The future is here, in the form of 20 upcoming sci-fi films. Including long-awaited adaptations of the classic stories Ender’s Game and The Forever War. The list begins with a 2012 release that I missed – maybe it will turn up somewhere.
“Robot and Frank” (2012)
Starring: A robot (Rachael Ma) and Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon and Liv Tyler
Director: Jake Schrier (first feature film)
Frank is an aging ex-convict living alone. To help, Frank’s son (played by James Marsden) buys a robot (with the voice of Peter Sarsgaard) to help around the house and keep the old man company. Frank’s initial suspicion gradually gives way to delight when he discovers that the robot may be able to help him with his criminal exploits.
“Oz The Great And Powerful” (March 8, 2013)
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz
Director: Sam Raimi (“Spider-Man 3”)
A stage magician is hurled into a fantasy world, and must use his wits to stay ahead of three enchantresses who have plans for him. Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum.
“Oblivion” (April 19)
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko
Director: Joseph Kosinski (“Tron Legacy”)
Jak Harper is a drone repairman whose longstanding battle with alien invaders is drawing to an end. But when his aircraft lands on a barren Earth one day, his encounter with a mysterious woman named Julia throws everything he thinks he knows about the war into doubt. Based on a graphic novel the director wrote back in 2005.
“Iron Man 3” (May 3)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Guy Pearce and Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: Shane Black (“Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”)
Tony Stark uses his ingenuity to fight those who destroyed his private world and soon goes up against his most powerful enemy yet: the Mandarin.
“Star Trek Into Darkness” (May 17)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Zoe Saldana
Director: J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”)
In the wake of a shocking act of terror from within their own organization, the crew of The Enterprise is called back home to Earth. In defiance of regulations and with a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads his crew on a manhunt to capture an unstoppable force of destruction and bring those responsible to justice.
“After Earth” (June 7)
Starring: Will and Jaden Smith
Director: M Night Shyamalan (“The Last Airbender”)
A crash landing on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events that forced humanity to abandon the planet, leaves teenager Kitai Raige and his father Cypher stranded. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help, facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash. The father and son must learn to work together and learn to trust one another if they want any chance of escaping Earth and returning home.
“Man of Steel” (June 14)
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Russell Crowe and Diane Lane
Director: Zack Snyder
An alien infant is raised on Earth, and grows up with superhuman abilities. He sets out to use these abilities to guard his adopted world.
“World War Z” (June 21)
Starring: Brad Pitt, David Morse, Matthew Fox
Director: Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace”)
A U.N. employee is racing against time and fate, as he travels the world trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly Zombie pandemic.
“Pacific Rim” (July 12)
Starring: Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi and Ron Perlman
Director: Guillermo del Toro (“Hellboy”)
When gigantic monsters emerge from the ocean, brave warriors strap into equally large robot suits to fight them, in this homage to classic Japanese kaiju flicks.
“Elysium” (August 9)
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster
Director: Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”)
It’s set in 2159, where Earth has become so hopelessly overcrowded that the richest members of society live on a luxurious orbiting space station – the Elysium of the title. Damon plays Max, an ex-convict living among the ordinary classes on Earth. When Max gets into some trouble of an unspecified nature, he embarks on a mission that could bring down the divide between rich and poor.
“Riddick” (September 6)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Karl Urban, and Katee Sackhoff
Director: David Twohy (“The Chronicles of Riddick”)
Left for dead on a sun-scorched planet, Riddick finds himself up against a alien race of predators. Activating an emergency beacon alerts two ships: one carrying a new breed of merc, and the other captained by a man from Riddick’s past.
“Gravity” (October 18)
Starring: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock
Director: Alfonso Cuarón (“Children of Men”)
A pair of astronauts survive the destruction of an orbiting space station, and struggle to find a means of survival in a debris-strewn vacuum. Early test screenings have been extremely positive, with Sandra Bullock’s performance described by some as being the best of her career so far.
“The World’s End” (October 25)
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Martin Freeman
Director: Edgar Wright (“Shaun of the Dead”)
A group of friends get together to embark on a pub crawl they’d once enjoyed in their youth. But as drinks are imbibed and their final destination, the title’s World’s End pub, draws closer, the boozers gradually realize they may be drinking their way towards the apocalypse.
“Ender’s Game” (November 1)
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley
Director: Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”)
There’s been talk of an adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel almost since it was published. Ender Wiggin is one of a group of children who are in training to battle against a race of invading aliens called Formics. Although it’s said that Hood has extensively reworked Card’s novel, the author’s happy with what he’s seen so far.
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (November 22)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Amanda Plummer, Bruno Gunn, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson and Donald Sutherland
Director: Francis Lawrence (“Water for Elephants”)
The film adaptation of the second book in Suzanne Collins’ runaway bestselling “Hunger Games” trilogy. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” begins as Katniss Everdeen has returned home safe after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Winning means that they must turn around and leave their family and close friends, embarking on a “Victor’s Tour” of the districts. Along the way Katniss senses that a rebellion is simmering, but the Capitol is still very much in control as President Snow prepares the 75th Annual Hunger Games (The Quarter Quell) – a competition that could change Panem forever.
“Vessel” (December 31) (14 minute short)
Starring: Alan Pietruszewski, Brandon Bales and Julie Mintz
Director: Clark Baker
“Vessel” is the story of the passengers of Flight 298, a red-eye on its way from Boston to San Francisco. Midway through the flight the passengers encounter an otherworldly force and are subsequently thrown into a fight for their lives. The story focuses on Danny (an everyday traveler), Emma (a flight attendant), Chloe (an unattended underage passenger) and Jim and Murray (the two pilots).
“U.F.O.” (December 31)
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Amelia Linney, Andrew Shim and Bianca Bree
Director: Dominic Burns (“How to Stop Being a Loser”)
The film is about five friends who wake up one morning to find that there is no power, cell phones or radio. The group wanders in the darkness for two days when they see a city-sized UFO above the city. Soon civilization starts to break down and the five friends find themselves in the middle of lawless anarchy.
“Mass Effect” (December 31)
Starring: Matthew Fox
In the year 2183, Commander Shepard of the SS Normandy leads a team on a mission to defeat an ancient alien race that invades the galaxy every 50,000 years, wiping out all organic life. Based on the popular computer game series.
“The Prototype” (2013)
Starring: A robot and Neal McDonough
Director: Andrew Will (“Act Of Valor ”)
An experimental military android escapes from a Nevada storage facility and is hunted down by soldiers. One of the lower-budget offerings on this list, it nevertheless looks quite exciting – not least for its extremely cool robot design. Jason Bourne + Robocop?
“Mad Max: Fury Road” (2013)
Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, and Zoë Kravitz
Director: George Miller (“Happy Feet”)
Re-launch of the “Mad Max” story. George Miller is working on not one but TWO new Mad Max films to be shot back to back. Word is that “Fury Road” will be followed immediately by “Mad Max: Furiosa.”
“The Forever War” (in development)
Director: Ridley Scott
The story revolves around Private William Mandella, who battles an enemy in deep space for only a few months, only to return home to a planet he doesn’t recognize some 20 years later, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel. Based on the 1974 Hugo and Nebula-winning novel by Joe Haldeman.