There are still some people out there who think that the onslaught of movies based on comic books is just a passing trend. The fact is, super hero movies are here to stay, and there's nothing wrong with that. There's so much inspiration to be found in the pages of comics from decades past, as well as stories being written today.
In 2017, a ton of comic book movies hit the market, and they were mostly successful. Wonder Woman, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and Logan were all huge hits with critics and audiences. Justice League earned a well-deserved critical drubbing and is proving to be a financial disappointment, but one way to look at it is that the DC Extended Universe has nowhere to go but up!
The average Screen Rant reader is probably super excited for flicks like Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2, and Black Panther, but there's more to 2018 than just all-star team-ups. There are also a slew of aspiring blockbusters that seek to shake up genre conventions, Spider-Man spin-offs, and animated movies for both the big screen and straight-to-DVD markets.
Maybe the current spate of comic book movies is just a trend, a bubble waiting to burst... But it's not likely to pop anytime soon.
Here are the 15 Comic Book Movies You Didn't Know Were Coming In 2018.
15 Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (January 23)
The animated films of DC are admired for their strong casting and story lines that are ripped straight from the comics. Sure, there are missteps like the disastrous first half of Batman: The Killing Joke, but for the most part, DC's animated track record is quite strong.
Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is based on the 1989 comic of the same name, and re-imagines the Batman mythology in a Victorian London-esque setting, with The Dark Knight investigating the crimes of Jack the Ripper.
Despite the change in scenery, Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek), returns as the Caped Crusader, reprising his role from the critically-acclaimed animated DC film, Batman: Under the Red Hood.
Jennifer Carpender (Dexter) co-stars as Selina Kyle, and Scott Patterson (the Saw series) rounds out the cast as Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face.
14 Black Panther (February 16)
It's about time for the first major black superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to finally get his due. Despite the presence of supporting players like Nick Fury, Falcon, War Machine, and Heimdall, Black Panther is the first MCU film to have a black lead-- indeed, the main cast is almost entirely black, a feat which is nigh-unheard of in the realm of big-budget superhero movies.
Chadwick Boseman (42, Get On Up) returns as T'Challa (from Captain America: Civil War), the defender of the isolated African nation of Wakanda, and Michaael B. Jordan plays Kilmonger, an vengeful exile who seeks the throne of Wakanda for himself.
Andy Serkis returns as Ulysses Klaue, brandishing a cybernetic arm implant, replacing the one he lost in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Ryan Coogler directs, and based on his work on Fruitvale Station and Creed, Black Panther has the potential to be one of the best MCU entries ever.
13 The New Mutants (April 13)
In some ways, it's a shame that Disney is in the process of acquiring The X-Men film rights, since 20th Century Fox is only just getting into the rhythm of getting the most out of their mutant heroes.
Movies like Logan and Deadpool, and television projects like Legion, have garnered significant critical and commercial success, all because of the huge risks they took with pushing past the arbitrary boundaries of the loosely-defined "superhero genre."
The next entry in this current wave of drastically different X-Men movies is The New Mutants, which has been described as a cross between The Breakfast Club and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, mixed with with a strong dose of psychological horror.
With a cast that includes Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton, and with the proven talent of director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars), The New Mutants is looking to catch audiences by surprise when it launches this Spring.
12 Avengers: Infinity War (May 4)
It's been a long time since Thanos was first teased in the closing moments of 2012's The Avengers, but the Mad Titan is finally going to wreak havoc on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Infinity War.
The last time audiences saw The Avengers, Captain America and Iron Man had just gone through a bitter break-up, but Cap's final letter to Tony suggested that, when the time comes, he'll be there when the world needs him. It'll take the combined might of Captain America, Iron Man, and literally every hero introduced in the past decade of MCU films to bring Thanos down!
It's unclear how Infinity War will end, since the story of The Avengers won't end until 2019's as-yet untitled Avengers 4, but Thanos is of a scale unlike anything The Avengers have faced before, and he'll likely continue to be a major menace for Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the future.
11 Deadpool 2 (June 1)
Just one month after Avengers: Infinity War, Josh Brolin will star in another high-profile superhero movie, shifting from Thanos the Mad Titan to Cable, the time-traveling cyborg mutant, in Deadpool 2.
Like the original 2016 surprise hit, this sequel will be an irreverent, R-rated comedy laced with grisly, over-the-top violence and juvenile antics. Considering Cable's status as a time-traveler, there's potential for Deadpool 2 to have some time-traveling action/adventure in its DNA, but the actual plot of the film is still being kept frustratingly under wraps.
Director David Leitch (John Wick) is taking over for Tim Miller, who helmed the first film, but producer/star Ryan Reynolds is still on board to provide Deadpool's signature sassy superhero parody/homage.
10 Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6)
In 2015, Ant-Man released in the shadow of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The production had been dogged with delays and the unexpected departure of original director Edgar Wright, who was replaced by Peyton Reed, so it was unclear if the relatively-unknown superhero (at least to casual audiences) would stand a chance at the multiplex.
Fortunately, the film became a surprise critical and commercial hit, grossing a solid $519 million worldwide off a relatively modest budget of $130 million. Followed by Ant-Man's scene-stealing antics in Captain America: Civil War, a sequel was put into production.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is being developed from the ground up by Peyton Reed; although the plot details are being kept under wraps, it will likely find a creative way to tie-in to Infinity War. New additions to the cast include Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster, and Walton Goggins as Sonny Burch.
9 Alita: Battle Angel (July 20)
One of the biggest financial risks of the year is Alita: Battle Angel, based on the manga from the 1990s which is popular in Japan, but – like most manga – only has cult status in much of the West.
Originally developed by James Cameron, who ultimately decided to create the world of Avatar instead, the film is now being directed by Robert Rodriguez (Machete, Sin City), though Cameron co-wrote the script and is remaining on board as producer.
The film has a reported budget of $200 million, and uses state-of-the-art motion capture technology (developed by Cameron himself) to actualize the stunning visuals of its title character, a cybernetic organism (think a more grounded sci-fi approach to Astro Boy) with a distinctively non-human, other-worldly, anime style.
It's a bold visual statement, but Robert Rodriguez and star Rosa Salazar are up to the task of bringing this unique character to life.
8 Teen Titans Go! to the Movies (July 27)
Teen Titans Go! is a popular Cartoon Network series based on the titular teenage superheroes of DC's comic universe. The show just reached its milestone 200th episode, and the series is hoping to find success on the big screen with Teen Titans Go! to the Movies.
The TV series has always had tongue-in-cheek meta sensibilities, and the movie will be no different. The story revolves around Robin, Cyborg, and the rest of the gang moving out to Hollywood in hopes of getting representation on the big screen. After all, every other DC superhero has gotten a film adaptation, so why not the Teen Titans?
Presumably, there will be at least one joke about Robin's non-appearance in Batman v Superman (as a posthumous character) and Cyborg's role in Justice League.
7 Venom (October 5)
Spider-Man's iconic symbiote nemesis first appeared on the big screen in 2007's Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace, but plans to spin-off the character into a solo project fizzled out and the whole series was rebooted. A lot can change in a decade, though, and a Venom solo film, directed by Reuben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad) is finally in production.
Tom Hardy is starring as Eddie Brock, and Michelle Williams is playing Ann Weying, Eddie's ex-wife who develops the comics persona of She-Venom, though it's unclear if that story line will come into play in this movie.
Sony has a lot riding on Venom, since it's their chance to capitalize on their Spider-Man license without relying on Disney and Marvel Studios to make the creative decisions. Spider-Man himself is not expected to make an appearance in the film. If Venom bombs, then expect the upcoming Silver & Black to quietly disappear from the schedule. But if it's a hit, then audiences can look forward to a lot more Spider-Man-adjacent spin-offs.
6 X-Men: Dark Phoenix (November 2)
With the Disney/20th Century Fox deal moving forward, it's possible that X-Men: Dark Phoenix will be the final entry in the traditional X-Men film series.
After this, the series will likely be rebooted to fit into the MCU. Perhaps the old continuity will be able to survive via some sort of science-fiction dimension-hopping contrivance, but it's too early to speculate about that sort of thing.
In any case, audiences can still get psyched for this movie, which seeks to adapt the Jean Grey Dark Phoenix story line which was so spectacularly botched in 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand.
Longtime X-Men producer Simon Kinberg is making his directorial debut with Dark Phoenix, which promises to be a more faithful adaptation of Chris Claremont and John Byrne's classic comic book story.
5 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (December 14)
The second Spider-Man spin-off slated for 2018, Into the Spider-Verse is going in a vastly different direction than Venom. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated action/adventure story starring Miles Morales in a version of New York City where Peter Parker is dead and the city needs a new hero.
Based on the title and the presence of the villain Morlun (played by Liev Schreiber), it seems this new animated adventure will feature Miles teaming up with alternate universe versions of Spider-Man.
It would be a dream come true if Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield could return as alternate versions of Peter Parker, but time will tell if such an unprecedented event is in the cards for Into the Spider-Verse.
4 Aquaman (December 21)
It's no secret that the DCEU is in trouble. While Wonder Woman was a huge hit for Warner Brothers, Justice League was a laughing stock among critics, and its middling box office was nothing short of an embarrassment for the once-revered brand.
With The Batman and The Flash (now Flashpoint) delayed into oblivion, Aquaman is the sole 2018 release for the DCEU.
Aquaman is not a top-tier character, but he did garner some positive buzz in Justice League, mostly because he looks really hot with his shirt off.
Still, hopes are high that his solo film can succeed where Man of Steel, BvS, Suicide Squad, and Justice League did not, by offering a meaningful arc for its lead character, in addition to spectacular visuals, courtesy of proven director James Wan (Furious 7, Death Sentence).
Moving forward, hopefully the DCEU can pick a path, stick to it, and learn from their mistakes. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and all the rest of DC's roster of heroes deserve better.
3 Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (TBA Spring)
Announced for Spring of 2018, Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay is supposedly only a few months away from release, but it remains a mystery to fans.
The animated film will be part of DC's canon of interconnected animated movies, but no director, voice cast, or plot details have been released. Will the film borrow from the aesthetic of David Ayer's live-action movie? Or will it have a distinguished look all on its own? Presumably, answers will be arriving soon, along with a trailer and official synopsis.
While this is the first time Task Force X is appearing in DC's animated canon, this isn't their first appearance in a DC animated movie; the squad were prominently featured in Batman: Assault on Arkham, which is set in the continuity of the blockbuster Batman: Arkham video game series.
2 Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (TBA 2018)
Marvel doesn't make as many straight-to-DVD animated movies as DC, but they're stepping up their efforts, and Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors looks to shine a spotlight on some of the company's newest and most provocative characters.
Chloe Bennett reprises her role as Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, from Agents of SHIELD, and she's joined by fellow heroes Miss America, Squirrel Girl, Inferno, Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Patriot, and Ghost-Spider (otherwise known as Spider-Gwen). These teenage rebels will have to band together to become heroes and save the day from a cosmic threat.
Interestingly, Chloe Bennett isn't the only Agents of SHIELD alum to lend their voice to the animated film; Ming-Na Wen, who plays Agent May on the show, will play the villainous Kree warrior, Hala the Accuser in Secret Warriors.
1 Death of Superman (TBA Late 2018)
The Killing Joke notwithstanding, DC has a pretty strong track record when it comes to adapting famous comic stories as animated movies. The Dark Knight Returns, Superman Vs The Elite, and Batman: Year One are all great examples of this practice. For their next trick, DC plans to adapt the legendary 1992 Death of Superman story.
The death (and subsequent return) of Superman was previously adapted in 2007's Superman: Doomsday, but this new adaptation promises to be more faithful to the source material, and will be split into two parts. Part one, Death of Superman, is scheduled for release in late 2018, and part two, Reign of the Superman, is due out in early 2019.
No casting has been announced yet, but it's based on one of the most important comic book stories ever written, so anticipation is running high for this one!
What 2018 comic book movie are you most looking forward to? Who should they cast as the Man of Steel in Death of Superman? Sound off in the comments!