Into the Darkness: A Look at 2013's Sci-Fi Offerings

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in 'Star Trek: Into Darkness'/Image © 2013 - Paramount Pictures
Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine in 'Star Trek: Into Darkness'/Image © 2013 - Paramount Pictures

As the “Twilight Saga” entered its final stages, Hollywood went to work on adapting Stephenie Meyer’s other popular novel, The Host. The story follows a teenage girl living in a world that has been invaded, where humanity is "all but extinct." Sound appealing? Well, get excited -- because this is just one of the many science-fiction releases we can except this year.

Sure, sci-fi has always been a popular genre, relevant, and more or less successful, but this year’s crop is much greater than that of years past. And with technological advances in CGI and 3D, bigger name directors are turning toward the genre -- and where they lead, big names will follow.

Take James Cameron, for example, who first started developing his 2009 film “Avatar” back in 1994. He was set to begin filming  the movie right after “Titanic” wrapped, but the technology he needed to fully articulate his vision was not yet up to snuff. When it did finally come out, “Avatar” broke box office records, surpassing mega-movie “Titanic,” which owned the money-making record for twelve years. The third highest grossing film became last year’s “The Avengers,” a movie also in debt to advances in film technology. Riding on the wave of the booming superhero genre, as well as successful films over the past few years like “Prometheus,” “Tron: Legacy,” and “Cloud Atlas,” Hollywood has been hard at work making sci-fi the new “it” genre.

This year, we’ll see superhero sequels to “Iron Man” and “Thor,” and yet another addition to the Superman franchise, "Man of Steel." Several films like “Independence Day,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Star Wars (Episodes I-III)” are getting theatrical re-releases. “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” which has been in the works since 2009, will finally come out this May. The Romeo and Juliet-esque “Upside Down” looks intriguing: The two leads, played by Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst, live in a bizarre, mirror image world of "two twin planets." Each abides by its own set of laws and opposite gravitational pulls.

Another project that's making the leap from page to screen is Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Ender’s Game. A film adaptation has been in the works since the novel’s initial release. In 2010, the rights were secured and the project moved forward. Card's novel has spawned eleven sequels in the series, making this a potential film franchise, depending on its box office success.

And then, of course, there are the robots. Last year brought us “Robot & Frank,” a quiet, independent film starring Frank Langella as an aging convict in the early stages of dementia, whose caring but busy son buys a robot to help Frank around the house and keep him company. Frank uses this to his own advantage, utilizing the robot to assist him as he falls back into his old ways. “The Prototype” follows an experimental military android that escapes from a storage facility in Nevada and is hunted down by soldiers. Tom Cruise plays a drone repairman fighting in a drawn-out alien war in the highly anticipated “Oblivion.” The biggest robots, however, will be seen in Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” in which an army must operate robot suits in order to battle a congregation of sea monsters. There’s also “Gravity,” a space survival piece starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as a pair of astronauts who survive the destruction of an orbiting space station and try to find a means to survive in a debris-strewn vacuum.

And that's only the beginning. Given the wide variety of robots, aliens, superheroes, alternate worlds, and brain hosts, the upcoming batch of sci-fi films in 2013 should provide something for everyone. Be sure to check out the playlist below of the films mentioned in this post.

Which sci-fi film are you most looking forward to seeing this year? Let us know in the comment section below.