2016 is set to be a huge year for film. Between the release of several superhero solo flicks (Deadpool, Doctor Strange), the latest installments from both Star Wars and Star Trek, and a new space epic starring two of Hollywood’s biggest names (Passengers), movie buffs should get ready to spend even more time in theaters than usual over the next several months. Here are 12 upcoming flicks we can’t wait to check out (listed chronologically).
1. Deadpool, released February 12
After years of being stuck in development, Deadpool finally hit theaters this February to the joy of comic book fans -‑ and for good reason. The R-rated, hilariously meta comic book film perfectly captured the spirit of the eponymous Merc with a Mouth. Ryan Reynolds, who previously played the character in X-Men Origins, finally got a chance to have some fun with the role, with all of the blood, gore, and swearing from the original source material.
2. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, released March 25
It goes without saying that there was a lot riding on Warner Bros.’s highly anticipated superhero flick. In addition to the months of hype it had to live up to, the film is also being used to launch the entire DC Comic-inspired cinematic universe. Did it succeed? Yes and no.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice stars Ben Affleck as Gotham City’s Batman, who — fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked — takes on Metropolis’s most revered savior, Superman (Henry Cavill). As the two go to war with one another, a new threat arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before. Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, and Michael Shannon will co-star, with several new characters (like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman) also making cameos.
3. Captain America: Civil War, May 6
So many comic book heroes will be a part of this sequel, you can practically count it as another Avengers movie. But of course, two characters will truly be at the forefront: Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). As the former leads the Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity, political pressure begins mounting to install a system of accountability for the team of heroes. The new status quo ends up fracturing the Avengers, even as they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.
4. The Nice Guys, May 20
Written and directed by Shane Black, this mystery thriller is quickly shaping up to be one of the most promising titles of the spring. Set during the 1970s, the movie centers on a Los Angeles private detective who partners with a rookie police officer to inquire about the apparent suicide of a fading porn star. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling lead what looks to be an exceptionally strong cast, with Matt Bomer and Kim Basinger also co-starring.
5. X-Men: Apocalypse, May 26
The latest installment in the X-Men franchise will reportedly close out the trilogy first kicked off in First Class. The film will bring back James McAvoy’s Professor X, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique, and Nicholas Hoult’s Beast.
This time, the four will come to head over the introduction of Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, who awakens after thousands of years only to be disillusioned with the world as he finds it. He recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Fassbender), to create a new world order over which he will reign. Meanwhile, Raven (Lawrence) and Professor X (McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to try and stop their greatest nemesis.
6. Ghostbusters, July 22
News of this project spurred — and has continued to spur — a mixed reaction among Ghostbusters loyalists arguing against the need for a reboot. But even skeptics can’t deny that the Ghostbusters reboot has a pretty strong lineup both behind and in front of the camera. Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy), the film features Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon as the new group of ghost-fighting heroines. Chris Hemsworth will play the new receptionist and yes, viewers should also expect to see cameos from the original Ghostbusters as well.
7. Star Trek Beyond, July 22
Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto will reprise their roles as Captain James T. Kirk and Commander Spock in the upcoming third installment of the Star Trek reboot series, which hits theaters around the same time as the franchise’s 50th anniversary. In addition to Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin returning to the cast, newbies Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella will also join the project. Fast & Furious vet Justin Lin will direct, from a screenplay by Doug Jung and Pegg.
8. Suicide Squad, August 5
The third planned film in the DC comics universe follows a team of supervillains who are tasked with a dangerous top-secret government mission. The movie has garnered plenty of attention for its star-studded ensemble cast, which features Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, and Cara Delevingne. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Jay Hernandez, Adam Beach, and Viola Davis also co-star. With such a great cast, it’s hard to not have pretty high expectations for Suicide Squad. Should it live up to the anticipation, the film will be a hugely entertaining summer blockbuster.
9. Doctor Strange, November 4
Doctor Strange will be the first new character of Marvel’s phase three, which first kicks off this year with Captain America: Civil War. The movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams, will reportedly follow Doctor Strange as he is driven to desperate measures to try and heal himself after his hands are left too damaged from the accident to perform surgery. He eventually turns to magic and the discovery of the mystical arts ultimately earns him the ‘Sorcerer Supreme’ moniker. From the sounds of it, the movie is living up to its name and shaping up to be one of Marvel’s most unconventional films yet. Early footage has been described as “trippy” and “physics defying” and has even drawn comparisons to Inception.
10. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, November 18
Those missing the world of Harry Potter don’t have to wait too much longer to return to the beloved universe. This anticipated spin-off stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, an eccentric globe-hopping English “magizoologist” wizard who travels to New York with his trusty weathered case – a magical device carrying expansive habitats for a collection of rare magical creatures. Once he arrives, he discovers that the American wizarding community is fearfully hiding and the threat of public exposure is an even graver concern than in the U.K. This causes trouble for him, especially when some of his creatures escape from his case.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them features a great cast, including Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, and Jon Voight. Making things even better? J.K Rowling herself wrote the script.
11. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, December 16
The Force Awakens already brought Star Wars back to the big screen last year, but fans should also be looking forward to Garth Edwards’s Rogue One. The upcoming spin-off is the first film in the Star Wars Anthology series, a collection of stand-alone stories set in the Star Wars universe. Set in between the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story centers on a group of rebel fighters who come together to carry out the mission of stealing the plans for the Death Star. Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Riz Ahmend are reportedly starring as rebel fighters while Ben Mendelsohn is set to play the primary villain.
12. Passengers, December 21
This intriguing upcoming sci-fi romance flick will bring together two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Though an official synopsis hasn’t been released yet, the movie reportedly takes place on a spacecraft transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet. After a malfunction in one of the craft’s sleep chambers, a single passenger is awakened 90 years before everyone else. Faced with the idea of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger. That sets off a unique love story. Rounding out the impressive team is director Morten Tyldum, who previously earned an Oscar nom for helming the Best Picture contender, The Imitation Game.