With 2015 now definitively in the books, it's time to start looking forward to a year that promises to be overflowing with movies, TV shows, games and more for the ravenous geek to devour. We're excited for the bounty to come ... but what are we most excited for? Find out below, and let us know your most anticipated thing of 2016 in the comments!
Trent Moore: From Batman v Superman to Captain America: Civil War, it's amazing the amount of huge, geeky films set to open in 2016 — but that's not what I'm most looking forward to. Though I love kicking back at the theater with a good movie, it's the small-screen stuff that has me most excited for the new year. Between Legends of Tomorrow, Flash, Arrow, Daredevil, Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., my DVR will be running over with more (hopefully awesome) comic-book fare than I could shake a stick at. Virtually all these shows are firing on all cylinders at the moment (even Arrow, which has been stuttering as of late), and I'm positively geeked over what adventures the new year might bring. Living in a world where a big-budget TV show starring Firestorm, White Canary, Rip Hunter and the Atom actually exists? Yes please.
Lisa Granshaw: In 2016, I'm looking forward to the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda more than anything else. I am a huge fan of the Mass Effect trilogy and can't wait to see what BioWare does with the new game. While it will be strange no longer playing as Commander Shepard or seeing the old crew again, I am excited to see what adventures we'll be able to have and what characters we might meet in the game, as well as all the other new things it might add to the Mass Effect universe!
Matt Dorville: With Twin Peaks now coming out in 2017, the most anticipated release in 2016 for me has to be Dark Souls III. Beating the first Dark Souls game took me well over 100 hours to accomplish and was one of the most difficult and incredible video game experiences I've had. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the series creator, signed on to direct this sequel, which he said would serve as a "turning point" in the franchise, and I literally feel the adrenaline pumping whenever I hear about a screenshot leak. Miyazaki only supervised the second Dark Souls, placing his focus toward the equally incredible Bloodborne, so I'm excited to see the product of his involvement in this new sequel. The medieval Dark Souls franchise holds a special place for me, and I'll be looking forward to the hours and hours I'll undoubtedly be playing in 2016. Praise the Sun!
Don Kaye: While I'm awfully curious about how exactly the DC Cinematic Universe is going to present itself in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it's still the folks over at Marvel whose films I can't wait to see in 2016. For starters, I'm super excited about Captain America: Civil War. With the team behind the excellent The Winter Soldier steering this film, and many of the Avengers showing up (plus Black Panther and Spider-Man!), I have the feeling that Civil War is going to be the movie we all thought Avengers: Age of Ultron was going to be: a dramatic, high-stakes thriller that will alter the shape and future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As for Marvel's second offering of 2016, Doctor Strange, this is a film I've been hoping to see come to life for quite some time. The Sorcerer Supreme has always struck me as one of Marvel's most compelling characters, and I can't wait to see how Marvel brings his supernatural, psychedelic corner of their cosmos to life. Plus Benedict Cumberbatch looks perfect as Strange, and his supporting cast may well be the studio's finest to date. While there are lots of cool things coming this year, for me the top choice is easy: Make mine Marvel!
Tara Bennett: I'm genuinely hoping for some off-the-radar surprises with my genre consumption in 2016. On the movie side, I'm feeling superhero fatigue, and the only sequel I'm waiting for with any real excitement is Captain America: Civil War. Outside of that, I'm genuinely intrigued with Paul Feig's Ghostbusters based on stellar casting alone. If it can re-invigorate a loved franchise, even better. Juan Antonio Bayona's A Monster Calls is on my fall radar, as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (which I am hoping isn't just a cash grab return to the Rowling arena). Rogue One is residing in my cautiously optimistic pile because of the casting, but I'm not sure I'm all that interested in that slice of history. On the TV side, there's a host of returning shows I can't wait to see, including Outlander, Agent Carter, Daredevil, Game of Thrones, more of The X-Files (which the return episode, I can attest, hits all the right notes) and The Walking Dead, just to see how they right the ship after the start of Season 6. As for new genre TV, there's Outcast, Preacher and Luke Cage from the comics world to satisfy my dark drama needs. Hopefully, Lucifer and Legends of Tomorrow will be lighter fare to temper the rest.
Nathalie Caron: With the massive slew of exciting genre movies and TV series premiering this year, 2016 is gearing up to be a geek’s nerdvana. However, the one thing I’m most excited about is a little Marvel movie called Captain America: Civil War. Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) third not-so-solo adventure is set to kick off Marvel’s Phase 3 in style by pitting Team Captain America against Team Iron Man over the Sokovia Accords (replacing the comics’ Superhero Registration Act in the film) and the fate of Steve’s BFF, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), aka the Winter Soldier. Civil War will also see the introduction of new Marvel key players Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has already seen the movie directed by the Russo Brothers (who also helmed the excellent Captain America: The Winter Soldier), calling it “one of the best Marvel movies ever.” It doesn’t hurt either that just like Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), Cap is my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe character.
Jeff Spry: Two premium Pacific Northwest events for the new year that I'm very psyched over are the Wizard World Portland Comic-Con in February and a set visit to Laika Studios, also in Portland, this spring. The guest list at Wizard World for 2016 is looking mighty impressive for interview opportunities, including the indefatigable William Shatner, Elizabeth Henstridge (Gemma on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Doctor Who's Matt Smith, Scott Wilson (Hershel from The Walking Dead) and Mike Colter (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage!). It's always an excellent convention with killer cosplay and a real hometown feel for such a big event. Laika Studios (Paranorman, Coraline) is currently filming their next stop-motion animated feature to be released in the summer, Kubo and the Two Strings. It's an epic samurai adventure with some breathtaking imagery and I can't wait to see the elaborate sets, armatured puppets and talk to the creators and founder, Travis Knight, son of Nike chairman Phil Knight.
Carol Pinchefsky: There’s a great deal to look forward to in 2016 (and a shout-out to the new X-Files and Captain America: Civil War), but of all the media I’m anticipating, nothing is making me salivate more than Uncharted 4: Thief’s End. The Uncharted games are the closest thing we have to playing Indiana Jones without paying Harrison Ford royalties, and, in Uncharted 4, we’re going to join Nathan Drake on his final adventure. Although Nathan has married Elena and retired from the fortune-hunting business, his long-lost brother needs his help in a quest to find a pirate town — with its pirate treasure. With a plot like that, it’s already better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That said, I do have my concerns: Creative director Amy Hennig left (or was ousted from, according to rumor) Uncharted 4 months into production and was replaced by the creative directors of The Last of Us, Neil Druckmann and Bruce Starlet. Unlike most of the gaming world, I found The Last of Us relentlessly grim. But from what I saw at E3, Uncharted 4 looks and feels like the same as the series I adore.
Krystal Clark: In 2016, I'm looking forward to Hollywood producing its most ambitious comic book movies to date. I never thought I'd see Batman, Superman, and definitely not Wonder Woman in a live-action film together. I never thought Fox would allow someone to make a Deadpool movie that was true to character. I never thought Marvel Studios would have the guts to interrupt their Infinity War plans to adapt Civil War. I never thought Spider-Man and Black Panther would be in the midst of it. I never thought anyone would be brave enough to bring X-Men's most notorious villain to the big screen with Apocalypse. But guess what? All of that is happening in 2016. Studios are pushing the comic book genre into overdrive, and I'm ready for it. Let the takeover begin!
Adam Swiderski: Maybe it's just the post-The Force Awakens high I'm on, but I'm really excited for the awkwardly titled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The tale of how the Rebels ended up with those Death Star plans in A New Hope sounds intriguing, and I'm digging the cast, but what most entices me is the promise of a grittier, more war movie-esque take on the Star Wars universe. If nothing else, it should (hopefully) be just what the doctor ordered for all those complaining that TFA is too more-of-the-same. We've seen stories like this in EU material and on Clone Wars, but never on the big screen, and I'm dying to find out if Gareth Edwards will nail it, and what the success or failure of the film will mean for future non-main-saga Star Wars movies.
Aaron Sagers: There is so much geek bounty in pop culture this year I feel embarrassed for those who still aren’t on board with comic books, video games, and so on. I have a lot of goodwill towards Duncan Jones as a filmmaker, and carry high hopes that Warcraft lives up to its, and the director’s, potential. The same goes for Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange; just the teaser images are already filling me with a giddy excitement. Spielberg in the director’s chair for the kid-friendly The BFG is speaking to my E.T.-loving inner child. And how thrilled will we be, and should we be, about a standalone Star Wars movie that doesn’t involve the Skywalker family? Deadpool has a finely-tuned and genius marketing campaign, and hope the rated-R comic flick delivers. I am most looking forward to the throwdown between Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. The lines are drawn in theaters between Marvel and DC (and Disney and Warner Bros.) in a way we’ve not seen before. With only six weeks between the former’s March 25 opening and the latter’s May 6 debut, this is the box office battle to watch. There will be a winner and a loser, and Warner/DC in particular has a lot riding on the success of their first big shared universe story. And how will Marvel hold up with another major player on the super stage, and one sporting the S-shield, arguably one of the most well-known logos in the world?