Sci-Fi movies that are going to blow everyone away in 2018

It looks like 2018 is shaping up to be a great year of big-screen eye candy for science fiction fans. From a new entry in the Star Wars anthology films to movies based on favorite books and mangas, there's going to be something for just about everyone in 2018's slate of sci-fi films. 

While it is a little hard to predict how good a movie will be when trailers or even plot details aren't fully available yet, we can make some educated guesses on which ones will be worth your time. Here's a look at the sci-fi movies that we think will be the ones to watch for when they finally hit theaters in 2018.

The Beyond - January 9, 2018

If you're a horrorphile, you may have been wondering if 2018's The Beyond will be a reboot or remake of the 1981 Italian horror film of the same name. Actually, this new film has no connection to Lucio Fulci's gorefest, but it should be an entertaining ride all the same. The Beyond is the first feature-length effort from Hasraf 'HaZ' Dullul, who previously worked as a VFX artist on films like The Dark Knight and Hellboy 2.

Loosely based on Dullul's 2013 short Project Kronos, The Beyond is set during a near future in which robotically augmented astronauts embark on an interstellar journey through a recently discovered wormhole. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dullul hopes "to do for sci-fi what Blumhouse did for horror. Meaning, to find low-budget approaches and execute in ways that make the movies feel bigger than their budgets." If the trailer is any indication, Dullul has succeeded in that goal. 

While The Beyond will likely make it onto the festival circuit in 2018, your best bet to catch this sci-fi indie flick is by streaming it; it's set to premiere on digital streaming services on January 9.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure - January 26, 2018

The third installment in the film franchise based on James Dashner's novels, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, was originally supposed to have a 2017 release date, but star Dylan O'Brien suffered some major injuries when he was hit by a car while filming in 2016, and production had to be pushed back nearly an entire year in order to give him time to recover and return to work.

The supporting cast joining O'Brien for the concluding film in this science fiction trilogy includes Kaya Scodelario, Dexter Darden, Giancarlo Esposito, and three actors who have previously appeared in Game of Thrones: Aidan Gillen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Nathalie Emmanuel. For fans of Dashner's Maze Runner books, The Death Cure promises to bring the plot around to a final spectacular showdown between the Gladers and WCKD.

Annihilation - February 23, 2018

Following the premiere of its first trailer in September 2017, the upcoming Annihilation became one of the most hotly anticipated science fiction films of 2018. Based on the acclaimed 2014 book of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, and directed by novelist and Ex Machina director Alex Garland, Annihilation follows a biologist (Natalie Portman) as she goes searching for answers about her husband's disappearance by joining an expedition into an environmental disaster zone.

For fans of VanderMeer's work, it looks like Annihilation will stay relatively close to the source material, with a few notable exceptions—such as the inclusion of a fifth member on the expeditionary team. Additionally, it appears that some elements of the follow-up novel, Authority, have made it into the Annihilation adaptation. Even if you've never read any of VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, there should be plenty of suspense and sci-fi to keep you entertained.

A Wrinkle in Time - March 9, 2018

For fans of Madeleine L'Engle's classic 1962 science-fiction/fantasy novel, March 9th, 2018 can't come soon enough. That's when the live-action adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time will premiere in theaters. The movie will star 14-year-old actress Storm Reid as main character Meg Murry, with a star-studded supporting cast including Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey, among others. The Academy Award-nominated Ava DuVernay will direct the film, making her the first woman of color to direct a film with over a $100 million budget.

The novel has been adapted for film once before, in a 2003 Disney-distributed TV movie which went straight to DVD and was poorly-received by most viewers, including L'Engle herself. "I expected it to be bad, and it is," she told Newsweek in 2004. With such an impressive cast and director on board, the 2018 remake of the tale is sure to be amazing. We just wish L'Engle could have seen her story brought to the big screen; she passed away in 2007 at the age of 88.

Pacific Rim: Uprising - March 23, 2018

On February 23rd, 2018, science fiction fans will finally get to see the long-awaited sequel to 2013's Pacific Rim. Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, and Burn Gorman will reprise their roles from the original monster film, and they will be joined by John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, and Jing Tian in starring roles. While Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro is not returning to direct the sequel—with Stephen DeKnight at the helm instead—del Toro is a producer of Uprising and wrote the story that the film is based on.

Plot details are scanty so far, but we do know that John Boyega will feature as Jake Pentecost—the son of Idris Elba's character Stacker Pentecost from Pacific Rim. In February 2017, we got our first look at three new Jaegers (giant mechs) that will be featured in the movie, which takes place several years after the events in the first movie

While Pacific Rim was slow out of the gate at the box-office initially, it eventually went on to gain a huge following of fans and do extremely well, grossing over $411 million worldwide. If Uprising can repeat that performance, we may be looking at a grand new mech franchise just getting off of the ground.

Ready Player One - March 30, 2018

Acclaimed director Steven Spielberg is giving science fiction fans something to salivate over with his upcoming 2018 project, Ready Player One. Based on the Prometheus Award-winning novel of the same name by Ernest Cline, the movie promises to be a mind-blowing experience. For those who have not read the novel yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up right away—the film rights were purchased by Warner Brothers before the book was even published. Yes, it's that good.

We won't spoil the plot of the movie for you, which should follow the events of the book fairly closely. Here are the rest of the tantalizing non-spoilery details: the film will star Tye Sheridan as main character Wade Watts, aka "Parzival," and the rest of the main cast includes Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg, T.J. Miller, Hannah John-Kamen, and Win Morisaki. 

The movie will likely be visually stunning as well; the cinematography will be handled by Janusz Kamiński, who won two Academy Awards for his work on Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, and was nominated four additional times for Amistad, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, War Horse, and Lincoln. With so much Hollywood heft behind Ready Player One, we're confident that it will be the must-see science fiction movie of the year. It is slated to hit theaters on March 30th, 2018.

Rampage - April 20, 2018

Monster movies may have fallen out of vogue in recent years, but Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may change all of that with the science fiction/action flick Rampage on April 20th, 2018. The film is based on the classic 1980s arcade game of the same name, which features three gigantic animal monsters rampaging through cities around North America. The producers of the movie have confirmed that the monsters from the game will be back for the film, which means we'll soon be watching The Rock (and others) face off against a mega-lizard, mega-gorilla, and mega-wolf as they tear apart our major cities.

While this sounds like a goofy action blockbuster on the surface—you can't really avoid being campy with this kind of subject matter—director Brad Peyton (San Andreasalso promises that Rampage will be "a lot more emotional, a lot scarier and a lot more real than you'd expect." 

Video-game adaptations don't have a good history in Hollywood, but we're hopeful that Rampage will hit that magic formula of emotion, action, and not taking itself too seriously that will make it a box-office success.

Solo: A Star Wars Story - May 25, 2018

The upcoming Star Wars film about Han Solo has hit some bumps along the way, but we're confident that it will be one of the must-watch movies of the year. The standalone movie will follow a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich) and his exploits before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. The rest of the cast includes some familiar names, if not faces; Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is slated to appear as a young Lando Calrissian, while Joonas Suotamo will take over the role of Chewbacca from Peter Mayhew for this installment. In addition to these established Star Wars characters, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Michael K. Williams will all appear in supporting roles.

While shooting was underway in early 2017, production was halted after Lucasfilm fired co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller due to ongoing creative conflicts between the pair and both Lucasfilm executive Kathleen Kennedy and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. However, not all hope is lost—Lucasfilm hired the extremely competent Ron Howard as the new director to complete the principal photography and reshoots, which should wrap up sometime in late summer 2017. Harrelson expressed his confidence in Howard during an interview with Uproxx, and leaked photos from the set show that filming is continuing apace, leaving us on schedule for our return to a galaxy far, far away on May 25, 2018.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - June 22, 2018

Due to hit theaters on June 22, 2018, the newest installment in the Jurassic Park film franchise promises a return to its roots as well as a much darker tone along the lines of The Empire Strikes Back. While we don't have full plot details yet, here's what we know so far: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and B. D. Wong will reprise their roles from Jurassic World, and Jeff Goldblum is back as the philosophical Dr. Ian Malcolm—his first return to the franchise since 1997's The Lost World. Malcolm's importance in this sequel is hinted at strongly in the film's tagline: "Life Finds a Way." Joining this returning cast are new faces, including Ted Levine, Rafe Spall, Toby Jones, Geraldine Chaplin, Daniella Pineda, and Justice Smith.

Hints from those involved with the movie indicate that the plot may involve multiple competing labs hatching their own dinosaurs off the island, and the ethical issues in how they are using them, and how they will coexist with humans in the rest of the world. The movie will return to Isla Nublar for at least part of the film, and keep a watch out for the original Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex, which will also be making a comeback. With a promise that this sequel will be "more suspenseful and scary" than previous installments in the franchise, and with horror film director J.A. Bayona at the helm, we're sure that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will be a must-watch for 2018.

Alita: Battle Angel - July 20, 2018

Following in the footsteps of Oldboy and Ghost in the Shell, Alita: Battle Angel will bring us the latest science fiction movie based on a manga when it hits theaters on July 20th, 2018. The movie is directed by famed director Robert Rodriguez, who has brought us such gems as El Mariachi, Desperado, From Dusk til Dawn, Sin City, Four Rooms, and Spy Kids

Starring as the title character is Rosa Salazar, with a supporting cast including Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Michelle Rodriguez, Keean Johnson, and Jennifer Connelly, among others. Plot details have been scarce so far, but we do know that it will focus primarily on the plot of the manga's first four volumes, particularly on the futuristic sport of "motorball."

The film has been a passion project of producer James Cameron, who became a fan of Yukito Kishiro's original manga nearly two decades ago. He's been trying to get the film made ever since then, although he's had to delay production along the way in order to finish his Avatar films and develop the additional technology needed to do Alita correctly. With Cameron and Rodriguez leading the way, Alita: Battle Angel is sure to please science fiction fans, action fans, and manga fans alike.

The Predator - August 3, 2018

While The Predator is actually the fourth film in the main series of Predator movies, chronologically, it is the third movie—set in 2018, between the events of 1990's Predator 2 and and 2010's Predators. We don't know much about the plot yet, but some tantalizing details have allowed us to read between the lines. 

It will star Boyd Holbrook as Quinn McKenna—an ex-Marine who discovers that the Predators exist, and recruits a team to help him hunt them down. Rounding out his team include castmates Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan Michael-Key, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen, and child actor Jacob Tremblay, who will play Quinn's son. The other supporting cast members include Yvonne Strahovski and Edward James Olmos, as well as Jake Busey—he will make an appearance as the son of "Peter Keyes" from Predator 2—a character which was played by Jake's father, Gary Busey.

Filming wrapped in June 2017, and the movie is scheduled to premiere August 3rd, 2018. Shane Black (who played "Hawkins" in the original Predator) has returned to the franchise—this time as the director. Black apparently wants to keep the spirit of the original film alive with this sequel, and has made it clear that it won't be rated PG-13. Cast member Sterling K. Brown has also dropped hints that The Predator will have many "wicked" funny moments, much like the original film. If Black can truly capture the nostalgia of Predator while keeping the story fresh, The Predator should be a 2018 sci-fi blockbuster.

Captive State - August 17, 2018

Unlike many of the other science fiction films on our list, Captive State isn't based on a best-selling novel or manga. Instead, it is a feature-film adaptation of a screenplay written by Rupert Wyatt and his wife Erica Beeney—a screenplay that spurred a bidding war for the rights. Wyatt will also direct the movie, marking his return to big-screen directing after spending 2016 working on the pilot episode for Fox's horror television series The Exorcist. The film will star John Goodman, Vera Farmiga, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors, Kevin Dunn, and Machine Gun Kelly, among others.

At this point, we know very little about the plot of the film beyond the official description: "Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extraterrestrial force, Captive State explores the lives on both sides of the conflict—the collaborators and dissidents." While we don't know yet what side of that conflict John Goodman's character will be on, a set photo featuring him was released in May 2017, showing Goodman sitting in some sort of bunker-like chamber, wearing a respirator and military load-out vest on top of a tailored suit. The fact alone that this is an alien invasion movie set years after the actual invasion makes Captive State an exciting new sci-fi feature to watch for. You can catch it in theaters on August 17th, 2018.

The Darkest Minds - September 14, 2018

The Darkest Minds is an upcoming science fiction/superpowers movie based on the novel of the same name by Alexandra Bracken. It's being directed by Annie Award-winning Kung Fu Panda 2 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who will be making her live-action directorial debut with The Darkest Minds

Years after a disease sweeps America, killing nearly all of the children, the surviving kids develop uncontrollable superhuman abilities and are confined to internment camps around the nation. Amandla Stenberg—who you may recognize as "Rue" from The Hunger Games—will star as Ruby, a girl who decides to break out of the camp and join a group of rebel teens in a plot to bring down the authoritarian government which wants them kept under lock and key.

Joining Stenberg are Harris Dickinson, Mandy Moore, Patrick Gibson, Skylan Brooks, and Gwendoline Christie, who will play a brutal bounty hunter tasked with tracking down the missing teens. Being based on a young-adult novel, the live-action adaptation of The Darkest Minds will likely be a PG-13 film that will appeal to teens and families in addition to adult fans of the books and dystopian sci-fi in general. It's scheduled to premiere on September 14th, 2018.

Mortal Engines - December 14, 2018

Based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines will take us into a futuristic steampunk world following the ravages of a "Sixty Minute War." In this future, cities are now mobile, moving around the world propelled by gigantic engines and wheels. Along the way, the cities cannibalize smaller towns to replenish their own resources. 

Long-time Peter Jackson storyboard artist and collaborator Christian Rivers will make his feature-film directorial debut with Mortal Engines, while Jackson will produce. The screenplay was also written by Jackson, along with his frequent writing partners Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh.

Several other crew members from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films are also on board for Mortal Engines, including Zane Weiner and Amanda Walker. Starring Robert Sheehan, Hera Hilmar, Ronan Raftery, and Hugo Weaving, science fiction fans have a lot to look forward to on December 14th, 2018—Mortal Engines should be a visual extravaganza with a compelling story that will blow viewers away.

Code 8 - December 2018

Not only is Code 8 the first feature film from actors Robbie and Stephen Amell, it also was nearly completely crowdfunded via an Indiegogo campaign. In 2016, the Amells—who are cousins—released a 10-minute-long short film, which they were seeking to expand to feature-length. In it, the Amells take a much different view on the "mutant/superpower" trope. In their future, approximately four percent of people have various supernatural powers, but they are mostly shunned by the rest of the population. Forced to live on the fringes of society, "specials" struggle with poverty and have to take low-paying jobs as day laborers just to make ends meet. When two of the specials get into a confrontation with militarized police, things go violently wrong.

The short teaser is definitely intriguing, and many of the people who watched it seemed to think so, too: the Indiegogo campaign was fully funded within just a few days, and it has raised over $2 million to date. Starring Robbie and Stephen Amell, Sung Kang, Aaron Abrams, and Chad Donella, principal photography on Code 8 began in June 2017, and is tentatively slated for a December 2018 premiere. It will definitely be one to watch for!