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The Most Anticipated Movies of 2018

At long last 2017 is coming to an end, which means a 2018 is right around the corner! A new year means a brand new crop of movies stretching out before us as far as the eye can see. So with infinite cinematic potential at our fingertips, on today’s episode of The Dan Cave, we’re running down our most anticipated films of 2018.

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER

Image: GKIDS

Are you tired of waiting for Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli to make a new movie? Well, get excited because Mary and the Witch’s Flower is basically that. The animated feature film about a young girl gaining magical powers after encountering a mysterious flower feels Ghibli-esque because it was made by a bunch of Ghibli vets at Studio Ponoc. Based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book The Little Broomstick, this female-driven fantasy is a magical coming-of-age story at its finest. So forget the dark nightmare that was 2017 and start 2018 off with dash of well-earned whimsy.

Release date: January 18, 2018

WINCHESTER

Image: CBS Films

When there’s something weird in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? If you’re Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company fortune, you’re gonna call an architect to build a massive mansion intended to confound evil spirits with false doors, stairways to nowhere, secret passages, and designs that would make M.C. Escher’s head spin. The incredible Helen Mirren stars as Sarah Winchester in this supernatural horror film about the real-life heiress, except this time the ghosts she encounters are all too real. Plus, above we have an exclusive new image from the film that’s so good it’s scary.

Release date: February 2, 2018

BLACK PANTHER

Image: Marvel

The force of my excitement for this movie would be enough to shatter Captain America’s vibranium shield. This February, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther takes center stage and plunges us into searing political intrigue in the kingdom of Wakanda involving power-hungry usurpers, the CIA, and a badass retinue of elite female bodyguards. With a seriously kick-ass cast including Danai Gurira, Michael B. Jordan, and Lupita Nyong’o, this film looks poised to dethrone The Winter Soldier as the MCU’s best to date. It also proves my theory that Black Panther’s greatest nemesis is car insurance. Everywhere he goes, cars get straight up wrecked. Dude’s premium must be through the roof.

Release date: February 16, 2018

ANNIHILATION

Image: Paramount

For science fiction fans, this may well be the most anticipated movie of the year. Ex Machina director Alex Garland’s adaptation of the first novel in Jeff VanDerMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy stars Natalie Portman as a biologist leading an expedition force into Area X, a region of the world where the rules of nature no longer apply, in order to find her missing husband played by Oscar Isaac. With previous expeditions ending in mass suicide, shootouts, and cancer, they’re hoping the 12th time will be the charm. With an all-star cast including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Gina Rodriguez, this looks to be a dark, disturbing and surreal bit of sci-fi that I cannot wait to see.

Release date: February 23, 2018

A WRINKLE IN TIME

Image: Disney

Madeleine L’Engle’s classic science fantasy novel is finally making its way to the big screen with a big budget adaptation directed by Ava DuVernay. For those of you who had deprived childhoods, A Wrinkle in Time is the story of Meg Murry, a young girl who along with her smartypants younger brother journeys to a faraway planet to rescue her father, an astrophysicist being held prisoner. What the Murry children find, though, is far more than they bargained for…unless of course they were expecting mind-bending adventures through space and time with 100% more Oprah than the book.

Release date: March 9, 2018

TOMB RAIDER

After Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics successfully rebooted Lara Croft in the excellent Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider games, diehard fans knew it was only a matter of time until the badass archaeologist-adventurer got a second life on the silver screen. This time around, Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander is taking on the role of the iconic video game character, telling the story of Lara’s dangerous first expedition, which will take her through deadly dungeons, grueling weather conditions, and put her squarely at odds with one of our greatest living actors Walton Goggins, serving top-grade villain face. Finally, it looks like we’re getting a video game movie that might not suck.

Release date: March 16, 2018

PACIFIC RIM UPRISING

Image: Universal

Today we cancel the apocalypse… so that we can make a sequel to the apocalypse! Look, Nerdist may be owned by Legendary, but I am genuinely excited to see more. It’s the closest thing we’re going to get to anime in real life, complete with gleefully dumb names, giant robots and monsters kicking the crap out of each other, and battles for the fate of all mankind. John Boyega leads a new generation of Jaeger pilots against an invasion of mammoth kaiju monsters in Pacific Rim Uprising and must team up with his adopted sister, Mako Mori, to save the day before it’s too late. Considering the first movie featured a robot using a cargo ship like a baseball bat to go full Negan on a gargantuan monster, I can’t wait to see how Steven S. DeKnight ups the ante in the sequel. At any rate it’ll be better than when the U.S. and Japan tried to have a giant robot fight in real life…

Release date: March 23, 2018

ISLE OF DOGS

Image: Fox Searchlight

A stop-motion animated movie about a dystopian future Japan starring a group of renegade dogs quarantined on an island due to an outbreak of “canine flu” is extremely my jam. The fact that they team up to help a young boy find his missing pup Spots is icing on the cake, which I will eat every last crumb of after salting its chocolatey veneer with my tears. The fact that we first broke the news of this movie after Jeff Goldblum accidentally spilled the beans when the Nerdist team went to see him play jazz in LA? Well that’s just weird but 100 percent true.

Release date: March 23, 2018

READY PLAYER ONE

Image: Warner Bros.

Whether you’re a sucker for pop culture references or you appreciate a good airplane read, it’s tough not to get excited for Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Player One. The nerdy novel by Ernest Cline tells the story of Wade Watts (played here by X-Men: Apocalypse star Tye Sheridan) a teenager who finds refuge from the ravaged dystopia around him in the virtual reality game known as OASIS. Soon, Wade finds himself as part of a worldwide hunt to find an Easter egg hidden in the game by its reclusive creator. The prize for finding it? A $240 billion fortune and full ownership of the game. And here I am settling for unlocking achievements…

Release date: March 30, 2018

THE NEW MUTANTS

Image: Fox

The main X-Men movies are, by and large, very bad. It breaks my heart to say it, but it’s the truth. Thankfully, Fox is taking a gamble on a new generation of mutants, the teenaged troublemakers of the New Mutants, and a brand new genre in straight-up psychological horror in order to right the ship and give the superhero genre something fresh. With a killer cast including Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, and Charlie Heaton, The New Mutants is going to be a terrifying mix of John Hughes and Stephen King focusing on five young mutants being held against their will at a secret black site where they’re being hunted by a demonic bear. You wanted different, didn’t you?

Release date: April 13, 2018

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

Image: Marvel

Will Thanos find all the cosmic mancala beads? Will all 83,000 named characters we’ve met in the Marvel Universe die, including Agent Coulson for a second time? Will the ludicrious culmination of 10 years of interconnected superhero movies pay off in epic fashion? Honestly, I don’t care because I am one billion percent on board for this wild experiment that changed the face of genre filmmaking. Also because I cannot wait to see the likes of Proxima Midnight on the big screen.

Release date: May 4, 2018

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

Image: Ron Howard

While I would have loved to have seen Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s gonzo vision of Han Solo’s origin story, I am still going to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs to my local theater to see how everyone’s favorite scruffy-looking nerf herder came to be so scruffy-looking and herd all those nerfs in the first place. Maybe we’ll even see the wee baby Chewie rippin’ arms and breakin’ hearts! Most of all, I am just losing my mind over the prospect of Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Just when you thought Donald Glover couldn’t be any more talented, he proves he can rock a mustache like nobody’s business.

Release date: May 25, 2018

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

Image: Henson Alternative

In a world where humans and puppets live side by side, two unlikely detectives—disgraced puppet cop Phil Phillips and his former human partner, Melissa McCarthy—are forced to work together to solve the brutal murders of the Happytime Gang, the beloved cast of a classic puppet TV show. A serial killer stalks the streets, but who’s pulling the strings? All signs point to Phil and it’s a race against time to find the real culprit in Brian Henson’s pitch black comedy. Considering it also stars Joel McHale, Maya Rudolph and Elizabeth Banks, I really can’t wait to find out whodunit. My money’s on Joel McHale.

Release date: August 17, 2018

FIRST MAN

Image: NASA

Last year, Damien Chazelle took one small step for jazz and one giant leap for jazzkind, but now he’s going where some lunatics claim mankind has never been: the moon. First Man is a biopic starring Ryan Gosling as Neal Armstrong, the first man on the moon, and it tells the story of NASA’s race to put a man on the moon between 1961 and 1969. Considering how unreasonably good Chazelle’s last two movies were, I can guarantee one thing about this movie: totally sweet drum solos.

Release date: October 12, 2018

AQUAMAN

Image: Warner Bros

It is blowing my mind a little bit that not only are we getting an Aquaman solo movie but that it sounds genuinely rad. Honestly, this has the potential to be the underwater version of Game of Thrones and I for one can’t wait to see how the DCEU expands after Justice League. So go ahead and add as many ‘dents as you need to Aquaman’s polearm because I am all in on this marine maniac.

Release date: December 21, 2018

And those are my most anticipated films of 2018. There were so many more I didn’t have room to include like Smallfoot, Deadpool 2, and Ant Man and the Wasp. So tell me — what is on your most anticipated list. Let me know in the comments below!

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Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter (@DanCasey).

Editor’s note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Pictures.

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