2017 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for science-fiction films with many of our favourite franchises all releasing mega-budget sequels onto cinema screens. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi being just some of the big-name players vying for our attention it’s easy to overlook the many interesting original productions out there.
One such film is Origin Wars, a brand-new science-fiction adventure set on a colonised planet where shady off-world military contractor EXOR has created monsters by experimenting on a captive prison population. When the beasts escape it’s up to EXOR lieutenant Kane to team up with an escaped convict, Sy, in order to rescue his stranded daughter before bombs wipe out every living thing from the planet’s surface.
Origin Wars features a fantastic cast of sci-fi and fantasy stalwarts including Kellan Lutz (The Twilight Saga, The Expendables 3) as Sy, Daniel MacPherson (The Shannara Chronicles) as Kane, Isabel Lucas (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Immortals), Luke Ford (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) and Tamuera Morrison (Star Wars Episodes 2 & 3).
With its future-set action, colourful human (and no-longer-human) characters, and offering viewers a fully realised new universe to explore,Origin Wars contains many of the best elements of the science-fiction genre. Read on for an insight into the sci-fi arrivals waiting to be discovered in 2017.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Valerian may be a newcomer to the cinema screen yet the influence of the French comic series on which it’s based can be seen in many of the best science fiction movies, leaving a particularly large stamp on the Star Wars universe. Set in the 28th century Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne play Valerian and Laureline, a pair of special operatives tasked with undertaking a mission on Alpha, the titular City of a Thousand Planets where species from across the galaxy congregate. As a mysterious dark force grows in power the space-age heroes must race against time to tackle the threat and save both the planet and the universe. Coming off the back of Lucy, this is director Luc Besson’s first truly epic sci-fi venture since 1997’s hugely inventive space romp The Fifth Element.
With a cast including hot young stars DeHaan, Delevingne and pop star Rihanna alongside veterans Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke and John Goodman, not to mention a galaxy full of colourful alien creatures, Valerian is shaping up to be the most fantastic sci-fi experience of the year.
Based on an infamous true event, Phoenix Forgotten adds an extraterrestrial twist to the found-footage movie genre. On March 13, 1997, mysterious lights appeared over Phoenix Arizona. While the lights were seen by thousands of witnesses they remain unexplained to this day, resulting in one of the greatest mass UFO sightings in history. In Phoenix Forgotten three teens set out into the desert to find an explanation for the lights, only to disappear and never be heard from again. 20-years later the video camera the trio was using to document their trip is discovered and their final terrifying moments are revealed…
Produced by legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott (Aliens, Blade Runner, The Martian) Phoenix Forgotten blurs the line between reality and fiction to add a Blair Witch Project-style angle to a sci-fi story.
No stranger to the fantasy genre, Wesley Snipes brought a macho swagger to the likes of Demolition Man and Blade in the 90s, so it’s good to see him back in an all-new sci-fi feature. The Recall follows five friends looking for a good time as they vacation at a remote lake house, unfortunately those plans are soon disturbed by an alien invasion of earth. Snipes plays an initially hostile woodsman who appears to know something about the extraterrestrial menace…
With a cast including Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte and one of Hollywood’s premier visual artists in director Mauro Borrelli (Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain America, Star Wars Episode VIII) The Recall promises to offer an interesting new twist on a B-movie concept.
After helming a couple of truly exciting and refreshingly original sci-fi tales in Source Code and Moon director Duncan Jones went all swords and sorcery for epic fantasy World of Warcraft. The director’s now returning to what he does best by revisiting the sci-fi genre for new feature Mute. Starring Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), Alexander Skarsgård (The Legend of Tarzan) and Paul Rudd (Antman) the film is set forty years in the future in a Berlin overflowing with immigrants, where a mute bartender searches for his missing partner.
Fans will be pleased to note that the film takes place in the same universe as Moon, and a cameo featuring Sam Rockwell’s character from the film is set to appear.
Keanu Reeves has re-cultivated his action credentials as of late thanks to the success of John Wick and its sequel but he’ll always be The Matrix’s cyber- hacker and world savior Neo to sci-fi fans. In Replicas he plays Will Foster, a synthetic biologist who becomes obsessed with bringing his family members back from the dead after witnessing their demise in a terrible traffic accident. When the government hear of his experiments, Foster must do everything he can to protect them.
Co-starring Star Trek: Into Darkness’ Alice Eve, Replicas tackles the Frankenstein-like theme of man’s meddling with the laws of God and nature.
Avenger Anthony Mackie stars alongside The Leftover’s young star Margaret Qualley in this new feature that’s set for a Netflix debut. In the far future, earth has been mostly abandoned after a global disaster has rendered it uninhabitable. Qualley plays teenager Sam, who must decide whether to board the last shuttle off the dying planet or remain behind on the only home she’s ever known. Mackie, best known for his role as winged-Avenger The Falcon, plays a mysterious drifter heading for the same shuttle.
Io comes from director Jonathan Helpert, only his second feature since debut House of Time, a French sci-fi-comedy involving time travel and Nazis.
Director Andrew Niccol started his career with excellent future-set genetic- tampering tale Gattaca, and now he’s going back to the future for new release Anon. Starring Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried, the film is set in a future where the government has eliminated crime by eliminating personal privacy. When a tough cop meets a hacker known only as The Girl, he finds himself under threat from the shady government.
Promising to be a socially-conscious parable set in a totalitarian future, if this film is anything like Gattaca, or Owen’s own sci-fi classic Children of Men, it could turn into a future cult-fave.
Lionsgate UK Releases Origin Wars on Digital Download 17th July and DVD & Blu-ray 24th July, 2017.