If you’re a fan of franchise movies and genre shows, you probably have one, two or all of these dates circled on the calendar. Here are all the sci-fi, fantasy and comics-based films and television shows set to debut this summer.
At the movies
“Alien: Covenant,” May 19. Director Ridley Scott helms another film in the science-fiction franchise he helped create in 1979. The sixth film follows the events of 2012’s “Prometheus” and takes place before “Alien.” It may sound confusing, but the basics of the series are the same: spaceship crew discovers hostile alien race, mayhem ensues.
“Wonder Woman,” June 2. There hasn’t been a female-led franchise film since the beginning of the latest superhero boom that began with “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight” in 2008. That changes with “Wonder Woman,” as Gal Gadot stars as the Amazonian warrior princess in her first feature film. Fans everywhere have their fingers crossed that the film avoids the mixed response recent DC movies like “Batman v. Superman” and “Suicide Squad” received.
“Spider-Man: Homecoming,” July 7. Sony reboots the franchise again, hoping the secret to mega success is inserting Spidey into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland, who debuted in last year’s “Captain America: Civil War,” returns as Peter Parker and his alter ego. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and Michael Keaton’s Vulture are also in on the fun.
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” July 14. Thanks to smart scripts, great effects and killer action, the films in the revived “Planet of the Apes” franchise have been summer sleepers. The third installment of the new series sees simian leader Caesar wage war on what remains of mankind.
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” July 21. Twenty years after “The Fifth Element” became a sci-fi cult classic, director Luc Besson looks to the future again with a tale about two space agents on a mission to discover the secret of the Alpha system. The film is based on the popular French comic series.
Television and streaming
“Twin Peaks,” premieres May 21 on Showtime. After 26 years, the critically acclaimed cult television series by David Lynch and Mark Frost returns with an 18-episode run on Showtime. Virtually nothing is known about the new season besides most of the original cast returning with a few notable additions like Naomi Watts and Laura Dern. For more Lynch fun, visit the North Park Theatre starting May 19 for "Lynchfest" featuring special screenings of “Eraserhead,” “Wild at Heart,” “Lost Highway” and the new documentary about the director, “The Art Life.”
“Fear the Walking Dead,” new season starts June 4 on AMC. The spinoff show from AMC’s popular “Walking Dead” series begins its 16-episode third season.
“Preacher,” new season starts June 29 on AMC. Based on DC Comics’ Vertigo series, “Preacher” returns for a 13-episode second season on AMC.
“Game of Thrones,” new season starts July 16 on HBO. The popular HBO fantasy series returns for its seven episode seventh season. Like the sixth season, the television series will continue to move ahead of George R.R. Martin’s yet-to-be published book sequels, “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring.”
“Marvel’s The Defenders,” premieres Aug. 18 on Netflix. After two years, Marvel’s Netflix heroes (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist) finally join together as a street-level super team in New York City. Sigourney Weaver is set to play the villain in the eight-episode Netflix series.
Story topics: alien: covenant/ Fear the Walking Dead/ Game of Thrones/ Mark Ciemcioch/ preacher/ spider-man: homecoming/ the defenders/ twin peaks/ valerian and the city of a thousand planets/ war for the planet of the apes/ wonder woman