Sci-fi movies have been gaining increased popularity in the last decade, probably at least somewhat due to the comic book movie craze, if not the disconcerting political and social climate we're currently living in.
However, there's a lot more to sci-fi than just superpowers and aliens. Sci-fi encompasses anything existing in the realm of possibility, things that could happen— good or bad— based on what we already know about society, technology, the universe, and the laws of nature.
This year has seen a ton of sci-fi sequels and remakes, as part of existing franchises, or as adaptations from manga, comic books, novels, and TV shows. In 2018, we'll still get a lot of this, with the addition of a few original sci-fi movies that already appear to be quite promising.
While most sci-fi movie fans are aware of the big budget blockbusters coming out next year, like Avengers: Infinity War and Ready Player One, there are actually quite a few sci-fi films that just haven't been getting a ton of press in comparison. Some are indie features from first time directors, while others may become some of the most expensive movies ever made.
Either way, we've rounded up with the 16 Sci-Fi Movies You Didn't Know Were Coming in 2018 to get you pumped for a year full of strange new worlds, time travel, alien invasions, and dystopian survivalism.
16 Cloverfield Movie
Originally called God Particle, the third Cloverfield Movie will come out in February of 2018 after getting pushed back nearly a year. This time, we're going to space with the film serving as a prequel to the other two Cloverfield movies.
Basically, a science experiment goes horribly wrong and the astronauts involved have to fight for their survival. We'll likely get to see the origins of the Cloverfield aliens and possibly gain some insight into how they came to Earth in the first place.
Next year will mark ten years since the first Cloverfield film came out. However, due to the series' continued success, JJ Abrams and Paramount Pictures intend to release a new movie in the Cloverfield franchise every year or so. It seems like all the studios are looking for their own Marvel Cinematic Universe to cash in on these days.
15 X-Men: The New Mutants
While plenty of attention has been paid to the X-Men: Dark Phoenix film coming out in a little over a year, FOX has kept pretty quiet about its other 2018 X-Men release. Billed as a "full fledged horror movie set within the X-Men Universe," according to director Josh Boone, New Mutants will explore the darker side of finding yourself with superpowers.
A short synopsis on IMDb further explains that the teenage mutants are being held in a secret facility (which is unsurprising for an X-Men film) where they're likely experimented on and battling their own adolescent demons in the process.
Warner Brothers has chosen to take on three giant mutated monsters in its film adaptation of the 1980s video game, Rampage. The sci-fi flick will star Dwayne Johnson as the head of an anti-poaching unit who seeks to find a way to reverse the mutations on the animals before they destroy every city they come in contact with.
Both The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Magic Mike's Joe Manganiello, also appear as government and military officials (who are most likely antagonists).
Essentially, it looks to be a thrice-deadly monster movie with some San Andreas style disaster effects according to director Brad Peyton. "It's going to be a lot more emotional, a lot scarier, and a lot more real than you'd expect" he told We Got This Covered. Let's just hope they can turn a cheesy video game into a watchable film with a plot that actually makes sense.
13 Captive State
Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt returns with his own original sci-fi movie, Captive State. Set during a time of extra-terrestrial occupation, the film explores both sides of the conflict seen amid the setting of a Chicago neighborhood.
According to a press release, it will touch on themes similar to 1984 and other dystopian stories, where people's civil liberties are threatened under an authoritarian regime.
John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, and Ashton Sanders all star, but not much is known about the characters or plot as of yet. Seeing as it's still in post-production, we likely won't find out anymore details until the beginning of next year. However, it looks to be in good hands as Focus Features has produced quite a few Oscar winners in the last ten years.
Another sci-fi movie coming in 2018, Extinction will tell the story of a father forced to save his family from an alien invasion. Essentially his nightmares have become a reality, but he discovers a source of strength within himself as he comes to his family’s aid.
Details on the story have been pretty vague thus far, despite having a January 26th release date. However, Eric Heisserer, who also wrote the screenplay for Arrival, did a rewrite of the Extinction script. He’s tackled sci-fi and horror before, turning them into box office success stories.
All of the lead actors attached have also been in hit sci-fi franchises like Ant-Man (Michael Peña), Cloverfield (Lizzy Caplan), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter). Whatever the mysteries in Extinction, they certainly can’t be good for the human race with a title like that.
11 The Purge: The Island
Currently in production as of last month, the latest in The Purge franchise will debut next summer on July 4th of all days. As a prequel film, we'll finally get to see where the violent origins of The Purge started and how the US came to accept the 12-hour time period where all crimes are legal.
Writer/director, James DeMonaco shared with the world last month, that the island referenced in the title will be Staten Island, NY and will cover "the first experimental Purge." He also went on to explain that The Purge: The Island will have a singular anti-hero who's a "very cool, modern, kind of badass who redeems himself through the story.”
Beyond that, it’s all speculation at this point, but judging by the previous films, there’s likely a very politically charged reason for allowing such an event to occur year after year.
10 Maze Runner: The Death Cure
James Dashner's Maze Runner trilogy will finally wrap up its film adaptations next year with The Death Cure. Originally scheduled to release earlier this year, the film was delayed because of injuries sustained on set by its star, Dylan O'Brien.
In The Death Cure, Thomas and the other Gladers are tasked with saving their friends and finding a cure for the "Flare," a deadly disease that threatens the outside world.
As we saw in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, once the Cranks (another name for those infected) get into "the Gone" stage, they basically turn into terrifying zombies with vine-like growths coming out of their skin. Seeing as each film has them going through a series of trials and tribulations, it’s safe to say Gladers' task won’t be an easy one.
A work in progress for over four years now, Gabriel Judet-Weinshel's sci-fi thriller, Omphalos, is set to release in September 2018. Edoardo Ballerini (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) stars as Darius Lafaux, a detective who's investigating a murder only to discover that the victim is himself. Multiple versions of himself begin popping up everywhere, one of which happens to be completely deranged.
As he delves deeper into the mystery, he discovers that he's actually a time traveler through Fyodor Wax (played by Austin Pendelton), a man who claims to have invented time travel in the trailer.
Apparently, Darius has been traveling back in time to change something from his past. With elements of Brazil, Orphan Black, and The Butterfly Effect, Omphalos looks to be a promising first feature from an upcoming writer/director.
Dropa centers around a government assassin named Harrison (David Matranga) who was part of an elite team called the Legion. Although it's not explicitly referenced in the film's official synopsis, it's likely the government was having Harrison and his team assassinate a group of aliens called the Dropa.
In ufology, Dropa stones were circular stones with hieroglyphics, said to have originated from a spacecraft that crashed thousands of years ago. In theory, these aliens would have adapted to earth and infiltrated the human race.
In the film, a rogue Dropa has been picking off members of the Legion, forcing Harrison to come out of retirement and stop the murderous alien. In the process, he finds out a government secret that threatens everything he's fought for thus far.
Seeing as this film was formerly known as Patriot Act, it likely has some underlying political commentary on the rights of Americans vs. immigrants or in this case actual "aliens."
Jason Statham stars in the sci-fi action flick, Meg, short for megalodon— the giant prehistoric shark that was over three times the size of a great white. Statham plays Jonas Taylor, a rescue diver who comes face to face with the giant beast after he's tasked with saving the crew of a stranded submersible.
While it sounds like something from Asylum, the production company who makes those crazy sci-fi disaster films like Sharknado, it's actually a Warner Brothers film with a $150,000,000 budget.
Filmed in both New Zealand and China, the film has an international cast including Bingbing Li (Transformers: Age of Extinction) and Masi Oka (Hawaii Five-0), along with Rainn Wilson and Ruby Rose.
As it was partially funded by a Chinese production company, the film will debut in China first during Chinese New Year, followed by an August 10th release for the United States next year.
6 Jessica Frost
An independent sci-fi thriller, Jessica Frost tells the story of a woman who encounters a “time traveling psychopath” while delving into her past and searching for her origins.
Director Runar Bernsten has kept most of the plot details under-wraps, but described the film as "a little bit of [Quentin] Tarantino, David Lynch, sort of a Blade Runner, Mad Max, From Dusk to Dawn kind of feel."
Judging from the images released on social media and IMDb, it looks to follow more in the footsteps of Mad Max, with lots of time spent in the desert. While the lead has not been announced yet, Bernsten has secured Kristy Swanson— the original Buffy from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer film— as well as some minor character actors like Rick Ravanello and Michael Buscemi to round out the cast.
5 Alita: Battle Angel
James Cameron has been trying to make this film for fourteen years, but put it on the back burner in order to get out his Avatar films first. Guillermo del Toro allegedly introduced him to the Japanese manga, which is about an amnesiac female cyborg named Alita.
Although she doesn't remember who she is, she does remember a special kind of cyborg martial art called Pamzer Kunst, which allows for fighting to commence in zero gravity. According to James Cameron, Alita: Battle Angel will focus on the first four books, including Alita becoming a mercenary, her love story with Hugo, and her Motorball career.
Last year, Cameron relinquished his directing role to Robert Rodriguez who shot the film in Austin, TX with a gigantic $200,000,000 budget. Rosa Salazar will play the title character opposite Christoph Waltz, as Dr. Dyson Ido, who becomes a surrogate father to her. Alita stands to be a huge box office draw next summer when it releases in both digital and IMAX formats.
4 Mortal Engines
Set to release in December of next year, Mortal Engines will have two young non-American actors at the forefront: Robert Sheehan and Hera Hilmar. Award-winning Australian actor, Hugo Weaving (Elrond in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies) also stars as the historian, Thaddeus Valentine.
In this futuristic dystopia, a "sixty-minute war" has caused cities around the world to adapt a form of technology that allows them to roam freely. These "Traction Cities" as they're called, prey on smaller cities, stripping them of their resources and technology.
Based on a book series by the same name, Mortal Engines has been adapted for the big screen by none other than Peter Jackson. One of his VFX artists and frequent collaborators, Christian Rivers, will direct the intensely visual steampunk film.
Releasing in February of next year, Ex-Machina director, Alex Garland, returns with another sci-fi flick. Based on Jeff VanderMeer's book of the same name, Annihilation tells the story of a biologist whose husband disappears after venturing into an abandoned part of the the US that has been reclaimed by nature. She, along with an anthropologist, psychologist, and surveyor, venture out on their own expedition to search for answers.
Natalie Portman stars as the biologist, with Oscar Isaac as her husband. The film’s trailer shows an iridescent barrier that the group crosses into, taking them into the world of this unknown being.
All sorts of crazy things happen to those that enter this strange area, which seems unexplainable in terms of what we’ve come to know as the laws of nature.
Marvel fans have been dying for a standalone Venom film for decades. There have been tons of superhero movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but not much in the way of super-villains.
As of next October, however, that all changes. In partnership with Sony, Marvel will produce an R-rated film all about the Venom symbiote and its host of choice—Eddie Brock.
Although much of the chatter about the film has said it won't include Spider-Man, it would be pretty difficult to tell Venom's story without him, especially if it's an origins story. Nevertheless, it's all still up in the air at this point in terms of the story being told. All we do know for sure is that Tom Hardy is attached to play Venom/Eddie with Michelle Williams and Jenny Slate in supporting roles.
1 The Darkest Minds
Next September, FOX will release the first movie in what could potentially be a hit, new based-on-a-book sci-fi trilogy. The Darkest Minds series follows in the footsteps of other Young Adult dystopian fiction like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and the Divergent series.
In this case, The Darkest Minds follows Ruby (played by The Hunger Games' Rue, Amandla Stenberg), a sixteen-year-old girl who survives a deadly childhood disease that kills 98% of children. The surviving kids develop superpowers over time—some so dangerous that the government wants them dead too.
As you might guess, Ruby has one of the more dangerous powers and has to flee in order to save herself and the friends she makes while at a holding camp. With Gwendoline Christie and Mandy Moore attached, this could be one of the biggest box office hits of Fall 2018.
Are you excited for any of these movies? Are there any other sci-fi films coming out in 2018 that we forgot to mention? Sound off in the comments!