There are many reasons for the science fiction and fantasy fanatics among us to get really excited this month. For one thing, unless you’ve been living on another planet, you’re probably aware that “Avengers: Infinity War” opened April 27 and not only did it have the biggest opening in history for a movie, it broke the speed record to $1 billion in global box office receipts by hitting the mark in a week. (More about the Avengers in a bit.)
Coming up next is the newest Star Wars movie, “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” The story from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away comes out May 25, or for those of us with advance screening tickets, May 24. (Yes, I know I skipped “Deadpool 2” on May 18, but that was on purpose.)
Later this month, Comicpalooza returns to Houston May 25-17 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Although announcements are still being made, the headliners so far are huge. Topping the list are Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Charlie Cox (Daredevil), and Michael Chiklis (Fantastic Four). From Battlestar Galactica we have Tricia Helfer and Edward James Olmos, and from Star Trek we will see Levar Burton, Jeri Ryan, and Brent Spiner. Ray Park, who played Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace” will be there.
Throwback stars of yesteryear will be on hand, including “CHiPs” stars Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada, along with Jimmie Walker (“Good Times”) and David Faustino (“Married…With Children”).
The only disappointment so far (and this could change as announcements are made) is the dearth of stars from the plethora of Marvel and DC movies out there along with all of the new Star Wars movies. Even the Harry Potter franchise is growing with the sequel to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” coming out this fall, yet there is no representation.
Still, there are many more movie and TV stars, comic book writers and artists, voice actors and more coming to the 10th annual Comicpalooza. For a complete list, visit www.comicpalooza.com.
Of course last weekend was big for nerds. Friday was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you) and Saturday was Free Comic Book Day.
Not to be outdone, the Sugar Land Skeeters celebrated Star Wars with themed nights on Friday and Saturday with related giveaways and players wearing Stormtrooper styled jerseys and helmets. This was a lot of fun and big crowds turned out to get their Light Swords (they were not allowed by Lucasfilm to call them lightsabers) on Friday night and the Jedi Swatson bobblehead on Saturday. There were Star Wars costumers there on Saturday, making the evening a lot of fun.
Getting back to the movies, “Avengers: Infinity War” was everything and more that it was touted to be. (Warning: Mild spoilers ahead!) I was curious to see if how Marvel would pull so many characters into a single movie and give them enough to do to make it worthwhile and interesting. For the most part, they were highly successful. Although a very significant number of heroes died by the end of the movie, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of them. I say this with confidence because most of the deceased have sequel movies in the works. That, and you don’t derail your gravy train at the height of its popularity. This just builds suspense for the next set of movies.
(As for the “Deadpool” sequel, I stand firm in my belief that comics are for kids and an R-rated comic movie is an abomination, no matter how good it is.)
I’m really getting excited for “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” This project has been hounded with bad publicity throughout production (namely the firing of the directors), but I think bringing in Ron Howard to finish the film is a stroke of genius and the final product will surprise a lot of people. I for one want to see how Han meets Chewbacca, how the smug smuggler wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian, and the contest where Han races the Falcon through the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.
When it comes to movies worth geeking about, the rest of this year offers a bonanza. Looking ahead we get “Incredibles 2” on June 15, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” on June 22, “Ant-Man and The Wasp” on July 6, “Venom” on Oct. 5, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” on Nov. 16, “Robin Hood” on Nov. 21, the animated “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” on Dec. 14, and then DC’s lone live-action offering this year with “Aquaman” on Dec. 21.
Honestly, for those of us who are science fiction and fantasy fans, this is truly the prime time to celebrate our fandom. With Marvel and DC battling it out for comic book movie supremacy, Star Wars producing about a movie a year, Star Trek ramping up with two new movies in the works, and many other similar projects of various franchises coming down the pike, there is a large quantity of high quality viewing ahead. With events like Comicpalooza, it really brings things close to home with the stars coming to our back door for an up-close and personal experience.
So I leave you now with my Vulcan hand sign held high and say, “May the force be ever in your favor. So say we all.”