One of the greatest genres in storytelling has always been science fiction. Through authors having fun with concepts and ideas found in fields like engineering, astronomy, or other scientific fields, many timeless and well-written stories have been made, whether it be from books or from movies. When talking about the latter, there’s an interesting case of a huge resurgence in this genre, with dozens upon dozens of new films being released this year and in the future.
Now it’s important to understand science fiction was never necessarily dying. In the first half of the decade, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes were rebooted, popular thrillers like Limitless and Inception were released, Transformers was and still is alive and kicking, and filmmakers like J. J. Abrams and Guillermo del Toro created dream projects in the sci-fi realm with Super 8 and Pacific Rim. Furthermore, Marvel and DC became and still are the biggest film brands at the moment, with almost all of their films featuring some sort of science fiction concept or idea, whether it be extraterrestrial beings like Superman or technologically advanced weaponry like Iron Man.
But from 2015 onwards, it feels like films in the sci-fi world are coming back in an even bigger way. Two years ago, there was the return of Star Wars and Jurassic Park, both of these new installments now being two of the highest-grossing films of all time, and both garnering upcoming follow-ups, with the former seemingly getting a new movie every year. That’s not even mentioning The Martian, a critically-acclaimed survival drama that had garnered 7 Academy Award nominations, and Ex Machina, which became a sleeper hit both with critics and at the box office, as well as garnering the Best Visual Effects nomination at the Academy Awards. Last year continued this streak with movies like Rogue One, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Arrival, Captain America: Civil War, and Star Trek Beyond all becoming big hits with science-fiction fans and general audiences alike.
This year seems to be following this in a big way. Franchises like Alien and Blade Runner are returning with hotly-anticipated follow-ups, and the famous Japanese manga Ghost in the Shell is getting an American adaptation. A third Cloverfield is on the way, and the French comic book series “Valerian and Laureline” is getting adapted into a feature film entitled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal star in the film Life, and of course, we’re getting more installments for popular series like Transformers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Planet of the Apes, and of course Star Wars. The next year promises even more massive sci-fi tentpoles, with the James Cameron-produced Alita: Battle Angel, the anticipated sequel to the 2009 film Avatar, the fourth installment of the Predator franchise, the Steven Speilberg-directed Ready Player One, and, once again, another Star Wars movie.
It seems bizarre there has been such an unexpected rise of this genre, more specifically a rise of such high quality, but it feels fair to chalk it up to the greatest sci-fi franchise of all time, Star Wars. While it would be unfair to not include the importance movies like Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy have had on the general public, the iconic franchise once again taking the world by storm after a brief dormancy shows the power that the brand truly has, and it seems that with its massive success with people of all ages has given Hollywood the idea America has demanded a return to the worlds that bend the rules of biology, technology, and astronomy And I for one fully embrace that, as I’m already saving up my money to see Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and War for the Planet of the Apes next summer.