This year belongs to all nerds — with an upbeat May (Iron Man, Speed Racer, Prince Caspian, Indy), unpredictable June (Hulk), dark July (Batman, Hellboy, X-Files), British November (Harry Potter, Bond), and UFOlogical December (Keanu in The Day the Earth Stood Still).
Next year, a bit quieter by my reckoning, belongs mainly to the discriminating superhero and sci-fi fans: Watchmen on March 6, followed by a May almost as nerdy as this year’s (Wolverine, Star Trek, Terminator).
But 2010 and 2011, for those planning ahead (and trusting current release schedules), belong solidly to the “fantasy” fans, with both the final Harry Potter book and The Hobbit scheduled to be split in half and released as two films apiece (the latter directed by Hellboy’s/Pan’s del Toro). I’m not sure any of us are psychologically prepared for the state of anticipation in which nerds will find themselves between 2010’s end and the 2011 release of the conclusions of Deathly Hallows and del Toro’s Hobbit. The Christian nerds, furthermore, will have glimpsed the mountains of Aslan’s heavenly kingdom at the conclusion of the middle film of the planned five-film Narnia cycle, Voyage of the Dawn Treader (and if the Narnia films keep doing well, I predict they’ll be followed by The Magician’s Nephew as a prequel, Hobbit-style).
Oddly enough, if all goes as scheduled, though, this means the only nerd film I’m pretty confident is scheduled for 2012 — the dreaded year the mystics think will bring the end of the world per the ancient Mayan calendar — is Narnia 5, The Last Battle, in which Lewis lets the Christianity really hang out and the Apocalypse comes to Narnia. As if having 1,300 years pass between the first two films (leaving Mr. and Mrs. Beaver long dead) weren’t traumatic enough for the tykes.
And speaking of the passage of time: I’m as thrilled as the next guy that the new Terminator trilogy, starting next year with an entry directed by McG and featuring Christian Bale as John Connor, will take place after the nuclear war and feature the big cyborg-human war that is what we truly want to see anyway — but I’ve heard talk there may still be some time travel involved, and I for one would be delighted to see a Terminator with neither present-day people nor time travelers. Just fight cyborgs in the wasteland for two hours and I’ll be happy. That’s the only time and place I want to see.
(Just like we all wanted to see Darth Vader in armor kicking ass in the Star Wars prequels, alas, and Doom ruling Latveria in the Fantastic Four movie, alas, and Galactus in armor in the Fantastic Four sequel, alas, and Godzilla breathing fire and not sucking in the 90s Godzilla movie, alas, and Neo liberating blinkered present-day humans from their mundane reality in the Matrix sequels, alas, and real Sentinels in the third X-Men movie, alas — but here’s another chance to keep a nerd film satisfyingly focused on the essentials, McG. First, do no harm.)
UPDATE: This just in! Superheroes make a bold comeback, based on the deserved success of Iron Man (stay through the credits!), and will now make an incursion against 2010 and 2011 A.D. after all.