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Star Wars: Episode VII and Terminator: Genisys Will Make Or Break 2015 For Sci-Fi Fans

Things have been pretty quiet for sci-fi fans lately, with few marquee movies being put out in the last few years. Star Trek Into Darkness generated some interest, but Enders Game barely covered its production budget, Edge of Tomorrow didn’t gain the traction it deserved, and Interstellar kind of took us by surprise. (And would we call The Hunger Games science fiction? You tell me.) That ends next year. 2015 is going to be BIG for sci-fi fans. Delving more deeply into Kalan’s Monday piece, we’ll look more closely at two films in two of the biggest franchises that will define the genre this coming year.

Star Wars: Episode VII–The Force Awakens

Due out December 18, 2015, there may be no more highly anticipated film in the last 10 years than the new Star Wars. Its status as possibly the most recognizable film series in the world would be enough to generate huge interest in the newest installment, but fanboys and casual moviegoers alike are doubly excited because of the colossal disappointments that were Episodes I-III. Ever since Lucas pooped out Revenge of the Sith and everyone acted like it was OK because it sucked less than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, fans have felt like they deserved another quality three Star Wars pics. They may get them, starting with The Force Awakens. With sci-fi golden child J.J. Abrams (Lost, Super 8, the new Star Trek movies) both writing and directing, I firmly believe we can bury our worry and learn to love again. Remember how we felt after the Billy Clyde years, when all we wanted was to feel OK about ourselves again? After such an awful couple years, we were afraid to hope for too much. And then Coach Cal came along. Remember when Wall and Cousins and Bledsoe committed, and PPat decided to stay? Remember the feeling that maybe we wouldn’t just return to respectability, but to glory? That feeling of possibility? That’s Episode VII: someone got inside our heads, saw what we were afraid of, and decided not to yank away the football again, Charlie Brown. In Abrams, this flick has an A-list director AND writer who knows the fanbase; Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of Star Wars: Episode V–The Empire Strikes Back (the best of the bunch); and to top it off…Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and even Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2)! When I found that out, I honestly didn’t care who was cast in whatever other roles there may be. Star Wars is my filmic comfort food, and Han, Leia, Luke, Chewie and R2 are my favorite dishes.

Now, this is a self-described teaser trailer: just enough to get your neck hairs a-tinglin’ without saying much. Oh, the bigots and killjoys have already been out in force complaining about a black stormtrooper and a lightsaber with blade and hilt. Maybe they should sit back and enjoy 90 seconds of the most iconic visuals of the Star Wars series, and the most recognizable theme music in all of cinema:

I’ve been burnt so many times–thanks, Matrix sequels and Terminator Salvation–but I can’t contain my excitement for this one.

Terminator: Genisys

Speaking of Terminator, which is in my top 5 favorite movies ever (T2 is close, but not quite), Terminator: Genisys will debut on July 1, 2015. Man, do I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I have been obsessed with the Terminator series since I first saw it as a youngster. The first and second movies were fantastic. Then Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines came along, which is a perfectly OK sci-fi action flick if you take the Terminator name off of it. Then came Terminator Salvation…five years later, the wound is still too raw for me to write about it. At first I blamed director McG, but the more I read about the cuts and edits forced to get it to PG-13, the more I got pissed off at everything about the movie. I really do have a problem, y’all.

Anyway, Terminator: Genisys is directed by Alan Taylor, who has written and directed a bunch of films, but they all seem kind of meh. The writers have churned out a lot of material, but it’s stuff like Drive Angry and the Scream movies. I don’t know, this just feels like Terminator Salvation redux.

This trailer just doesn’t blow my skirt up. At first I didn’t think Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor was a good choice, but it looks like she may fit well. The effects look top notch (don’t they always in the trailer?), especially the highway chase scene. But haven’t we been here before? The story doesn’t seem to be terribly new, except that maybe altered and alterable intersecting timelines will be explored. T2 said No Fate but what we make for ourselves, T3 said Judgment Day is inevitable, T4 said some stuff, T5 says that Judgment Day may not be inevitable. Yet in all cases except Terminator Salvation, Skynet sends back a terminator to kill someone, and someone else gets sent back to stop it. I really, really hope that T5 adds something new to the storyline. At this point, I’d settle for watchable movie. So far, though, it looks big and kinda dumb.  (Come on, an epic, inspirational speech before heading to war, too?)

All that 2015 lacks is another Star Trek sequel and a tolerable new Alien flick. Sure, there’s a whole slate of other movies coming out, but with Star Wars and Terminator headlining–and let’s throw in Mad Max: Fury Road–does anyone care who opens?

Article written by Matt Shorr