From Archer to X-Men: 79 of our most anticipated entertainments of 2016, part 1

From Archer to X-Men: 79 of our most anticipated entertainments of 2016, part 1

Psylocke, Apocalypse, and Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse
Psylocke, Apocalypse, and Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse

1. Archer (TBA)

When last we left Archer’s intrepid spy crew, they were stranded in a desert with no prospects on the horizon after having ruined their “last” chance at making right with the CIA, leading a fed-up Mallory to ask what they plan on doing to make money. With Ray dying of sepsis in a wheelbarrow just behind him, Sterling responds with a glint in his eye, “I actually have some thoughts on that,” while putting on his aviators and most likely launching into “Danger Zone” in his head. This potential re-launch of Archer is nothing new for creator Adam Reed, who expertly shifted to-and-from season five’s Archer: Vice. It also opens up an exciting, and seemingly endless, world of possibilities. How far from the spy game can they go, especially since it’s really the only thing Archer is qualified to do? Will TV’s Michael Gray return? And most importantly, are we still not doing “phrasing?” [Leonardo Adrian Garcia]

2. Agent Carter season two (January 6)

2015 was a surprisingly good year for female comic book characters on TV, with Supergirl, Jessica Jones, and Agent Peggy Carter all headlining their own shows. And 2016 has the potential to be just as great, starting with the returning of Agent Carter in January. Judging by the trailer, Agent Carter’s second season looks bigger and better than its first, with even more ass-kicking and patriarchy-shattering in store. Temporarily relocated to Los Angeles with the Strategic Scientific Reserve and her trusty sidekick Jarvis (James D’Arcy), Agent Carter (the pitch perfect Hayley Atwell) gets to do her usual spy thing with a little extra 1940s Hollywood glamour thrown in. Even better, this new season also features another female regular (Wynn Everett as Whitney Frost) and a brand new love interest for Peggy (Reggie Austin as Jason Wilkes)—a win for the #diversifyagentcarter movement. [Caroline Siede]

3. The official launch of Seeso (January 7)

While NBC Universal’s new streaming site, Seeso, has been in beta for a few weeks now, things should really kick into high gear when the thing launches in earnest on January 7. For $3.99 a month, subscribers will have access to every single episode of Saturday Night Live, as well as a ton of new and intriguing-sounding comedy from Scott Aukerman, Jonah Ray, Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher, Rory Scovel, and the original founders of the Upright Citizens Brigade. It’s a comedy nerd’s dream, and seems like a subscription no-brainer, especially given the low entry fee. [Marah Eakin]

4. Idiotsitter (January 14)

Jillian Bell had already been one of the few bright shining lights of Workaholics, before showing her full comedic range in the 2014’s 22 Jump Street, where she played the most delightful, stereotype-busting college coed villain against Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s bro-heroes. She did the same thing in The Night Before, playing Seth Rogen’s Wu Tang-loving wife. Now, Bell expands her Comedy Central web series about a spoiled brat (played by Bell) whose parents hire her a straight-laced babysitter (co-creator Charlotte Newhouse) to care for her while she’s on house arrest. If Bell can make all of the male leads around her funnier, let’s see what she can do in the driver’s seat. [Molly Eichel]

5. Baskets (January 21)

Post-The Hangover franchise, Zach Galifianakis was in a comedy sweet spot. He could have gone the Will Ferrell/Adam Sandler route, driving the same character into the ground until it isn’t particularly funny anymore, while making a boatload of money (Due Date 2, anyone?). Instead, he took a break, choosing his projects carefully (Birdman for one, the stuck-in-studio limbo Masterminds), and Baskets is his new FX show that includes a Louis CK pedigree. Galifianakis is Chip Baskets, a Bakersfield, California-based failed clown who is forced to work at a rodeo after he’s unable to matriculate at a prestigious clown college. The trailers for the show look even weirder than the plot description. Bring on the strange, Galifianakis. [Molly Eichel]

6. Ty Segall, Emotional Mugger (January 22)

While Ty Segall has been putting out one solid, must-listen record a year on his own since 2008, he skipped putting anything out under his own moniker in 2015. (He did release a live LP with the Ty Segall Band, a random 7-inch EP on Famous Class Records., and a record with his group, Fuzz, for what that’s worth.) That’s cool and all—quality control, etc., etc.—but that insane output left the ripper’s fans missing their garage rock idol something fierce. Segall should rectify that with Emotional Mugger, his new record on Drag City. From the preview clips online, it’s pure Segall. Bonus: The record cover’s even got a creepy baby on it. [Marah Eakin]

7. Savages, Adore Life (January 22)

Savages tore some shit up when they released their debut LP back a few years back, and that trend should hopefully continue when the group releases Adore Life. With early singles like “The Answer” and “T.I.W.Y.G.” being lauded as punishing sonic assaults, fans have reason to be optimistic, especially if they’re fans of Savages’ intense live shows—the group will be touring much of the U.S. this spring. [Marah Eakin]

8. Shearwater, Jet Plane And Oxbow (January 22)

This one’s a bit of a cheat, since we’ve had the album for a couple weeks now, but rest assured we’re still looking forward to the proper release. Shearwater has slowly and quietly evolved from its slightly more acoustic days, and its last original album, Animal Joy, was exuberant and heartbreaking, sometimes rocking out and sometimes carrying quiet tension over several tracks. Jet Plane And Oxbow promises to break new ground without completely upheaving it, and it stays true to Shearwater’s strengths, primarily frontman Jonathan Meiburg’s honeyed, commanding baritone. It should delight old Shearwater fans and hopefully pick up some new ones. [Laura M. Browning]

9. Santigold, 99¢ (January 22)

The easiest criticism to lob at pop music is that it’s dispensable, meant to be enjoyed briefly then tossed aside. But Santigold, one of the genre’s secret weapons for years now, knows the value of pop and takes it very seriously. Her previous albums (Master Of My Make-Believe and her self-titled debut) ingeniously cobble together disparate influences to create tracks that only get more rewarding with each listen. On this month’s 99¢, Santigold hopes to continue to drive her point home and, if peppy lead single “I Can’t Get Enough Of Myself” is any indicator, she’s worth every penny. [Cameron Scheetz]

10. Eleanor Friedberger, New View (January 22)

Since unofficially splitting from the Fiery Furnaces, her half-brilliant, half-off-putting band with her brother Matthew, Eleanor Friedberger has sustained the high point of the Furnaces’ for-now last record, I’m Going Away, with two terrific solo albums, Last Summer and Personal Record, that maintained her distinctive, sometimes Dylanesque delivery while delving into more personal, direct lyrics. New View finds her switching labels (from Merge to Frenchkiss) and cities (from New York to Los Angeles, though the album was recorded in New York state); if her songwriting remains consistent with her last two releases, this may be one of the best singer-songwriter albums of the year. [Jesse Hassenger]

11. The X-Files (January 24)

2015 saw the announcement of near-infinite TV revivals, some of which seem unsolicited at best and ridiculous at worst. But things didn’t end that well with the last X-Files movie in 2008, and the franchise’s return to television for a six-episode limited run, said to include “mythology” episodes bookending standalone installments, is undoubtedly a huge deal for many fans. Not only does series creator Chris Carter have another shot at leaving Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) in a more interesting place, television has a shot at a high-quality show that doesn’t depend heavily or entirely on a serialized format. [Jesse Hassenger]

12. The Magicians (January 25)

In yet another attempt to leave the sharknados aside for some more serious fare, Syfy adapts Lev Grossman’s wonderful fantasy series The Magicians to life. Billed as “Harry Potter for adults,” The Magicians follows a group of students at a magical university called Brakebills, who get themselves into similar trouble and have the same post-collegiate ennui as us normals. The way that fantasy reflects life is Buffy-ian in scope. The Syfy brand is frankly worrisome, but with the release of The Expanse and Childhood’s End, it looks like the network that brought us Frankenfish is actually putting some money and effort into its projects. [Molly Eichel]

13. Broad City (February 17)

From web series to promising freshman TV show to sophomore sensation, each new batch of Broad City episodes has improved on the last. And with such illustrious personages as Hillary Clinton filming cameos for the Comedy Central show’s first season, the only concern at this point is that Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer will lose their edge. Could this be the year that Ilana finally decides to start taking her job seriously, or that Abbi puts Bingo Bronson into storage and quits smoking weed? Nah. [Katie Rife]

14. American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson (February 2)

If it weren’t for the stacked celeb cast, if it weren’t for the juicy true life story, if it weren’t for the modern added layer of Kardashian fame, John Travolta’s make-up would have been enough. Travolta plays Robert Shapiro, who leads the defense team for O.J. Simpson (Cuba Gooding Jr.), in Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story. The the O.J. trial took over the pop-culture consciousness in the early ’90s (Dancing Itos!); this effort will also show the pre-fame of the Kardashians, whose father Robert (played by David Schwimmer) defended O.J., while Kris (Selma Blair) sat in the gallery. Murphy’s projects tend to fall apart after strong opening showings, but considering he’s following real life events, maybe he’ll avoid that fate this time. [Molly Eichel]

15. Hail, Caesar! (February 5)

The last Coen brothers movie was a few years ago, and one of their best: Inside Llewyn Davis (which turns up on Criterion Blu-ray this January). They’ve followed it up with something that looks more in line with the palate-cleansing likes of Burn After Reading, but perhaps with some of that Barton Fink feeling. Hail, Caesar! takes place in Hollywood, where a studio fixer (Josh Brolin) must find a missing star (George Clooney). After mostly new faces populated Davis, this one is a big-ticket Coen reunion, with Clooney (making Coen picture number four) and Brolin (three) joined by Scarlett Johansson (two), Frances McDormand (seven), and Tilda Swinton (two)—plus inspired additions like Jonah Hill, Ralph Fiennes, and Channing Tatum. The confident, tantalizing trailer seals the deal. [Jesse Hassenger]

16. Firewatch (February 9)

Hailing from Campo Santo—a new game studio formed by key developers from The Walking Dead, Mark Of The Ninja, and Double Fine—Firewatch has players taking on the role of Henry, a man who takes a job as a fire lookout in the beautifully stylized Wyoming wilderness to escape a rocky personal life. Henry’s only human connection is the co-worker on the other end of his walkie-talkie, and the banter between the two is exceptionally funny, natural, and has the potential to deliver some real emotional heft amid the game’s surface-level mystery. [Matt Gerardi]

17. Deadpool (February 12)

The road to Deadpool has been paved with false starts and terrible comic book adaptations. The 2000 announcement of the film was followed by one in 2004 with David S. Goyer attached to the film and Ryan Reynolds as the star. 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine made the smart decision to keep Reynolds in the role of Wade Wilson/Deadpool, but that’s where the smart decisions ended. Ryan Reynolds made other excursions into the movie world of comics, with Green Lantern (another solid casting job) and R.I.P.D. (less so). Reynolds never gave up hope on a Deadpool film, one that would hopefully erase the rocky road that to it. When test footage leaked, giving audiences a visual to put with the oft-talked about project, the response was overwhelming. So after spending years in developmental hell, there’s finally going to be a Deadpool movie, and it promises capture the spirit of “The Merc With A Mouth” in film form after more than 15 years. How can you not be excited? [LaToya Ferguson]

18. Zoolander 2 (February 12)

Leave it to Derek Zoolander (or rather, Ben Stiller), to come up with a sequel a full 15 years after his original movie. Derek and Hansel (Owen Wilson) still look like those male models who ruled the catwalk in 2001. They’re surrounded this time by a fun supporting cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch as an androgynous supermodel named “All,” Penelope Cruz as a secret agent, Will Farrell back on board as Mugatu, and Kristen Wiig as a new supervillain even weirder than Mugatu. We like all of those people! And since the original has lines that still land to this day (“What is this? A school for ants?”), many high hopes are undoubtedly in store for Z2. But what happened to Derek’s reporter wife and Blue Steel-sporting kid? [Gwen Ihnat]

19. Better Call Saul (February 15)

By all accounts, Better Call Saul was better than it had any right to be, both enhancing but feeling like a separate entity from its parent show Breaking Bad. If the first season could surprise so much, what’s the second one going to do? When last we left our hero, he was eschewing the corporate law life in favor of driving on the open road and his buddy Marco’s favorite tune, “Smoke On The Water.” His transformation from good guy con artist Jimmy to slick, morally comprised attorney Saul Goodman had truly kicked into high gear. [Molly Eichel]

20. Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With A Remarkable Man by William Shatner (February 16)

William Shatner has become a highly prolific author in recent years, which is the sort of thing that’s remarkably easy to do when you can afford a co-writer. Still, even though he’s being ably assisted by David Fisher on his latest tome, it’s hard to imagine that Shatner had to search very hard to find enough stories to tell about the half-century of friendship he shared with Leonard Nimoy. Yes, one can reasonably expect a plethora of Star Trek stories, but let’s all keep our fingers crossed for some behind-the-scenes dirt about Nimoy’s guest turn on T.J. Hooker as well. [Will Harris]

21. The Witch (February 26)

Horror fans have been twitchy with anticipation ever since the 2015 Sundance film festival, when a little horror movie called The Witch came out of seemingly nowhere to win the Best Director award, racking up a laundry list of critical plaudits in the process (including from The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd). A period piece set in the New England wilderness of the 17th century, the film follows the goings-on of a Puritan family whose infant child mysteriously disappears, other strange things start happening, and… well, those who have seen it are remaining tight-lipped so as not to spoil it, but all indicators suggest a harrowing experience for anyone lucky enough to see it. Just watch the trailer and try to deny how intriguing the whole thing seems. [Alex McCown]

22. Outlander, season two (Spring)

Fans of Starz’s Outlander have been jonesing for a Jamie Fraser fix ever since the show’s first season ended in May. Luckily, the light at the end of the Scottish Highlander tunnel is near, with season two promised sometime this spring. This time around, Jamie and Claire are cavorting around 18th-century France, trying to alter history and save their beloved way of life. Bigger ripples should be felt, but if the teaser trailer that’s floating around online is to be believed, season two should be jam-packed with fabulous dresses, sordid intrigue, and classic Outlander steaminess. [Marah Eakin]

23. La Sera’s Music For Listening To Music To (March)

At this point, La Sera’s Music For Listening To Music To is most famous for being the album that spurred Ryan Adams to cover Taylor Swift’s 1989 (since La Sera’s Todd Wisenbaker collaborated with Adams on that record). But the real story here is how Adams’ production on former Vivian Girl Katy Goodman’s new album has shifted the noise pop of the previous two La Sera records to a more dream-like version of Those Darlins. “High Notes,” the first single released, showcases some of this new direction, featuring a twang that wouldn’t be out of place on a Whiskeytown record, breathing new life into a very exciting voice in the indie rock scene. [Leonardo Adrian Garcia]

24. Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday (March)

It’s been 28 years since Pee-Wee Herman’s last cinematic adventure, but it’s only seemed like that much time has passed since it was announced that Paul Reubens and Judd Apatow were collaborating on a third feature starring the bow-tied man-child. The behind-the-scenes talent assembled for the Netflix production speaks to the character’s enduring appeal—with Apatow producing, Comedy Bang! Bang! regular Paul Rust came aboard to write the script, and Wonder Showzen’s Jim Lee was hired to direct. (It won’t be Apatow and Rust’s only Netflix effort in 2016—they also teamed up with Lesley Arfin and Gillian Jacobs for the upcoming romantic-comedy series Love.) A handful of photos have been released from the set—featuring the likes of Joe Manganiello, Alia Shawkat, and Stephanie Beatriz—but little is known about the plot. Then again, everyone Pee-Wee knows has a big “but”—c’mon, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday, let’s talk about your big but, sometime in the early spring. [Erik Adams]

25. Trouble Boys: The True Story Of The Replacements by Bob Mehr (March 1)

The story of Minneapolis’s beloved ’Mats has been told before on the printed page, most notably in Jim Walsh’s All Over But The Shouting: An Oral History, but journalist Bob Mehr has a couple of advantages that others haven’t. For one, he’s able to include the details on the Replacements’ recent reunion, which came to an abrupt close after the band’s performance at Portugal’s Primavera Porto music festival on June 5, 2015. Perhaps more importantly, Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, and Slim Dunlap all participated in Trouble Boys, which looks set to clock in at an impressive 520 pages. [Will Harris]

26. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (March 4)

With a premiere date yet to be set for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s second season, Tina Fey diehards should be positively Lizzing with excitement for Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. 30 Rock show runner Robert Carlock’s script (adapted from the 2011 memoir The Taliban Shuffle) finds Fey playing journalist Kim Barker, whose assignment in the Middle East opens her eyes to the complexities and absurdities of war. Despite the dark subject matter, the duo of Fey and Carlock will undoubtedly inject the wartime chronicle with their signature sense of humor—the title is essentially military-speak for “WTF,” after all. [Cameron Scheetz]

27. The Family (March 6)

Shondaland alum Jenna Bans brings Joan Allen to TV as Claire Warren, the evil mayor of a Maine town whose son was kidnapped 12 years prior. When Claire announces her candidacy for governor, her missing son (Liam James) turns up again, presumably throwing everyone’s lives—including Claire’s other children, played by Friday Night Lights’ Zach Gilford and The Newsroom’s Allison Pill—into chaos. Allen is a force of nature who is not nearly cast as much as she deserves to be, and now we get to see her on a weekly basis. [Molly Eichel]

28. Midnight Special (March 18)

Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter, Mud) makes the jump to the big studios with a sci-fi chase flick about a father (Michael Shannon) trying to protect his supernaturally gifted child from sinister interests. Unlike the indie up-and-comers handed big-budget franchise reboots in recent years, the acclaimed writer-director appears to have been simply given the go-ahead to make a Jeff Nichols movie on a larger scale, and the promising trailer suggests a high-stakes thriller meshed with his established sensibility. The stacked cast includes Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, Kirsten Dunst, and Joel Edgerton. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

29. The Little Prince (March 18)

Antoine De Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella is a simple story that muses on the loss of imagination as we transition from children to adults; this big-screen adaptation looks to flesh out that theme through a girl whose schedule-dominated life is interrupted by a page telling a story—a page instantly recognizable on screen as the page from The Little Prince book that adults the world over read as children. It hints at a similar rendering of childhood that reduced viewers to puddles during Inside Out; here’s hoping the beloved children’s story gets just as worthy a treatment. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]

30. Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice (March 25)

Up until recently, everything we’d seen about Warner Bros.’ upcoming attempt to Avengers up its DC Comics film franchise suggested director Zach Snyder was indulging in the same dour tone that rendered his Man Of Steel such a grim and violent slog. But the superhero mash-up’s most recent trailer suggests a newfound spark of life (and, God forbid, some actual comedy), with Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne (Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck) passive-aggressively poking at each other while Jesse Eisenberg’s gleeful Lex Luthor eggs them on. It might be a little over the top, but we’re not going to say no to a more playful superhero grudge match, emceed by an evil Mark Zuckerberg pastiche. [William Hughes]

31. The Path (March 30)

Hulu has made many plays to run with the big dogs as of late, but 2016 is its boldest year yet. Aaron Paul takes his first post-Breaking Bad TV roll in Jason Katims’ (Friday Night Lights, Parenthood) The Path, about a family at center of a controversial faith-based movement. Paul is joined by a stacked cast, including True Detective’s Michelle Monaghan, who plays Paul’s wife Sarah, and Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy, the face of the movement. Cults plus Katims’ penchant for family drama? Yes, please. [Molly Eichel]

32. The return of HBO’s Game Of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Veep (April)

HBO’s most charming and damning shows return to the premium cable network this April, meaning audiences should finally (hopefully?) know what happened to that damn Jon Snow. While Thrones’ sixth season should be packed with all sorts of sex, death, and hot dragon-on-dragon action, the fifth and third seasons of Veep and Silicon Valley (respectively) should offer Sunday night viewers a bit of lighter—albeit no less compelling—fare. Together, the three shows should make for one of the best combinations in weekly programming. [Marah Eakin]

33. Green Room (April 1)

Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room has been steadily picking up buzz as it travels the film-festival circuit, and after having two A.V. Club writers see it at two different festivals, we are pleased to report that it lives up to the hype. Starring Anton Yelchin and Alia Shawkat as members of a punk band whose gig turns deadly after they witness something they shouldn’t, Saulnier’s third feature combines skillful world building, shocking violence, and nonstop forward momentum to create a thrilling viewing experience. Add Patrick Stewart as the leader of a neo-Nazi skinhead gang, and Green Room becomes a must-see for genre fans. [Katie Rife]

34. Dark Souls III (April 12)

At this point, the main question surrounding FromSoftware’s landscape-shifting series of deviously challenging action-RPGs is, “How long can they keep up this pace?” Shifting to a yearly release schedule for the Souls games is bound to have consequences, and it remains to be seen if the series’ mix of satisfyingly prickly combat and intentionally obfuscated storytelling can survive the increase in speed. Still, even if the upcoming installment—which looks to be a throwback to the original Dark Souls, by no means a bad thing—merely offers players more of the same, this is a series where that can turn out to be a pretty damn good deal. [William Hughes]

35. Waitress (April 24)

One of the most anticipated Broadway musicals of the year, Waitress is an adaptation of the charming 2007 Keri Russell dramedy about a pregnant waitress who turns to pie-making to find solace from her unhappy marriage. The musical garnered positive notices in its out-of-town tryouts and will finally be making its Broadway debut this spring. While Tony-winning director Diane Paulus and Tony-winning star Jessie Mueller will no doubt pique the interest of musical theater fans, the big pull here is the original score from beloved singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. She’s already released her own version of the musical as a concept album for those who want a preview. [Caroline Siede]

36. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (April 26)

Absence—and a gelatinous glut of time-devouring open-world games—makes the heart grow fonder. When Uncharted 3 came out in 2011, it was at the peak of people’s exhaustion with heavily directed, cinematic action games. But in 2016, the series is a throwback. Most of its big-budget brethren have embraced the “giant world full of not-uniformly fun stuff to do” model, and Uncharted stands alone with its steadfast dedication to bombastic set pieces, storytelling, and a character that never has to level up or craft a damn thing. The open-world onslaught won’t be letting up anytime soon, but Uncharted 4 looks like a welcome reprieve. [Matt Gerardi]

37. Captain America: Civil War (May 6)

Face front, true believers: This is looking increasingly like the Marvel movie to end all Marvel movies… until the two parts of Avengers: Infinity War arrive in 2018 and 2019, anyway. This adaptation of Marvel’s Civil War miniseries isn’t a precise match-up to its print counterpart, but in addition to the good Captain, the superhero roll call also includes Iron Man, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Falcon, War Machine, Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man. Most importantly, Civil War also provides the long-awaited arrival of Black Panther to the Marvel cinematic universe. And some guy called Spider-Man will apparently be in the mix as well. [Will Harris]

38. The Nice Guys (May 20)

The Nice Guys is being billed as being “from the director of Iron Man 3,” but it’s got a lot more DNA in common with Shane Black’s directorial debut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Like that “neo-noir crime comedy” classic, Black’s new film looks to be a tonal chameleon, shifting from gritty violence to absurd comedy and back again, all centered on the sort of mismatched buddy tension that he helped institutionalize with his screenplay for Lethal Weapon. Add in Ryan Gosling playing way against type as a whiny, alcoholic detective, and you’ve got a potentially refreshing respite from a year full of bombastic superhero punch-ups. [William Hughes]

39. X-Men: Apocalypse (May 26)

The X-Men series went through the most impressive resurrection this side of Fast & Furious over the past few years, rescuing itself from a Last Stand/X-Men Origins: Wolverine death spiral with two films that brought in new blood and revised continuity as they went along (there was also a decent Wolverine solo entry). Apocalypse is the end of a three-film contract for the central players James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), and Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique). Lawrence is definitely splitting, and the other two may follow, which makes Bryan Singer’s follow-up to Days Of Future Past crucial both as a wrap-up for at least some of these characters, and a test to see if the new, younger versions of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, etc., can continue spinning the 16-years-and-counting series out indefinitely, or at least another few years. It also looks like an avenue for the sometimes-grounded cinematic version of the X-Men to embrace comic-booky weirdness in the vein of Future Past, with its continuity-rewriting time-travel story. [Jesse Hassenger]