This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
It’s a new year, and a new period of Disney world domination. Honestly, no one is screwing with Disney in 2019, who is releasing movies like The Lion King, Aladdin, a new Star Wars, along with their expected Netflix-killer, Disney+.
And given we live in an age of sequels and remakes, it’s not surprising that 2019 is going to see a number TV/Movie franchises coming to their (likely) conclusions (Unbreakable, Star Wars, Rambo, IT, Avengers, Deadwood, Game of Thrones and Toy Story). But there is reason for hope as we’re also receiving a ton of new beginnings (i.e. fresh IP), such as Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone and Us. This is easily shaping up to be one of the best years I’ve seen in pop culture in a long time, and that makes my job so much easier, unlike this long ass list. If you want to know what’s worth looking forward to in 2019, I think we’ve got you’ve covered.
Don’t call it a comeback... yet. We’re still getting acclimated with the twisty M. Night Shyamalan we once loved thanks to Split. Now, comes the completion of the ultra down-to-earth hero trilogy brings back Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy as powered individuals in the movie that is serving as a sequel to both Split and 2000’s Unbreakable.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Four years later, the Lego Movie is returning with the same Chris Pratt, the same production team, the same characters, and some new folks (Tiffany Haddish, Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks, and Charlie Day), with different directors (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller). If it ain’t that broke, don’t fix it.
Alita: Battle Angel
“Does it bother you that I’m not human?” Yeah, it does actually, those eyes aren’t doing it for me at all. But give it up to James Cameron/Robert Rodriguez for attempting to turn a famed manga series about half-human/half-machine girls (Rosa Salazar) into a AAA remake. Good luck.
So comes the return of the big red dude with the sawed horns and the scowliest scowl you’ve ever seen. Sure, we’re missing some Ron Perlman goodness here, but Stranger Things‘ David Harbour won’t hurt a bit.
Yes, it’s that dude from Kingsman doing his best Elton John impression. So far we’ve seen glimpses of Elton musical numbers, Elton outfits, and Elton tragedies. What else could we want from a movie about his Royal Eltonness. We want the fantasy, and Elton John lived one.
Hey, so did you enjoy seeing Mufasa die, but felt that the hurt needed to be more knife-to-the-heart realistic? Like with “real” animals per say? Well, Disney’s about to go Bambi on that ass and go for the soul. And CGI makeovers aside, the talent is strong with this one, (Donald Glover, James Earl Jones (duh), John Oliver, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and someone named Beyoncé, I think, etc).
Disney is cracking out some more YA novel franchises with Eoin Colfer’s source material, and Kenneth Branagh’s direction, about several young genius’s doing heroically genius things.
Man, we’ve got Samuel L. Jackson petting kittens, 1990s Blockbuster love, laser blasts, spaceships, Top Gun suits, old ladies getting clocked, and super-powered Brie Larson kicking butt. LETS GO!
Another popular YA series getting the Hollywood pimp treatment. This one stars Tom Holland and Daisy “thank God I’m done with Star Wars” Ridley, playing young adults who run from fascist, dystopian people in the future. Sounds perfectly YA.
Jordan Peele brought us the Sunken Place with its full horrifying take on complex racial dynamics. Now, the Get Out director is going for the gut. A family does the vacation thing, singing and shit. Then, one night, a group of strangers enters their home. But said strangers are their exact doubles. We’ve got bunnies, Lupita Nyong looking weird with those scissors... who knows what’s going on here, but we can’t wait to find out.
So comes the return of an airborne-mammal classic as realized by the dark imaginations of Tim Burton. It’s fitting because one should not let the 1941 cutesy animation fool you, Dumbo was/is a frightening film despite being about a elephant that can fly. I fully expect Tim to be at his most max-Burtonesque when he brings the CGI-d elephant to a realistic stage.
Regular kid (Asher Angel) gets chosen as a champion, only to be transformed into a mythical, lightning-bolt-having, defender of the helpless (Zachary Levi). I’m thinking of every body-swap film from the 80s, and replacing the adult gimmick with a Superhero. I’m fine with that.
Creepy old guy monologues, cats, the walking dead, and suburban kids walking in the woods with animal masks and shit? This is that creepy-as-hell Stephen King source material that we all love and want.
Avengers: End Game
The purple dude ended some folks apparently, and one of two guys will probably die for realsies this time. Which contract will not be renewed, Robert Downey Jr.’s or Chris Evans? Stay tuned, same Disney time, same Disney franchise.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu
The little yellow monster we all love is getting the live-action treatment like every other damn thing we loved in the 90s. Will I be able to sit through an entire film-noir of a movie with Pikachu’s voice replaced with a Ryan Reynolds voice? Stay tuned to find out. (probably not…)
John Wick 3
It’s Keanu Reeves shooting shit. That’s all we need to know.
I think my guy @tonyshaazam on Twitter said it best: “Will Smith looks like Goro from Mortal Kombat 💀 #Aladdin #Disney”. I so want to give Disney and Will Smith the benefit of the doubt here, but... Collateral Beauty. We’ll see.
This is my brand of Superman. Directed by James Gun, this one borrows the all tropes from the Superman mythos–farm setting, fallen asteroids, super-powered infant, adopted farm parents etc etc, but with a TWIST, he’s evil. Just the way I likes it.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
It’s Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla doing Godzilla things to big ass Godzilla-like monsters and shit. It’s what we all want. (It will be better than Pacific Rim: Uprising).
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
This is the last ditch attempt by Fox before Disney wraps their fingers around the X-Men franchise for good. It’s a plotline that delves into the classic comic book storyline involving Jean Gray (Sophie Turner) becoming infatuated with power. The perfect mild-buster for a summer timeline.
Men in Black: International
Yes, it’s that franchise about alien law enforcement or whatever, but we’re getting Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson wearing shades and suits. If that combo turns out wrong, I don’t wanna be right. *growns*
Toy Story 4
It’s the return of Buzz, Woody, and the whole crew, walking in our theater space as if we’ve recovered from Toy Story 3. Well, some of us haven’t (my heart…), but it’s coming so let's prepare.
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Soooo, you’re saying Tom Holland met an ugly dusty death in Infinity War by that dumb purple dude? Yeah, no one believed that. Thankfully, Disney is loosening up on the charade by reintroducing our favorite web head as he faces off against classic bad guy, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who will not “pretend” to kill him.
The New Mutants
It’s X-Men meets horror. New Mutants began as an 80s spin of the original team, and much of the names are the same here like Magick (Anya Taylor-Joy), Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Mirage (Blu Hunt), and Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), but with a horror spin. Again, Fox won’t have this franchise for long, so expect some free-for-all experimentation here.
Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw
It’s two of the better characters (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham) from the Fast and Furious doing their own heisty thing. Let’s milk that cow.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
This one is based on Alvin Schwartz’s best-selling book series, and I’ll tell you right now, those stories combined with those Stephen Gammell illustrations scared me shitless (still do). With a screenplay by Guillermo del Toro, and a director in André Øvredal, I expect more nightmares.
IT: Chapter 2
Our favorite child killing clown has some unfinished business to attend to, and he’s taking it into adulthood. Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James McAvoy play the adult versions of the kids who were previously terrorized by Bill Skarsgård, and we’re all here for it.
I think we can all agree that no one is beating Heath Ledger’s Joker. With all that said, I’ve got high hopes for this 80s gritty retelling of how the Joker turned into a criminal mastermind. I mean, it’s Joaquin Phoenix. He can pull it off.
Adam Sandler is far more talented than the B-movie, low-grade tripe he’s associated himself with on Netflix, so hopefully, a crime drama helmed by the talented Josh and Benny Sadie can change that. He needs some self-love right now.
It's more of our nerdy Jesse Eisenberg, loveable Woody Harrelson, beautiful Emma Stone, and cutesy Abigail Breslin bustin’ zombie tail. Sell complete.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Who didn't adore the child entertainer Mr. Rogers, and who doesn't adore the grown entertainer Tom Hanks. That's sort of the point here behind this biopic as inspired by Tom Junod's memorable Esquire profile of Fred Rogers.
Can a lipstick poshfest of a spy thriller like Charlie's Angels work in 2019? Sure it can, if we're including the respected likes of Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Elizabeth Banks, who also sits as the director of this reboot.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is making his return to a franchise where judgement day is a holiday at this point. Oh, Linda Hamilton is back, and she can still kick ass better than the lot of em.
Sonic the Hedgehog
We’ve got a talking Pikachu voiced by Ryan Reynolds in these real streets, so why not? As far as plots go, this one centers around a cop in a rural town who helps Sonic escape from the government looking to capture him. Sounds perfectly 2019 glum. Oh, and Jim Carrey is in this one too.
I can hear the audible moans of every parent in existence readying for the next theme song by Disney. We’re only now recovering from "Let it Go," so please Disney, let us go. I’m sure it’ll be good though.
Queen and Slim
I include this for the simple fact that Melina Matsoukas directed some of the most beloved Insecure episodes out there, and now she’s got Daniel Kaluuya in her pocket. Beyond a narrative around a first date, an interruption from a cop, and a killing in self-defense, not much is known here.
Star Wars Episode: IX
Yes, they did Luke Skywalker wrong... get over it. Billie Dee is coming back, Carrie Fisher is still in it, and J.J. Abrams is returning to the director’s chair to right all wrongs. Is this the end-end of Star Wars? Nah.
Netflix is so tired of the Cloverfield Paradox jokes and they want some r-e-s-p-e-c-t. Thanks to the acquisition of the great Martin Scorsese, they’re looking to get just that. The Irishman reintroduces Scorsese with Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro in a plot about the slaying of American labor leader/fraudster Jimmy Hoffa.
Thirteen years after the groundbreaking western drama Deadwood first aired on HBO, fans are finally getting their damn feature-length film. We are getting the same cast and all. Hooray!
Rambo 5: Last Blood
Sure, the series has become increasingly cartoonish over the years, but so has Stallone, and that’s why we love our guy as steroid-induced Rambo. This time around, he’s fighting against the Mexican cartel which will reportedly be his last showdown. (As it should, Stallone is 72.)
Again, not much information here aside from it being handled by South Korean director Joon-ho Bong, (Memories of Murder, The Host, and Mother), and that’s all I need to know. Memories of Murder is still my most beloved film of all time, and that’s all the endorsement you need.
Central Park Five - Netflix
Ava Duvernay provides a scripted look into the horrifying attack of a white woman in Central Park in 1983, and the circumstances that placed five young black men in the crosshairs of a city looking for some minorities to blame. Wrongly convicted and eventually cleared of the crime 25 years later, Duvernay is giving us much-needed retro-perspective.
Sex Education - Netflix
At the risk of sounding like a stan, it’s Gillian Anderson from the X-Files looking like a middle-aged and still sexy Gillian Anderson. I’m fine with that. But for others, they’ll get another quirky Netflix special about a teenage virgin (Asa Butterfield) who lives alongside his sex therapist of a mother. Things happen, and he decides to start up a clinic of his own. Cool, but I only care about Gillian Anderson.
The Mandalorian - Disney +
Despite Pedro Pascal being the only actor tied to this one, it’s a soap opera... set in space... set in a Star Wars universe. So it’s a space-opera... by George Lucas... HYPE!
Carmen Sandiego - Netflix
If you were any kind of kid going to school in the 90s, you sang the song “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” and completely forgot the other lyrics. Either way, Netflix is bringing back the 80s detective franchise featuring Gina Rodriguez and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard as the player, Carman’s side-kick, and friend.
Chernobyl - HBO
There’s always been a fascination about a town completely ghosted due to a disaster, and with Chernobyl we’re getting just that. The five-part episodic story around the 1986 nuclear disaster is being manned by Jared Harris ( Mad Men, The Crown), and will star the likes of Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgård.
Tuca & Bertie - Netflix
BoJack Horseman fans rejoice, Ali Wong and Tiffany Haddish are bringing some of that same spirit with a new animated show, from the imaginations of Lisa Hanawa who illustrates Bojack. Similar to the previous show, we’re getting a duo of 30-something birds who live in the same apartment complex. Sounds adultish.
Lovecraft Country - HBO
It rocks names like J.J. “freakin” Abrams, and Jordan “freakin” Peele, so freak you if there’s no excitement in your blood for this HBO drama. This one tells the story of “Atticus Black” who joins his friend Letitia and his Uncle George across a 1950s Jim Crow America for a missing father. We’ve seen Peele’s amazing ability to comment on matters of race in nuanced matters, so expect greatness.
Watchmen - HBO (TBA)
The movie was great, the comic book was better, and the TV show may be best? Watchmen stood as a graphic novel about heroes that deserved far more than the two hours and 42 mins that it received, and Damon Lindelof will have the benefit of that thanks to HBO.
Y - FX (TBA)
Yet another TV series based on a beloved graphic novel series. Y tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world where there’s one human male (Barry Keoghan) lives in a world of purely women. So you’re thinking world peace huh? Expect it to be more complicated than that.
Twilight Zone - CBS (TBA)
I don’t need to see anything beyond Get Out to know that Jordan Peele will do an updated version of the classic Rod Serling classic proud.
Devs - FX (TBA)
Our girl Sonoya Mizuno is coming fresh off of role in Crazy Rich Asians, to star in a series directed, produced, and written by the same team behind Ex-Machina. In it, she plays a computer engineer who suspects that a division of her company may be behind the ghosting of a boyfriend. This TV show didn’t even need a pilot to get FX to push the greenlight, so it must be good.
Raising Dion - Netflix (TBA)
Despite Netflix killing off every Marvel show like with a steady Thanos snap, we don’t seem to be starving for superhero shows at all. With this one, instead of the focus being the hero, we’re getting a story that showcases what it might be like to be the parent of one (I imagine terrible). Having Michael B. Jordan attached doesn’t hurt either.
The Witcher - Netflix (TBA)
It’s an adaptation of a beloved video-game franchise, where a monster hunter (Geralt of Rivia, played by Henry Cavill) goes around killing monsters and shagging witches. Will it be good? Why would it? It’s video-game based. But stranger things have happened.
Killing Eve Season 2 - BBC America (TBA)
It’s going to be a tough act to follow season one but few shows have leads like Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer.
True Detective Season 3 - HBO (Jan 13)
Yes, season 2 was pretty rushed due to the pressures of season 1, but showrunner Nic Pizzolatto is slowing things down with the help of David Milch ( Deadwood). In its return, True Detective brings it back to its roots set in the Ozarks. And with a cast that includes Mahershala Ali with Stephen Dorff as his detective partner, that certainly doesn’t hurt.
Stranger Things Season 3 - Netflix (July 4)
Gates are closed, the demon dogs are out thanks to Millie Bobby Brown, but the upside down is still here, and Netflix is thirsty for some mik.
Atlanta Season 3 - FX (TBA)
Repeatedly consistent, consistently surprising, there’s no reason to not want a return to Donald Glover’s take on black Americans attempting to make their way in the word. If you need further reasons, read this.
American Gods Season 2 - Starz (March 10)
Despite the set drama, hirings and firings and production woes, Neil Gaiman’s post-modern mythology adaptation is making a return. If that means more Ian “ruffian” McShane, so we should all be rooting for this one.
The Expanse Season 4 - Amazon (TBA)
One of the more underrated sci-fi dramas (for reasons you can read here) is making a return thanks to the pressures of a dedicated fanbase. The Space exploration epic is coming back, making the leap from Syfy to Amazon Prime
Game of Thrones Season 8 - HBO (April)
Game of Thrones is our Star Wars for television. Every series will give it the space it requires to shine. And that’s just the sort of pop cultured landscape it’s been able to make for itself over the years. Now, the conclusion is almost here and it will most certainly disappoint fans in some way. But I’m still here for it.
Barry Season 2 - HBO (TBA)
Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is still living out his life as a human killing hitman and actor. Will he go out like some beard scruffy dude in the middle of nowhere? We’ll see.
Rick and Morty Season 4 - Adult Swim (TBA)
I guess there’s a select few out there that can’t wait to see the exploits of a smartass scientist and his dull grandson again. Not me, but it’s here, so chill.
Mindhunter Season 2 - Netflix (TBA)
Bill Tench, Holden Ford and Dr. Wendy Carr are doing the serial killer investigations thing once again as if we wanted another serial killer show about white dudes killing folks. Yeah...we do.
Big Little Lies Season 2 - HBO (TBA)
The women of Monterey are back and dealing with the outcome of a death that occured at the end of season 1. Just about all of the cast is back (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern), but now joined by Meryl Streep. Guaranteed to be good I guess.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 6 - NBC (Jan 10)
Fox cancelled the much loved cop comedy by Daniel J. Goor and Michael Schur, only to have NBC swoop in just a day later to save the series from crashing. Now will the show be different? Will it be better or worse? Questions, questions.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Noel Ransome on Twitter.