Is it really 2023? Being a member of Generation X, I imagine 2023 as a destination in a time travel movie from the 1980s, not the actual present time. I guess I’m getting old.
There are a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and superhero movies scheduled to come out this year, which is exciting for all of us nerdy folks. Here are some on my watch list (in no particular order):
Tickets are already on sale for “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” in theaters Feb. 17. The sequel will be the first film of Marvel’s Phase Five. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer will reprise their roles and Kathryn Newton will play Cassie Lang, Scott’s daughter. The trailer, set to a trippy version of Elton John’s “Yellow Brick Road,” got me hyped up for this movie, so hopefully it won’t let me down like certain other Marvel sequels from 2022.
The “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” trailer also got me hyped up, with Spacehog’s ’90s hit “In the Meantime.” The Guardians soundtracks are usually full of 1970s tunes from Peter Quill’s Walkman, but now we are moving into a new era (remember when Kraglin gave Peter a Zune?). Although I’m sad that this will probably be the last Guardians film, it looks like it will be a good one. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Elizabeth Debicki, and Sylvester Stallone reprise their roles, Will Poulter has been added to the cast as Adam Warlock, and Chukwudi Iwuji is the High Evolutionary. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel reprise their roles as the voices of Rocket and Groot, and Maria Bakalova voices Cosmo the Spacedog. It’s scheduled to be released on May 5.
An adaptation of the Jaroslav Kalfar novel “Spaceman of Bohemia” is coming to Netflix in July. “Spaceman” is about a Czech astronaut (played by Adam Sandler) on a solo mission to explore a mysterious cloud of space dust. The film also stars Carey Mulligan, Paul Dano, Isabella Rossellini, and Kunal Nayyar.
Marvel seems to be dominating in theaters this year – or at least dominating my must-see list. Brie Larson and Iman Vellani will reprise their roles as Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel and Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel in “The Marvels,” on July 28. The cast also includes Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. I think it’s interesting that so many characters introduced in Disney+ series are going on to the big screen. For example, we’ll see Kang from the “Loki” series in the new Ant-Man film (or I guess the one from Loki was a Kang variant?) and Kamala and Monica (from “Ms. Marvel” and “WandaVision,” respectively) in this one. It’s a smart – and sneaky – move by Disney to get us all to subscribe, so that we will be caught up when we head to theaters.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is based on the Suzanne Collins novel and is a prequel to the other Hunger Games books and films. Tom Blyth portrays young Coriolanus Snow (the president played by Donald Sutherland in the other movies). The film also stars Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage, and Viola Davis, and is scheduled to be released on Nov. 17.
Coming to theaters on June 2 is the computer-animated sequel “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” The theme of parallel universes seems to be a trend lately, and the Spider-Verse is another one doing the multiverse thing. Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld reprise their roles as Miles Morales/Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman.
The next film on my list is from the people who brought you “A Quiet Place” (Scott Beck and Bryan Woods). At first glance, “65” looks kind of – how can I put this? – stupid. A sci-fi thriller with astronauts and dinosaurs? Hmm. But it has Adam Driver. That’s how they get you. “65” is in theaters March 17.
“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is (obviously) based on the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons and stars Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Rege-Jean Page, Justice Smith, Sophia Lillis, and Hugh Grant. The effects and setting in the trailer are impressive, and it looks like it might be a really fun fantasy film. Or it could be a huge flop. Guess we’ll have to, um, roll the dice on this one. The film premieres at SXSW March 10 and will be in theaters March 31.
Films with release dates TBA
Another sci-fi film on the SXSW slate is “If You Were the Last,” starring Anthony Mackie, Natalie Morales, Zoe Chao, and Geoff Stults. It has been described as “When Harry Met Sally” in space. Make of that what you will.
The Zack Snyder movie “Rebel Moon” (Netflix) was inspired by Star Wars and Akira Kurosawa films. The ensemble cast includes Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ray Fisher, and Djimon Hounsou. Snyder has said he hopes the movie will become a “massive IP and a universe that can be built out.” Sounds very ambitious. I’m excited at the prospect of something original and new. It could be really cool. Or it could be really boring. Like “Dune.”
Sci-fi rom com/satire “The Pod Generation,” starring Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival today (Jan. 19). Directed by Sophie Barthes (“Cold Souls”), the film may not be released in mainstream theaters, as it’s an independent movie, and it might not be released this year at all, but I will keep you posted. It looks interesting.
There were supposed to be new Star Trek and Star Wars movies in theaters this year, in June and December, respectively, but it doesn’t look like either of those will be happening. Hopefully we will have more news on those soon.
After we finished “Paper Girls,” which we loved, my daughter and I were looking for something similar to watch together. Our contenders were “The Wilds” and “Runaways” (both of which we only watched one episode), and “Parallels” (Disney+) which we declared the winner of the three. We binge-watched all six episodes of Season 1. A French series dubbed in English, “Parallels” follows a group of teenage friends who are accidentally separated into parallel universes during testing of a nearby particle collider. (Rated TV-14.)
A new series on HBO, “The Last of Us” is based on a video game and stars Pedro Pascal as Joel, a survivor of a creepy zombie plague. I’ve only seen the first episode so far (it just came out on Sunday), but so far it’s really good. The epic first episode walks us through the events before the apocalyptic plague hits, Joel’s harrowing fight to get out of the infected city with his daughter and brother, and the dismal aftermath. (Rated TV-MA.)
Franchise series expected in 2023
Star Wars series coming to Disney+ this year: “Ahsoka,” “Skeleton Crew,” and the third season of “The Mandalorian.”
New seasons of the three (live-action) Star Trek series are also coming this year: the second season of “Strange New Worlds,” Season 5 of “Discovery,” and the third and final season of “Picard.”
Marvel series coming to Disney+ this year: “Secret Invasion,” “Ironheart,” “Echo,” “Agatha: Coven of Chaos,” and the second seasons of “Loki” and “What If …?”
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