Fall Movie Guide: 35 Superhero, Scifi, and Fantasy Movies to Look Out For

Illustration for article titled Fall Movie Guide: 35 Superhero, Scifi, and Fantasy Movies to Look Out For

The movies coming out this fall are almost unbelievable. It’s not just the usual mix of awards movies looking towards the Oscars, or the glut of horror movies for Halloween, or even those the normal holiday blockbusters. This season, we’re getting a bunch of movies fans never thought they’d see.

We’re getting a Blade Runner sequel. There’s a Justice League movie. Stephen King’s It is finally coming to the big screen. Thor is going to fight Hulk in space. Oh, and there’s an eighth war in the stars, too.

Behold, all the scifi and fantasy movies coming to theaters and streaming services this fall (and winter) that you should know about.



Close Encounters of the Third Kind

It’s somehow fitting that, for its 40th anniversary, Steven Spielberg’s landmark scifi film is coming back to theaters to kick off the fall movie season.It comes at a time when a movie about a person who wants to leave Earth just seems right, right? All kidding aside, any chance you have to see a classic like this on the big screen, with perfect picture and sound, is one you should take up. (September 1)

Little Evil

Did you ever watch The Omen and think a comedy version would work? No? Me either, but that’s basically what Little Evil is and, I have to say, it looks pretty great. Adam Scott plays the stepdad of a kid he’s sure is the Antichrist, but no one else believe it. Evangeline Lilly plays the kid’s mom and the trailer is filled with visual references to your favorite horror movies. It seems like a recipe for something fun. (September 1 on Netflix)


When it was first announced that Andres Muschetti was going to turn Stephen King’s It into a movie, very few people thought it would amount to much. But early buzz on the film, which is about a group of kids in a small town terrorized by an evil entity, has been amazing. Talk is that this movie is scary as well and the sequel (with the kids grown up, like the second half of King’s book) will be coming sooner rather than later. All of which makes us very excited for It. (September 8)

The Limehouse Golem

The always awesome Bill Nighy stars in this period murder mystery about a serial killer who strikes with no rhyme or reason. Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, and Eddie Marsan star among others and if this was a movie that we hadn’t heard about until recently, I’d be more excited for it. However, it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival almost a year ago and while the reviews were generally positive (70% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this week) the delay and lack of buzz leads me to believe that it’s forgettable. (September 8)


Anytime director Darren Aronofsky releases a movie, you should take notice. And when that movie stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer (just to name a few) you should really take notice. The creepy trailers and posters that tell us almost nothing about the movie outside of its tone, but it’s hard not to get excited. mother! feels like another deep, dark, psychological dive by Aronofsky who does that better than almost anyone. (September 15)

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

There hasn’t been a Matthew Vaughn movie I’ve disliked. And from what we can tell about the trailers for the sequel to Kingsman, this one won’t break my streak. Eggsy and the Kingsman are up against a new threat, a drug dealer played by Julianne Moore, and they’re forced to team up with their American equivalent, the Statesman, to stop her. So you have Taron Egerton, Mark Strong and Colin Firth on one side, and now there’s Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, and Jeff Bridges on the other side. That’s a whole lot of star power for this spy-fi spectacular. (September 22)

The Lego Ninjago Movie

When Warner Bros first announced they were making a Lego Ninjago movie, for some reason, I assumedit would be a lesser version of The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. And while I haven’t seen Ninjago yet, the trailer above makes it abundantly obvious that I shouldn’t have dismissed it. The movie looks just as clever and action-packed as its predecessors, and with maybe even better animation. Lego has created a pretty high bar in terms of movies, but Ninjago seems like it’ll live up to it. (September 22)

The Houses October Built 2

You’re probably thinking “I don’t remember The Houses October Built 1” The first film quietly came out in 2014 and didn’t do incredibly well. But it was scary and had a unique horror concept, about a group of filmmakers who go to find the scariest haunted attractions in the world, and find more than they bargained for. Basically, it’s the ultimate PSA about why you should never, ever go any place a ghost may be. Unfortunately, after surviving the first movie, these investigators haven’t learned their lesson. (September 22)


A group of young, attractive medical students begin to kill, then revive, each other as a way to see what’s in store for them after they die, but also for the pure rush of it. If that plot sounds familiar it’s because it already was a movie in 1990, also called Flatliners. This remake uses the same idea but, as you can see in that trailer above, gives it a modern spin and really goes hard on the horror elements. If the new movie is half as effective as the trailer, it’ll make it even harder to remember the original. (September 29)

Don’t Sleep

Most of us have fond memories of our childhoods, but what if you couldn’t remember your it? What if, in fact, those memories had been wiped away? Why would someone do that? What could have happened that would warrant such an aggressive act? That seems to be the general idea behind Don’t Sleep, which follows a young couple who begin to recover memories of their childhoods which include some seriously screwed up—and demonic—episodes. (September 29)


We always hear stories about people freezing their bodies so that, once science catches up to whatever illness they may have, they can be live again. That’s what happens to the protagonist of Realive who, 60 years after his death, is the first person ever resurrected. The film seems to deal not just with the mind-boggling implication of such an act, but what 60 years of death does to a human mind and the horrors it can present. A very cool idea but, admittedly, not a great trailer. (September 29)


Blade Runner 2049

You’ve got to be nervous about this one, right? On the surface, it all sounds incredible, as director Denis Villeneuve is teaming with producer Ridley Scott to continue the story of his iconic, beloved 1982 film. Harrison Ford is back, Ryan Gosling has joined him, and the supporting cast is out of this world. And yet... it’s a sequel 35 years in the making which is a scary proposition. Can it live up to decades of speculation and expectations? Can it live up to the original masterpiece? We really, really hope so. (October 6)

My Little Pony: The Movie

I know so little about My Little Pony that I’m going to let the movie’s official site explain for me: “A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.” The voice cast includes Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Liev Schreiber, Michael Pena, and Zoe Saldana along with the original cartoon voices. The question here is will all those legions of fans show up to see it or will it quietly bomb like the first My Little Pony movie in 1986. (October 6)

The Osiris Child: Science Fiction Vol. 1

Looking for a fun, frivolous, all-out science fiction movie with every single thing you like about the genre rolled into one? Look no further than The Osiris Child, which is a low-budget take on the genre, but with big-budget visuals. The film wowed me when I saw it at a film festival last year and while I’m in the minority, I still believe it’s a movie that’s well-worth checking out for its exciting visuals and action. (October 6 in theaters, DirectTV on September 7)


Dementia 13

Dementia 13 is a remake of a relatively obscure 1963 Francis Ford Coppola movie of the same name. Though it comes out in a little over a month, the film seems to be shrouded in almost total secrecy, with nothing revealed but a still image and poster. There’s also this one-line plot description. “A vengeful ghost, a mysterious killer and a family brimming with secrets converge in one night of terror.” Hard to make anything of that, to be honest, but it’s certainly cool they’re remaking a movie most people haven’t heard of instead of one they have. (October 6)

Happy Death Day

Think Scream meets Groundhog Day. A young girl (Jessica Rothe) is killed on her college campus, but then immediately wakes up in the morning of that same day. Over the course of the movie, she’ll relive her death day, which also happens to be her birthday, over and over again until she can solve her murder. I’ve heard some very positive things from people who’ve seen early versions of the movie. (October 13)


Dean Devlin’s Geostorm is scheduled to be released in October; however, with all of the crazy behind-the-scenes stories that have been leaked about this movie in the last year, it’s quite possible that it’ll get delayed. The plot has apparently changed quite a bit but, as of now, Gerard Butler plays a man who, along with his brother, has to figure out why a satellite system built to protect the world from natural disasters is actually causing natural disasters. The movie looks and sounds bananas so, if it leans into that like we know Devlin (the co-creator of Independence Day) can do, it might be super fun. (October 20)

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

After making almost $75 million dollars just one year ago, Tyler Perry is striking while the iron is hot with Boo 2, a sequel to last year’s Boo. The teaser trailer tells us nothing of the plot, but does show Perry doing what he does best: playing a ton of characters in exaggerated situations. I’m not a fan but I guarantee people will be turning out in droves to see this sequel. (October 20)



Thomas Jane stars as a man who claims to have killed his wife. Later, he believes he’s being haunted by her ghost. He’s also being chased by rats the entire time. All in all, it’s not a pleasant situation for the would-be murdered, especially when you consider 1922 is an adaptation of a short story by Stephen King. It was part of King’s 2010 collection Full Dark, No Stars and so obviously things aren’t going to turn out too well for anyone involved. (October 20 on Netflix)


Not all the Saw films are great but the long, overarching story has been entertaining and surprising to follow. Now, after a seven-year lapse in sequels, the torture franchise is finally back. Even though the last few films did not inspire confidence, this one looks like it may put things back on track. The trailer shows someone using Jigsaw’s methods... plus there are rumors that all of the characters who played Jigsaw are said to be returning (including the long dead original Tobin Bell). How that will work or link to the other movies, we don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out. (October 27)



Thor: Ragnarok

How much has Marvel been kicking ass? They’ve got us over-the-moon excited for the third Thor movie. Undoubtedly, the Thor franchise has been the weakest in the MCU; the first film is okay, most people hate the second and yet, with the addition of director Taika Waititi, this movie looks unbelievably fun. Waititi brought along Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett, worked in Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and has been selling the film as an epic cosmic adventure. This has the potential to be one of the best Marvel movies ever. (November 3)

Blade of the Immortal

Immortal warriors. Samurais. Deadly weapons. Revenge. Throw all those kinds of things into one movie—and then put them together under the eye of legendary director Takashi Miike—and you’ll almost certainly end up with something special. The film follows an immortal warrior who teams up with a young woman to get revenge on the people who’ve wronged them. Early reviews praise its fight choreography and weaponry and if it gets those right, there can’t much that much it could get wrong. (November 3)

The Star

The Star is an animated version of the first Christmas told through the eyes of the animals who were there: A donkey, a sheep, camels and more. Together, they’ll give audiences a new perspective on the famous, religious tale. And while it might sound risky to mix religion and animation on a scale like this you can tell from the trailer (and the star-studded voice cast, which includes Oprah) that the movie is going to try to play to a much broader audience than stories based on the Bible usually do. Will it work? We’ll have to wait and see. (November 17)



A virus that lowers your inhibitions sweeps across a corporate office, and almost immediately things start to get bad (and violent). The only person still in their right mind is an employee who was recently fired, played by The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun. Mayhem was made by director Joe Lynch, who has made several great, smaller movies. Maybe this one, which sounds like it blends horror, science fiction and social commentary, will be the movie that finally makes him a household name. (November 10)

Justice League

You guys, there’s a fucking JUSTICE LEAGUE movie coming out this fall. We’re finally getting a film that’ll team up Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, and maybe more. After the success of Wonder Woman, and with the extensive reworking the film has reportedly gone through, I think it’s safe to get excited for this one. Yes, several previous DC films haven’t been great, but this is the big one. If this works, none of the others really matter. It’s the JUSTICE LEAGUE. IN THEATERS. It boggles the mind. (November 17)


Pixar’s latest film, from Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, is the story of a young boy who finds himself on an adventure in the Land of the Dead that will answer musically-drive mysteries about his family. Pixar went with total cultural immersion here and the results could be enough to rank Coco right up there with the best of their brand, especially since it’s an original story, not a sequel. Like Up or Inside Out, Coco potentially feels like one of those ideas that’s almost impossible to get your mind around until you sit down in the theater. (November 22)

The Breadwinner

Produced in part by Angelina Jolie, this animated film tells the story of a young girl growing up in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan who cuts her hair and poses as a boy in order to provide from her family. I love it when animation is used to tell a mature story in a mature way and The Breadwinner seems to have all the ingredients. It’s based on a best-selling book of the same name by Deborah Ellis and everything about it, from the story to the animation to the trailer above just screams Best Animated Film nomination. (November TBD)




Originally slated for an August release, Polaroid was recently pushed back to December. Somehow it still feels like this movie will never come out but, if it actually does, we’ll get to see a tale of a camera that kills you after your picture is taken. The trailer is kind of meh until the end when that creepy creature pops out, but the addition of Riverdale’s Madelaine Petsch may help get people interested. Also, there isn’t much horror competition for the holidays. Then again, delays are rarely a good thing with smaller movies like this. (December 1)

The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is back with another movie that looks, well, like a Guillermo del Toro movie. The Shape of Water is a period romance between a mute human and a some kind of fish-creature, so you’ve got the look of Pan’s Labyrinth, a creature almost straight out of Hellboy, and the lyrical feel of his latest film, Crimson Peak. When it comes to Del Toro, we always expect a masterpiece and while the last few haven’t been that, the December release certainly makes this feel like a potential awards player. Fingers crossed he’s back to his old tricks. (December 8)

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The eighth chapter in the Star Wars universe is nearly upon us. Rey will begin her Jedi training. Kylo Ren will continue to try to destroy his family. Luke Skywalker will have a line. And General Leia plays a major role in what will be Carrie Fisher’s last film. Really, we don’t know a ton more than that. What we do know is that Looper’s Rian Johnson is behind the camera this time and that has inspired a level of confidence in the Star Wars fanbase that is basically unprecedented. (December 15)


If anyone can take the Star Wars saga head on, it’s John Cena. The only major release opposite Star Wars features the WWE legend as the voice of a bull named Ferdinand. This animated retelling of the classic book by Munro Leaf is about a bull who is forced to fight like other bulls, but is a pacifist who prefers to smell the flowers. It’s a family-friendly story with universal themes, a great voice cast, and nice animation—plus, as counter-programming against Star Wars, it may actually propel the film to becoming a hit as well. (December 15)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

When word first came down that Hollywood was remaking Jumanji with Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, you could almost hear the eye-rolls. But a first trailer with a strong sense of humor and unique spin on the material has lots of people interested. Could it be problematic and stupid? Definitely. But Sony moved the film to the holiday season because of a confidence in the material. They see it as a broad, family-friendly adventure, and if it’s a crowdpleaser too, Jumanji could be one of the more entertaining films of the fall. (December 20)


The concept of Downsizing is pretty great; it’s the future, the population is booming, so some people have begun to shrink themselves to live in small communities where they waste considerably less resources due to their size. Directed by Alexander Payne, and starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig, Downsizing has the potential to be one of those few crossover, mainstream scifi movies that end up an Oscar-contender but also a financial success. The first reviews from the festival circuit suggest that’s going to be the case. (December 22)


Netflix’s biggest movie of all-time feels like a major Hollywood blockbuster. It’s got the stars (Will Smith, Joel Edgerton), a big director (David Ayer), famous writer (Max Landis), huge scope and a mash-up of so many genres it feels almost completely unique. It’s a cop movie, an alien movie, a magic movie and all of it looks very, very intriguing. Unfortunately, the title is terrible. We at io9 maintain, and will always maintain, that it should be called Orc Cops. This is by far one of the biggest questions marks of the year for a number of reason, but we’re absolutely going to watch it anyway. (December 22 on Netflix)

The Greatest Showman

A fictionalized, musical take on the story of P.T. Barnum, Hugh Jackman leads an all-star cast set in the world of a freak-filled circus. However, with songs from the team behind La La Land, many people think this could be a major Oscar contender, especially with its end of the year release date. As a sucker for musicals and fantasy, The Greatest Showman seems to check all the boxes for a big, fun, hit. It also feels like if even a touch of the film’s tone or characters are off, it could come tumbling down like an elephant on a tight rope. (December 25)


Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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Dr Emilio Lizardo

Most people hate Thor: The Dark World? It is not the strongest of the Marvel movies but according to Rotten Tomatoes, 2/3 of critics and 3/4 of people liked it. It is generally mixed on metacritic and gets a 7/10 on IMDB. These are not stellar ratings, but far from “Most people hated it.”

That reductionism is the sort of nerdly ego-splitting and echo-chamber generalization is why people like us are characterized stereotypically as insufferable.