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With all due respect to Summer 2014 -- which promises such on-screen spectacle as Godzilla, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Fast & Furious 7 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 -- we’re already looking ahead to Summer 2015, which is shaping up to be one of the most mind-meltingly awesome collections of film-geek offerings Hollywood has yet to offer. Superhero mash ups continue to rule the day, with Batman joining Superman on screen and Marvel reuniting The Avengers for a fight against Ultron. But potential sequels from the Jurassic Park and Terminator universes also have up cautiously optimistic for the Summer 2015 frame.
Release dates are shifting. The fifth Pirates of the Caribbean just sailed out of this frame. Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, meanwhile, recently vaulted into Summer 2015, while J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII is rumored to be steering clear of it, possibly circling a Christmas 2015 release date. For the moment, here’s what we’re really looking forward to in Summer 2015, and the latest information on these hotly anticipated blockbusters.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes must reunite when our planet is threatened by the incredibly powerful robot Ultron … who may or may not be a cast off from Tony Stark’s army of iron suits (depending on which rumors you choose to believe). Joss Whedon once again helms an ensemble adventure for Marvel, concluding the studio’s Phase Two with an expected bang that could set the stage for Phase Three – and also bid farewell to fan favorites like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Whedon’s blockbuster kicks off the busy summer slate, and should get us started on the right, explosive foot.
Superman/Batman (July 17)
Ben Affleck is The Batman. Get over it, and move on to preparing for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel, which preports to have the Dark Knight taking on Superman, possibly forcing this alien to answer for the destruction he caused in Metropolis. Snyder and David S. Goyer are working out the details of this script, so we don’t know for sure what direction they’re going to head, but by teasing the movie with a direct quote from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, we don’t think Bats and Supes are going to be great friends at the start of this story. If Snyder’s movie soars, expect Warner to greenlight that Justice League movie. If it tumbles, though, you can pitch the entire DC Cinematic Universe into chaos and disarray. Which might be fun, also.
Jurassic World (June 12)
By declaring its new release date, Colin Trevorrow’s planned Jurassic Park sequel also gave itself an expansive title, suggesting that the dinosaur action will leave the islands of the previous films and take over … well, the world. Now, Steven Spielberg gets credit for first moving his CGI creatures to San Diego in The Lost World. But from what we are hearing about Trevorrow’s movie, we could be seeing humans battling hungry carnivores in several major cities around the globe. Expect to start hearing casting updates on Jurassic World soon.
Terminator (June 26)
He told us he’d be back. He just neglected to tell us how many times. Is the fifth planned Terminator movie a reboot? A sequel? We’re hearing it’s both. Kind of. It might have Arnold Schwarzenegger. It could have Dwayne Johnson in an unspecified role. All we know is that, at the moment, it will be directed by Thor: The Dark World helmer Alan Taylor. And it will be in theaters in 2015, so we’re patiently awaiting more details.
Inside Out (June 19)
Tired of Pixar’s recent string of sequels? Inside Out could tantalize you. Set primarily in the mind of a pre-teenage girl, the animated franchise will feature the voices of Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black and more as the voices of the girl’s different emotions. It will be co-directed by Pete Docter (Up, Monsters Inc.), and will introduce fresh, new characters for Pixar’s growing stable. As much as I enjoyed Monsters University and, of course, Toy Story 3, Pixar’s completely original output gets me more excited, and I’m thrilled to see what Inside Out can become.
Independence Day 2 (July 3)
It has been 17 long years since Roland Emmerich decimated key American landmarks in his bombastic crowd-pleaser Independence Day, and he’s ready to do it all over again … in a slightly different fashion. Initially, we thought Emmerich would branch completely off in a new direction. Then we started hearing that original stars Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and possibly Will Smith might come back. To do what? We have no idea, but given Emmerich’s track record, bank on the White House being destroyed, at the very least.
Assassin’s Creed (June 19)
Video game adaptations don’t usually get us excited. But the idea of Michael Fassbender playing a hooded warrior in a vast, elaborately-constructed recreation of period Italy has us drooling … so long as the yet-to-be-hired director is able to lean on seamless visuals to create a rich visual world for audiences to explore. There’s also a deeper backstory to the Assassin’s Creed universe, one that can translate well to the big screen. And if Creed succeeds where movies like Prince of Persia failed miserably, maybe we’ll see proper Halo or Bioshock movies in the near future.
Ant-Man (July 31)
A new player in Summer 2015 (now that it has moved up from November), Edgar Wright’s movie continues Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, even as it begins shifting timelines and origins from what we knew in the past. For example, the lead character – Hank Pym – created Ultron … and yet, we’re getting Ant-Man after Whedon’s Ultron movie, which is abnormal. We’re still waiting to see who will play Ant-Man in Wright’s movie, as we assume he will be a major player in the upcoming Cinematic Universe.