Hollywood's comic book movie renaissance shows no signs of slowing. While every year holds the promise of yet more blockbuster movies - primarily from Marvel, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. - 2018 is shaping up to be especially packed with capes and tights. With the recent announcement of three superhero movie release dates from Fox, that means there is currently 10 Superhero movies slated for next year.
Even avid comic book movie fans can find it difficult to keep up with a release slate like that, so here's a handy guide to all of the superhero films releasing next year.
Marvel: Black Panther - February 16, 2018
Marvel is first out of the gate with Black Panther. Starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, the movie also features Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Martin Freeman, and Angela Bassett. The idea of a Black Panther movie was first mooted in 1992, when Wesley Snipes raised the possibility. Nothing ever came to fruition, though, and Marvel then picked up the idea in 2005, with a Black Panther movie officially announced in 2014.
Boseman made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, where he fought alongside Tony Stark/ Iron Man. Black Panther will see T’Challa return home to his kingdom of Wakanda, but his sovereignty is under threat from enemies both within his country and from the outside.
Jordan will play Erik Killmonger, a Wakandan exile with a grudge against T’Challa, while Nyong’o takes on the role of Nakia. According to the Marvel comics, Nakia was a member of the Royal Bodyguards, but became obsessed with T’Challa and tried to kill his lover. After that, she and Killmonger joined forces, and Nakia gained superpowers as the villain Malice. Andy Serkis is also back as Black Panther’s nemesis, Ulysses Klaue. Killmonger also hates Klaw, so expect some three-way loathing going on.
Fox: New Mutants - April 13, 2018
The New Mutants are a bunch of teenage mutants who started life as a spinoff from the Marvel X-Men comics. The group are learning to control their mutant powers, and, in the comic book, they are guided by Professor Charles Xavier. Rather like Doctor Strange, New Mutants focuses on the more supernatural, mystic elements of the genre. Also, given the age of the characters, their personal dramas are often interwoven into storylines.
Directed by Josh Boone, the New Mutants is already in pre-production, but as yet no casting is confirmed. It is heavily rumored that James McAvoy will appear as Charles Xavier, and that would seem to be a logical thing to happen given his presence in the comics. Other actors who are reported to be frontrunners for roles, without official confirmation, are McAvoy's Split co-star Anya Taylor-Joy as Magik and Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane.
With no official word to go on (and we’re hoping that changes soon), it is also assumed that the New Mutants movie will opt to keep close to the original line-up of characters from the comics, and that will include Cannonball, Mirage, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane. You can read more about them here.
Marvel: Avengers: Infinity War - May 4, 2018
Easily the biggest of all the superhero movies to release in 2018, it’s possibly easier to list the MCU characters who won’t appear in Avengers: Infinity War. As it is, we know to expect Iron Man, Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, The Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlett Witch, Spider-Man, Thanos, Thor, Loki, Vision, Peter Quill, Nebula, Drax, Gamora, Groot… and many more.
Infinity War will continue after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America: Civil War. The Avengers are still torn apart from the events of Civil War, but they must band together with the Guardians of the Galaxy to confront Thanos, who is trying to amass the Infinity Stones in order to complete the terrifyingly powerful Infinity Gauntlet.
The premise might not be the most complex, but that simplicity is needed with a cast so large, and with characters that varied. There’s the dynamic between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers to explore, for a start, plus the unresolved tensions between their relative ‘team’ members. Avengers: Infinity War will be one of the biggest hits of 2018, regardless of how great the movie actually is. Still, this being Marvel, we’re expecting an epic showdown.
Fox: Deadpool 2 - June 1, 2018
The Merc with a Mouth is coming back. Deadpool was a huge hit for 20th Century Fox; the Ryan Reynolds starer grossed over $783 million worldwide, so it’s little surprise that a sequel was ordered. Reynolds will return to play the R-rated anti-hero, to be directed by David Leitch.
The movie is expected to (once again) poke fun at the superhero movie genre, and of course, it will be R-rated. Cast-wise; Morena Baccarin has said she hopes to return as Vanessa, T.J. Miller says he ‘believes’ he’s back as sidekick Weasel, while Zazie Beetz joins as Domino, and Josh Brolin takes on the role of Cable. For those wondering, Kevin Feige has said that he sees no problem with Brolin playing both Cable in the Fox/Marvel universe, and Thanos in the MCU.
The interesting aspect of the movie is how Fox plan to blend Cable and Deadpool into one movie; in the comics, Cable is usually the straight guy, so we might well see a more serious storyline emerging in Deadpool 2. In turn, this could set Wade Wilson up to appear in other X-Men movies without him seeming too out of place.
With Deadpool 2, we can expect the same kind of inventive and irreverent marketing campaign that fans enjoyed with the original; Reynolds is heavily invested in this character and franchise, and it shows.
Pixar: The Incredibles 2: June 15, 2018
Rumors of a sequel to The Incredibles have been rife ever since the movie was released back in 2004. It might have taken 14 years by the time June rolls around, but at least we got there in the end. In fact, The Incredibles 2 has had its release date moved up from 2019 to 2018, swapping place with Toy Story 4.
Nothing is known about the plot of The Incredibles 2, but Brad Bird says it will look at how the family dynamic comes into play within the superhero genre. Both Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson are back as the voices of Elasti-girl and Frozone, respectively. There’s no word yet on whether Craig T. Nelson will return as Bob/ Mr. Incredible, or on whether John Ratzenberger will reprise his role of The Underminer - a villain who appeared at the end of the original movie.
Whatever the premise, and whoever makes up the voice cast, it’s safe to say almost everyone is excited for The Incredibles 2. It’s going to be incredible, really.
Marvel: Ant-Man and The Wasp- July 6, 2018
Ant-Man and The Wasp will be the first Marvel movie to follow Infinity War, which is quite a lot of pressure placed on insects so small. Still, the original Ant-Man movie proved a surprising hit for Marvel; delivering a film that had a light, enjoyable heist feel to it helped by the humor that Paul Rudd delivered in the titular role.
Evangeline Lilly's transformation into The Wasp was teased in a mid-credits scene, and director Peyton Reed says that she will be ‘full Wasp’ in the Ant-Man and The Wasp movie - which makes sense, given the movie's title. In fact, Ant-Man and The Wasp is highly anticipated for exactly that reason; it’s going to be one of Marvel’s first female-led superhero movies, albeit jointly. The first Marvel movie to feature a solo female superhero will be Captain Marvel, which is set to arrive in 2019.
Ant-Man and The Wasp starts filming this June, once again featuring Michael Douglas as Hank Pym, alongside the aforementioned Rudd and Lilly.
Sony: Venom - October 5, 2018
Sony’s Venom movie is a bit of an enigma, with the plot, cast, and director still all unknown. This is simply because Sony only announced this movie very recently, much to the surprise of fans, so there's still a lot of work.
The concept of a Venom movie has been the cause of much confusion, since Spider-Man is currently making his home in part of the MCU. Sony is insistent that a Venom movie will not connect to the MCU at all, and instead will form its own timeline and continuity. All well and good, but what does that mean for the character of Spider-Man? Especially since Tom Holland is proving very popular in the role even before the release of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Venom has taken the release slot previously occupied by Aquaman, which moves to December. It’s an ambitious project, to make and release a superhero movie in such a relatively short space of time, so we can only assume there’s a lot going on behind the scenes to make this happen.
Fox: X-Men: Dark Phoenix - November 2nd, 2018
Fox’s announcement that there would be a Dark Phoenix movie, was greeted with joy by most. The X-Men franchise is branching out in all directions, from the deeply poignant Logan, to the irreverently funny Deadpool. Somewhere in the middle of it all, sits Professor Charles Xavier and his school for Gifted Youngsters.
The follow-up to X-Men: Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix is expected to begin production this summer, and will firmly take the franchise into the Dark Phoenix storyline that many had speculated on for so long. Jean Grey was struggling with some dark powers at the end of Apocalypse, and now it looks as though those will arrive full throttle in Dark Phoenix. If the movie follows comic book canon, Jean Grey will become possessed by the genocidal Dark Phoenix force.
In turn, that could mean we get a deeply disturbing, powerful movie, focused on the supernatural mutant power that possesses Jean. It also might mean more of James McAvoy as Professor X, depending on the movie’s timeline.
Sony: Animated Spider-Man Movie - December 21, 2018
Spider-Man might be teaming up with Tony Stark and the rest of The Avengers over in the MCU, but Sony aren’t relinquishing their hold completely. An animated Spider-Man movie (as yet untitled) is currently in pre-production, with Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey set to direct. The script comes from Phil Lord, with the movie executive produced by Lord and Chris Miller.
It’s been confirmed that this Spider-Man movie will be a standalone feature, and will focus on Miles Morales. Many have been pushing for a live-action movie with Morales as Spider-Man, but we’ll take what we can get with him in animated form. Hopefully, the movie will be his origin story, since it’s unknown to many, and will give a refreshing take on the nature of Spider-Man. If this animated movie performs well, then who knows what shape the future of Spider-Man could take?
The release of Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie is still a long way off, but it’s already facing tough competition, because it releases on the same day as….
Warner Bros.: Aquaman- December 21, 2018
Jason Momoa is playing Aquaman, the superhero with the ability to harness the power of the ocean. He’s already made a brief debut in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but he will have a more substantial part in the Justice League movie, set to release in November 2017. From there, the character will go on to star in his own, self-titled movie.
Pre-production on the movie is almost complete, with filming set to begin shortly. Starring alongside Momoa is Amber Herd as Mera, Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, Patrick Wilson as Orm, and Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will also appear as Aquaman’s longstanding nemesis, Black Manta, which hints at there being some kind of disagreement over exactly who should have control of the ocean. Add in the appearance of King Nereus, and it’s safe to say that although we don’t know the plot of Aquaman as yet, Arthur Curry is going to be busy.
We can most likely expect more casting announcements and plot details as filming progresses, but for now, it looks as though Aquaman will be a good movie to round out a bumper year for the superhero genre.
- Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018
- Incredibles 2 (2018) release date: Jun 15, 2018
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018