If you thought 2018 was action-packed, wait until you see what’s in store this year. From superheroes, to classic Disney stories, and the new Tarantino flick, 2019 promises to pack a punch.
Starring: Brie Larson, Jude Law, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind)
Release Date: March 8th
Spoiler Alert — the Marvel Cinematic Universe is on life support (not the franchise, which is doing great, but the universe itself). The end of Avengers: Infinity War was a cinematic gut punch as we witnessed many of our beloved superheroes, including Star-Lord, Black Panther, Spider-Man and Groot, disintegrate before our eyes when baddie Thanos enacted his plan to wipe out half of all life in the universe.
But there was a glimmer of hope when Nick Fury (before his demise) sent out a mysterious signal for help. We now know that signal was meant for Captain Marvel, who has remained hidden in the superhero realm. But before she can join the fight against Thanos we need to spend some time getting to know her.
Set in the 1990s, Captain Marvel stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who is genetically joined with alien Mar-Vell (Jude Law) and inherits superpowers. A youngish S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) recruits Danvers, whom he’ll need when a war between alien species comes to Earth.
Starring: Chris Evans, Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War)
Release Date: April 26th
When producer Kevin Feige envisioned the Marvel Cinematic Universe more than a decade ago, he was confident he could do something that had never been done before in Hollywood — entice big stars to play comic book characters, have them share screen time and cross over into one another’s films. The Avengers franchise became the gold standard for the MCU (earning nearly $5-billion U.S. worldwide) and it all comes to a climax with the fourth film that picks up after the events of Infinity War. While the plot is still a big secret, we suspect there are some superheroes who hold the key to altering the timeline and preventing Thanos’s (Josh Brolin) mass eradication. Does salvation lie with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who foresaw a single way (out of 14,000,605 possibilities) to defeat the evil Thanos, or with Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) who was trapped in the Quantum Realm? Either way, prepare to shed a tear or two for the superheroes whose journeys end here.
Toy Story 4
Voiced by: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts
Directed by: Josh Cooley (debut)
Release Date: June 21st
The Toy Story movies have featured one of cinema’s greatest bromances — the relationship between lovable cowboy Woody (Tom Hanks) and lovably pompous astronaut Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen). However, the franchise has given less attention to the female members of its toy world, so it’s refreshing that this fourth film will give a shout-out to the overlooked Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who was noticeably absent from Toy Story 3. This movie finds Woody, who has romantic feelings for Bo Peep, and Buzz heading out in search of the missing doll, who was sold at a yard sale.
The Lion King
Voiced by: Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Béyonce Knowles
Directed by: Jon Favreau (Jungle Book)
Release Date: July 19th
Director Jon Favreau’s 2016 remake of Disney’s 1967 cartoon The Jungle Book was a revelation, using cutting-edge CGI in tandem with live-action scenes to breathe life into a classic tale. Now Disney and Favreau reteam using the same formula to reimagine 1994’s The Lion King, the crown jewel of the studio’s animated library. An all-star cast voices the CGI-created characters, including Donald Glover as Simba, the young lion cub who must battle his evil uncle Scar to regain his rightful title of king. Chiwetel Ejiofor voices Scar, Beyoncé is Nala, Simba’s love interest, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen are the comic meerkats Timon and Pumbaa, and James Earl Jones voices Simba’s father Mufasa, just as he did in the original film.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
Release Date: July 26th
Writer and director Quentin Tarantino grew up in L.A. and was seven years old in 1969 when pregnant actor Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by Charles Manson and his followers. That event serves as a focal point in Tarantino’s latest, which casts Leonardo DiCaprio as washed-up TV Western star Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as his stunt double, Cliff Booth, both trying to restart their careers in swinging sixties Hollywood. The rest of the A-list cast includes Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Al Pacino as Rick’s agent and Dakota Fanning and Lena Dunham as Manson followers Squeaky Fromme and Catherine Share respectively.
It: Chapter Two
Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill SkarsgårdDirected by: Andy Muschietti (It)
Release Date: September 6th
Big-screen adaptations of Stephen King novels rarely storm the box office, but when It hit screens in September 2017 moviegoers came out in droves to see terrifying evil entity Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) torment a group of kids in small-town U.S.A. (though the film was shot in Southern Ontario). Set in the 1980s the film was part horror, part homage to childhood friendships and a shout-out to the decade. The sequel is set 27 years later and finds the adult Bill (James McAvoy), Bev (Jessica Chastain) and Richie (Bill Hader) returning to their hometown of Derry to join with the rest of the grown-up Losers’ Club to finally put an end to Pennywise.
Downton Abbey: The Movie
Starring: Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith
Directed by: Michael Engler (The Chaperone)
Release Date: September 20th
Think of the "Downton Abbey" movie as a cinematic palate cleanser between servings of superheroes, space cowboys and animated princesses. The popular TV series ended in 2015 with love all around as the aristocratic Crawley daughters Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith (Laura Carmichael) settled down with husbands and babies, while members of Downton’s loyal staff, including butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan), Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) and Mrs. Bates (Joanne Froggatt), were left to serve their benevolent employers. The film’s plot details are being kept under wraps, but series mastermind Julian Fellowes promises one epic story that allows each of the 22 series regulars their chance to shine.
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro
Directed by: Todd Phillips (The Hangover)
Release Date: October 4th
Batman and his nemesis the Joker are joined at the hip, both debuting in the very first issue (April 25th, 1940) of the Batman comic book. So, it’s surprising we are only now getting a Joker origin tale. Joaquin Phoenix portrays Arthur Fleck, a failed 1980s comedian who loses his mind and transforms into the Gotham City supervillain. Director Todd Phillips calls the film a “gritty character study” and a “cautionary tale.” De Niro is rumoured to play a late-night TV talk show host, Zazie Beetz is a single mom who catches Arthur’s eye and Brett Cullen will play Thomas Wayne (Bruce Wayne’s dad).
Voiced by: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad
Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee (Frozen)
Release Date: November 22nd
Expect droves of pint-sized Elsas and Annas to take their rightful places in theatres this November as the hotly anticipated sequel to Frozen hits screens. We’re not sure what new queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), her rambunctious sister Anna (Kristen Bell) or Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad) are up to in the kingdom of Arendelle, but we can tell you that Sterling K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood have joined the cast in unspecified roles.
Star Wars: Episode IX
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega
Directed by: J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Release Date: December 20th
It’s come down to this. One final movie to wrap up a nine-film, 40-year cinematic journey that not only changed the face of Hollywood, but people’s lives. We’re hoping this grand goodbye will not only tie up loose threads and answer questions — are Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) parents really “nobodies”? — but allow us to say farewell to our favourite characters. Expect to see the late Carrie Fisher back as General Leia (her performance will be cut together with unused footage from 2017's The Last Jedi), Luke (Mark Hamill), rumoured to appear as a “Force Ghost,” and perhaps even legendary baddie Darth Vader, whose spirit may be able to talk some sense into grandson Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who’s become the leader of the First Order.