2016

Now that ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is in theaters, we here at ScienceFiction.com can start looking to the sci-fi, horror, and fantasy films of 2016. But when it came time to compile a list of our most anticipated movies for the coming year, I found that around 90% of them included superheroes. So in an effort to spotlight the other projects that didn’t spawn from the pages of a comic book, here are some of the other features gracing a theater near you in the coming months that you may want to pay some attention to.

10) ‘Patient Zero’

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Matt Smith hasn’t had the best track record with movies since departing ‘Doctor Who’ in 2013. While ‘Terminator Genisys’ was okay, the less said about Ryan Gosling’s ‘Lost River’, the better. But in 2016, we’ll see the Eleventh Doctor take on a leading role in ‘Patient Zero’ alongside ‘Game of Thrones’ star Natalie Dormer and screen veteran Stanley Tucci as they pursue the first person infected with an outbreak-causing mutated form of rabies in order to find a cure.

Release Date: September 2, 2016

9) ‘The Space Between Us’ 

I’m a sucker for a good love story, so ‘The Space Between Us’ definitely caught my eye while putting this list together. In this upcoming sci-fi romance, ’Ender’s Game’ star Asa Butterfield plays a young boy that grows up on Mars. After communicating an Earth girl played by Britt Robertson of ‘Tomorrowland’, he falls in love with her and embarks on a journey to see her. 

Release Date: July 29, 2016

8) ‘Passengers’

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Not much is known about this project at the moment, but how could you go wrong with Jennifer Lawrence AND Chris Pratt? The lovable stars of ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (among other amazing things) are together for the first time in this story about a passenger that is awakened 60 years before their spacecraft arrives at a distant colony due to a sleep chamber malfunction. Confronted by the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually wakes up another person. I mean, I’m not too fond of being woken up early. Let’s see how J Law likes it.

Release Date: December 21, 2016

7) ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

After delivering solid hits though the 2000s with ‘Coraline’, ‘ParaNorman’, and ‘The Boxtrolls’, stop-motion animation juggernaut Laika Entertainment is heading back to theaters next year with ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’. Set in ancient Japan, this story follows a young boy that is plagued by a spirit that reignites an ancient vendetta and unleashes gods and monsters upon the world. In order to survive, he must track down a magical suit of armor that once belonged to his late samurai warrior father. Featuring the voices of Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes, and George Takei, as well as the incredible Laika style of animation, this film seems like it could catch on with audiences next summer.

Release Date: August 19, 2016

6) ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’

Even though I enjoyed ‘Jurassic World’ (despite the numerous things wrong with it), there was a severe lack of Jeff Goldblum. Luckily, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ brings the beloved actor back for a sequel to one of the most badass films of the 90s. After the War of 1996, the world worked hard to build up planetary defenses in case of another invasion. However, an alien distress signal has finally been answered and a newer, larger battle fleet is making it’s way to Earth with revenge on their mind. Can Bill Pullman’s President Thomas J. Whitmore rally the entire planet to defeat the alien threat once more? I definitely want to find out.

Release Date: June 24, 2016

5) ‘The Witch’ 

Horror movies don’t usually end up on these lists for me, but after hearing all the buzz coming out of Sundance this year, I’m curious about seeing ‘The Witch’. Set in the 17th century in a Puritan village, a family’s baby boy disappears and their daughter is accused of witchcraft. In the face of an unknown evil, the family starts to break apart. There’s definitely a lot of potential in the plot alone, but the trailer looks absolutely unsettling. I most likely will not be seeing it alone.

Release Date: February 26, 2016

4) ‘Ghostbusters’

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Despite the amount of (unnecessary) controversy and criticism, I’m super excited for the new ‘Ghostbusters’ starring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones. First of all, that cast is awesome. Second, Paul Feig hasn’t steered me wrong before. I loved his work onscreen in ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ and ‘Heavyweights’ and then I loved his work behind the camera on ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘Arrested Development’, and ‘Freaks and Geeks’. And finally, if the people involved in the original sign off on this reboot, then there has to be at least a little merit to it. Dan Akyroyd specifically spent years protecting this franchise and if he, Bill Murray, and Ernie Hudson are onboard, then I’m willing to give it a chance. I ain’t afraid of no haters!

Release Date: July 15, 2016

3) ‘Moana’

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Walt Disney Animation Studios is finally introducing a Pacific Islander princess and I could not be more excited. Featuring the vocal talents of newcomer Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Alan Tudyk (so far), this computer-animated musical fantasy set in the ancient South Pacific follows a natural born navigator named Moana that teams up with the legendary demigod Maui in search of a fabled island. Long-time members of the WWE Universe might recall how well the Brahma Bull can sing, so it’s perfect that he’s finally able to show off his skills in a Disney movie. Plus, the amazing Lin-Manuel Miranda of ‘In The Heights’ and ‘Hamilton’ fame will be writing songs for the film. There are just so many reasons to be excited for this!   

Release Date: November 23, 2016

2) ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’

As a proud member of Slytherin House, I am very much looking forward to returning to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Even though the Boy Who Lived won’t be appearing in the film, it will still be great to see Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander explore areas of this universe created by J.K. Rowling for her cherished novels as the magizoologist travels to America with a number of magical creatures and accidentally sends the magical community into crisis when one escapes into 1926 New York City. Though I’m a little wary about this being the author’s screenwriting debut, I know that she can tell one hell of a story, so I’m excited nonetheless about returning to this world that she built. 

Release Date: November 18, 2016

1) ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

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It just may be because I’m on a high after seeing ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, but I’m ready to return to a galaxy far, far away as soon as possible. The next opportunity that we’ll get is when Gareth Edwards, Gary Whitta, and Chris Weitz’s ‘Rogue One’ hits theaters in under a year from now. Set during the time period between ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’ and ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ (but closer to the latter), the first in a series of ‘Star Wars Anthology’ films will see a group of rebels attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star. 

Release Date: December 16, 2016

That does it for my most anticipated sci-fi, horror, and fantasy films that don’t include superheroes. Do you agree with my list? Are there any glaring exclusions? And what ScienceFiction.com movie are you most looking forward to in 2016? Let us know in the comment section.