2018’s comic-book movie line-up looks pretty wild. Which is lucky, as next year marks the 10th anniversary of the original Iron Man, the film that changed superhero cinema forever. It seems appropriate that 2018 will be packed with fresh comic-book movies that could push the genre into previously unexplored territory.
Because, whether it’s experimental genre-mashups, bold redesigns of iconic characters, or Marvel’s dedication to diversity, there’s so much for superhero fans to look forward to next year.
Here’s our selection of the most promising comic-book movies 2018 has to offer.
Black Panther – 12 February
Creed director Ryan Coogler will bring us Black Panther early next year, and we couldn’t be more excited. Chadwick Boseman’s Panther was the breakout character of a crowded Captain America: Civil War, and it looks like he’ll be an extremely important player in Infinity War.
But forget those other movies, Black Panther will stand on its own two (four?) feet, with the extraordinary trailers promising a major thrill-ride. Combine a brilliant director with one of the best casts in Marvel movie history (Creed’s Michael B. Jordan, Star Wars’ Lupita Nyong’o and Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya are just some of the names joining Boseman) and you’ve got an inevitably unmissable Marvel experience.
New Mutants – April
Step aside, Cyclops. Jog on, Jean Grey.
Following its brutal western (Logan) and postmodern comedy (Deadpool) takes on the superhero genre, Fox will be giving us the very first X-Men horror film in 2018. The New Mutants trailer looks more like the next instalment in the Nightmare On Elm Street series than a traditional comic-book movie.
Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), Anya Taylor-Joy (Split), and Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things) lead a buzzy young cast, with The Fault In Our Stars director Josh Boone behind the camera in what’s being pitched as a new franchise starter.
It’s a bold move, and time will tell if the risk has paid off, but (Infinity War aside) we’re not sure if there’ll be a more intense superhero flick next year. We’ll find out when the film’s released in April.
Avengers: Infinity War – 27 April
We’ve gone in depth on the record-breaking trailer, we’ve stuck up for Thanos (mainly because we’re scared of him), and now we’re going on record: Infinity War will be one of the most exciting comic book movies of 2018.
Which feels a little like stating the obvious – Infinity War won’t just be one of the most exciting comic-book movies of 2018, it’s probably going to be the most exciting comic-book movie EVER.
Just in case you’ve been floating in space on a giant chair for the last decade and have missed all the memos, Infinity War is the culmination of a decade’s worth of Marvel movies, creating what Kevin Feige is calling a ‘finale’ for the franchise.
Which doesn’t mean they’re going to stop making them (they’ve got at least another 20 movies planned after Infinity War), but it does mean that this one’s going to matter. Expect twists, deaths and a LOT of action. We can’t wait.
Deadpool 2 – June
After over a decade of trying to get the thing made, Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool finally landed in 2016 to audience delight and critical acclaim. The low-budget smash was one of the biggest hits of the year, and a sequel was immediately greenlit. Which means we’ll soon be reunited with Wade Wilson, and get to meet his new pals, which include mutant mercenary Domino (Zazie Beetz) and time travelling grump Cable (Josh Brolin).
Part of the success of the first movie was down to the freshness of the approach, the fact it was something so genuinely different in a crowded comic-book market – can wise-cracking lightning strike twice, in that respect? We’ll be queuing up on 1 June to find out.
Incredibles 2 – July
Okay, so it’s not based on an actual comic-book, but we hope you won’t begrudge us for including this one, because superhero stories don’t get much more exciting than a follow-up to one of Pixar’s very best films. And we’ve waited long enough for it, the film will be in cinemas a full fourteen years after the original’s release.
Plot details are scarce, but the teaser makes it look like it’ll revolve around the responsibilities of parenthood, and the challenges of trying to protect precocious children from themselves. A task that becomes more difficult when the child has uncontrolled superpowers.
But whatever the plot, at this point, we’ll take whatever the Incredibles team want to give us. We’re just happy to spend more time with Mr Incredible, Elastigirl, and the rest of the Incredibles family.
Ant-Man and the Wasp – July
Ant-Man and the Wasp is the first Marvel movie out of the gate following Infinity War, but don’t expect Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) to be picking up the pieces of that battle, as this film is set shortly after the events of Civil War.
Not much is known about the plot as yet, but with the synopsis promising an “urgent new mission to uncover secrets from the past” you can expect the stakes to be high.
And, with the film’s title being Marvel’s first to include the name of a female character, director Peyton Reed is jumping on the chance to add a new dimension to the MCU. “It’s about damn time,” Reed says. “We’re going to have a fully realised, very very complicated hero in the next movie who happens to be a woman.”
Batman Ninja – TBC
First announced at New York Comic Con to major geek cheers, this bold new anime reimagines Batman and the Joker as rival samurai warriors, styled like they’re straight out of medieval Japan. The redesign concept comes from Afro Samurai’s Takashi Okazaki, and there’s a whole host of new-look bat-heroes and villains peppered throughout the thrilling trailer (which we go into more detail on, here).
Warner Brothers’ live-action division might be struggling, but their animation wing goes from strength to strength. Someone give Quentin Tarantino the remake rights!
Venom – October
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One Marvel character who definitely won’t be joining the fight against Thanos is Venom. Partly because of the complex rights deal between Marvel Studios and Sony, partly because (after the mess that was Spider-Man 3) he needs to be introduced in his own movie, and partly because Venom’s not really the joining-in type.
Tom Hardy’s strapping on the symbiote to portray the popular character, who’s an amalgamation of an alien costume that feeds on negativity, bonded to a bitter former journalist with a grudge against Spider-Man.
Though, that’s the traditional origin – we predict Sony will go a different route with the character, focusing on his later incarnation as a weird anti-hero. Think the Punisher with more drool dripping from his chin and you’ll be there.
Either way, don’t expect Tom Holland to pop up – Venom may be Spider-Man’s greatest foe, but neither character’s strong enough to defeat the mighty Marvel lawyers, who are insisting that, while Spidey’s in the MCU, they need to be kept seperate.
Venom looks set to be the most intriguing, and potentially edgy comic-book flick of 2018. One thing’s for sure, with Hardy in the lead role, it won’t be boring.
It’ll be out in October next year, just in time for Halloween.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix – November
One of the few traditional superhero flicks out next year, X-Men: Dark Phoenix may struggle to stand out from the pack, but we’re rooting for it. Apocalypse may have been a bit disappointing, but Days Of Future Past is still one of the all-time great comic-book films, and we’re hoping Dark Phoenix is closer in spirit to that instalment than the most recent movie.
One good sign; Jessica Chastain has signed on to play key character Lilandra, who wants to destroy Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) after she gets overwhelmed by her powers and transforms into the legendary Dark Phoenix. This is promising for two reasons – one, the presence of Lilandra suggests the film will be closer to the comics than the last time this storyline was attempted (in 2006’s The Last Stand) and two, Jessica Chastain doesn’t sign up for any old rubbish.
As with Infinity War, expect lots of major deaths, as several members of the First Class cast are on limited contracts, which means Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, James McAvoy’s Professor X and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique may well be at risk during Phoenix’s inevitable flame-grilled blood bath.
If they get this one right, it’ll be dark, moving and powerful. Get it wrong, and everyone will just watch Infinity War again instead. We’re quietly optimistic.
Aquaman – December
Okay, so Justice League was a bit rubbish. Aquaman wasn’t in it very much and, when he was, he was bellowing stuff like “Aw yyyyyeaaah!” and “MY MAN!” Also, he didn’t talk to a single fish. Not one!
But don’t give up on him just yet, Jason Momoa is a charisma-machine, and the character has plenty of potential, especially in director James Wan’s hands.
And Wan’s certainly making all the right noises about the project. “The spirit that I’m going for is like a classic sort of swashbuckling action adventure, sort of high seas adventure story,” Wan said. “It’s ultimately a quest story in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Romancing the Stone.”
Yeah, that basically sounds like the best thing ever. Let’s hope there’s more fish this time though.