As the turbulent politics of 2017 continue into the new year, we will inevitably look to art once again for some measure of solace and healing. Maverick director Barry Jenkins will follow up the subtly resplendent “Moonlight” with a James Baldwin adaptation, Donald Glover will pick up where Earnest Marks left off in the sophomore season of “Atlanta,” and gamers will hopefully return to the world of “The Last Of Us.” But that’s certainly not all — BROCKHAMPTON will stay busy by releasing yet another album, while the virtuosic Zadie Smith will return with a dazzling literary work. Without further ado, here are the most anticipated works of art for 2018.
— Harrison Tunggal
- “Black Panther” — releases Feb. 15
Marvel Studios’ upcoming superhero film, directed by Oakland native Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station,” “Creed”) and sporting an all-star cast including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o, seems poised to dominate the box office as soon as it releases. Picking up where “Captain America: Civil War” left off, “Black Panther” will follow T’Challa’s path to the kingdom of Wakanda to take the throne following the death of his father. If the trailer is any indication, “Black Panther” promises breathtaking visuals and a searing soundtrack curated by the one and only Kendrick Lamar.
— Anagha Komaragiri
- “Beach Bum” — release date TBA
Little is known about Harmony Korine’s follow-up to the aesthetically intricate “Spring Breakers” other than that it stars Matthew McConaughey as a stoner that goes by the name “Moondog”; some truly wild on-set photos of the smarmy Texan dressed in white Velcro sneakers and tacky tie-dye hint the film will be as much of a must-see cultural undesirable as the director’s predecessor. Zac Efron also reportedly plays a key role, hopefully weaponizing his celebrity persona as his “High School Musical” co-star Vanessa Hudgens did in Korine’s last film.
— Jackson Kim Murphy
- “If Beale Street Could Talk” — release date TBA
After directing last year’s enchanting Best Picture winner “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins returns with an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Although the film is still shooting and doesn’t yet have an official release date, anyone familiar with Jenkins’ work or with Baldwin’s poignant romantic drama will surely be awaiting its release later this year.
— Anagha Komaragiri
- “A Wrinkle in Time” — releases March 9
A modern adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved 1962 fantasy was sure to create some Hollywood buzz. But add to that an A-List cast including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Cal alumnus Chris Pine, as well as one of the industry’s most talented directors at its helm in Ava DuVernay, and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” is sure to hit theaters in March amid massive expectations.
— Anagha Komaragiri
- “The Meg” — releases Aug. 10
Modern Jason Statham vehicles must always be seen for their existence to be believed, but his latest sounds like one of his most artless and delightfully incoherent films yet — sure to make waves when it releases during the dog days of summer. After being mired in development hell for 20 years, this adaptation of a trashy sci-fi novel that follows a crackpot deep sea diver and a rescue mission prompted by a 70-foot prehistoric shark will finally see the light of day. Hopefully the script has aged like whatever the opposite of fine wine is.
— Jackson Kim Murphy
- “Atlanta” (FX) — returns March 1
The experimental, formless and subversive “Atlanta” returns for a sophomore offering that is appropriately called “Atlanta Robbin’ Season.” The show has deftly managed to balance its heavier undertones of violence, racial discrimination, poverty and police brutality with an audacious, quirky and flat-out surreal sense of humor. Expectations for season two include more screen time for the eccentric Darius (Lakeith Stanfield) and an exploration of Earn’s (Donald Glover) largely unknown backstory.
— Arjun Sarup
- “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” (Netflix) — returns March 8
The first season of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” was celebrated not only for Krysten Ritter’s complex and intuitive performance of the show’s titular character, but also for the show’s deep understanding of abuse, sexual violence and mental health. Jessica Jones is an intense, superhumanly strong and by no means flawless woman. She’s a survivor and a superhero, an addict and a private investigator. The series is Marvel’s take on a noir tone, with a gorgeous color palette and even more compelling stars.
— Sophie-Marie Prime
- “Silicon Valley” (HBO) — returns March 25
The “Pied Piper” gang is back for another round of stuttering, slapstick and daffy hijinks in season five of tech satire “Silicon Valley.” Now that the central ensemble is standing atop a newly bankable business enterprise once again, it’ll be a joy to see just how they will (unintentionally and hilariously) mess up and squander the opportunities they have fought so hard to win back.
— Arjun Sarup
- “New Girl” (Fox) — returns April 10
“New Girl” will be returning for its seventh and final season of quirky comedy and relatable (yet still questionable) antics this spring. Let’s not pretend that Zooey Deschanel’s iconic bangs and adorably suave dance moves — along with her beloved roommates — won’t be missed by television watchers and “Dirty Dancing” fans everywhere.
— Sophie-Marie Prime
- “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) — returns April 25
Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” sent the streaming site soaring into legitimacy when it premiered last year and delivered a much-needed dose of political realism through the lens of science fiction. The series’ second season will no doubt be equally as hard-hitting as it follows a dystopian society ruled by a morally corrupt Christian elite.
— Sophie-Marie Prime
- “This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America,” by Morgan Jerkins — releases Jan. 30
This highly anticipated collection of essays from critic and activist Morgan Jerkins weaves a tale of disenfranchisement due to gender and race in an inherently white, patriarchal American society. Through this personal exploration Jerkins examines what it means to exist as a Black woman and feminist in a movement that, in the mainstream, is primarily white. Compared with Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist” and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists,” “This Will Be My Undoing” is necessary reading for all Americans, regardless of race or gender.
- “Feel Free,” by Zadie Smith — releases February 6
Next on our list is a collection of essays from the renowned author and essayist Zadie Smith. In it, Smith attempts to answer — or at least philosophize about — questions we would love to know the answers to, but would never think to ask. With topics ranging from social media to reading to global warming, “Feel Free” appears to have something for everyone but will remain deeply personal at its core.
- “The Female Persuasion,” by Meg Wolitzer — releases April 3
From the author of the New York Times best-selling novel “The Interestings” comes a new and heartfelt examination of female activism and ambition. The novel follows a college freshman who had a life plan until she stumbles upon a feminist leader and is swept into the world of activism, learning for the first time what purpose truly is. It looks like a thrilling tale of youth, love, and that deep pull towards something none of us really understand.
- “Transcription,” by Kate Atkinson — releases in September
The newest novel from bestselling author Kate Atkinson, “Transcription” follows a young woman who joins an obscure department of the Secret Service and then joins the BBC while her life unravels around her. A novel about the idealism of youth and the reality that follows, “Transcription” has all of the ingredients of another great Atkinson novel.
- “Mr. Occam’s Razor,” Barbara Kingsolver — releases Oct. 15
Another renowned novelist returning to the bookshelf this year is “The Poisonwood Bible” author Barbara Kingsolver with her century-spanning work, “Mr. Occam’s Razor.” It follows two families, separated by hundreds of years, who occupy the same house in New Jersey — formerly a utopian community. Through Kingsolver’s signature powerful prose, the novel promises an examination of the power of community and family as well as the distance and reflection time provides.
— Rebecca Gerny
- “The Last of Us Part II” — release date TBA
Reprising Naughty Dog’s 2013’s fan-favorite survival horror masterpiece, “The Last of Us Part II” follows dynamic duo Joel and Ellie through the nightmare of the unkempt post-apocalyptic world. The game’s showcase at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, left much to be explained, but players can expect improved stealth mechanics and new forms of the Infected to tackle. Even though the game is rumored to potentially release in 2019, fans are eager to pick up Joel and Ellie’s emotionally impactful story after the events of the first game.
- “Red Dead Redemption 2” — release date TBA
Nearly eight years after its predecessor, Rockstar presents the highly-anticipated “Red Dead Redemption 2,” a prequel to Western action-adventure hallmark “Red Dead Redemption.” Following Arthur Morgan of the Van der Linde Gang into the Wild West, the game guides the player through its painstakingly designed open world on a mission for justice. With the combat and environment revealed thus far, “Read Dead Redemption 2” is poised to make waves this year amongst fans and newbies alike.
- “Far Cry 5” — releases March 27
The latest addition to Ubisoft’s open-world action-adventure series takes the player to Hope County, Montana, where notorious cult leader Joseph Seed and his violent congregation are wreaking havoc. With its new “Guns for Hire” companion system and improved combat mechanics ranging from aerial takedowns to close-quarters melee action, “Far Cry 5” revives the traditional first-person shooter layout with new twists as well as a story that is both timely and engaging.
- “A Way Out” — releases March 23
A stand out at Electronic Arts’ E3 2017 showcase, Hazelight Studios’ upcoming action title “A Way Out” approaches co-op gameplay with a unique twist – the game uses a split-screen style to guide two players as they work together to bust protagonists Leo and Vincent out of prison. By allowing players to split tasks and actions between themselves, the game promises to bring a renewed sense of strategy to the traditional two-player co-op experience.
- “Vampyr” — release date TBA
Set in London in 1918, Dontnod Entertainment and Focus Home’s third-person action RPG “Vampyr” follows protagonist Jonathan Reid, a doctor-turned-vampire whose bloodlust plays against his identity as a physician. Framed in a semi-open world with a dynamic environment, “Vampyr” allows the player to decide who else to turn into vampires, with each decision having an impact on the game’s ending. In fact, the game is possible to complete without drawing blood a single time.
— Manisha Ummadi
- The Voidz, untitled album — release date TBA
Although a title hasn’t been released yet, The Voidz (a switch from the previous name, Julian Casablanca and The Voidz) dropped a creepy cultish trailer for their upcoming album. The band, led by the former front man of the iconic alt-rock band the Strokes, is a more experimental place for Julian Casablanca’s music. It’s been four long years since the release of Tyranny and early 2018 is ready for The Voidz.
- BROCKHAMPTON, Team Effort — release date TBA
Last year BROCKHAMPTON, the powerhouse of a boyband, slammed their fans with the three-album Saturation series and they show no sign of slowing down this year. Although they trolled by saying that Saturation III could be their last album, the group announced that they would be releasing Team Effort in 2018.
- Earl Sweatshirt, untitled album — release date TBA
We haven’t heard much from Earl Sweatshirt since I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside dropped back in 2015. In the last few years, he’s popped up here and there. Knxwledge played “Hat Trick” on his Red Bull Radio show and he produced the beats for Mach-Hommy’s Fete Des Morts AKA Dia De Los Muertos — an album that costs $111.11 just to listen to. Recently, Earl Sweatshirt excited his fans by tweeting to look out for him in 2018.
- Frankie Cosmos, Vessel — releases March 30
Following the release of the single “Jesse,” Greta Kline will be coming out with a full-length album, Vessels, in late March. The indie-rock musician has released two albums and a mixtape under the moniker Frankie Cosmos, all featuring her gently cracking falsettos. Hopefully, Kline will continue warming hearts with the much-anticipated release of this next album
- Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods — releases Feb. 2
2018 is set to be a big year for the pop star. Timberlake is slated to headline the Super Bowl Halftime Show this year — the first time he’ll be performing since the Janet Jackson “Nipplegate” scandal. Two days prior to his performance, he’s also set to release his new album, Man of the Woods, which will be Timberlake’s fifth studio album.
— Annalise Kamegawa
Contact The Daily Californian’s arts & entertainment staff at [email protected].