By: Lee Watson
Now that we’ve seen the back of 2022 it’s time to look forward to everything that 2023 has to offer. Because there’s so much happening in 2023, we’re going to split the year up into quarters and publish new updates on what’s occurring over the coming three months. We’ll also be splitting it up into two separate posts, one with more active things to do, places to go, sports, events, and celebrations, and another with more sedentary pastimes like films, TV, and video games.
As with everything in the world right now, dates are subject to change, but everything is correct at the time of writing. In this part, we’ll explore all the films, TV Shows, and video games that are arriving from January to March. You can find our posts on events, sports, and celebrations HERE.
2022 was a year filled with sequels, remakes, adaptations, and ever more comic book movies and 2023 is… well, it’s pretty much more of the same really. At least for the first half of the year. Studios tend to sneak in the more awards-worthy fare towards the end of the year, keeping them in the Academy votes minds just when they’ll be voting. For now, this is what we have to look forward to from January to the end of March.
The first entry on the list is the rather spartanly titled Plane. What’s it about, you might ask? Well, it’s about a plane, of course, but what happens in that plane? Does it take off and safely reach its destination without incident? Of course not!
Join Gerard Butler and Mike Colter as they try to escape, as the plane’s pilot and a nefarious criminal type respectively, as they try to escape an island run by separatist militia. Butler plays Captain Brodie Torrance (someone’s been watching Jaws and The Shining) whilst Mike Coulter, whom you may recognize from Marvel’s Luke Cage TV show, plays Louis Gaspare, a man with a secret past that seems to imbue him with the skills he’ll need to free the planes passengers from the clutches of the bad guys and help them get away.
Does it look like a classic? Maybe not, but you never know, it could be fun. Plane took off at your local cinema on the 27th of January.
Winnie the Pooh : Blood and Honey
When people think if Winnie the Pooh they usually imagine the Disneyfied version that’s been on our screens for around sixty years. Well, now that the character from AA Milne’s original books has fallen into the public domain, all of that’s about to change.
Simply put, Pooh and Piglet have gone feral and they going to get their revenge on Christopher Robin for abandoning them years before. This most certainly is not a film for kids!
Go back to the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie and Piglet on the 15th of February.
Antman and the Wasp – Quantumania
The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the first film from Phase 5, hits the silver screen in February. After a fairly lackluster showing from Marvel’s Phase 4 films, Quantumania has a lot of heavy lifting to do. Not only does it have to make up for previous disappointments, but it also has to set up the main storyline that will flow through phase 5 all the way through to phase 6 and the next two mega-team-up Avengers movies, Secret Wars and The Kang Dynasty.
We’ve already been introduced to a variant of the Multiverse Saga’s (as Marvel is dubbing this tranche of movies) main villain, but this is where we truly get to meet Kang, played by Jonathan Majors.
Can Quantumania successfully revitalize the public’s interest in Marvel? We’ll have to wait until the 17th of February to find out.
Michael B. Jordan is back for a third round as the eponymous Adonis “Donnie” Creed. This time, Jordan also takes the reigns as director, his first time at the helm of a feature film. This film has the distinction of being the first movie in the Rocky saga to not feature Sylvester Stallone’s previously titular Italian Stallion, but Tessa Thompson is back as Donnie’s wife Bianca.
Creed 3 is also the second film on this list to feature Jonathan Majors as the antagonist. This time he plays an old friend of Donnie, Damian. He sees his former compadre as having lived the life he should have lived. Whilst Adonis got rescued from the street and a life of crime when he was taken in by his father Apollo’s wife, Damian ended up spending much of his life in prison. Now he’s out, with a chip on his shoulder, and scores to settle.
Will Creed’s third outing pack enough punch to be a hit at the box office? We’ll see when it enters the ring on the 3rd of March.
Sometimes, horror film franchises can go on too long and, by the time they reach their sixth installment the law of diminishing returns has almost always kicked. Tired re-treads of the same plot over and over again (Halloween), turning the antagonist into some sort of anti-hero (Nightmare on Elm Street), or just setting it in space (Jason X, the 10th Friday the 13th film), are all studios have tried to keep their respective series alive. Scream, as a horror series, always had a meta, referential understanding of all the old tropes, but can that stop it from falling into the same traps as its less knowing competition?
Neve Campbell, the series’ main star isn’t coming back after the studio decided to make her a financial offer that was less than she thought she was worth, but some survivors from previous films will return, including Jenna Ortega from Netflix’s Wednesday, reprising her role from the previous Scream movie (confusingly called simply Scream, just like the first one from the 90s), and Courtney Cox, who’s been with the franchise since its inception.
Whether it ends up being good or not is for you to decide when it’s released on the 10th of March.
Shazam – Fury of the Gods
Zachary Levy impressed in his first outing as the superhero formerly known as Captain Marvel, Shazam. It was a considerable uplift in relation to its other DC Comics-based stablemates. Though that sounds like it’s being dammed with faint praise, the original Shazam was actually an enjoyable and entertaining ride. But will lightning strike twice?
The last trailer released for the film dates back to July 22 which might be seen as a bad sign for a film so close to release. It might, however, have more to do with the turmoil and change of the guard at Warner Brothers than anything else.
See for yourself in cinemas from the 17th of March.
John Wick Chapter 4
Another week, another sequel. Keanu Reeves is back as John Wick, the unstoppable one-man killing machine who just wanted to retire and live a peaceful life with his wife and dog. This time he’s pitted against Donnie Yen (Rogue One) and Bill Skarsgård (IT) as they brawl through the streets of Paris. Gunplay, fistfights, car chases, and massive carnage are all promised as ever, so fans of the previous trilogy are no doubt going to be delighted.
The fourth entry in the John Wick series bursts onto screens in a hail of bullets from the 24th of March.
Dungeons and Dragons – Honor Among Thieves
Past Dungeons and Dragons films have had what one might charitably call, a mixed reception. However, this could be the one that breaks the curse and finally uses the IP to its full potential. The role-playing game takes in all the familiar fantasy standards; Dragons (obviously), orcs, and elves are all present and, with the guidance of a Dungeon Master (essentially a storyteller who directs the action), the decisions of the players (who each take on the persona of self-created characters) and the rolling of multisided dice, the story’s details are determined. Each adventure can form part of a long campaign or be a one-off story on its own. Honor Among Thieves takes this premise and spins it into what is essentially a fantasy heist movie with a fantastic ensemble cast featuring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, and Hugh Grant.
Get ready to roll a d20 to see if it’s a critical hit on the 31st of March.
TV is the subject of this blog on things to look forward to this year. TV release dates and scheduling can be a little unpredictable, but here are a few of the shows that we know are being launched during the opening months of 2023.
The Last of Us
Starting back in January, this video game adaptation is aiming to be something that no video game adaptation has previously managed to do; actually, be good. This far, on the evidence of the first three episodes, it’s looking like it’ll overshoot the bar and go all the way into “great” territory. It helps that, unlike some game adaptations, the source material had a great, cinematic storyline with well-written characters.
The TV show, like the game, is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a fungus has overwhelmed most of the population and turned them into Zombie-like creatures, except with horrible fungal profusions that are a good deal worse than the average case of athlete’s foot. It’s best to keep the plot under wraps as much as possible, but the Last of US follows the exploits of Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) as they make their way across the infested country.
The Last of Us started on Sky/No on the 16th of January and is released weekly every Monday.
It’s getting to the point where there are so many superhero movies out that, everywhere you look, everyone seems to have superpowers. Well, Extraordinary takes that last part and brings it to life in a world where the whole population gets superpowers on their 18th birthday. Well, not everyone. Extraordinary’s central protagonist is 25-year-old Jen still hasn’t got hers and this London-based comedy follows her as she tries to deal with life as somebody, who in our world would just be considered ordinary. The show has already been renewed for a second season and it’s not hard to see why. It’s funny, with witty dialogue, imaginary scenarios, and some fantastic performances from the central cast. There’s also a little bit of pathos squeezed in there for good measure.
All 8 episodes of Extraordinary dropped on Disney+ on the 25th of January.
Coming from Ted Lasso creators, Brett Goldstein and Bill Lawrence and starring Jason Segal and Harrison Ford, Shrinking certainly has a great pedigree. Jason Segal, who’s also a co-creator of the show, plays a therapist who’s gone through some tough times and has now decided to share his undiluted opinions with his clients. Harrison Ford plays a senior colleague who is trying to help him through his difficult time.
Shrinking began on Apple TV+ on the 27th of January and airs new episodes weekly.
You – Season 4
You was a pretty big hit when it debuted on Netflix a few years back and it’s soon returning for its 4th season on the streamer. Of course, that’s something of an achievement given how cancel-happy Netflix has been of late.
Once again, we follow our protagonist/anti-hero, the murderous Joe, as he looks to find love. This time, although we last saw him taking a stroll through Paris, he’s relocated to London. Will he find the one or will she realise they aren’t who he thought they were?
Joe may be the poster boy for entitled masculinity, but audiences can’t seem to get enough of him. That’s down in part to a fantastic central performance by Penn Badgley who actually makes you relate to and sympathize with the out-and-out psychopath that he plays, even as he commits outrageous atrocities.
Part 1 of season 4 appears on Netflix on the 9th of February, whilst Part 2 launches on the 9th of March.
Star Trek: Picard – Season 3
It would be charitable to say that the last season of Star Trek: Picard had a mixed reception. More accurately, it’s fair to say that the fans generally hated it. Patrick Stewart, as ever, gave a fantastic performance to former USS Enterprise Captain, Jean-Luc Picard, but the show was very much let down by the wrong. The plot was bogged down by very uneven pacing, bizarre characterizations, and inappropriate amounts of fan service that, strangely enough, didn’t actually appease long-time Star Trek fans.
Given all that baggage, is there much reason to watch the show’s third outing? Well, in a word, yes. To right the ship, the third season brings back almost all of the actors from Star Trek; The Next Generation in what seems to be essentially an 8th season of that show. The trailer looks like it’s certainly action-packed with starship battles and some great character moments. Initial opinions from those who’ve seen the early episodes are overwhelmingly positive, so perhaps we’re in for a treat with Picard’s final series.
The first episode of Season 3 comes to Amazon Prime Video on the 17th of February with episodes released weekly.
The Mandalorian – Season 3
The Mandalorian is back, and you know what that means? Baby Yoda (aka, the child, aka Grogu) is back too. Season three looks like it’s going to focus on Din Djarin’s quest to redeem himself in the eyes of his particular sect of Mandalorians. Overall, this looks to be the season that will feature other Mandalorians much more heavily than before. We even take a trip to the Mandalorian home planet of Mandalor. There will still be fighting and battles with starfighters, but overall, it’s great to spend some time with Din and Grogu whom we haven’t seen since their appearance in some excellent episodes of the otherwise lackluster “Book of Boba Fett” series.
The first episode of season 3 arrives on Disney plus on the 1st of March
The first season of Yellowjackets first aired n Sky/Now in the UK, but now, its sophomore effort is debuting on Paramount+. Yellowjackets take a dual timeline approach to telling the story of a girl’s high school soccer team whose plane crashes in the wilderness. It cuts between their struggle to survive the aftermath of the crash back in the 90s and their lives today, which aren’t exactly unfraught either.
The first series was highly critically acclaimed so season 2 looks to be promising. You can catch it on Paramount + from the 24th of March
Succession – Season 4
The award-winning show from writer Jesse Armstrong (Peep Show) enters its fourth series. Once more we follow media magnate, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his clan as a scheme to succeed Logan as head of global media and entertainment conglomerate Waystar RoyCo.
The show has earned awards ranging from BAFTAs to Golden Globes and it’s doubtful that the quality will tail of for its fourth outing.
Succession returns to Sky/Now on the 26th of March
The next part of our examination of everything to look forward to in the first quarter of 2023 continues with a look at some of the most anticipated video games. The pandemic seemed to slow down video game development over the last few years, but the upcoming releases seem to be making up for it with some excellent games arriving in the coming months
Dead Space Remake
You know you’re getting old when they start remaking games you thought didn’t come out that long ago. 2008’s original Dead space was a suspenseful survival horror, with a ghost ship setup that will be familiar to horror fans. You are tasked with embarking on a search and rescue mission on a spaceship that’s gone dark. When you get there, you discover the terrifying fate that has befallen the crew and have to navigate your way through the mayhem in the hope of surviving the experience.
On Twitter, film director, John Carpenter proclaimed that “E.A.’s refurbished DEAD SPACE is exciting and scary. Great game!”. He directed Halloween, The Thing, The Fog, and Prince of Darkness, so he certainly knows a thing or two about creating suspenseful and terrifying horror movies.
The Dead Space Remake came out on the 27th of January and was released on PlayStation 5, Pc, and Xbox Series S/X.
Forespoken sees your character, Alfre “Frey” Holland transported to a fantasy world. You have to use your wits and magic to travel across the open-world environment. It’s received some mixed reviews, but the premise and the gameplay do look interesting and there has been some praise for its parkour-based traversal system.
Forespoken was released on the 24th of January as a PS5 console exclusive, with a PC version also available.
Of all the 2023 video game releases, Hogwarts Legacy may well be the most highly anticipated. Fans of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will finally be able to experience the magic of Hogwarts for themselves as they play a new student at the school. Take part in an adventure in what’s sure to be a gripping tale of magic and mystery
Hogwarts Legacy releases on the 10th of February on PS5, Xbox Series S/X, and PC. PS4 and Xbox Once versions follow on the 4th of April whilst the Nintendo Switch iteration is released on the 25th of July.
PlayStation Virtual Reality 2 (PSVR2)
Virtual Reality is finally starting to gain a foothold with the success of Meta’s Quest 2 headset and Sony is hoping that their second go at VR will also be a hit. Like the original PSVR, and unlike the Meta Quest 2, you’ll be tethered to your console when you play PSVR2 games, but hopefully, the power of the PS5 will help make up for that limitation. PSVR2 will only work with the PS5, however, and the cost for the package is actually going to exceed that of the already expensive £479.99 PS5 at £529.99. The price does include the headset and controllers, but the overall cost of entry being in excess of £1000 might put people off when the Meta Quest can be had for £399.99. In theory, the advanced technology inside the PSVR2 should justify the price, but being the best doesn’t always translate to being the best-selling.
If the price doesn’t give people pause, the launch line-up of games might. There’s a definitely lack of a killer app for the headset with only Horizon Call of the Mountain even vaguely standing out. The rest are ports from other formats or VR retrofits of existing titles.
PSVR2 launches on the 22nd of February for PS5 only, but this might be a wait-and-see purchase for all but the most ardent of PlayStation die-hards.
Resident Evil 4 Remake
Resident Evil 4, the game that initially launched in 2005 as an exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube has since been ported to every format imaginable, from the iPad to the Meta Quest, and is now getting the remake treatment. The previous two entries in the series were also remade with some success, with Resident Evil 2 gaining the most plaudits, and publisher Capcom will be hoping to recreate the same level of success. Whether it can entice people to buy another copy of a game they may well already own remains to be seen. The strength of the last two games was in taking the basic story and mechanics of the predecessors and introducing quality-of-life updates to areas like controls, graphics, and gameplay.
Will it be a success? We’ll find out on the 24th of March when RE4 releases on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, and Xbox Series X/S (but not Xbox One or Switch).
The latest entry in the mainline Forza Motorsport franchise drops the numbers from the title in a way that doesn’t at all create any confusion. Then again what do you expect from a company whose consoles are named, in chronological order, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. If Microsoft could do numbers, this would be the 8th game in the series and it promises to build on the gains of its predecessors by offering an increasingly more photorealistic interpretation of track racing. Unlike its sister games in the Forza Horizon series, you don’t get to roam around an open-world map and are instead confined to set racetracks, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for those focused on more realistic racing.
The launch date isn’t entirely clear, though it’s likely to be released sometime between March and June and will come to Xbox Series S/X and PC. This is another title where the Xbox One is being left behind, due to the increased graphical complexity, so fans of motorsport might want to use this as the impetus for an upgrade to Microsoft’s latest and greatest consoles. Subscribers to Xbox Game Pass, the gaming equivalent of Netflix, can download it as part of their membership from day one.