15 Anticipated Sci-Fi / Superhero Films of 2016

While Gruesome Magazine is primarily a HORROR movie website, we do occassionaly discuss various Sci-Fi and Superhero films released through out the year. What can we say, we get a thrill out of these films as well, the geek inside us takes over from time to time.

With the advent of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the launch of the DC Cinematic Universe and J.J. Abrams relaunching both the Star Wars and the Star Trek franchises in recent years, there are plenty of high-profile, mega-hit films of these ilk to consider. Being a long-time Marvel Zombie, I tend to lean heavily toward the Avengers, Guardians and their colorfully costumed friends. But DC is making a play to compete with Iron Man, Captain American, Thor and the rest. Of course, Star Wars is back in a big way, breaking records and getting fans in a frenzy with a film planned each year for the next 5 years. It’s insane and incredibly difficult for other films to make an impression, but plenty are going to try.

Let’s take a look at some of the films we will lining up for over the next 12 months. (Release dates subject to change.)

DEADPOOL (02/12/2016)


Director: Tim Miller
Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (based on the character created by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, T.J. Miller and Ed Skrien

Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth gets another shot at the big screen after FOX wanked the character hard in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). Ryan Reynolds returns to the role but with a personal vendetta toward right the wrong to his favorite character, giving Wade Wilson a shot at a great superhero film. FOX seems to be embracing Reynolds passion for Deadpool as the film is getting a huge marketing push and is getting released with an R rating. The trailers are promising a highly entertaining and balls-deep funny film. Oh, yeah! The film also features X-Men’s Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead.



Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon

Jeff Nichols compares his upcoming Sci-Fi film Midnight Special to John Carpenter’s Starman (1984). Michael Shannon stars as a father who must find a way to protect his son. Alton, a gifted nine year old, has attracted the attention Sam Sheppard, head of a religious sect, and Adam (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) Driver, heading up a government task force. With the help of Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man, Fargo), they are on the run and the chase begins. This just might  be the little-film-that-could.



Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer (based on characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and Bob Kane & Bill Finger)
Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Jena Malone, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons, Laurnce Fishburne and Jesse Eisenberg

Zach Snyder follows up The Man of Steel  (2013) with the superhero battle most every comic book fan screams for, Batman versus Superman, in the appropriately titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Henry Cavill continues as Clark Kent and Superman while Ben Affleck picks up the roles of Bruce Wayne and Batman from Christian Bale as DC hopes to launch their DC Cinematic Universe. So much so, they are stacking the deck, not only giving the film the subtitle of “Dawn of Justice” but introducing many of the characters who will eventually gather as the Justice League. Gal Gadot is to receive the greatest amount of screen time as Diana Prince and Wonder Woman, but also look for Jason Mamoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg and a few more. Jesse Eisenberg is on hand as the latest version of Lex Luthor most definitely up to no good. High anticipated entry for 2016.



Director:  Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Writer: Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin
Cast: Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron

A follow up to the successful Snow White and the Huntsman, The Huntsman Winter’s War follows the Chris Hemsworth titular character instead of Snow White. With this film, he has Jessica Chastain at his side – that can only be a good thing – and faces the tyranny of the Ice Queen played by Emily Blunt – also can only be a good thing. It isn’t long before Charlize Theron returns as Ravenna along with the “mirror, mirror on the wall.” Lot’s of high fantasy action and CGI creatures and landscapes promise a few hours of escapism at its finest.



Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Writer: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (inspired by the Marvel limited series written by Mark Millar)
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sabastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman and many, many more

In what has been affectionately referred to as Avengers 2.5, Captain America: Civil War pits hero against hero in a battle of morals and politics, with Steve Rogers on one side and Tony Stark on the other. Choose a side. The comic book from which the story is based broke records and helped make the Avengers the biggest name property in Marvel over the long-standing champs, the X-Men. The film from the Russo Brothers – who are to move on to the next Avengers films – promises to pack the run time with thrills, heroes and action. And by packed, they mean overflowing. Most every hero will be involved this side of Thor and the Hulk (who are nearly the only one who are not invited to the party). The film also introduces Chadwick Boseman as The Black Panther and welcomes Tom Holland to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (from Sony) as Spider-man. It is going to be insane!

X-MEN APOCALYPSE  (05/27/2016)


Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris.
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Oscar Isaac, Olivia Munn and many, many more

FOX, not to be outdone, offers another star studded super hero adventure with Bryan Singer’s X-Men Apocalypse following up his hit mutant hero film X-Men: Days of Future Past. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender return as Charles Xavier and Magneto as they – and the X-Men – face a new villain, En Sabah Nur, the madman known as Apocalypse played by Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Just about everyone’s favorite X-men are returning and many more are being introduced. Olivia Munn is Psylocke, Sophie Turner is Jean Grey, Kodi Smit-McPhee is Nightcrawler and Ben Hardy is the high-flying Angel.  And, yes, on the writing credits that is THE Michael Dougherty from Trick ‘r Treat and Krampus. Woot!



Director: James Bobin
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Cast: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Andrew Scott, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen and many, many more

Another live-action Disney franchise returns in 2016 as Alice in Wonderland (2010) gets a sequel with Alice Through the Looking Glass. Johnny Depp returns as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen and Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh. Sacha Baron Cohen is on board as Time to give these characters a clockwork of calamity. Listen for Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Timothy Spall as Bayard, Michael Sheen as the White Rabbit and the late Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar.

WARCRAFT  (06/10/2016)


Director: Duncan Jones
Writer: Duncan Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Robert Kazinsky, Toby Kebbell, Clancy Brown, Dominic Cooper and many, many more

Based on the mega-popular Worlds of Warcraft game, Warcraft follows the first encounter between humans and powerful orcs in a fantasy land of thrills and adventure. Duraton and Lothar must help both the humans and the orc survive an epic battle in this CGI-heavy, much anticipated fantasy feature, appealing to fans of the game itself and the Peter Jackson Tolkein sagas  The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.



Director: Roland Emmerich
Writer: Carter Blanchard
Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Joey King, Maika Monroe, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum

Roland Emmerich returns to follow up his successful 1996 sci-fi classic Independence Day bringing most of the cast back with him Pullman, Fox, Goldblum, JuddHirsch and Brent Spiner. But, sadly, there is no Will Smith in sight. “We always knew they were coming back,” the trailer shares as it introduces a new world, decades after the first film, now ready to battle the alien invaders. Except, they are not prepared for the sheer size, both in proportion and in quantity, that they now must face. Can President Withmore and David Levinson save the world one more time? Can Roland Emmerich capture lightning in a bottle a second time? The trailer looks great, the cast and atmosphere feel familiar. Maybe. Maybe not.

THE BFG  (07/01/2016)


Director: Stephen Spielberg
Writer: Melissa Mathison (from the novel by Roald Dahl)
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance, Jemaine Clement

Stephen Spielberg and Disney team up to adapt the popular 1982 children’s book from Roald Dalh called The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) bringing his signature touch to a family-friendly fantasy film for the Summer. The story if fairly straightforward as Sophie, the Queen of the United Kingdom and the BFG must stop evil, man-eating giants from invading the human world. It looks to be a  trademark Spielberg fantasy feature full of frolic and fun. Dwerp.

STAR TREK BEYOND  (07/22/2016)


Director: Justin Lin
Writer: Simon Pegg & Doug Jung and Roberto Orci & John D. Payne & Patrick McKay
Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Idris Elba

With J.J. Abrams moving to a galaxy far, far away, it is up to Justin Lin from the Fast and the Furious franchise to continue the adventures of the USS Enterprise as it embarks on its 5 year journey to explore the far reaches of space. Little is known about the exact plot at the time of this writing but the film features Irbis Elba as the presumed villain Krall. Chris Pine returns as Kirk with Zachary Quinto as Spock and Karl Urban as Bones McCoy. Zoe Saldana (Uhura), Simon Pegg (Scotty), John Cho (Sulu) and Anton Yelchen (Chekov) continue the familiar characters in what is sure to be a Summer hit.

SUICIDE SQUAD  (08/05/2016)


Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Scott Eastwood, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis and many, many more

DC strikes again in August with its second super hero film of the year and this one may be the most curious of them all, Suicide Squad. The story follows the comics originated by John Ostrander where Amanda Waller (David) gathers a collection of super villains to take down particularly difficult and potentially deadly threats. The team is lead by Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman) with stalwarts Deadshot (Smith) and Captain Boomerang (Courtney) at his side. Margot Robbie co-stars as fan-favorite Harley Quinn; and, where Harley Quinn appears, the Joker cannot be far behind. DC has Jared Leto in the role of the returning clown prince of crime in the film’s most controversial casting and design. Other DC villains to appear on the team are the Enchantress (Cara Delevigne), Killer Croc (Adewalde Akinnuoye-Adgaje), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) , Slipnot (Adam Beach) and Katana (Karen Fukahara). The film  makers are hiding any big bads beyond The Joker, but both Scott Eastwood and Ike Barinholtz are yet to have their characters named. Rumor abound, but none more exciting than Ben Affleck appearing as The Batman.

DOCTOR STRANGE  (11/04/2016)


Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer: C. Robert Cargill, Thomas Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer and John Spaihts
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Marvel introduces another classic superhero, this time the character comes with a supernatural bent as it features the Master of Mystic Arts, Doctor Strange. Where The Avengers, Captain America, Thor and Iron Man continue to explore the typical superhero, characters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man explore the fringes of the cinematic universe, none more so than Dr. Stephen Strange to be played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Many of the actors do not have specific character names attached to them at the time of this writing: who will Mads Mikkelsen portray, or Rachel McAdams, Amy Landecker or Scott Adkins. Whomever they play, expect the film to be filled with sights unlike anything seen in the other Marvel films.


fantasticbeastsDirector: David Yates

Writer: J.K. Rowling
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, Katherine Waterson, John Voight, Gemma Chan, Dan Fogler

Author J.K. Rowling and director David Yates return to the ever-popular mega-successful franchise Harry Potter with a prequel of sorts, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Taking place years prior to the Harry Potter books and movies (1926), the film follows the adventures of Newt Scamander, from the British Ministry of Magic, as he travels overseas to meet with the Magical Congress of the United States of America. Enter the dangerous New Salem Philanthropic Society who are set out to destroy witches and wizards world-wide. This is a sure-fire hit.



Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer: John Knoll, Chris Weitz, Gary Whitta
Cast: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna

Star Wars is back in a big way with Star Wars: The Force Awakens braking just about every box-office record out there. In between Episode VII and VIII, Disney is treating Star Wars fans with side stories exploring other areas of the universe. This December brings Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to theaters from Godzilla director Gareth Edwards. The script follows a rag-tag group of rebels championed with the task of stealing the plans for the Death Star, taking place not long before  Star Wars: A New Hope. Not much is known about this offshoot of the main Luke Skywalker story-line. At one point, there were stories of the return of Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin brought to life via  CGI special effects. The most interesting, and most recent, rumor is the potential inclusion the biggest, baddest villain of cinema history, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Now, that is an attention-getter.

Doc Rotten
Editor-In-Chief / Founder / Podcast Producer at Horror News Radio
Doc Rotten is the founder of Gruesome Magazine. He is also a film critic for Gruesome Magazine and the podcast host & producer for Horror News Radio, Monster Movie Podcast, Decades of Horror: 1970s, The American Horror Story Fan Podcast and Hannibal Fan Podcast. He is also co-host of the Dracula podcast on TV TALK and is a contributing reviewer for HorrorNews.Net and Widescreen Warrior.

Doc a lifelong fan of horror films, sci-fi flicks and monster movies first discovering Universal Monsters and Planet of the Apes as a young child in the 1970's searching out every issue of Famous Monster of Filmland (and, later, Fangoria). Favorite films include Jaws, The Car, The Birds, The Tingler, Vampire Circus and The Exorcist. Still a huge fan of horror films from the 70s, Doc continues consuming horror films to this day for the site, for the podcasts and for the fun of it all.