Hollywood loves to remake and reboot storylines, and although the act is often met with skepticism, this year’s lot of movies and television – many of them part of pre-existing franchises – instill excitement rather than trepidation. Perhaps it’s down to the fact that many of these projects honor the much-loved franchises they draw from by casting the original actors in storylines that extend their roles into the present day, instead of attempting to erase them from history.
Among the original ideas coming in 2020 are heartfelt stories that speak to current social issues and genre fare that provides pure escapism. Whatever gets you through, 2020 is shaping up to be a stellar year for film and television, and that’s not even considering the best of what’s returning as well.
Here are the 30 most anticipated new movies and shows to watch out for in 2020.
Creator: Apple TV+
Release date: January 17
Touted as Apple TV+’s “first unconditionally good show,” Little America is an eight-episode anthology series based on Epic Magazine’s collection of true stories of the same name. Each episode centers on a different character – all immigrants from various parts of the world – and their experience in the US.
Intended to inspire, the series is said to bypass over-the-top sentimentality and instead deliver a positive but realistic message about the state of the nation. Written by Lee Eisenberg (who worked on The Office) and Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani of The Big Sick fame, while Master of None’s Alan Young also serves as a producer.
Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens
Release date: January 22
Awkwafina’s steady rise is only expected to continue with her semi-autobiographical show on Comedy Central, which charts her background growing up in Queens while living with her dad and grandmother. Saturday Night Live cast member Bowen Yang plays her cousin, while her father is played by acclaimed drama actor BD Wong. Broad City-collaborator Lucia Aniello is on directing duties, which explains some of the tonal similarities to that show and we’re totally here for it.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Release date: January 24
After directing a number of adaptations and remakes, Guy Ritchie has returned to the material that earned him his fanbase – the London crime underworld, and as always there’s a good dose of humor involved. A stacked cast includes Matthew McConaughey as a businessman with a marijuana empire in London and Hugh Grant as a private detective, while Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell and more round out the supporting players. Reviews have begun to trickle in, saying that The Gentlemen holds up against Ritchie’s early crime oeuvre.
Gretel & Hansel
Director: Osgood Perkins
Release date: January 31
Folk horror has had a major renaissance so where better to take it than back to one of the creepiest fairytales ever written? Gretel & Hansel is for the most part a faithful retelling of the Brothers Grimm story, but the title’s inverted names hint at something off-kilter. The director and cast are experienced in the horror genre, with It Chapter Two’s Sophia Lillis in the titular role of Gretel, while Alice Krige, who plays the Witch, has been acting in horror and supernatural movies for decades.
Come to Daddy
Director: Ant Timpson
Release date: February 7
At its core, Come to Daddy is a film about a son reconnecting with his estranged father, but director Ant Timpson takes this plot and spins it on its head. After growing up without his father, Norval (Elijah Wood) receives a letter from his dad inviting him to his oceanside abode. But when he arrives it’s as if his dad wasn’t expecting him and things only continue to get weirder. Written by Toby Harvard, who co-wrote the bizarre 2016 film The Greasy Strangler, expect to be surprised.
Director: Stella Meghie
Release date: February 14
Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield star in this romantic drama about a woman (Rae) trying to understand her late mother’s past, while a budding romance develops between her and the journalist (Stanfield) who’s working on a story about her mom’s successful photography career. Written and directed by rising talent Stella Meghie, The Photograph is a poetic exploration of the trials and tribulations of love.
Creator: Sarah Kucserka, Veronica West
Release date: February 14
A remake of the cult film of the same name, which itself is an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s 1995 book, Hulu’s series version of High Fidelity switches out John Cusack for Zoë Kravitz and Chicago for Brooklyn. The plot has been given a millennial-relevant update for 2020, but the hallmarks of the original still appear to be there thankfully.
Creator: David Weil
Release date: February 21
The first of a number of releases produced by Jordan Peele this year, Hunters is an Amazon Original Series about a ragtag group of Nazi-hunters living in New York City in 1977. A cast of familiar faces is led by Al Pacino, the leader of the so-called Hunters. The show looks to be full of sardonic humor and promises a fun romp through alternative history.
Director: Alex Garland
Release date: March 5
Ex-Machina and Annihilation writer/director Alex Garland tackles the miniseries format with Devs, a show about a mysterious quantum computing company run by a disheveled-looking Nick Offerman. Regular collaborator Sonoya Mizuno stars as a computer engineer investigating her boyfriend’s disappearance, which appears to be linked to the company. As with everything Garland creates there’s still a lot of ambiguity about the plot, so you’ll have to tune in to find out more.
Director: Michael Showalter
Release date: April 3
Co-creator of Wet Hot American Summer and director of The Big Sick, Michael Showalter reunites with Kumail Nanjiani for another romantic comedy called The Lovebirds. Issa Rae plays Nanjiani’s love interest in a story about a couple on the verge of breaking up who become embroiled in a murder mystery. Both Rae and Nanjiani can play between drama and comedy to full effect, making this pairing one of the most exciting of the year.
No Time To Die
Director: Cary Fukunaga
Release date: April 10
Bond’s 25th installment and supposedly Daniel Craig’s last as 007, No Time To Die also stars Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, and Christoph Waltz all reprising previous roles from the franchise, while Rami Malek comes onboard as a new villain. What’s most exciting about this latest iteration is that at Craig’s request, Phoebe Waller-Bridge was brought on to polish up the script and inject more humor into it. True Detective-director Cary Fukunaga is at the helm after Danny Boyle dropped out due to creative differences.
Creator: Graeme Manson
Release date: Spring
Based on Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 film, which itself is based on Jacques Lob’s Le Transperceneige graphic novel, Snowpiercer’s first season is set to premiere this spring on TNT. Set onboard a perpetually moving train that circles the planet, seven years after Earth has frozen over due to a climate engineering experiment gone wrong, the Snowpiercer train carries the last remnants of humanity. Split into elite and lower classes, the plot concerns issues of class, social injustice, and the politics of survival. Bong Joon-ho will serve as an executive producer on the show.
Wonder Woman 1984
Director: Patty Jenkins
Release date: June 5
The sequel to 2017’s record-breaking Wonder Woman, this installment is set in the 1980s and once again stars Gal Godot as the titular superhero, along with Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig as villain Cheetah, and Narcos’ Pedro Pascal as Maxwell Lord. Patty Jenkins is back directing and also co-wrote the screenplay this time.
Director: Nia DaCosta
Release date: June 12
A spiritual sequel to the 1992 film that’s based on a Clive Barker short story, the exact plot of the reboot is unknown but it’s rumored that it’ll take place in the now-gentrified area where Cabrini Green once stood in Chicago, an infamous housing project development where the original film was also set. Jordan Peele is behind the reboot, serving as co-writer and producer, and we can’t wait to see where he takes the story.
King of Staten Island
Director: Judd Apatow
Release date: June 19
Judd Apatow hasn’t directed a feature film since 2015’s Trainwreck, so the fact that we’ll be seeing his return this year is exciting in its own right, but add to that Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live’s resident bad boy comedian, and here’s hoping we’ll be treated to the kind of laughs Apatow delivered in the early peak of his career. The film is said to be a semi-autobiographical take on Davidson’s own life, from his upbringing on Staten Island to the loss of his firefighter father on 9/11.
Director: Jason Reitman
Release date: July 10
After 2016’s all-female reboot of Ghostbusters underperformed majorly at the box office, Columbia Pictures have decided to give the franchise another go, this time with the help of the original cast. Directed by Jason Reitman, Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be a direct sequel to Ghostbusters I & II and will revolve around a young family who move to a small town where they begin to uncover their grandfather’s legacy as one of the original Ghostbusters. Except for Harold Ramis, who passed away in 2014, the remaining leads – Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, and Sigourney Weaver – will make appearances.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Release date: July 17
Christopher Nolan is back with a very on-brand excursion into the time-traveling, sci-fi action genre. As usual we don’t know much about the project, except that John David Washington’s character is a secret agent who’s attempting to stop World War III. Visually, Tenet has echoes of Inception and it is already rumored that the two may be linked, in the least spiritually if not narratively, but as with all Nolan films, there’s no point asking questions until after viewing.
Bob’s Burgers: The Movie
Creator: Loren Bouchard, Jim Dauterive
Release date: July 17
After 10 seasons Bob’s Burgers is finally getting a movie adaptation – only the second ever film, after The Simpsons Movie, to be based on a FOX animated series. What we do know is it will be a musical comedy, while a minor subplot will involve Louise and her night light Kuchi Kopi inside her fantasy world. Creator Loren Bouchard says that the movie will appeal both to new viewers as well as old fans.
Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Director: Josh Greenbaum
Release date: July 31
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumulo, the pair behind Bridesmaids, have penned the script for Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, a comedy about two friends who leave their small Midwestern town for the first time to go on vacation in Vista Del Mar, Florida. The writing duo earned an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids, so we can only hope they deliver more of the same humor.
Bill & Ted Face the Music
Director: Dean Parisot
Release date: August 21
Fans of the cult Bill & Ted movies are finally getting the long-teased threequel this summer – excellent! It’s taken nearly a decade to get off the ground, with original writers Chris Matheson and Ed Soloman spending years on the script while securing funding. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter will reprise their roles as Bill and Ted, as well as William Sadler as the Grim Reaper, while Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine will play our heroes’ daughters. The plot sees Bill & Ted dealing with the monotony of life in middle age, when they’re warned by a visitor from the future that they still need to write a hit song in order to save not only the world, but the universe.
The Many Saints of Newark
Director: Alan Taylor
Release date: September 25
Set in New Jersey, The Many Saints of Newark is a prequel to The Sopranos, with the late James Gandolfini’s son, Michael, playing the young Tony Soprano during his formative years. The Sopranos creator David Chase co-wrote the script with series collaborator Lawrence Konner, while an ensemble cast will star as younger versions of Sopranos characters, including Vera Farmiga as Tony’s mother Livia and Ray Liotta in an unknown role.
Last Night In Soho
Director: Edgar Wright
Release date: September 25
Inspired by British horror classics such as Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and Roman Polanski’s Repulsion, Edgar Wright is giving us a psychological horror with time travel elements, set in London’s Swinging Sixties. Further details are scarce but The Witch’s Anya-Taylor Joy and Thomasin Mckenzie play the leads, as well as Doctor Who’s Matt Smith.
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Release date: October 9
Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel is being made into a film once again, with Anne Hathaway set to portray the Grand High Witch. Robert Zemeckis is directing, while Guillermo Del Toro, who helped bring the project to fruition, co-wrote the script and is producing alongside Alfonso Cuarón. Described by Zemeckis as being closer to the original novel than the 1990 film adaptation, this iteration will be set in 1960s Alabama with the young boy protagonist to be played by an African-American actor. Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Rock also star in the film.
Director: Chloé Zhao
Release date: November 6
Marvel Cinematic Universe’s big release for 2020, The Eternals is about an alien race of the same name who are created by the Celestials in order to protect the universe from the Deviants. It stars an ensemble cast including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, and other upcoming actors, while Chloé Zhao – whose first two films, Songs My Brother Taught Me and The Rider, received wide acclaim – is directing.
Coming 2 America
Director: Craig Brewer
Release date: December 18
Yet another long-awaited sequel, Coming 2 America sees Eddie Murphy reprise his role as Prince Akeem Joffer from the original Coming To America movie. The plot follows on from the first film, with Prince Akeem set to become King of Zamunda before realizing he has a son he was unaware of in America, and therefore must set off after him to the States. Much of the original cast will return, as well as Wesley Snipes, Rick Ross, and Leslie Jones, while Murphy’s Dolemite Is My Name director Craig Brewer will be at the helm.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Release date: December 18
Ever since it was announced that Denis Villeneuve would be directing a new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel Dune, fans of both the book and Villeneuve’s movies have been buzzing. A strong cast headed up by Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya only added to the excitement. Villeneuve’s version is said to be closer in spirit to the original book than David Lynch’s infamous 1984 film, and will comprise two parts, with the first arriving this year but no set date for the second yet.
Director: Janicza Bravo
Release date: TBC
Remember that incredible 148-tweet-thread from 2015 about a Hooters waitress who goes to Florida with a stripper, her boyfriend, and her pimp, before things descend into prostitution, murder, and attempted suicide? Well the movie detailing A’Ziah “Zola” King’s wild weekend is nearly here. Pieced together from Zola’s original tweets and a Rolling Stone article that confirmed the majority of events that took place, Zola is directed by upcomer Janicza Bravo and has its world premiere at Sundance later this month, though a general release date is yet to be confirmed.
Creator: Misha Green, Jordan Peele
Release date: TBC
Another project backed by Jordan Peele this year, Lovecraft Country is an upcoming HBO series based on Matt Ruff’s novel of the same name. It follows Atticus Black and two friends as they travel across Jim Crow-era America in the 1950s in search of Atticus’ missing father. Along the way they are confronted with racism as well as Lovecraftian monsters. Alongside Peele, J.J. Abrams will also serve as an executive producer.
The French Dispatch
Director: Wes Anderson
Release date: TBC
Very little is known about Wes Anderson’s upcoming film The French Dispatch, besides that it’s “a love letter to journalists set at an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th-Century French city.” Supposedly set around three storylines, the film stars an exhaustive list of regular Anderson collaborators including Frances McDormand, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and many more, as well as the ubiquitous Timothée Chalamet and a host of other actors.
Director: Greta Gerwig
Release date: TBC
It’s hard to believe that in Barbie’s 61-year-history, the fashion doll has never been depicted in live-action before. That’s about to change, with Margot Robbie in the titular role and a script written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, and directed by Gerwig. While Robbie might resemble the platinum blonde Malibu Barbie prototype, her casting caused quite a stir, what with all of the progress Mattel has made in the last years in diversifying Barbie’s ethnic background, body type, and career. Details of the plot are scarce, so it’s uncertain if the film will comment on this incongruity.