taron Edgerton’s Gary ‘Eggsy’ Unwin guaranteed himself a place in the follow-up, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Matthew Vaughn is back in the saddle, and though certain cast members won’t be making a reprisal, a great many veterans will be stepping in, including Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges, Pedro Pascal and Halle Berry. If it’s anything like its predecessor, The Golden Circle is sure to be one of the most fun pictures of the year.
4 Thor: Ragnarok
Release Date: November 3, 2017
With Phase Three firmly underway, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is expanding faster than our own. It’s a good thing Doctor Strange knocked it out of the park, because it looks like the Sorcerer Supreme will be making an appearance in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. Why will Strange be needed? As it happens, Thor is in major trouble, having been locked up in a distant galaxy and left countless miles from his trusted hammer. Though one might argue Thor could use the vacation, his assistance is imminently needed at Asgard, given the “Ragnarok” (or in Norse, “the death of the gods and the end of the world”) that is about to take place.
Hela (Cate Blanchett) is to blame for the trouble, but before Thor can even worry about his homeland, he must deal with an even greater existential threat: a mano a mano duel with ol’ Jade Jaws himself, the Hulk. At least, we hope.
3 Star Wars Episode VIII
Release Date: December 15, 2017
With a stellar reputation and a massive box office haul, Rogue One not only proved the value of Star Wars anthology films, but it temporarily distracted viewers from the impending Episode VIII. That’s very likely the reason we have yet to see even an official image from the production, much less a teaser trailer or even the title. Rogue One was the ultimate commercial for George Lucas’ expanding cosmic sandbox, and as it cycles out of cinemas, the lights finally shift to The Force Awakens sequel.
In both the fictional world of Star Wars and the one that we inhabit, so much has changed. Major characters have left us, but a batch of new ones have captured our attention. Rey, Finn, and Poe will return, fighting opposite Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, General Hux and more. The question remains: where will director Rian Johnson take us? How will Luke Skywalker factor in the plot? It’s one of the last major movies of the year, and Star Wars Episode VIII is undoubtedly the most feverishly anticipated sequel of them all.
Release Date: December 22, 2017
Historians will look back on American cinema and determine the 1990’s as the Golden Age for kids movies. Jumanji ranks high on that list, due largely to Robin Williams’ iconic performance. Though talk of a Jumanji sequel long predated his death, many fans balked at the notion of a reboot in the wake of Williams’ passing. With an inventive new script, however, and an all-new cast, the rejuvenated Jumanji appears to be breaking new ground without tarnishing the memory of the original.
The central conceit is strong. When four teenagers dare to play the dangerous game, they are pulled into the world of Jumanji and are forced to play as characters from the actual game. Shy Spencer becomes the alpha-male of the jungle, Dwayne Johnson; the ladies man, Fridge, gets shrunken down to size as Kevin Hart; popular girl Bethany becomes the nerdy and professorial Jack Black, and couch potato Martha becomes warrior queen Karen Gillan. Under the direction of Jake Kasdan, Jumanji is shaping up to be a very promising sequel.
Release Date: TBD
By the end of Sicario, all hope of a happy ending was lost. There are no winners in drug wars, only losers, and many, many casualties. Under the masterful direction of Dennis Villeneuve, the haunting cinematography of Roger Deakins, and a series of note-perfect performances from Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro, Sicario became one of the few films to capture the morass of the battle against the cartel.
Emily Blunt won’t be reprising her role as Kate Macer in Soldado for a very simple reason. Her character tapped out and found the demands of her job to be insurmountable. Alejandro (del Toro) warned her of this, and gave her a lethal opportunity to prove her worth. In Soldado, the fuse that was lit in Sicario will lead to an explosion. Though few details of the movie have been revealed, we do know that Soldado will follow Alejandro and several special-ops agents who set out to initiate a full-blown war between rival cartels. It’s hard to imagine a more nerve-wracking and intense film than Sicario, but director Stefano Sollima and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (who wrote the original film) seem hellbent on trying.
Principal photography on the project began in New Mexico two months ago, so it remains to be seen when exactly this film will hit theaters. If the shoot goes smoothly, a late 2017 release date is likely, though this one could be held until early next year.
What's your most anticipated sequel? Let us know in the comments!