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Upcoming sci-fi movies that will blow you away

In our rapidly changing world, science fiction grows more relevant with every passing year. The computing power of the Apollo program now fits in the palm of your hand, pizza can be summoned with a few well-placed taps on a screen, and burgers made from plants we've tinkered into being able to bleed are now available at Burger King. It's no wonder sci-fi movies are among the most popular and successful in cinematic history. Only unrestrained imagination truly captures the bizarre reality of life on Earth in the 21st century.

As you might expect of a genre with its eyes fixed firmly on the future, there are a whole lot of upcoming sci-fi movies worth paying attention to. Movies about memory-erasing plagues, robotic babysitters, and murderous spaceships are all currently in the works, ready to dazzle moviegoers in the tradition of 2001: A Space Odyssey, WALL-E, and Jurassic Park. Their visions of the future differ wildly. Some imagine worlds overrun by aliens, some picture humanity as a resilient, innovative force for good, and some are interested in exploring the possibilities of artificial intelligence. What unites them all is talent, imagination, and some seriously hype-worthy casting. These are the sci-fi movies that are going to blow you away in 2020, 2021, and beyond.

Chaos Walking boasts a big concept and big stars

Todd Hewitt, Chaos Walking's protagonist, lives in a world defined by two things — the complete absence of women and the constant presence of other people's thoughts. According to the authorities who rule New World, an alien planet only recently colonized by humanity, the pathogen that killed every female human also caused the remaining men to develop uncontrollable telepathy. "Noise," as it's known, is the unending cascade of information that results. Todd is shocked, then, to discover a mysterious patch of silence ... and the woman who serves as its source.

Based on Patrick Ness' 2008 novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, Chaos Walking promises to be one of the most thought-provoking blockbusters of 2021. Questions of gender, colonization, and violence are inherent in the premise, and if Ness' book (and the two other titles that form the Chaos Walking series) is anything to go by, the story will only become more fascinatingly speculative from there. Moreover, Chaos Walking's cast is absolutely stacked with all-star talent. Tom Holland will play Todd Hewitt, Daisy Ridley will play Viola, the woman Todd discovers, and luminaries including Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen and Selma's David Oyelowo will round out the supporting players. A tantalizing premise, a bevy of prime performers, and an award-winning book as the basis — what more can a sci-fi cinephile ask for?

The Matrix 4 could be one of the best sci-fi movies ever

The Matrix trilogy's vision of a cyberpunk future changed sci-fi movie-making forever. Bullet time, scrolling code, billowing black leather — these tropes were codified by the Wachowskis' unstoppably cool films. Though countless imitators have followed in The Matrix's wake, few have come close to capturing the raw creative power present in the first film. Two decades have passed, and we're all still debating whether or not we're living in a simulation.

The Wachowskis claimed to be done with the series for good, as recently as 2015. But times change, ideas grow, and with every passing year, The Matrix becomes ever more relevant. Thus, The Matrix 4 was officially announced in August 2019. Some fans might not feel all that excited about the prospect of a new Matrix movie — the latter two movies are, after all, widely considered to be inferior to the first film. But Lana Wachowski (who will act as sole director on The Matrix 4) isn't the filmmaker she was in 2003. Since The Matrix Revolutions, the Wachowskis have released projects like Speed Racer, Jupiter Ascending, and Sense8 — weird, wild spectacles of sci-fi, space fantasy, and surrealism that might not always wow the critics but never look like anything else at the box office. Will The Matrix 4 reverse the franchise's curse when it hits theaters in 2022? Maybe, maybe not. But you can be sure it won't be boring.

After Yang tells a tender story of family and artificial intelligence

In After Yang, a father and daughter confront a family member's decline. But this isn't a story about grandma losing her grip. Instead, the faltering loved one is a robotic child named Yang. In this world, robots like Yang are purchased as live-in babysitters of inhuman competence. Yang, specifically, was purchased to help his "little sister" learn about her cultural heritage. But Yang has become mysteriously unresponsive, sending father and daughter on a quest to save his life before he shuts down for good.

After Yang boasts an impressive pedigree. The film stars Colin Farrell, is based on a short story from Alexander Weinstein's Children of the New World (christened by NPR as one of the best books of 2016), and will be the second feature film from director Kogonada, whose 2017 film, Columbus, won nearly universal praise. After Yang is poised to be the sort of sci-fi that fans pick apart for years, from the questions it raises about family to the central riddle of death as it relates to artificial intelligence.

Reminiscence is an upcoming sci-fi film that plays with memory

Nicolas Bannister has a dangerous job. For the right price, his unprecedented technology allows his clients to relive the memory of their choice. He lives a solitary life plying his unusual trade in a near-future Miami, deluged by the rising sea. Then Mae walks into his life. Their passionate affair is interrupted by another client's memories, which appear to implicate Mae in a series of violent crimes. Nicolas loves Mae as she is ... but he might not love her as she was.

Reminiscence will be Lisa Joy's feature-length directorial debut, though many are already familiar with her work. She serves as co-creator, writer, producer, and director on Westworld. Like the smash-hit HBO series, 2021's Reminiscence promises to weave a dazzling tapestry of story from many disparate points of view, portrayed by stellar actors. Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson will star as Nicolas and Mae, with Thandie Newton, Daniel Wu, and Cliff Curtis in supporting roles. That cast, combined with a sci-fi conceit as juicy as re-playable memories, promises to bring fans on a journey they won't soon forget.

The Three-Body Problem promises to be a fascinating movie ... when it finally gets made

Liu Cixin's 2008 novel, The Three-Body Problem, quickly became one of China's most popular works of science fiction. After Ken Liu, a celebrated author of fiction in his own right, translated the novel for English-speaking audiences in 2014, it climbed to further heights of success, becoming the first Asian novel to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Its stratospheric rise is no mystery. The Three-Body Problem is at thrilling saga involving alien pacifists, the long-ranging effects of China's Cultural Revolution, and a looming interstellar invasion.

Attempts to bring it to the big screen have been fraught. However, the massive success of 2019's The Wandering Earth, which adapts another one of Liu Cixin's works, gave the production the jolt it needed. Reports surfaced in 2019 of a new shooting schedule, along with a call for patience from Liu Cixin. "Many famous sci-fi novels, such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation series and Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama, have taken dozens of years to prepare for the shooting," the author declared. Hopefully fans won't have to wait quite that long for The Three-Body Problem, but hey, at least The Wandering Earth is finally on Netflix!

Sovereign is a mysterious science fiction movie that's getting our attention

Details regarding Sovereign are thin on the ground. But weirdly enough, that only makes what is known about the mysterious film all the more intriguing. Back in 2016, the film was described as being about a man searching for his estranged wife, a woman who disappeared along with the rest of the crew of the space station she was quartered within. In contrast, IMDb currently describes it as being about "a man [who seeks] revenge against a spaceship that killed his wife." This premise is eye-catching on its own, but even more interesting in light of the 2016 description is that the ship itself is now the villain, and the mystery of the wife's disappearance is a whole lot clearer.

Details regarding cast and crew are just as attention-grabbing. There have only been two actors attached to the flick so far, but they're Mahershala Ali and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As Levitt isn't mentioned in more recent news regarding the film, it's possible that he isn't involved any longer, but Ali is enough of a guarantee on his own to warrant fan interest. Moreover, Sovereign originates from a screenplay by A Quiet Place scribes Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, and it will be co-produced, alongside Entertainment One, by 21 Laps Entertainment, best known for producing Stranger Things and Arrival. We might not know much about Sovereign's leading man, his murdered wife, or the spaceship that took her from him, but what we do know is enough to warrant some serious hype.

Stowaway boasts a pretty incredible cast

The first thing you need to know about Stowaway is that its cast could probably make any movie worth watching. First, we've got Anna Kendrick, the "scrappy little nobody" who's captured the world's heart a dozen times over in films like Trolls, Pitch Perfect, and Into the Woods. Second, we've got Toni Collette, whose decades of brilliance have recently culminated in a hot streak — HereditaryKnives OutUnbelievable — that seems likely to continue. Then we've got Daniel Dae Kim, an absolute king of the small screen. Lost, The Legend of Korra, and Hawaii Five-0 are all in this man's filmography. Finally, we have Shamier Anderson, the youngest of the bunch, whose performance as Xavier Dolls in Wynonna Earp can be summed up thusly — he's a government agent, he's part-dragon, and he absolutely steals the show.

Stowaway promises to be claustrophobic, telling the story of a spaceship crew who discover an accidental stowaway and make some apparently grim choices about how to handle their dwindling resources. This tense scenario presents an ideal backdrop for the central foursome. Can't you already see Collette's flinty gaze cutting across the bridge? We don't yet know if Stowaway will be a tragedy, a dark comedy, a surrealist sci-fi, or something else entirely. But we know that with this cast, it will certainly be worth watching.

Little Fish is an upcoming sci-fi movie that will break your heart

"When your disaster is everyone's disaster," a character asks in Little Fish, "how do you grieve?" That's the question at the heart of this high-concept film, which examines the effects of a virus that induces memory loss. Director Chad Hartigan has become known for telling intimate stories with uncommon grace. His most recent feature, Morris from America, finds stirring emotion in the story of a 13-year-old rapper adrift in Germany's EDM-dominated culture. It's a far cry, premise-wise, from Little Fish, but not actually all that that different in the most important ways. Hartigan's films have different trappings, but they share warmth, an impeccable eye for detail, and an earnestness that never gets saccharine.

Emma and Jude, Little Fish's central couple, are unevenly affected by the virus. Jude suffers from it from the film's first act on, while it's unclear if Emma ever contracts it at all. Early reviews indicate a love story that veers from comic — Polaroids of Emma, labeled "WIFE" — to utterly tragic. This won't be a feel-good movie, but like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a movie to which Little Fish will likely be compared thousands of times, it doesn't seem like it wants to be. Instead, like Hartigan's other films, Little Fish promises to be melancholic, wistful, darkly funny, and above all, a journey worth taking.

Breach will pit Bruce Willis against cosmic horror

Think of Bruce Willis, and you think of action-packed spectacle. You do not, however, think of malevolent cosmic terror. But that's what the man who made John McClane into an icon is poised to face in Breach, a space-faring sci-fi movie that stands to terrify fans as potently as it thrills them. Breach will tell the story of a junior mechanic employed aboard a massive, interstellar ark bound for "New Earth," who encounters a fearsome force from beyond the stars. This enigmatic entity intends to take over the ship and use it as a weapon. Here's a haunting hint as to how frightening this eldritch enemy is — in certain international markets, Breach is titled Anti-Life.

What stills have been released reveal a chilling, blue-toned set, inhabited by what appear to be the mechanics, technicians, and other workers who keep the ship intact. There's nothing quite like the fathomlessness of outer space to enthrall sci-fi fans, especially when it's contrasted against the claustrophobic world of a spaceship, and 2021's Breach is poised to explore that tension to its fullest, most terrifying extent. Bruce Willis fans, sci-fi aficionados, and horror hounds, take note. This is a release to remember.

Warning promises to be a lurid, visual feast

Warning will be Agata Alexander's directorial debut. A simple synopsis has been released, saying, "Warning explores the meaning of life when vastly disparate lives collide in interweaving stories set in the near-future earth." Actors including Alice Eve, Alex Pettyfer, and Kylie Bunbury have been named as cast members, and a mysterious still was revealed in May 2019. The image is intriguingly tense. An unknown woman stands outdoors, gazing at a seemingly irrational terrarium. It's pyramidal and houses a bunch of roses in full bloom. They appear to grow straight up from a carpet of moss — a manner in which no roses grow, as any gardener could tell you. Near the bottom of the terrarium floats a mysterious glowing orb. All in all, it's the stuff sci-fi dreams are made of.

Alexander is unknown to most moviegoers, but if her body of work so far is any indication, cinephiles are in for a treat. The video shorts and photos that dominate her website are stunningly strange, much like Warning's synopsis. They're lurid, bloody, and often a little gross — the intersection at which much of the best sci-fi filmmaking occurs. Information about Warning might be scarce right now, but what's out there is fascinating and has the makings of a truly unique entry into the genre.

The Tomorrow War is an upcoming sci-fi movie that raises intriguing questions

The world of The Tomorrow War has been torn apart by alien invasion. Humanity is in dire straits ... until a breakthrough allows soldiers to be drafted from the past. Chris Pratt plays Rex Fuller, one such time-displaced soldier. Though few set pictures have been released, one posted by Pratt to Instagram is seriously intriguing. His Rex Fuller appears to have been drafted alongside some seriously intimidating soldiers, and we know there will be characters played by J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, Keith Powers, and other perennially impressive actors.

The moral implications of The Tomorrow War's keystone breakthrough are vast. Are these unwitting time travelers grunts or generals? Will their displacement affect humanity's history as a whole? Are any of them playing real-world figures of military history? Just how far back is humanity reaching for its troops? Any sci-fi movie that raises this many questions with only a synopsis and an incomplete cast list is a movie worth paying attention to. Add in the fact that 2021's The Tomorrow War will be directed by Chris McKay, the man who directed the uproariously funny Lego Batman Movie and the melancholic stop-motion masterpiece Moral Orel, and you've got a movie unlike anything else being made.

Ron's Gone Wrong is a family film about a malfunctioning robot

Remember the Tamagotchi craze? Ron's Gone Wrong takes place in a world similarly besotted with artificially intelligent companions ... only these robots aren't confined to monochromatic pixels on a two-inch screen. No, the kids in this world are accompanied everywhere they go by walking, talking, perpetually online robots. They're enormously sophisticated and absolutely omnipresent. But Ron's Gone Wrong isn't about these robots' dazzling features. Rather, Ron's Gone Wrong tells the story of an 11-year-old boy whose robotic pal doesn't quite work.

Ron's Gone Wrong has had a long road to production. Originally announced by 20th Century Fox and Locksmith Animation back in 2017, the movie was reshuffled repeatedly after Disney acquired Fox in 2019, then delayed again by COVID-19. If the film's crew is anything to go by, however, Ron's Gone Wrong will be worth the wait. The movie will be co-directed by Jean-Philippe Vine, who worked on Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, and Octavio Rodriguez, who boasts similar Pixar experience on Incredibles 2, Coco, and Monsters University, in addition to working as a storyboard artist on iconic SpongeBob SquarePants episodes including "Squidville" and "Texas." Plus, Jack Dylan Grazer of It and Shazam! fame will be starring. As an all-ages film, Ron's Gone Wrong is unique among upcoming sci-fi stories and all the more poised to make a major cultural impact.