Film: The Big 2016 Franchise Preview

If, like me, you have spent the early part of the New Year browsing through Netflix and your Christmas DVD haul, only to be disappointed by the same films you’ve already watched twice when you should have been revising, then 2016 is the year for you. Here is our rundown of the biggest major studio productions to get excited about.

20th Century Fox set the ball rolling in 2016 with R-Rated superhero Deadpool, which hits our screens on February 4th, so be prepared for bad language, innuendo and gore. The eighth film based on characters from the X-Men comics (a property leased from Marvel by Fox), this will be Ryan Reynolds’ chance of redemption after 2011 flop Green Lantern, and it looks set to be a hit.

May 27th brings about more Marvel from Fox. X-Men: Apocalypse follows on from Days of Future Past, with our young, 80s styled mutants, and sees Brian Singer (who helmed Days of Future Past and the original two X-Men films) return to direct. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender lead the way, but a strong supporting cast of Sophie Turner, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult will try to steal the limelight. With this array of talent on show, it’s sure to be a hit. Fox’s Marvel Universe expands even further as we come to the end of the year, where we should – as they stand – get to see Channing Tatum star as Gambit.

On the Disney side of the Marvel universe, Captain America: Civil War is probably the most highly-anticipated film of the year, and will look to outdo the Avengers. On May 6th you will be forced to pick a side; Iron Man or the Cap. Superheroes and fans alike will take sides in a war of unprecedented proportions, and Marvel’s trailers have so far teased at many unpredictable shocks and twists. Come November, too, we’ll get our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.

Not one to be outshone, DC respond to this with their sequel to Man of Steel and the real opener to their DC cinematic universe. On March 25th, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice will see Ben Affleck’s first foray as Bruce Wayne/Batman, and he has some big, Christian Bale-sized shoes to fill. Also introducing Gal Gadot as Wonderwoman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, the scene is set for an apocalyptic showdown. Next, the CIA enlist a group of supervillains to do good with the promise of shorter jail sentences. Is anyone really expecting that ‘Suicide Squad’ plan to work? The August 6th release date should rekindle the DC hype left over from Dawn of Justice, and give us another – albeit brief – glimpse of Batffleck. I think this film has a lot of explosive potential, despite the mixed reactions to the photos of Jared Leto’s tattooed Joker.

We have to wait until November 18th to get our first big film that doesn’t revolve around superheroes. I doubt, however, that anyone of our ‘Harry Potter Generation’ is not excited about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The plot has only been teased at so far, but what we know, we like. Eddie Redmayne. 1920s New York. Magic. It is safe to say this should be good, as Hollywood’s hottest star of the moment grabs his wand and tries to recapture escaped mythical beasts.

rogue one
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Buena Vista Pictures/Lucasfilm

To round off the year we have a treat for Star Wars fans. Not, in fact, Episode VIII of the cult sci-fi franchise, but a spin-off. Rogue 1, captioned ‘A Star Wars Story’, will be set before A New Hope, and the rumoured storyline will follow a group of rebels trying to steal the plans for the Death Star. This adventure was first mentioned in the opening crawl of the first Star Wars film back in 1977, but has never been explored. Again, we know very little – other than a quick glimpse of the task, and the fact that Gareth Edwards of Godzilla fame will be directing – but it still sounds exciting.

That rounds off our list of 2016 blockbusters, but an honourable mention goes to the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, and we’ll wait to see what the Independence Day sequel brings. I can’t wait for this year’s films to start hitting the silver screens, so roll on February!

Ben Sledge

Featured image: Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

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