Fall Movie Guide: 33 Superhero, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy Movies to Look Out For

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It’s that time of year. The weather gets cooler, the leaves start to change, and movie releases get just a little more adult. At least, in theory. We’ve rounded up all the movies io9 readers will want to keep an eye out for through the end of the year.

This fall, awards season blends with genre in a bunch of unique ways thanks to filmmakers like Robert Zemeckis, Damien Chazelle, and Luca Guadagnino. Then there are the usual holiday blockbusters as well as lots of small and interesting horror movies, different takes on the superhero genre, unexpected sequels, spin-offs, and more. Here’s all the eclectic sci-fi, horror, and fantasy films coming to theaters (and streaming) in the next few months.


The Nun

The latest film in the Conjuring Universe takes the villain from The Conjuring 2 and gives her what looks like a super creepy backstory starring American Horror Story’s Taissa Farmiga and Hateful Eight’s Demian Bichir. Even the marketing for this one has been over the top, so we’re hoping this can live up to the expectations of the franchise. (September 7)


There must be something about early September and psychological thrillers with female antagonists, because in addition to The Nun, there’s Mara. The title comes from the one word a young girl says when asked by an investigator (Olga Kurylenko) who mysteriously killed her father. “Mara,” she says. No one knows who that is. Creepy. (September 7)

The Predator

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s old nemesis is back, even if the star isn’t. The Predator reinvents and reimagines the popular franchise for modern times with a super eclectic cast (Sterling K. Brown, Boyd Holbrook, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen), multiple variations on the iconic alien killer (including dogs), and lots more mythology. Most exciting though? It’s the first collaboration between director Shane Black and co-writer Fred Dekker since The Monster Squad. (September 14)


It’s been blowing away fans at festivals and now, finally, Nicolas Cage’s hyper-kinetic cult movie is coming to theaters. In the film, Cage goes on a murderous rampage when his wife is kidnapped by a cult. From the trailer, it looks like the performance is one of Cage’s most daring to date, and that’s saying something. (September 14)

The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Director Eli Roth teams up with Steven Spielberg’s team at Amblin for this young adult adaptation starring Cate Blanchett and Jack Black as two people who help train a young boy in the ways of magic. Harry Potter this is not, though. It’s got an even creepier and contained vibe to it, one we are very, very interested in. (September 21)

Beyond the Sky

A documentary filmmaker sets out to disprove the existence of aliens and, spoiler alert, will probably do exactly the opposite. It’s a small indie movie but the trailer isn’t bad; it co-stars E.T.’s Dee Wallace and the prolific Peter Stormare. (September 21)


Some humans believe that there’s a mythic creature out there called “Bigfoot,” right? Well, what if the Bigfoot creatures shared legendary stories about “Smallfoot,” a creature who walks and talks and, well, is a human? That’s the premise for this star-studded (Channing Tatum, Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez, Lebron James, Danny DeVito, James Corden) animated film. (September 28)

Hell Fest

The director of Happy Death Day and producer of The Walking Dead team up for a horror film set at an amusement park at Halloween, which is a great idea. Hell Fest follows a group of friends who go to a Halloween-themed park and find out that one of the patrons isn’t out for fun—they’re out for death. (September 28)




The first film in the unofficially titled “Sony Universe of Marvel Characters” brings one of Spider-Man’s most famous villains to life...without Spider-Man. Tom Hardy plays the evil anti-hero in a film with a lot of potential, but even more question marks. We all want this to be so, so good because Venom deserves it. And it could be. But wow, is it going to walk a fine line. (October 5)



Michael Ironside stars in a film about a 12-year-old “alone, and targeted on an isolated farm” who “finds himself at the center of a maelstrom of terror, and a dark family legacy when his secretive grandfather dies suddenly in the night.” Sure, why not? (October 5)

First Man

Oscar winner Damien Chazelle teams back up with his La La Land star Ryan Gosling to tell the story of Neil Armstrong and the incredible journey for him, and his team, to actually walk on the moon. This has Oscar bait written all over it. (October 12)

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

The first Goosebumps is one of those movies that if you did see it, you were probably pleasantly surprised by it. Well, now here’s the sequel, and while Jack Black isn’t back as R.L. Stein, the character’s legacy continues as a group of kids finds one final enchanted Stein book—and it just so happens to be a book that makes Halloween real. (October 12)



Gareth Evans, the director of The Raid films, is back. This time, he’s got Dan Stevens (The Guest) and Michael Sheen (Good Omens) in a period film about a man who must travel to a mysterious island inhabited by a cult to save his kidnapped sister. Cool premise, great cast, amazing filmmaker, we’re in. (Coming to Netflix October 12)


One of our most anticipated films of the fall is this reboot/sequel for John Carpenter’s landmark horror film, Halloween. This film wipes away all of the franchise’s sequels and imagines Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) as a woman ready to get revenge on the terrifying killer that terrorized her almost 40 years ago. Everything we’ve seen or heard leads us to believe this will be a worthy sequel to the 1978 classic. (October 19)


Film fans generally don’t get too excited about remakes of iconic genre films, like this re-do of Dario Argento’s Suspiria. But those remakes aren’t usually directed by visionaries such as Luca Guadagnino, or feature stars like Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. When they are, though, the result is not just a very high level of expectation and anticipation, but also hope for a new modern classic. (October 26)



The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

There’s no doubt the visuals in this Disney-fied reimagining of The Nutcracker are going to be absolutely incredible. The cast—Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Keira Knightley—is also amazing. But the fact the film will have two director credits (Joe Johnston and Lasse Hallstrom) raises some huge questions. Still, there’s a lot of potential here. (November 2)

The Grinch

On its surface, an origin story for one of the most memorable holiday characters in history feels like a stretch. Who cares why the Grinch became such a grinch? And yet, the more we see from this Illumination animated film, the better and better it looks. This will probably end up being one of the biggest hits of the fall. (November 9)


When Overlord was first announced, its mysterious genre plot and producer J.J. Abrams had many guessing it was a new Cloverfield movie. Well, it is not. What it is, is a film about a group of American soldiers who find themselves behind enemy lines during World War II and discover that Nazis are making zombies. Who needs Cloverfield monsters when you have zombie Nazis to kill? (November 9)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald

The second of five proposed Fantastic Beasts films takes the Harry Potter prequel franchise and opens it up. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) joins with a young Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to battle the villainous Gellert Grindewald (Johnny Depp). All the characters from the first movie are back, but expect this to be much more Potter than the last one. (November 16)

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Disney’s favorite video game characters, Ralph and Vanelope, are back. When there’s a problem at the arcade, they find themselves in a more vast world than they can even imagine: the internet. The first Wreck-It Ralph was excellent and there’s no reason to think that its sequel, with the whole original cast returning (as well as newcomers voiced by Taraji P. Henson and Gal Gadot), won’t be even better. (November 21)

Robin Hood

Ever after seeing multiple trailers and posters, it’s unclear exactly what makes this new version of the Robin Hood tale, starring Taron Edgerton, Jamie Foxx, and Ben Mendelsohn, so different from the dozens of others. The characters are a little different, the story is slightly changed, the effects are more advanced, but aren’t those things always true? It’s gonna take something special for this one to grab audiences. (November 21)

The Christmas Chronicles

Produced by Chris Columbus, the man behind Goonies, Gremlins, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the Harry Potter films, The Christmas Chronicles tells the story of what happens when two kids scheme to film the real Santa Claus and end up almost ruining Christmas. Not intriguing enough for you? Santa Claus is played by Kurt Russell. Boom. (On Netflix November 22)

Anna and the Apocalypse

Last year, I sat down to see this movie at Fantastic Fest only knowing that it was a high school zombie musical set at Christmas. Never did I think a film with that premise could actually be good. Well, not only is Anna and the Apocalypse good, it’s great, and after a year in movie limbo, it’s finally coming to a theater near you. Read the review here. (November 30)



Under the Silver Lake

In his follow-up to the amazing It Follows, David Robert Mitchell follows a new kind of mystery. This time, a man played by Andrew Garfield tries to figure out what happened to a missing girl, which leads him down a rabbit hole of conspiracy and coincidence. We’re not actually not entirely sure if there’s anything sci-fi or fantasy in it, but it sure has that feel. (December 7)

Mortal Engines

From Peter Jackson and the team behind The Lord of the Rings comes this epic, steampunk story set in a post-apocalyptic world where cities have become mobile in order to move around and find resources. It feels like it wants to be a new LotR epic, but the trailers, so far, haven’t inspired that kind of confidence. (December 14)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

We’ve seen all manner of live-action superhero movies in theaters, so why can’t those heroes be animated too? That’s the question we’ll get answered in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a gorgeous-looking Spider-Man film that seems like it’ll push the limits not just of what an animated film can be, but a superhero movie as well. (December 14)

Mary Poppins Returns

No one who saw the original Mary Poppins back in 1964 could have ever imagined, over 50 years later, Disney would make a big-budget, musical, sequel. And yet, here it is. Mary Poppins Returns takes decades after the original film, with the Banks kids now all grown up and having problems with their own kids. Enter Mary Poppins, now played by Emily Blunt. (December 19)

Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel is one of the biggest question marks of the season. The story of a young robot assassin was delayed from a summer release and the trailers have drawn all manner of different reactions from fans. There’s no denying that the team behind the film, including director Robert Rodriguez and producer James Cameron, are capable as is the tremendous cast (including Oscar winners Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, and Mahershala Ali). Maybe we just haven’t bought into this new world yet? We’ll see. (December 21)


Years after being a literal joke on the HBO series Entourage, Hollywood has finally made a big budget Aquaman movie. And it looks pretty damn great. Director James Wan brings all his blockbuster experience to the origin story of Arthur Curry, with a great cast and huge sweeping adventure. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction for the DC universe. (December 21)

Bird Box

Okay, this one sounds awesome. From the writer of Arrival (Eric Heisserer) and director of The Night Manager (Susanne Bier) comes this thriller starring Sandra Bullock as a mother who must travel down a river with her kids, blindfolded, in order to avoid the post-apocalyptic horrors around them. It also stars John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, and many others. (On Netflix December 21)


Let’s be honest. The last four Transformers movies have been pretty bad. It was time to try something new. Cue director Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings), who is taking just one Autobot (Bumblebee, duh) and telling a more personal Transformers story, complete with all the bells and whistles. If it works out, this could take the franchise in a whole new direction. (December 21)

Welcome to Marwen

Though it’s based on a very realistic, very grounded, very heartfelt documentary called Marwencol, visionary director Robert Zemeckis decided to take the story to the next level. The story is based around a veteran who was brutally assaulted and escaped the pain by building a toy paradise in his backyard. It’s a risky proposition, but Zemeckis—along with stars Steve Carell, Gwendoline Christie, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, and others—may have found the perfect balance of pop and drama. (December 21)