Movies based on books seem to account for at least half of the films that are released today. Stories with an existing fan base are more likely to do well at the box office, and studios know they have a pretty good chance at making money off a film adaptation that was already a best-seller in book form. Comic books in particular have always had a loyal following, and they have the added benefit of already offering a visual for movie adaptations to refer to.
Superhero films are huge right now and show no sign of slowing down. Although there are a lot of comics and graphic novels that are actually about real life (Blue is the Warmest Color, for example), the ones fans get the most excited about seem to be the ones starring their favourite superheroes. Comic book writers are constantly coming up with new story lines and concepts that have huge potential for film adaptations, and they can write faster than movies can be made, so there will always be new source material.
Obviously Marvel and DC are the big players when it comes to comic book movie adaptations, and they are both working hard to establish an extensive and intricate big screen universe based on their various in-print story arcs. Here are 15 of the most anticipated comic book movie adaptations coming to the big screen in the next five years.
15. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Chris Hemsworth will be returning in his third stand alone film as Thor in Thor: Ragnarok. Marvel has promised that this Thor film will be an extremely important addition to the cinematic universe. In the comic book story line Ragnarok (which is the mythological “twilight of the gods”), a beginning of a larger story arc called “Avengers Disassembled” takes places. That means the current Avengers team is breaking up to make way for a new group of heroes. There is even a chance that Thor could be killed off in this one. Marvel’s Phase 3 promises to deliver the action, epic story arcs, and intricate cross over details between films that fans have grown to love, and this film will be no exception.
14. Deadpool (2016)
Fan-favourite mutant Deadpool is finally getting his own standalone movie. Played by Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool is a mutant with accelerated healing powers and a uniquely dark sense of humor. In the comics, the character is known for breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the reader. In other words, he is aware that he is a comic book character, and that quality is being carried over into the film. Reynolds previously appeared as Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but this version of the character will be a reboot, ignoring the events of that movie.
13. Spider-Man reboot (2017)
We’ve already been through two big screen incarnations of Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, but Marvel has decided to reboot the franchise again. Cast in the role is Tom Holland, known from the British miniseries, Wolf Hall. He’ll make his first appearance as Spider-Man in Captian America: Civil War before heading right into his very own stand alone film, which is supposed to be the first in a whole new trilogy. Not much is known about the plot; hopefully it won’t focus on Spider-Man’s origin story yet again.
12. Wolverine Sequel (2017)
Wolverine is probably the most well-known X-Men mutant, and Hugh Jackman has already announced that after appearing in seven franchise films (not including a possible cameo in Apocalypse), this will be his last time playing Wolverine. He’s already been in two standalone movies, and Wolverine still has plenty of story to be adapted to the big screen. Obviously not much is known about the plot for the film yet, but the fact that it’s Hugh Jackman’s last act as Wolverine should be enough to make it a huge hit at the box office.
11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
The first Guardians of the Galaxy starring Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord) was such a success that the studio announced a sequel before the first one had even hit theaters. The main cast of characters should all be back together, hopefully including Groot (who was voiced by Vin Diesel), even if he is just a tiny sapling. An appearance by epic super-villain Thanos should be in the cards, and the Star-Lord might go on a personal quest to finally find out the identity of his father.
10. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
In the final chapter of a trilogy that included First Class and Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse will jump to the 1980s and see the X-Men fighting an ancient and immortal mutant named Apocalypse who is hell-bent on destruction. This is supposed to be director Bryan Singer‘s last X-Men film, and essential cast members like Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, James McAvoy as Professor X, and Michael Fassbender as Magneto will all be returning.
Younger versions of key characters like Storm, Jean Grey and Cyclops will also be making an appearance to fight Apocalypse and his horsemen. Hugh Jackman‘s Wolverine may or may not be making an appearance in the film, but it’s hard to imagine such a pivotal X-Men movie without Wolverine.
9. Captain Marvel (2018)
Marvel’s film adaptation of Captain Marvel (aka Ms. Marvel) is still very much in the development stages. They haven’t even cast a star yet, but one person who is very vocal about wanting the role is MMA fighter Ronda Rousey. Fans have been creating their own art casting Rousey as Captain Marvel, or Carol Danvers. She’s shared some of the artwork on social media and joined in on the campaign to be the one cast as the iconic superhero. She has had some previous acting experience in The Expendables and the Entourage movie, but this would be her first starring role.
8. Gambit (2016)
Although Taylor Kitsch played Gambit, a mutant with the ability to manipulate kinetic energy in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Marvel decided to recast Channing Tatum in the role for a stand alone film. Tatum has been in talks to take over the Gambit role for a few years now, and it’s finally been confirmed. Gambit is known for being bilingual in English and French with a Cajun accent. He is also known to be a ladies man, and has an on-again, off-again relationship with Rogue. The plot for the film is unknown but Marvel has high hopes for the future of Gambit’s character in the X-Men cinematic universe.
7. Wonder Woman (2017)
After her debut in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot will reprise her role as Wonder Woman in her first ever stand alone film. Wonder Woman is one of DC’s most popular characters and she is finally getting the big screen treatment she deserves with Gadot signing on to portray the Amazonian warrior woman in at least three films. It’s about time, considering everyone from Joss Whedon to Paul Feig has attempted to pitch a Wonder Woman film in the past. There was even a TV pilot filmed that never made it onto the air.
6. Doctor Strange (2016)
Benedict Cumberbatch is set to portray Marvel’s Doctor Strange, an egotistical neurosurgeon who, after severely injuring his hands in a car accident, decides to travel the world in search of a cure. What he finds instead is a man who teaches him the art of magic, effectively making him a powerful magician and sorcerer. While Doctor Strange is a part of the same universe as the Avengers, he uses his brains and magical abilities to fight enemies unlike most other superheros. Rounding out the cast are Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Eliofor.
5. Suicide Squad (2016)
Suicide Squad just finished filming in Toronto, and is highly anticipated in part for its ensemble cast. There is Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Will Smith as Deadshot, Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag, and of course Jared Leto as the Joker.
The Suicide Squad, or Task Force X, is a group of super-villains from the DC universe who are recruited to use their powers and abilities for good. They are sent on deadly missions on behalf of the government in exchange of having their sentences reduced. The exact plot for the film is still unclear, but it looks like it will be the ultimate anti-hero movie, and of course everyone wants to see Leto’s version of the Joker to compare it to Heath Ledger‘s Oscar-winning performance in The Dark Knight.
4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
The third installment in the Captain America franchise will also serve as another addition to the Avengers story line. The key Avengers will all play their role, with appearances from Spider-Man and Paul Rudd‘s Ant-Man also showing up. The heroes are still supposed to be working together to protect the world, but they become divided when the government decides to start regulating superhuman activity. The film is adapted from the Civil War comic book story line which pits Captain America (played by Chris Evans) against Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.).
3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
There was definitely a mixed reaction from fans upon hearing that Ben Affleck would be the next actor to portray Bruce Wayne on the big screen. Whether you love the casting choice or not, Batman and Superman will face off for the first time on film in 2016. The film is meant to build upon the universe introduced in Man of Steel and will also mark the first time Wonder Woman will be portrayed on the big screen (played by Gal Gadot). Henry Cavill will be returning as Superman, and Jesse Eisenberg will play Lex Luthor.
2. Justice League Part 1 (2017)
After Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman, director Zack Snyder will move right on to a Justice League film. Gal Gadot will reprise her role once again along with Ben Affleck‘s Batman and Henry Cavill‘s Superman, with Jason Momoa joining the cast as Aquaman.
This will be DC’s first attempt at a multi-character film, bringing all its heroes together, just like Marvel has done with the Avengers. A second Justice League film has already been confirmed, so obviously DC has big plans to expand their cinematic universe beyond Batman and Superman.
1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018 & 2019)
The first two Avengers films and the rest of Marvel’s cinematic universe have been hinting towards the villain Thanos eventually playing a huge role, and it looks like that time has finally come with Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 coming out in 2018, and Part 2 in 2019.
Josh Brolin will reprise the role of Thanos that he originated with a cameo in last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanos’ goal is to become as powerful as possible by collecting all six infinity stones, and rumor has it in Infinity War, he succeeds. According to the studio, the events of every Marvel movie since the first Iron Man in 2008 have been leading up to this, so it’s sure to be the biggest superhero movie of all time.