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.

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.

More recently, Paramount teased fans with another trailer, along with an official poster. We've also learned more about how Annihilation will be distributed: the film will have a wide theatrical release on February 23 in the United States, but Netflix has secured the international rights and will distribute the film in other markets 17 days later.

For fans of VanderMeer's work, you might be worried about Garland's self-proclaimed "liberal interpretation" of the text when making Annihilation — but first you should hear what the author had to say about the movie: "It's actually more surreal than the novel…the ending is so mind-blowing, people will be talking about [it] around the watercooler for years. Visually, it's amazing. I must say that and that's all I probably should say." 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.

Curvature - February 23, 2018

Diego Hallivis' science fiction drama Curvature premiered at the Shriekfest Film Festival in October 2017, where it won Best Sci-Fi Feature. Beginning February 23, 2018, you'll be able to catch Curvature in select theaters nationwide as well as via multiple on-demand formats. After a scientist (Lyndsy Fonseca) receives a mysterious phone call from her future self, she must break into a top-secret facility in order to find out more about her late husband's work and travel back in time to prevent a murder. Fonseca is joined by a supporting cast that includes Linda Hamilton (The Terminator franchise), Glenn Morshower (Bloodline, Transformers franchise), and Noah Bean (Damages). The trailer for Curvature certainly seems intriguing, and seeing Linda Hamilton in a new movie about time travel seems almost too good to be true.

Mute - February 23, 2018

Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code, Warcraft) and starring Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux, Mute is a futuristic science fiction thriller premiering through Netflix on February 23. Before dropping the first official trailer in late January, the streamer teased audiences with a little bit of preview footage in their "New to Netflix" promo video for February 2018.

According to the official Netflix synopsis, Mute is set in a future Berlin, where a mute bartender (Skarsgård) teams up with a pair of U.S. Army surgeons (Rudd and Theroux) to search the "loud and often brutal" city for his missing girlfriend. They go on to promise that Mute delivers a "soulful sci-fi journey" framed by "a world of strange currencies in which echoes of love and humanity are still worth listening to."

A Wrinkle in Time - March 9, 2018

For fans of Madeleine L'Engle's classic 1962 science-fiction/fantasy novel, March 9, 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 — just watch this behind-the-scenes footage or the most recent trailer.

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 new film, which takes place several years after the events of the first movie. The first trailer dropped several months later, featuring Jake delivering an inspirational speech. This was followed by another trailer in January 2018, which teased fans further with more of Jake's backstory and a look at the new Jaeger pilots and terrifying new Kaiju they will face.

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.

Isle of Dogs - March 23, 2018

On March 23, 2018, celebrated director Wes Anderson returns with the sci-fi adventure Isle of Dogs, his first feature-length effort since 2014's The Grand Budapest Hotel. Like his award-winning 2009 film Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle of Dogs will feature stop-motion animation throughout — and the trailer looks pretty awesome, to say the least. For those that own a Google Pixel mobile phone and the Daydream VR device, a five-and-a-half minute Isle of Dogs behind-the-scenes VR experience will launch simultaneously with the film's international premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.

Isle of Dogs is set in a dystopian future Japan, where an alleged "canine flu" has caused the government to remove all dogs from the country and quarantine them on a remote island garbage dump. When Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin) travels to the island to search for his dog, he gains the trust and assistance of five dogs he meets: Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), Boss (Bill Murray), Duke (Jeff Goldblum), and King (Bob Balaban). The dogs decide to aid the boy on his quest and help protect him from the corrupt government forces that are searching for him. The rest of the star-studded supporting cast includes Greta Gerwig, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber, and Harvey Keitel.

Ready Player One - March 29, 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 first footage of Ready Player One premiered at Comic-Con in July 2017, followed by a jaw-dropping trailer in December. In January 2018, Warners released a featurette for the movie, featuring a voiceover by author Cline, who explains how the "steady diet of Steven Spielberg movies" he watched as a child later had a massive influence on his writing. Spielberg himself chimes in, too — calling Cline's novel an "amazing flash-forward and flashback," one that closely resembles what Spielberg thinks will actually happen in the future.

If the trailers are any indication, Ready Player One will be visually stunning. The film's cinematography was created by frequent Spielberg collaborator Janusz Kamiński, a six-time Oscar nominee with two wins to his name for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. With so much Hollywood heft behind Ready Player One, we're confident that it'll be the must-see science fiction movie of the year. It's slated to hit theaters on March 29, 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 20, 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 Andreas) also promises that Rampage will be "a lot more emotional, a lot scarier and a lot more real than you'd expect." The first official Rampage trailer and a January 2018 teaser support Peyton's claim, offering audiences a look at some impressive visuals, funny moments, and an unexpectedly tender backstory between Johnson's character and one of the genetically modified creatures.

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, Ian Kenny, Warwick Davis, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge 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 finish the principal photography and reshoots, which were completed in October 2017. Disney is still keeping details about Solo under wraps for now: aside from some leaked photos from the set, fans haven't seen any actual footage from the movie yet. While there has been much speculation that Disney will release a trailer during the Super Bowl on February 4, there's been no official word yet. Hopefully, the rumors are true — a trailer would give fans something to salivate over (and help alleviate their concerns) until Solo brings us back 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.

The official trailer makes it clear that Fallen Kingdom focuses largely on the abandoned Isla Nublar, where the remaining dinosaurs — including the original Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex — are in grave danger from a volcanic eruption. As Claire and Owen try to save the creatures and locate his trained raptor Blue, they also uncover a conspiracy of epic proportions. Hints from those involved with the movie indicate that this plot may involve rival labs hatching their own dinosaurs off the island and the consequences of their greed. With a promise that this sequel will be "more suspenseful and scary" than previous installments, and with horror director J.A. Bayona at the helm, we're sure that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will be a must-watch for 2018.

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 17, 2018.

Replicas - August 24, 2018

Slated for an August 24 release, Replicas is an upcoming science fiction thriller from director Jeffrey Nachmanoff (The Day After Tomorrow, The Tourist). Although Replicas isn't due to hit theaters until August, the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2017 — and a full trailer for the movie is available already. Replicas stars Keanu Reeves as Will Foster, a synthetic biologist who uses a cutting edge (and highly illegal) experimental procedure to bring his family back to "life" after they're killed in a car accident. In the process, Foster puts himself and his family at risk by drawing the attention of a special police force and a government-controlled laboratory. Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness) plays Will's wife Mona, with Thomas Middleditch, Emily Alyn Lind, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, and Nyasha Hatendi rounding out the main supporting roles. 

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 14, 2018.

The Predator - September 14, 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. In an interview with Collider, Trevante Rhodes revealed that he "can't wait" for people to see The Predator, and called it "ha-ha hard R" — referring both to the violent traditions of the Predator franchise and director/writer Shane Black's legendary sense of humor. 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.

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. We've gotten a glimpse of this horrifying concept brought to life for the big screen in the first Mortal Engines teaser trailer, which was released in December 2017.

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 14, 2018 — Mortal Engines should be a visual extravaganza with a compelling story that will blow viewers away.

Alita: Battle Angel - December 21, 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 20, 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." Along with revealing a unique and stylized look for Alita in the film, the first full trailer also teased a battle between the cyborg heroine and Makaku — her first major adversary from the manga.

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.

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.

Anon - 2018

With 2018's Anon, filmmaker and screenwriter Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show) returns to the world of science fiction with his first film since 2014's Good Kill. This sci-fi thriller is set in "a near-future world where there is no privacy, ignorance or anonymity" and even your most private memories and experiences are recorded — thereby reducing crime to almost zero. After a string of unsolved murders, police officer Sal Frieland (Clive Owen) crosses paths with a hacker (Amanda Seyfried) who inexplicably has no identity, history, or records. As he untangles the mystery surrounding the murders and the girl's identity, Frieland will be forced to choose between saving a life and staying loyal to the surveillance state. While we don't have an exact release date for Anon yet, we do know that it has been acquired by Netflix and will premiere on the streaming service sometime in 2018.

Future World - 2018

We don't know much about James Franco's 2018 science fiction effort Future World, but what we do know sounds pretty intriguing. There's no exact release date for the film yet, but the Chinese distribution rights were recently snapped up by Phoenix Legend/Road Pictures — which means a domestic theatrical release can't be too far behind. For directing duties on Future World, Franco was joined by Bruce Thierry Cheung (Bukowski), working with a screenplay adapted from a original short story by Franco.

According to a brief plot synopsis for the film, Future World is set in a not-too-distant future where a boy prince from "the Oasis" must travel across the violent post-apocalyptic wastelands on a quest to find a cure for his dying mother. During his journey, the prince meets Ash, the last of the sentient robots that nearly wiped out humankind. Along with writing and directing, Franco will also star in Anon, joined by a eclectic supporting cast including Milla Jovovich, Suki Waterhouse, Lucy Liu, Scott Haze, Method Man, and Snoop Dogg.

Fahrenheit 451 - 2018

Ray Bradbury's celebrated dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 was first adapted for the big screen by director François Truffaut in 1966, but this classic is getting the full HBO treatment for a revamped adaptation framed by a more modern setting. We don't have an exact release date yet, but we do know that the HBO adaptation of Fahrenheit 451 will premiere sometime in 2018.

It seems HBO certainly isn't skimping on the production — they've chosen acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani (Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo) to lead the project, while Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, Black Panther) will star in Fahrenheit 451 as protagonist Guy Montag, joined by Michael Shannon (8 Mile, Nocturnal Animals) as fire chief Captain Beatty. Rounding out the rest of the main cast are Sofia Boutella, Lilly Singh, Laura Harrier, Martin Donovan, and Keir Dullea.