Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War
It’s hard to fathom that it has been almost a decade since Robert Downey Jr. first donned the Iron Man suit. Since RDJ revitalised the superhero movie genre, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become more than just a cultural phenomenon – it’s become one of the greatest feats of cinematic continuity ever created. At San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel revealed a range of new developments for its intellectual properties across film and television, but undoubtedly the most talked about announcements were the new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok and the first look at Avengers: Infinity War. The former sees muscle-bound heartthrob Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as the god of thunder, teaming up with Mark Ruffalo’s The Hulk in a series of super-powered exploits in space. Directed by Taika Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok looks to add a splash of colour and humour into the Marvel Universe, with an all-star cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Tom Hiddleston and Jeff Goldblum. The second announcement might be the biggest of the entire expo – as audiences were given a sneak peek at the first trailer for the monumental flick The Avengers: Infinity War. Only a few glimpses have escaped the tight security net of SDCC, but if the Internet buzz is anything to go by, this film might be the most jaw-dropping superhero film to date.
While Marvel has dominated the discussion surrounding superheroes on film for a long time, DC Comics hasn’t been idle though, creating its own cinematic universe over the past few years with iconic characters such as Superman, Batman and the Suicide Squad crew. Following on from the success of Wonder Woman, DC has shown a new trailer for the forthcoming film Justice League, which will see Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg take on alien invaders. This will be the first time the Justice League has been portrayed on film and is set to be a marquee cinematic event regardless of your familiarity with the assembled heroes. Although not depicted in the new trailer, there are plenty of rumours indicating that Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman – all will be revealed when Justice League hits cinemas in November.
Ready Player One
No announcement embodied the spirit of fandom quite like the nostalgia-laden arrival of the new trailer for Ready Player One. Based on the acclaimed science-fiction novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One has been adapted for the screen by producer and director Steven Spielberg and features performances by newcomer Tye Sheridan, Australia’s own Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Olivia Cooke and T.J. Miller. Set in a dystopian future, Ready Player One depicts the immersive virtual world of OASIS, where users are free to indulge their imaginations as an escape from the desolate world around them. Based on glimpses shown in the fast-paced trailer, Ready Player One is doused in pop-culture references and retro cool, as well as a great dose of cutting-edge digital effects.
Stranger Things: Season Two
One of the biggest success stories of 2016 was undoubtedly Stranger Things. The science-fiction horror was one of the biggest hits for Netflix that year, so when it was renewed for a second season fans were delighted. We’ve been waiting anxiously to return to the town of Hawkins to see what our pals Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Will are up to, and San Diego Comic-Con delivered with the first official trailer for the new season. We see that denizens of The Upside Down are still plaguing the residents of Hawkins, with some bigger and meaner nasties lurking in the darkness of the parallel world. Season two of Stranger Things will hit Netflix in late October.
Westworld: Season Two
Anyone familiar with shows likes Game of Thrones, The Wire and The Sopranos knows that HBO does television better than anyone, and the first season of Westworld solidified the channel’s commitment to quality. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name, Westworld’s mind-boggling scope led it to become one of the most expensive shows on television, with season one produced on a budget of $100 million. Not only did the show look visually stunning, but its philosophical content and engrossing story made for must-watch viewing. The new trailer for season two places us right in the thick of things, as the realm of Westworld is torn apart by warring factions. We don’t want to give anything away for those that have yet to catch up on season one, but rest easy if you are behind – you’ve got until 2018 to bring yourself up to speed.
Honourable mentions: Many more shows and films made appearances and announcements at San Diego Comic-Con this year, with trailers arriving for shows such as The Defenders, Inhumans, American Horror Story: Cult, Star Trek: Discovery and films such as Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Bright, and Pacific Rim: Uprising.