Today is National Sci-Fi Day, established to celebrate the birthday of noted writer Isaac Asimov. The pioneering author is perhaps best known for stories such as I, Robot (later adapted into a movie starring Will Smith), all of which furthered complex, conceptual ideas about how we see this world and others.
So, we thought we'd take this opportunity to look ahead to the sci-fi movies arriving in 2021 and 2022. Scroll down to find out more. (The following release dates are correct at the time of writing, and are subject to further changes.)
2021 sci-fi movie releases
- Directed by Doug Liman
- Starring Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley, Mads Mikkelsen, David Oyelowo, Nick Jonas
- Release date 5th March 2021
Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, leads the cast of this book adaptation. Patrick Ness's The Knife of Letting Go forms the basis of this dystopian adventure, set on the remote planet of New World. It's been stricken by a disaster that's robbed the planet of women, while at the same time allowing the men to hear one another's thoughts. When Holland's character Todd comes across Daisy Ridley's crash survivor Viola, it sets in motion a desperate battle for survival and answers. Holland and Star Wars veteran Ridley bring the A-list clout, as does Mads Mikkelsen as scheming villain Prentiss. Ness contributed to the screenplay while The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow helmer Doug Liman directs.
- Directed by Adam Wingard
- Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, Kyle Chander
- Release date 21st May 2021
The Warner Bros 'MonsterVerse' enters its next chapter with this monumental clash of the titans. 2014's Godzilla introduced a new iteration of the mutated giant lizard. Then, in 2017, we got our new incarnation of King Kong in the Apocalypse Now-riffing Kong: Skull Island. And in 2019, Godzilla returned in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. All of these individual movies have been sowing the seeds for Godzilla vs Kong, in which the battle between the two warring behemoths is set to put our entire planet at risk. The humans running for cover are played by an assortment of A-listers, including Enola Homes' Millie Bobby Brown (who returns from King of the Monsters), The Legend of Tarzan's Alexander Skarsgard and The B.F.G.'s Rebecca Hall. Behind the camera, director Adam Wingard makes his sci-fi movie debut, having helmed cult horror favourites You're Next and The Guest.
- Directed by Jason Reitman
- Starring Finn Wolfhard, Paul Rudd, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts
- Release date 11th June 2021
The Ghostbusters legacy is handed to a new generation in this continuation of the popular sci-fi comedy franchise. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a direct continuation of the first two films, in which a group of kids discover some remarkable heritage in their creaky new farmhouse. They're amazed to discover a family link with the original Ghostbusters team, and local schoolteacher Paul Rudd is able to full them in on the events back in New York in 1984. Director Jason Reitman steps into the shoes of his father Ivan, who helmed the original two films, and there's plenty of fan-pleasing iconography, from the boiler suits to the emergence of the Ecto-1 car.
- Directed by Denis Villeneuve
- Starring Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa
- Release date 1st October 2021
Frank Herbert's 1965 sci-fi novel Dune is considered one of the towering achievements of the genre. Although fantastical in its narrative, Dune was based on the serious ecological and scientific concerns that occupied Herbert's life, crafting a compelling mixture of awestruck wonder and thought-provoking plausibility. The movie was already tackled by David Lynch back in 1984, to misfiring effect. Now, Blade Runner 2049 and Sicario helmer Denis Villeneuve promises to give the novel its dues, assembling an outstanding cast in the process. Timothee Chalamet plays Paul Atreides, whose family has relocated to the desert planet of Arrakis to take up stewardship. However, when they're betrayed by the scheming Harkonnens, it sets in motion a battle for survival and an ascent to power that has been foretold in an ancient prophecy.
5. The Matrix 4
- Directed by Lana Wachowski
- Starring Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jada Pinkett Smith
- Release date 22nd December 2021
Released in 1999, The Matrix swiftly established itself as one of the most influential sci-fi movies of all time. From its trenchcoat-wearing chic to its blend of western philosophy and eastern kung-fu, it was a movie that eagerly gobbled up and reconstituted philosophical and action conceits for an eager audience. The less said about the two overblown sequels, the better. However, director Lana Wachowski (absent her sibling Lilly) will hopefully right those wrongs with another blast of bullet-time in The Matrix 4. Keanu Reeves' Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss's Trinity are both back (somehow), while there are rumours that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will be playing the younger Morpheus...
2022 sci-fi movie releases
- Directed by TBC
- Starring Chris Evans
- Release date 17th June 2022
Captain America actor Chris Evans voices Toy Story icon Buzz Lightyear in this Disney-Pixar origin story. In fact, he voices the square-jawed, human inspiration for the eventual Buzz toy, and we can't wait to see the end result.
Blasting into theaters June 17, 2022, Lightyear is the definitive story of the original Buzz Lightyear. Voiced by @ChrisEvans, get ready to go to “infinity and beyond” with Lightyear. 🚀 👨🚀 pic.twitter.com/LdYXlN33sP— Pixar (@Pixar) December 11, 2020
- Directed by Colin Trevorrow
- Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum
- Release date 10th June 2022
The Jurassic World franchise, a spin-off from the Jurassic Park movies, roars to a close with director Colin Trevorrow back behind the camera. After the destruction of dinosaur island Isla Nublar in 2018's Fallen Kingdom, the various characters then had to contend with a prehistoric outbreak on the mainland. That's where Dominion comes in, promising to establish a strange new world in which humans and dinos have been forced to co-exist. Fortunately, gruff former dino handler Owen (Chris Pratt) and ex-Jurassic World manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) have some experience in wrangling these beasties. And nostalgics rejoice: the original Jurassic Park trio of Sam Neill (Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Ellie Sattler) and Jeff Goldblum (Ian Malcolm) are returning.
3. Avatar 2
- Directed by James Cameron
- Starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, Michelle Yeoh, Edie Falco, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang
- Release date 16th December 2022
Many, many years after the blockbusting release of the first Avatar movie (it was December 2009 that it hit us), James Cameron's sequel promises to continue the mythology. Avatar 2 will introduce us to the underwater realm of the planet of Pandora, presided over by Kate Winslet's Na'vi character Ronal. (This is the first time she and Cameron have worked together since 1997's Titanic.) Once again, cutting-edge CGI performance capture will give physicality to Cameron's creations, original stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana reprising their roles as Jake and Neytiri. Avatar 2 will then be followed by Avatar 3 on 20th December 2024, Avatar 4 on 18th December 2026 and Avatar 5 on 22nd December 2028 (release dates subject to potential changes).
Of course, the sci-fi movies don't end there. We'll leave you with the teaser for Patty Jenkins' Star Wars movie Rogue Squadron, due out on Christmas Day 2023. Also, don't forget to check out our lists of 2021 family movies, 2021 comic book movies, 2021 horror movies and 2021 action movies.