Future Favorites: Our Most Anticipated Releases of 2018

We’ve shared our 2017 Disappointments with you, so now it feels only appropriate that we share what we’re most looking forward to next year. There’s a lot of amazing content being released, and for a lot of us, it was hard to narrow our picks to just one. Nevertheless, we managed, so without further adieu, come see what the writers of Speculative Chic are looking forward to most next year!


Nicole: While Stephanie Garber’s Legendary and Rhonda Mason’s Exile’s Throne are pretty much at the top of my list, I feel like I’ve waxed poetically about them enough in our last Roundtable. So in order to stop myself from becoming creepily obsessive, I’m going to go with my next excited-grin-inducing future release.

The Black Panther movie.

I’m serious when I say I got stupid-excited every time I went and saw a movie in the theaters and the trailer for this movie appeared. It just looks so damned cool! And the simple fact that Hollywood is FINALLY making a movie that isn’t 100% full of white people is amazing in its own right. I like diversity in my movies. It’s the spice of life! It makes things so much more interesting. Granted, I’m not going to give Hollywood all of the credit — or even most of it — since the public basically had to scream and shout for them to not whitewash everything. While a movie about an African superhero that is based in Africa doesn’t seem like it’s something that could even be whitewashed, I absolutely wouldn’t have put it past them to try. Because God knows, if a movie doesn’t have big names of white dudes like Tom Cruise in it, no one wants to see it, right?

WRONG.

I want to see this movie with every fiber of my being. I want to hear what kind of soundtrack it gets (I even cheated to see who it was, and my soundtrack junkie self has never heard of this gentleman, which will make this movie even more of a surprise). I want to see all the costumes and places and action and more. I want this movie to be amazing in the way that people wanted Wonder Woman to be amazing. And given how much hype it’s getting, how people are staring Hollywood dead in the eyes reminding them how they’d better not fuck this all up, it better be.


Merrin: I am looking forward to SO MANY MOVIES in 2018 that it’s hard to pick just one of them. We’re finally getting The Incredibles 2 after FOURTEEN YEARS. The next Star Wars installation will be in May. Black Panther opens in February and looks like it’s going to be amazing. Mary Poppins Returns opens on Christmas Day 2018, which is most notable because Lin Manuel Miranda is in it. So like, I have a lot of things on my list.

But my most anticipated, like I will be there at the first possible showing and will be heartbroken if it doesn’t live up to the hype, is A Wrinkle in Time.

I was first introduced to the Time Quartet by my mother, who had read some of Madeleine L’Engle’s non-fiction. I was hooked from the opening pages of the first book and didn’t stop until I’d read the entire series through at least twice. Meg Murray spoke to my little nerdling soul in a way that no character had done before. I identified so much with her and she has long been a personal hero of mine. I even named my female cat Charles Wallace. Like. I’m a fan.

A Canadian production company made a straight-to-video version distributed by Disney in 2004, and my favorite thing about it is what L’Engle thought of the production. When she was asked if the movie met her expectations, she said “Yes, I expected it to be bad, and it is.” Get Disney some aloe for that burn. It was incredibly low budget and not even in a charming way. I’ve only watched it once, and I kind of regret the time devoted to it.

But! I’m happy to report that this one looks like it is going to be amazing, especially if the previews are anything to go by. It’s going to be directed by Ava DuVernay, for starters, who is best known for Selma. Like that’s the level we’re already at. Chris Pine is playing Meg Murray’s dad, so I already care a lot more about what happens to him. Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling are going to be the three Mrs. Ws. And I’m really excited that Meg Murray will be played by a black actress, Storm Reid, because representation matters.

I’m nervous because, like I said, it’s a beloved childhood book that I reread pretty regularly. But I’m also really excited, because it looks like they’re doing it justice, and if they’re not doing justice they’re at least making it look like a really kick-ass movie in the previews.


J.L. Gribble: As Speculative Chic’s chief Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) fangirl, it should be no shock that I’m most anticipating Avengers: Infinity War. The first trailer actually dropped the morning of me writing this submission, and I’ve watched it about five times so far. I’m a sucker for team-ups of any kind, and this is the ultimate team-up. Where do I begin?

I’m relieved to see Bruce Banner back in human form after where we left Thor: Ragnarok (and I’m pleased that my theory about Loki stealing the Tesseract [again] is confirmed). I’m thrilled that it looks like T’Challa’s Wakandan forces might play a large role in this new film, because Black Panther is my second-most anticipated thing of 2018. I may have gotten a bit misty-eyed at the line “Get this man a shield.” I’m 100 percent on board with Cap and Bucky fighting side-by-side again. I’m also 100 percent on board with Cap’s beard.

There’s so much packed into this trailer, and yet I still have so many questions! The most difficult thing about team-up narratives is how to realistically get everyone in the same place. They did a great job of that with The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron. But now we’re looking at a cast of easily two dozen main and secondary characters rather than a handful. Who is going to get relegated to a short cameo, which will break my heart even if it means they survive the film?

Even the MCU films I haven’t adored have still been fantastic movies. This one has been 10 years in the making. That’s a lot of pressure, but I have faith it will live up to the hype.


Casey: 2018! There are so many things to look forward to! When the call went out for us to choose the thing we’re most anticipating for 2018, I couldn’t come up with an answer for a little while. I was at a serious loss. There are certainly plenty of things coming up that I want to see. Westworld and American Gods will both return with new seasons. Wreck it Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet promises to be just as much fun as the original. Several favorite authors have new releases. When it comes down to it, there really is a lot to look forward to. However, none of these really sparked anything in me other than a mild interest. I didn’t think I could come up with an answer to this question.

Then I remembered the man in the red suit.
Yes, friends, Deadpool 2 will see the light of day in June of 2018, and I am finally excited about something. Mr. Pool is one of my favorite characters. I may or may not have a little stuffed Deadpool riding around in my car, which may or may not have Deadpool-themed license plate frames (one of which says “Maximum Effort” on it). I’ll never tell. BUT, when Deadpool 2 arrives at my local theater, I will most definitely be there opening day and probably a few more times after. I may even take a day off from work, because Deadpool Day is going to be a personal holiday of mine. Wade Wilson being sarcastic and killing people is a necessity in my life. While I’m not sure what that means about my personality, I am happy to embrace it. There has been no official trailer as of this writing, but this teaser (NSFW, obviously) of Deadpool channeling Bob Ross is just enough surreal brilliance to whet my appetite, and there are only a few short seconds of actual trailer cut into the end. If this is enough to enchant my inner fangirl, I’m not sure what’s going to happen when an actual trailer appears.


Nancy: When it comes to book series, few have been as pleasant a surprise as Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist History books. While I enjoyed Shades of Milk and Honey, the first offering in this “Jane Austen with magic” series, I had no idea how much I would come to fall in love with its characters over the course of five books and miss them when I had turned the last page. Since then, Kowal has delivered another worthwhile historical fantasy book with Ghost Talkers, a WWI novel where psychic mediums receive intel from fallen soldiers. Next year, she delivers not one, but a duo of new books: The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky.

Shifting from historical fantasy to alternate history, The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky are both prequels to Kowal’s Hugo-award winning novellette The Lady Astronaut of Mars. Here, our journey to put a man on the moon (and later Mars) is greatly accelerated. Elma York is one of the women behind this quest, but eventually she begins to wonder why the talented women in this program must stay in the background. Why can’t they go into space too?

The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky look to be engrossing tales of alternate history about women in STEM fields, fighting against sexism in its many forms. Even if I wasn’t a fan of Mary Robinette Kowal’s work (which I am), or the original novelette that inspired it all (loved that, too!), I know that I would be eager to pick up both of these books based on the premise alone. The fact that both novels are slated to come out right around my birthday (July 31st) is an added treat. It almost makes the wait worth it.


Kelly: I have never been a superhero fan. I don’t read comic books, and I’m probably the only Speculative Chic contributor who hasn’t seen Wonder Woman. Superhero movies usually strike me as being too earnest and childlike for my taste. I am so unfamiliar with the genre that when I saw a photo of a friend wearing a Deadpool costume on Facebook, I thought, “Why is he dressed up like sexy Spiderman?” I didn’t even see the first Deadpool movie until it came out on HBO. It comes as a surprise to me that my most anticipated release of 2018 is Deadpool 2.

Deadpool isn’t your typical superhero movie. It’s extremely violent revenge fantasy that is also a love story, in addition to being sarcastic and hilarious. I could barely tell Ryan Reynolds from Ryan Gosling before I saw the film but I have been completely won over by Reynolds’ charisma. He has great chemistry, not only with his love interest Vanessa, played by Morena Baccarin, but also with his best friend Weasel (T.J. Miller) and elderly blind roommate, Blind Al (Leslie Uggams). One of my favorite moments in the movie is when Deadpool tells Blind Al, “If I never see you again, I want you to know that I love you very much. I also buried 1,000 kilos of cocaine somewhere in the apartment — right next to the cure for blindness.” I also died laughing when Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” plays during a vicious fight scene.

As much as I loved Deadpool, part of me still wondered if it was a fluke — until I saw the funny Bob Ross teaser trailer for Deadpool 2. Whoever is marketing this film is totally in my head because I love Bob Ross. Deadpool gets me and now I have to see the sequel.


Ronya: Between A Wrinkle in Time, Black Panther, and New Mutants, among many others, Hollywood is going to make a lot of money off me in 2018. But the trailer for Annihilation gave me the best I-can’t-wait-to-see-this chills that I’ve had in a long time (I did not experience this even for The Last Jedi). It is based off Jeff Vandermeer’s book of the same name and is the first book in his Southern Reach trilogy, about an amorphous place called Area X that has taken over and contaminated a large part of the southern United States. Area X, and the wondrous yet horrific things it contains, shouldn’t exist. The Southern Reach is a government agency responsible for sending in teams of explorers and scientists to find out as much as it can. But anyone who explores Area X either doesn’t come back, or doesn’t come back as themselves. Like any good horror story, nothing is as it seems, and the people you thought you could trust turn out to have deep flaws. Hmm. I hope that’s not too spoilery.

As the introduction to this trilogy, Annihilation was a very effective bio-thriller/horror story — so much so that it won the Nebula and the Shirley Jackson Awards in 2014. So I am super stoked to see it translated to the silver screen. I will be honest; even in the preview I can see differences between the movie and the story. But given the delicious creepiness and jumpy horror on display in the preview, I’m already more than willing to forgive what works for the screen. The star power — Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leight, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson, directed by Alex Garland — doesn’t hurt, either; this is one adaptation that has to be done right. Initially I thought the story was untranslatable to the screen. I won’t spoil the entire trilogy, but Vandermeer refused to define the origin of Area X, or provide any clear answers about what happened, and that ambiguity is part of the horror itself. You end up going crazy right along with the characters. (Even Vandermeer had some strange experiences writing the trilogy.) So I have no idea how Authority and Acceptance will be adapted to the screen, because they are even weirder.

Bring on the weird: February 23 is marked on my calendar and I can’t wait to buy tickets. Fingers crossed!


Shara: Like most everyone else on this list, there’s a lot I’m looking forward to in 2018. Black Panther, Cap’s beard, and doesn’t Annihilation look amazing?!?!?! I’m also chomping at the bit for season 2 of Westworld, but that won’t premiere before I get my grubby eyeballs on season two of Jessica Jones on Netflix.

I loved every second of the first season, and 2017’s premiere of The Defenders reminded me of how much I love Jessica Jones’ character, as well as Krysten Ritter’s portrayal of her. Snarky, unapologetic, a stubborn realist…. to say that Jessica Jones is my patronous would be a sentiment I wouldn’t be alone in making. And the treatment of her story and her character in season one, as a woman experiencing PTSD, was spot on.

So I’m looking forward to getting more Jessica Jones in the future, especially in terms of where her story goes. Because PTSD simply can’t disappear for her after the climatic season one finale (The Defenders showed us that much), and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg has always been very dedicated to making sure she’s telling the right story for this character.

All this means I’m chomping at the bit to see where this goes! At least I don’t have long to wait: the second season drops on March 8th, 2018. Who’s bingeing with me?


Betsy: There are a number of things that I’m looking forward to this coming year, but few of them really stand out. I mean, yes, I plan to see pretty much every Marvel Studios movie release, but they’re getting a bit thick on the ground these days. So when I heard that Naomi Novik is releasing a new novel, I took particular notice. I’ve been a fan for nearly twelve years, since her debut novel (His Majesty’s Dragon) took us into an alternate history where dragons are real, and utilized as an aerial force during the Napoleonic Wars.

Last year I reviewed her latest title at the time, Uprooted, as part of our Hugo coverage, and I’ve been hoping to see more in the same vein of Eastern European-influenced fairy tale tellings from Novik. All that means I was tickled pink to hear that there is, indeed, another such story coming down the publishing pipeline. Spinning Silver is a version of Rumplestiltskin, and I have no doubt that it’s going to be lovely.

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty — until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed — and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth — especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

They even released cover art just in time for this post — and it’s every bit as gorgeous as Uprooted‘s. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy so I’ll have it when it releases on July 10 instead of having to drive an hour to the nearest bookstore.  And in the meanwhile, you can bet I’ll be rereading Uprooted once or twice so it’s fresh in my mind.

3 Comments

  • Shara White December 29, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Betsy, thanks for letting us know about the Novik book! I’ve got it on pre-order, and DANG, that cover is pretty!

    I think I’m looking forward to ALL of these things!

    Reply
  • Kelly McCarty December 30, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I rarely ever go to see movies in the theater but in addition to Deadpool 2, I really want to see Black Panther and Annihilation and I sort of want to see A Wrinkle in Time. I’m curious to see if Annihilation the movie provides more answers because I loved Annihilation the book but I was disappointed with the lack of answers when I finished the entire Southern Reach trilogy. Even from the trailer, I can see that they’ve made it more of a love story than the book was. I’m concerned about Oprah’s casting in A Wrinkle in Time because I feel like it’s going to be hard to forget that she’s Oprah and having a super-famous celebrity in a movie always pulls me out of the story.

    Reply
  • Nancy O'Toole Meservier January 1, 2018 at 8:15 am

    I am glad that I wasn’t the only one comforted by the Bob Ross preview. Deadpool is going to be a tough movie to follow up (given that it was close to perfect), but it looks like they’ve got the humor nailed down at least, which is so vital to the character.

    Reply

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