2014 marked a big year for mega-comeback stories. There were two albums and an SNL appearance by Prince, a return to live (and still funny) comedy by Dave Chappelle, a trip to the World Series for the Kansas City Royals, a No. 1 album release from ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic and an Oscar-friendly turn by “Birdman” star Michael Keaton.
Heck, 2014 even had Lisa Kudrow comeback on a hit show called – get this – The Comeback!
Point is, just as 2014 was a year of redemption and re-emergence, 2015 appears poised to be just as fruitful for a new batch of recently-out-of-the-spotlight stars. Looking ahead at the blockbusters, sequels, albums, TV pilots and exciting new projects to come, it’s pretty evident that the new year is poised to re-introduce an impressive roster of gone-but-not-forgotten talents from the sidelines and back into the forefront.
Here are 10 stars who appear ready to make 2015 their year:
10. Amanda Peet
According to her IMDB.com page, The Whole Nine Yards star Amanda Peet didn’t have a single acting credit to her name in 2014. That followed a pretty quiet couple of years that featured little beyond guest appearances on TV shows like The Good Wife and Bent and small supporting roles in Identity Thief and The Way Way Back. In 2015, it looks like things will get a whole lot busier for Peet. She will star in the buzzed-about, Duplass brothers-produced HBO sitcom Togetherness and will return to the big screen alongside Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie in Sleeping With Other People.
9. Will Smith
After bombing with sci-fi stinker After Earth in 2013, it was probably a smart move for Will Smith to lay low in 2014, making a barely-there cameo in Winter’s Tale. He wasn’t even the busiest member of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast! Smith’s 2015 is looking a lot rosier, however, as he tackles some new, interesting roles. He begins the year as a professional grifter who mentors (and becomes romantically involved with) The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Margot Robbie in Focus before starring in a topical drama about concussions in football later in the year (tentatively titled Concussion).
8. Judd Apatow
For the past three years, Judd Apatow has served as executive producer on the HBO smash hit Girls. While that could be considered plenty busy for some, it represents a slowed pace from Apatow’s established track record since the mid-2000s. Since 2004, Apatow has helmed 20 feature films and a number of other side projects, but didn’t have a single 2014 theatrical release. In 2015, he’s already got several projects lined up on top of Girls. There’s the release of Daniel Radcliffe rom-com vehicle Trainwreck in July, an executive producer credit on upcoming relationship sitcom Love and work on a mysterious Pee-Wee Herman project.
7. Lupita Nyong’o
We haven’t heard much from Lupita Nyong’o since her Oscar-winning turn as Patsey in 12 Years A Slave, but we’ll certainly be hearing from her this year. Nyong’o is one of the new faces of the most anticipated movie of 2015, Star Wars: Episode VII. Although details are scarce and her role is unknown for the project shrouded in secrecy, we do know that she’ll be joining Star Wars mainstays Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, as well as new faces Andy Serkis and Domnhall Gleeson in The Force Awakens. While the latest chapter of the franchise won’t be released until December 18th, there will be plenty of buzz about it in the meantime.
6. Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy didn’t get much mainstream attention for his starring role in 2014’s The Drop and got even less for his star turn in the TV drama Peaky Blinders. But the Inception and Dark Knight Rises star already has people talking about a busy 2015 in which he has no less than five projects on the go. The big one is his leading role in the Mad Max reboot alongside Charlize Theron, but he has also lined up a drama (Child 44), a thriller (Legend), an action-adventure (The Revenant) and even a musical mystery (London Road).
5. Damon Lindelof
After having a hand in two 2013 blockbusters (Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z), Lost creator Damon Lindelof contented himself with some writer/creator work on The Leftovers in 2014. This year, he’s back on the big screen (well, not so much him as his work) with another big budget offering. Tomorrowland will pair George Clooney and newcomer Britt Robertson as a former boy-genius and a scientific-minded teen who embarks on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place located somewhere between time and space. Oooh, trippy!
It isn’t just the big (and small) screen that will serve as a platform for redemptive 2015 comeback stories. Adele has spent much of the past four years out of the public eye for reasons both good and bad, going since 2011 without a new album release. That dry spell will come to an end in 2015 with the release of a third studio album reportedly titled 25, keeping in line with the two previous offerings from the British songstress (19 and 21) which were named after the age at which she wrote them. Could a world tour be far behind?
3. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne Johnson‘s 2014 was a quiet one, though not for a lack of trying. The WWE superstar-turned-A-lister served up the ambitious, albeit forgettable, Hercules last summer and returned to the small screen in the came-and-went football vehicle Ballers. In 2015, he returns to the tried and true, in the “Fast & Furious” franchise alongside Vin Diesel in Furious 7. Despite the looming shadow of the tragic, real-life death of Paul Walker, the juggernaut franchise looks primed to keep chugging along.
If we’ve learned anything about the ‘Material Girl‘ over her five-decade career, it’s that she never truly fades from the spotlight. Even in a relatively quiet 2014, Madonna still made an unforgettable Grammy’s appearance alongside Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, collaborated with Miley Cyrus and introduced a new line of MDNA skin products. It’s a whole other story in 2015, though, as Madge will release Rebel Heart, her 13th studio album. The “Vogue” singer will also debut as the face of Versace’s Spring/Summer 2015 campaign, guaranteeing you can’t miss her.
1. The “Entourage” Gang
Vinny Chase, E, Turtle, Johnny Drama and Ari are back, this time on the big screen. Picking up right where the series left off when it wrapped in 2011, the long-awaited Entourage film will see Adrien Grenier‘s Vince make his directorial debut. As was the case with the TV series, the movie version looks to be a star-studded affair, with Billy-Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment joining the cast and the usual army of celebrity cameos set to include producer Mark Wahlberg, Liam Neeson, Rhonda Rousey, Piers Morgan and Tom Brady.