Between Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Finding Dory and Captain America: Civil War, 2016 was a great year for film. On top of blockbuster releases, independent movies like Moonlight and The Witch all managed to dazzle us. Heading into the new year, there’s an entire slate of movies that have yet to be announced. Based on the ones we know about, however, 2017 is shaping up to be a great year.
Perhaps most importantly, we’ll finally get to see what’s next for Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VIII. When we left our heroes last, Rey had just met up with Luke, ready to hand over his lightsaber that she found in Maz Kanata’s refuge. The film, which star Adam Driver compared to Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, is being directed by Rian Johnson (Looper). Unfortunately, Star Wars: Episode VIII will be one of the last movies we’ll get next year; it doesn’t hit theaters until Dec. 15.
The movie that this writer is most excited about, however, is The Fate of the Furious. It’s the eighth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, and based on the three-minute trailer we got earlier this month, it’s going to be one of the tenser, more ridiculous films in the series yet. Main character Dominic Toretto is heading over to the dark side and there will be some prime racing scenes. And, oh yeah, a submarine.
Like 2016, sequels and new installments in various franchises or cinematic universes will dominate 2017. (More than 50 percent of our list contains such films.) Original films, however, like The Circle and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets also managed to find some room on our list.
Without further ado, here are Polygon’s most anticipated movies for the upcoming year.
Star Wars: Episode VIII
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher
Release date: Dec. 15, 2017
Reason we’re excited: It kind of feels like the words “Star Wars” are enough of a reason to be excited, but there are other reasons that Episode VIII has us hyped. Although The Force Awakens technically saw the return of Luke Skywalker, it wasn’t exactly the big, triumphant spectacle we were hoping for. In Episode VIII, however, Luke will probably have more to do ... or, at the very least, a little more to say. We’ll also see Kylo Ren deal with the consequences of his actions from The Force Awakens and we’ll hopefully get to see more of the sinister Snoke.
The Fate of the Furious
Directed by: F. Gary Gray
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson
Release date: April 14, 2017.
Reason we’re excited: One word: submarine. The Fate of the Furious has a submarine. Over the past few years, the franchise has become a little more ridiculous with each passing movie. In Furious 7, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham fought upon crumbling pavement, Ludacris outdrove a drone and Dwayne Johnson broke out of his own arm cast by flexing. The levels of mind-boggling one-upmanship that seem to accompany each installment makes watching a new Fast and Furious movie an electrifying experience. I’m not saying that I’ve started counting down the days until The Fate of the Furious is released, but I’m also not not saying that.
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Katherine Waterston, James Franco and Michael Fassbender
Release date: May 19, 2017
Reason we’re excited: It’s a new Alien movie! While some of us may still be feeling pretty burned by Prometheus, Scott’s last chapter in the Alien franchise, Covenant feels like it’s going to be exactly what we’re looking for. Scott has already said that the point of Covenant is to address the “what and when” other movies in the franchise failed to address.
The Lego Batman Movie
Directed by: Chris McKay
Starring: Rosario Dawson, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes and Zach Galifianakis
Release date: Feb. 10, 2017
Reason we’re excited: For a long time now, Batman has been gritty. He’s been dark and sad and, quite frankly, predictably boring. That’s why the fact that we’re getting a silly, comical version of Batman voiced by Will Arnett is so exciting. The film will take on a similar tone to Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s Lego Movie from 2014, and should be full of references to older Batman films and comics. The early trailers for the movie have emphasized the overdramatic nature of Bruce Wayne’s loneliness and his annoyance with having to save the world, giving the film a satirical flair.
John Wick: Chapter 2
Directed by: Chad Stahelski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose and Common
Release date: Feb. 10, 2017
Reason we’re excited: John Wick was one of the best movies of 2014, and may even be one of the best action movies of the past decade. In the sequel, Wick is back with a new dog — whose fate will hopefully be better than the first pup — and new assassins to deal with. He’ll also head to Rome for a bit before heading back to New York. Most importantly, however, is that John Wick will see the return of Laurence Fishburne and Keanu Reeves sharing a screen together for the first time since The Matrix Revolutions in 2003.
Directed by: James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Stephen Merchant
Release date: March 3, 2017
Reason we’re excited: The Wolverine franchise has never been spectacular, but the newest installment in the franchise promises to be something more than just an action movie starring everyone’s favorite wisecracking mutant. The movie will focus on the Old Man Logan arc from the comics, providing us with the most unique look at Wolverine and Charles Xavier yet. It’s time that the X-Men franchise had some new blood, and Logan looks like it could be exactly that.
Kong: Skull Island
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Toby Kebbell
Release date: March 10, 2017
Reason we’re excited: Kong: Skull Island is a quasi-return to the origin story of King Kong’s tale. Based on the early trailers we’ve seen, the film will feature even more monsters, like the Skull Crawlers and other reptilian-looking beasts.
Beauty and the Beast
Directed by: Bill Condon
Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Ewan McGregor
Release date: March 17, 2017
Reason we’re excited: With the exception of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland remake and its sequel, Disney has been nailing it with its live-action adaptations. The Jungle Book was one of the best films of 2016, and Cinderella felt like a return to the whimsical worlds Disney is known for. Paired with some incredible CGI technology, Disney has put all of its eggs into the live-action basket, announcing more adaptations of some of its classic films earlier this year. Beauty and the Beast is one of Disney’s best films, and to see Emma Watson take the place of Belle in a live-action adaption is easy to get excited about.
Ghost in the Shell
Directed by: Rupert Sanders
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Takeshi Kitano and Michael Pitt
Release date: March 31, 2017
Reason we’re excited: Ghost in the Shell is a beloved anime, and when the adaptation was first announced, we were pretty nervous about it. But based on the few trailers that have been released, it seems like the film is going to stay faithful to its original source material. Though there are still plenty reasons to be skeptical of Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of a Japanese woman, call us cautiously optimistic.
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks and Bill Hader
Release date: March 24, 2017
Reason we’re excited: It’s a new Power Rangers movie! The eight-year-old inside of us all is jumping with excitement. We’re going to see Zords on the big screen again, along with an entirely new cast of ninja superheroes. This marks the first live-action Power Rangers movie in more than two decades, so there’s a lot riding on it being good.
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Starring: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks and Karen Gillan
Release date: April 28, 2017
Reason we’re excited: If you’ve read Dave Eggers’ book that the film is based on, you’ll need no explanation for why we’re excited for The Circle. It’s a poignant and thrilling read about our obsession with Silicon Valley and social media. The warning signs can be overdramatic at times but, for the most part, the book’s tone hits the nail on the head when it comes to the debate over privacy and access.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper
Release date: May 5, 2017
Reason we’re excited: Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the most refreshing Marvel movies to come out since the cinematic universe launched in 2008 with Iron Man. It was funny, charming and endearing in every way possible, and the sequel looks like it will maintain that overall tone. Most importantly, it will introduce Baby Groot, the character I’ve already deemed the cutest of 2017.
Directed by: Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Robin Wright
Release date: June 2, 2017
Reason we’re excited: It’s a female-led superhero movie! It’s Wonder Woman, and in an era that’s overcrowded with male superheroes, Wonder Woman should be an inspiring and much needed change of pace. Patty Jenkins (Monster) is a fantastic director, and watching Gal Gadot team up with Robin Wright, who plays goddess General Antiope, is very promising.
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr. and Zendaya
Release date: July 7, 2017
Reason we’re excited: This is what we’ve been waiting for, boys and girls. The return of Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although we got a glimpse of Tom Holland’s version of the character in Captain America: Civil War, this is the feature-length debut of Spidey under Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige’s watchful eye. The young Peter Parker, full of teenage angst and exhaustion over saving New York, is just what the MCU needed.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer and Andy Serkis
Release date: July 14, 2017
Reason we’re excited: War for the Planet of the Apes is the third installment in the franchise and looks like it may be the deadliest. Caesar, the ape in charge of the revolution, has never been angrier and now he’s looking for an all-out war. The film will also use a character that appeared in the original 1968 film, so fans of that classic will be appeased.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Cara Delevingne, Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan and John Goodman
Release date: July 21, 2017
Reason we’re excited: Valerian looks like the fun, whimsical and vibrant sci-fi movie that has been missing from mainstream cinema. Lately, everything has been dark, gloomy and pessimistic, which perhaps feels appropriate for 2016 ... but Valerian is a nice change of pace. It feels youthful, unique and optimistic. It’s essentially what we could use in the next year.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Harry Styles and Mark Rylance
Release date: July 21, 2017
Reason we’re excited: Christopher Nolan remains one of the most thoughtful directors; there isn’t one scene that’s not fully fleshed out in his films. For the past while, Nolan has been making superhero movies and space odysseys, but seeing him break away from his security genres to make a war film should be interesting. Having it play on the big screen in glorious 65mm IMAX, however, will be nothing but dazzling.
Blade Runner 2049
Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford
Release date: Oct. 6, 2017
Reason we’re excited: It’s a return to Blade Runner more than three decades after Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking film was released. Harrison Ford is back as Rick Deckard, the LAPD police officer who was tasked with taking out artificially intelligent machines known as replicants. With Villeneuve (Arrival) behind the camera, our excitement is only growing; especially after seeing the first teaser for the film.
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Tessa Thompson
Release date: Nov. 3, 2017
Reason we’re excited: 2017 is shaping up to be the year of comedies for Marvel. Director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows) told Polygon earlier this year that he was preparing to make a buddy-cop movie featuring Thor and the Hulk, but we should also expect appearances from Loki and Doctor Strange. Waititi is a director best known for his off-beat humor and intense focus on character development, so this may be the most fulfilling Thor movie yet.
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Ezra Miller
Release date: Nov. 17, 2017
Reason we’re excited: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are teaming up with Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman for the biggest movie in the DC Cinematic Universe yet. We know what you’re thinking, but unlike Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League will have a less gritty tone and be lighter overall, according to producers and director Zack Snyder. The focus of the film will be on the relationship these superheroes share with each other, and the awkwardness that comes with it. It’s not a Joss Whedon movie, but if they use the right amount of comedy, it may feel more like The Avengers. If we’re being honest, that’s something the DC Cinematic Universe could use right now.