Looking Forward to 2022

After a fallow year for entertainment in 2020, genre came back with a vengeance in 2021, and 2022 is going to be just as packed with new content.  Here’s what I’m looking forward to:

TELEVISION:

10. WILLOW.  I have a lot of fond childhood memories of the movie, and a very vague memory of reading the sequel novels written by Chris Claremont of X-Men fame.  I’m hoping this will be a big budget and epic follow up.

9. MOON KNIGHT.  I don’t have a particular connection to the character from the comics and it looks like a dark and brooding street level hero, but MCU always does it right.

8. MS MARVEL.  Another street level MCU series but I’m sure it’ll be fun.

7. SHE HULK.  This should be a really interesting mashup between a superhero show and a legal drama/comedy, and with all the returning movie stars, I’m hoping it’s great.

6. SECRET INVASION.  This is my most anticipated MCU show for the year.  Samuel L is back and we’ve got Talos from Captain Marvel as well!  I also enjoyed the comic it’s based on.  I’m really curious to see how this story unfolds since the comic was a huge summer crossover starring the Avengers and a major alien invasion, which this will obviously not be.

5. BOOK OF BOBA FETT.  I always loved Boba Fett so this should be great, though the “replacing Jabba as a crime lord” premise is a little odd.

4. MANDALORIAN S3.  Anticipation is high after the astonishing S2; can they meet that level?

3. ANDOR.  I dearly love Rogue One and I am very excited for a prequel series showing the Rebellion’s black ops unit.

2. OBI WAN.  I didn’t expect to be that excited about this…. until I learned Obi doesn’t just hang out in the desert the entire time, and he fights Hayden Christensen as Vader again!

1. LORD OF THE RINGS.  This could easily end up being a massive disappointment, but LOTR is one of my all time favorite book and movie series.  Hell, I even unironically love the Hobbit movies.  So the chance of seeing Sauron in his physical form corrupting Numenor is extremely exciting for me.

MOVIES:

10. THE BATMAN.  I’m sure it’ll be great, but it’s hard to get terribly excited about the endless Batman reboots.

9. BLACK PANTER 2.  I loved the first one.  But Chadwick is gone, raising a great number of questions about how good the sequel could possibly be.  If the rumors of Namor being the villain are true, I’ll be much more interested.

8. SPIDER-VERSE 2.  The first one is amazing and I can’t wait for more.

7. FANTASTIC BEASTS 3.  As problematic as some behind the scenes aspects of this series are… I still really want to see the Dumbledore vs. Grindlewald war.

6. AQUAMAN 2. The first one was so much better than I could have ever expected, so here’s hoping the sequel can live up to it.

5. THE FLASH. I still can’t believe this movie finally happened.  While I’m not terribly excited about this version of the Flash or yet another Flashpoint adaptation, I am very jazzed over the celebrity guest stars.

4. DR STRANGE 2. I didn’t love the first movie but I did love his subsequent appearances.  Throw in Sam Raimi and Scarlett Witch and America Chavez and who knows what else, and this is destined to be something special.

3. THOR 4. Ragnarok is a stupendously fun movie and Taika is back!  Along with Natalie as Lady Thor!  This is going to be amazing!

2. JURASSIC WORLD 3. Loved the first one.  Hated half of the second one.  But dealing with dinos in America plus the full-time return of the original Jurassic Park cast is going to make this another special crossover nostalgia fest, even moreso than the first one.

1. AVATAR 2.  No, that’s not a joke!  I love the first one.  People dump on it now, but for over a decade it was the highest grossing film in history for a reason.  The story wasn’t terribly original, but the visual splendor remains absolutely mind-blowing.  I also have a particular love for the Pandora land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Never bet against James Cameron!  He’s got the Midas touch!

Star Wars Books (Disney Era)

This week saw the release of Star Wars: The High Republic: The Fallen Star by Claudia Grey, marking a full year of the High Republic era within the Star Wars publishing franchise.  This imprint has been a real breath of fresh air for the Disney EU.  While it initially sounded very exciting in 2012 with everything being canon and “counting”, as the years went on it quickly became apparent the books and comics were fundamentally nerfed from being consequential since the movies had no pre-planned trajectory.  The books just didn’t have anywhere to go.  But by creating an entire line 200 years before the Prequel Era, the High Republic can tell its own story with importance and consequences.  This is the most invested I’ve been in Star Wars books since 2012.

There have been other good books in the Disney Canon as well though.  Here’s my Top Ten:

10. LOST STARS.  This is a lot of people’s favorite, and it’s well told, but having the story star a pair of background players can only do so much for me.

9. LEIA PRINCESS OF ALDERAAN.  It’s a small YA story but it does a marvelous job of showing how great Leia was even as a teenager.  Also, it made me actually care about Bail Organa and his wife for the first time.

8. MASTER AND APPRENTICE.  A solid Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan pre-TPM adventure.

7. LORDS OF THE SITH.  Honestly I don’t remember this one well but it stars Vader and Palpatine on the run so that’s fun.

6. AHSOKA.  While a small story, Ahsoka is one of my favorite characters and it was wonderful to see her life post Order 66.
5. REBEL RISING.  After seeing Rogue One I was desperate for more Jynn Erso content and this book gives you everything you could ever want.  Her entire life story!

4. BLOODLINE.  Easily the most consequential Sequel Era book or comic, it actually showed us the emergence of the First Order and explained the nature of the New Republic and it’s politics, something the movies never did.  And it’s yet another great showcase for Leia.

3. DARK DISCIPLE.  An adaptation of unfilmed Clone Wars episodes, this actually was a major event of that era and a great story.

2. THRAWN TRILOGY (the new one- no, not the new-new one).  Thrawn is a beloved EU character and getting him re-introduced into the new canon was delightful.  I particularly enjoyed the second book teaming him up with Darth Vader and Prequel Era Anakin and Padme.

1. THE HIGH REPUBLIC.  There are comics, middle grade books, young adult books, and adult books!  I focus mainly on the adult books.  It’s just so great to get an entirely new era and cast set in a time with multiple Jedi.  While I was initially disappointed with the villains being Mad Max space pirates, their leader Marchion Ro has turned out to be a great mystery box.  The other projects also do a good job of rounding out the larger world.  It’s almost like the good old days of the pre-2012 EU all over again!