Remember a year ago, when we wondered if an underdog movie like Guardians of the Galaxy could succeed, or if Peter Capaldi would be at home in the TARDIS, or if George R.R. Martin would shuffle off this mortal coil before he finished A Song of Ice and Fire? As we sit at the end of the year with those questions answered (well, two out of three, anyway -- hang in there, George) and pack up 2014, our attention turns to the coming 365 days. What surprises will it hold? Which returning mega-franchise will conquer the box office and capture our hearts? What memories will live in the geekiest corners of our hearts after our next trip around the sun? Check out our writers' picks below and let us know what sci-fi, fantasy and horror stuff you're most looking forward to in 2015 in the comments!
I have two answers, because I'm greedy. First, like everyone and their mother, I'm looking forward to Star Wars, obviously! I already admitted I wanted to be Leia when I was little (OK, and as recently as last week), and I still get goosebumps the second that theme music hits and the Falcon comes soaring into sight in the trailer. Secondly, and on a bigger level, I'm super-looking forward to 2015 with Blastr. I'm incredibly grateful to be part of this oddball and talented crew, and pretty excited for what's to come. Yes, I somewhat jacked that from Adam's touching "best geeky gift of all time," but in case you didn't know, our EIC is half superhero, so we all secretly want to be him when we grow up (don't tell Sagers that). Happy New Year!
While the impending return of Star Wars to my universe rates high on my geek Richter scale, and seeing Tom Hardy rock the apocalypse as Max Rockatansky makes me want to gnaw on smoking tires in anticipation, my true longings for 2015 come with the simple pleasure of being able to finally drive the legendary Batmobile in Rocksteady's new Batman: Arkham Knight videogame. All my life I've wanted to cruise the Caped Crusader's cool coach, in any and all incarnations. I was that adolescent kid plunked down on orange shag carpet watching Batman TV show reruns sporting a well-worn Batman for President sweatshirt while clutching my Corgi die-cast Batmobile. And I'm the same one who politely told Japanese tourists visiting Colorado that my black '69 Corvette roadster parked outside the Rocky Mountain Candy Company was not the real Batmobile from Tim Burton's Batman. Furthering my love affair with the Dark Knight's muscle car, last year I covered the live Barrett-Jackson auction where the original Batmobile sold for an astonishing $4.2 million. So when Batman: Arkham Knight launches next June, I'll happily pay my $60 for the privilege to steer my way through the grimy streets of Gotham. Punch it!
The movie I am most looking forward to in 2015 is The Avengers: Age of Ultron. It edges out Star Wars: The Force Awakens simply because I'm not the biggest J.J. Abrams fan and what Marvel has been doing with its Cinematic Universe these past few years is a lot more exciting than where we left off with the saga of the Skywalker clan. I've heard that what we've seen so far from Age of Ultron doesn't begin to hint at some of the insane things that happen in the movie, and I have a really good feeling that Joss Whedon is going to surprise and delight us again. I also think that the MCU will be quite shaken up by the time the dust settles at the movie's end, and I love the way Marvel is taking chances and not necessarily staying on safe ground as it heads into Phase 3. And c'mon -- tell me that you are not pumped with excitement to see the Hulk and Iron Man go at it head to head, or to see the Vision, Ultron and others on the big screen for the first time. Avengers Assemble!
The latest new, main, home console Zelda game, Skyward Sword, came out back in 2011 on the already decrepit Wii hardware. It was a good game, but it didn't really answer the question "Where are games going next?" The new Zelda game, the first trailer for which dropped earlier this year, looks like an entirely different animal, boasting a much more open-world, sandbox style of gameplay. Zelda by way of Skyrim? That could translate into one of the best games ever. It could also signal the first time a Zelda game was ever designed with additional downloadable missions. And with the Wii U finally finding its footing, Zelda is all set to be the jewel in Nintendo's crown again.
The difficulty for sci-fi and comic-book fans will be finding enough time to consume the onslaught of entertainment aimed at them, especially with the slew of comics-related shows set to hit Netflix and the airwaves in the coming year. Perhaps the one comic-book TV launch I'm anticipating the most is Powers on the Playstation Network. As for film, this could be the year to make geeks broke with the potential release of the Adventures of Tintin sequel, an aggressive release date for 007: Spectre, plus Kingsman: The Secret Service, Ant-Man, Jupiter Ascending, Tomorrowland, Pixar's the Good Dinosaur and the feature-length version of Pixels. See Patrick Jean's three-minute short to see what I'm so excited about if you haven't already. Then of course, are the three juggernauts in my order of interest, Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens, Avengers: Age of Ultron and yes, Mad Max: Fury Road! Viewers complain about fatigue if these are bad films, but if those last three films alone can deliver on the hype, in addition to a sleeper hit or two, fans of the genres will be satisfied.
Of course, I'm looking forward to seeing how the TV show Game of Thrones will continue to portray —and diverge from — the source material. But that's not what truly interests me about 2015: I want to see how HBO will be treating their hit show now that it's no longer putting its advertising muscle behind it. For the last few years, HBO has held GoT-themed events — including a themed food truck, ice sculptures, a VR experience and even a dragon in Lincoln Center. In 2015, the only event planned is a special book, The Game of Thrones Compendium. As long as the Westeros saga continues to enjoy its high ratings, I'm not too worried for its future. But with half a dozen other hit shows vying for HBO's attention, I can only hope that GoT will maintain its slice of the budget. Because in the game of ratings, you win or you die.
Westworld! HBO's upcoming new sci-fi series is based on famed author Michael Crichton's 1979 flick, which starred the awesome Yul Brynner as a murderous robot gunslinger. The new series will star Odin himself, Sir Anthony Hopkins, as the futuristic park's creator and Ed Harris in the role made famous by Brynner. Creator Jonathan Nolan (brother of Christopher Nolan) says: "It's a place where you can be whoever you want to be and there are no consequences — no rules, no limitations. What happens in Westworld stays in Westworld." Sweet music to my ears. Also, knowing the show's in the hands of Nolan, J.J. Abrams (who's executive producer) and HBO, I have high hopes it'll be THE new series of 2015. And ROBOTS. What's not to like?
I've actively fought this fundamental truth about myself at points, but as the man said, I can't fight this feeling any more: I can't wait for The Force Awakens. I don't care how much a part of me is screaming that I should be cautious. I don't care how jaded Star Wars has made me in the past. When that John Williams score hit as the Millennium Falcon flew into the trailer the day after Thanksgiving, I was lost in my galaxy far, far away revelry once more, and there's no going back. Star Wars was the first nerdy thing I ever really experienced, sitting in front of the TV when I was 3 while my dad explained the complex backstory to me and brought out his VHS copies of the original trilogy. After years of my father taking me to Star Wars movies, next Christmas I'll get to take him to one for the first time, and I can't wait.
Oddly enough, the thing I'm most looking forward to in 2015 is something I'd hoped to get to read in late 2014. But 2015 it is, apparently. Writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja launched a quirky little comic in 2012 based on Marvel's Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton (and his protege Kate Bishop), but it didn't even focus on the superhero stuff. Instead, this Hawkeye run (affectionally dubbed Hawkguy by fans) followed Clint through the struggles of being a regular guy while trying to save his apartment complex and neighbors from the mob. The comic is ambitious, hilarious, subversive and hilarious (did I say that one already?). The series was originally scheduled to wrap late this year, but the final two issues have been bumped into early 2015, so now we have to wait a few more months to find out how Fraction's saga comes to an end. Regardless of what happens, it should be well worth the wait.
Star Wars. Need I say more? OK, I will. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens arrives on Dec. 18, 2015, and I fully expect my entire year will be spent getting excited for that. Hell, awaiting a full Episode VII trailer is, alone, a highly anticipated moment for me in 2015. But I'm almost as excited for Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak in 2015. If I am right, del Toro's gothic haunted house flick looks to be a visually stunning macabre masterwork. This is a playground where the filmmaker thrives, and I'm looking forward being supremely creeped out in the movie theater next October. Long before then, my giddiness for Star Wars will be be temporarily appeased, I hope, by Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World and a lot of wasted invested hours on my new Xbox and PlayStation systems. On the reading front, I am looking forward to Neil Gaiman's short story collection Trigger Warning, and the two big comic book events, Secret Wars by Marvel and DC Comics' Convergence.
I'm most looking forward to Marvel and Netflix's collaboration. Their Defenders castings are almost complete, and I can't wait to see the finished product. If it's a success, who knows what the future will bring? This could open doors for more crossovers (both TV and film) and introduce other untapped characters. For the most part, DC has Marvel beat when it comes to television, but this Netflix deal could tip the scales in their favor.
Thanks to Martin's relatively slow writing pace (IT'S GLACIAL JUST FINISH ALREADY SHEESH), we're reaching a point at which Game of Thrones is catching up to its A Song of Ice and Fire source material, and will have to either diverge further or start making story points up outright. For many, this is a reason for concern, but I'm relishing the opportunity to watch Game of Thrones like a n00b. Sure, it was fun to see my non-book fan friends freak out over the Red and Purple Weddings, but there was always a small, quiet part of me that wished I could be the one having my mind blown by the show instead of comparing it to the mental pictures I'd concocted while reading Martin's prose -- a part that was fed by some of the non-book material already leaking into the storyline in its past couple of seasons. With indications surfacing that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are taking some bigger liberties with season five, and with not a whole ton of book storyline left to mine, there's a good chance the upcoming slate of episodes will take the denizens of Westeros in directions even die-hard readers aren't expecting. To that, I say a hearty huzzah.