19 upcoming superhero movies you need to know about

Ever since Spider-Man came out in 2002 and set all kinds of records for making money, the movie industry has gone crazy for superheros. Eight years on, they just keep on coming. We've had some great ones (Iron Man, The Dark Knight) along with some not-so-good ones (Wolverine, Fantastic Four).

Over the next three years we're going to have the chance to see more than a dozen superhero films, mostly from Marvel and DC, but also a few others. To help keep track of it all we've created this handy guide to the 19 most notable titles that are supposed to come out (some more tentatively than others) through 2013.


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Title: Ant-Man
Who's involved: Edgar Wright is directing and Joe Cornish is writing the screenplay
What it is: Adaptation of the Marvel comic
Notes: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is proof that Wright is capable of making a solid film. The real question is, is he capable of making a film that people will actually go see? Ant-Man also isn't the first character who leaps to mind when we think "We want to see a movie about a superhero!" But, conversely, that's actually why we're interested in it.
Release Date: Tentatively 2012


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Title: The Avengers
Who's involved: Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk. Joss Whedon has finally made it official as director.
What it is: Adaptation of the Marvel comic
Notes: The buzz is getting higher and higher for Avengers, which will be preceded by a bunch of movies featuring the individual heroes first. It's going to be a completely massive spectacle, good or bad, and is an automatic must-see.
Release Date: May 4, 2012


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Title: Untitled Batman 3 Project
Who's involved: Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman and Michael Caine will all be back, as will Chris Nolan.
What it is: Last film in the trilogy
Notes: We all know that The Dark Knight was the most successful comic-book movie ever made (so far), so this is another must-see film. So far Nolan has done right by Batman, and even though this one won't have Heath Ledger it should still be pretty awesome.
Release Date: July 20, 2012


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Title: Captain America: The First Avenger
Who's involved: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugo Weaving, Stanley Tucci, Tommy Lee Jones. Joe Johnston will direct.
What it is: Adaptation of the Marvel comic
Notes: Evans is already well versed in playing a superhero, starring in the Fantastic Four movies. Though not everyone seemed to love the films, most people agreed that Evans stole the show. There's also never been a great (or particularly good) Cap film out there, and we think the frozen super soldier deserves one.
Release Date: July 22, 2011


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Title: Conan
Who's involved: Jason Momoa is the new Conan, with Ron Perlman and Rose McGowan as his support team. Marcus Nispel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is directing.
What it is: An all-new adaptation of Robert Howard's Conan the Barbarian
Notes: Based on the early pics, this film looks shockingly good. At least relative to what we were expecting. The script has reportedly had a lot of problems (at one point we heard they were working with only 50 "shootable" pages instead of the usual 100 or so), but supposedly those have been somewhat straightened out, so we're cautiously optimistic.
Release Date: 2011


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Title: Deadpool
Who's involved: Ryan Reynolds. Robert Rodriguez has been discussed as the director.
What it is: A spinoff of X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Notes: It's not clear whether this flick will actually get made, because Reynolds is busy with The Green Lantern sequels and Rodriguez has about 37 other films on his plate right now. But the writers of Zombieland are apparently working on a script, and that's pretty promising right there.
Release Date: Tentatively 2012


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Title: Untitled Fantastic Four Reboot
Who's involved: Some new rumors have been floating around that Sue Storm will be played by either Alice Eve or Amber Heard and that Adrien Brody and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are being considered for Reed Richards. Maybe even the legend himself Bruce Willis will show up to play the Thing.
What it is: Reboot of the 2005 franchise
Notes: The first two Fantastic Four movies have their fans, but overall many were disappointed by them, so why not just ignore those and start over? There is no official director, but some good names have been discussed that give us hope.
Release Date: Tentatively 2013


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Title: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Who's involved: Nic Cage will return as the Ghost Rider. Eva Mendes won't be back. Producer Mike De Luca will, as will David Goyer to write the screenplay.
What it is: Sequel to the 2007 film
Notes: All in all, the first movie wasn't so special. Luckily, we like David Goyer and think that he can turn in a good script. Nic Cage is, well, Nic Cage, so there's that. Good if you love him, not so good if you don't. We're okay with him. Mostly.
Release Date: Tentatively 2011


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Title: The Green Hornet
Who's involved: Seth Rogen, Christopher Waltz, Cameron Diaz, and Michel Gondry is directing.
What it is: Movie adaptation of the 1966 TV show
Notes: Although we really appreciate Rogen's enthusiasm for the role, we're not quite convinced that he will be able to use his famous chuckle to get him through this one. Still the, trailer looks entertaining, if not especially memorable. We'll see it.
Release Date: Jan. 14, 2011


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Title: Green Lantern
Who's involved: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Mark Strong. Martin Campbell is directing.
What it is: Adaptation of the DC comic
Notes: Campbell's GoldenEye was pretty sweet, right? Not sure the same can be said for Edge of Darkness, but he definitely has experience making action movies, so that's promising. And this is another one with "good buzz" coming out of Comic-Con. We're there.
Release Date: June 17, 2011


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Title: Iron Man 3
Who's involved: So far only Robert Downey Jr. is confirmed, though the rest will follow shortly. John Favreau is back at it again.
What it is: Third film from the 2008 franchise
Notes: Iron Man 2 lacked some of the charm of its predecessor, but Favreau knows that and we trust him to get it back on track. Plus, it's got Downey, who's always fun to watch.
Release Date: 2013


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Title: Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall
Who's involved: Looks like the whole cast will return for numero dos. Matthew Vaughn will be back to direct.
What it is: Sequel to 2010 film
Notes: After being relatively well received by critics and fans (and grossing more than $90 million worldwide), Kick-Ass was destined for a sequel. Especially since the first one is going to make a reported $250 million after DVD sales. Ka-ching!
Release Date: 2012


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Title: Red Sonja
Who's involved: Rose McGowan. A Robert Rodriguez production
What it is: Remake of the 1985 film of the same name
Notes:This film was originally set to be released in 2009, but due to Rodriguez's busy schedule it keeps getting delayed. Rose seems to be a bit of a muse for Rodriguez, though so if they can get the schedule thing worked out, it should be a good Rodriguez-style flick. Last update was this would follow the Conan remake, so a lot will depend on how well that does.
Release Date: Tentatively 2011


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Title: Untitled Spider-Man Reboot
Who's involved: Andrew Garfield has been cast as Spidey. Mark Webb of (500) Days of Summer will direct.
What it is: Reboot of the 2002 film franchise
Notes: We're not really sure what to say about this, as there are so many unknowns, but alongside Batman and Superman this is the hero we most want to see on the big screen again by a wide margin.
Release Date: July 3, 2012


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Title: Superman: Man of Steel
Who's involved: All we know is that Brandon Routh is unlikely to return. Christopher Nolan is producing/writing with the help of David Goyer. The rumor mill is spreading word that Nolan's brother Jonathan will direct.
What it is: Reboot/remake/let's pretend Superman Returns never happened
Notes: Superman has recently had a long, troubled history as far as films go, but it seems like Chris Nolan and David Goyer are a good duo to sort things out. There's not much else to say at this point, other than—fingers crossed!
Release Date: December 2012


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Title: Thor
Who's involved: Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk in J.J. Abram's Star Trek), Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Kat Dennings, with Kenneth Branagh directing. Ashley Miller (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe) wrote the script.
What it is: Adaptation of the Marvel comic
Notes: Branagh is better known for directing Shakespeare than anything else, so a superhero film doesn't seem like an immediate match. But Thor does have Shakespearean overtones, so we don't see why this shouldn't work out well. Plus, the trailer looked very promising.
Release Date: May 6, 2011


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Title: Wanted 2
Who's involved: James McAvoy is the sole cast member coming back so far. Timur Bekmambetov of nothing else you've probably ever heard of will return as the director.
What it is: Sequel to 2008 film
Notes: Angelina Jolie dropped out of this film after reading the script, so that's not good (or maybe it is if you're not a fan). But the first film turned out better than anyone had any right to expect or hope, so lightning could strike twice.
Release Date: 2011


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Title: X-Men: First Class
Who's involved: The cast is finally nearing completion (it's so big we'll just give you the highlights), with James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw, January Jones as Emma Frost and Oliver Platt as the Man in Black. Matthew Vaughn will direct, and Bryan Singer is returning to produce. Ashley Miller had his hand in this screenplay too.
What it is: Reboot/prequel of original franchise
Notes: Everyone seemed to be pretty happy with Singer's first X films, so there's no reason to believe he can't do it again. Plus, he seems to do better with ensemble casts, and this one is ensemble-rific. We'll definitely miss the original cast, but some of the new players aren't exactly shabby.
Release Date: June 11, 2011


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Title: X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2
What it is: Hugh Jackman is the sole actor signed right now. There's also a little rumor going around that Darren Aronofsky may direct.
Notes: Well, we all know how the first one turned out. This can't be any worse. We hope. A lot.
Release Date: Tentatively 2011