It will be the year that sees the return of Tarantino and Scorsese, a Disney classic remade and the conclusion of the new Star Wars trilogy.

Here are the films we are most looking forward to in 2019...

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

Provisional release date: February 6

Celebrated director Robert Rodriguez’s films are known for being slick and inventive so that makes him a great fit for Alita.

The story began life as a cyberpunk manga series and the rights were snapped up by Titanic and The Terminator’s James Cameron for an ambitious CGI movie with effects comparable to Avatar. It is set in the post-apocalyptic future and focuses on Alita, a cyborg who has lost all her memories and is found in a rubbish heap by a cybernetics doctor who rebuilds and takes care of her.

The story traces Alita’s attempts to rediscover her past and reflects on the question of what it is to be human.

But you can also expect plenty of special effects and sci-fi action. These kinds of stories are always a bit risky with the execution not always living up to the grand premise.

But with the great minds of Cameron and Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City) this has got a fighting chance of being more than the sum of its robotic parts.

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SERENITY

Provisional release date: March 1

With the huge success of Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders, there is bound to be a lot of interest in his next project, Serenity.

But the story, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, is actually just his third time as a film director as he is better known as a screenwriter.

After 2014’s little known but widely acclaimed Locke, with Tom Hardy, Serenity is expected to finally boost Knight’s standing behind the camera.

Described as a neo-noir thriller and adapted from Knight’s own script, it is about a mysterious fishing boat captain whose quiet life is shattered when his ex-wife tracks him down with a desperate plea.

Any Peaky Blinders fan will know how engaging and immersive Knight’s stories are and McConaughey has been on a roll recently with numerous critically acclaimed performances so it should be the perfect combination.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Provisional release date: April 26

The Russo brothers let fans know from the outset that none of their heroes were safe in the cataclysmic events of Avengers: Infinity War and they weren’t kidding around.

Thanks to the all-powerful ‘Infinity Stones’, arch villain Thanos has fulfilled his plan to destroy half of all life in the universe – including many of the Avengers’ super-powered buddies.

Now, with the stakes firmly against Iron Man, Captain America and Thor and co, we finally get to see what happens next.

Will they reverse the fate of the universe and how it alter the Marvel world going forward?

Expect a huge special effects extravaganza but also an emotional conclusion to a decade’s worth of connected stories.

What adds poignancy to Endgame is comic book legend Stan Lee’s recent death. It’s great to see his vision brought to the screen in spectacular fashion.

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TOY STORY 4

Provisional release date: June 21

With Andy leaving for college, we all thought that Toy Story’s tale has concluded with the bittersweet third instalment in 2010 which left grown men and women in tears.

Lots of us have grown up with the Toy Story films and Disney Pixar showed us in a unique way – and with great emotion and wit – how things change with the passage of time.

But Buzz and Woody are back next year in a story described as a ‘new beginning’.

Little is known about the animated adventure at this stage but we do know it features a confused spork who has been the subject of much talk on social media.

‘Forky’ (Tony Hale) has been turned into a toy and as a result feels totally out of place.

All the original gang will be returning too and comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele will also voice two new characters called Ducky and Bunny while Keanu Reeves has confirmed he has been cast in a mystery role.

Let’s just hope it has the charm, childhood nostalgia and emotional impact of the first three movies.

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SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Provisional release date: July 5

Having everyone’s favourite friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man join the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU) was one of the best things to happen in the world of comic book films

After years of legal wrangling between Sony and Disney and a troubling series of reboots which led to a creative black hole, the MCU version of Spider-Man was introduced to much fanfare in Captain America: Civil War.

The web-slinger’s first standalone film for the MCU was just as fun.

Tom Holland was excellent as the eager, young quipping crime fighter under the guidance of Iron Man (Robert Downey Junior) in Homecoming.

And so there are high hopes sequel Far From Home will be just as strong with Jon Watts returning to the director’s chair and the introduction of Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

THE LION KING

Provisional release date: July 19

Can we possibly relive Scar’s heartbreaking betrayal all over again in the CGI reimagining of the 1991 Disney classic?

For kids and big kids alike, The Lion King is an ultimate favourite for many from Disney’s vast output.

The music, the characters, the drama of the story and the message it carried about ‘the circle of life’, it was all there.

So no doubt families will turn out in their droves to see Simba, Mufasa, Pumbaa and Timon once again.

It is directed by Jon Favreau who was behind The Jungle Book reimagining so hopefully it is in safe hands.

The only snag is The Lion King is one of a number of live action remakes that Disney is releasing in 2019.

Aladdin and Dumbo are also on the way so there is a chance we might get bored of the same stories being trotted out – but knowing Disney probably not.

The movie will also see 87-year-old James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa which is an extra bonus. Hakuna matata.

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Provisional release date: July 26

Quentin Tarantino movies always arrive with a lot of excitement.

His whole career has been an uncompromising series of genre defining – and defying – films best known for their ultra-stylised direction and roll-off-the-tongue dialogue.

In 2019 Tarantino is following up The Hateful Eight with Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.

It is is set in 1969 Los Angeles around the time of the Manson Family murders so will no doubt be as troubling as it is compulsive viewing.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt play a TV actor and his stunt double respectively who embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry.

It will centre around the real life murder of Sharon Tate, a pregnant actress who was married to director Roman Polanski.

In the movie she will be played The Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad’s Margot Robbie.

And you can also expect some of the biggest names of that era of Hollywood to be represented such as Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis), Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) and Polanski (Rafał Zawierucha).

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IT: CHAPTER TWO

Provisional release date: September 6

Stephen King’s horror classic has given readers nightmares for decades and is probably largely responsible for our fear of clowns.

The new film adaptations of the story have been well timed thanks to the success of the 80s supernatural thriller, Stranger Things.

And Argentine director Andy Muschietti definitely taps into that vein with the young protagonists in the creepy, terrifying Chapter One.

Chapter Two will switch things up a bit by moving the story forward 27 years to portray the adult version of ‘The Losers Club’.

Bill Skarsgård is exceptional as Pennywise the Clown, who can go from mischievous to terrifying with just a slight adjustment of his glare, and if Chapter Two is anywhere near as tense as scary as the first film then horror fans are in for a treat/ordeal.

STAR WARS EPISODE IX

Provisional release date: December 19

The Last Jedi polarised fans and the Han Solo spin-off flopped at the box office so that has led to an element of doubt surrounding the as yet untitled Star Wars Episode IX.

Can this final part of the ‘sequel trilogy’ rectify public sentiment?

Hopefully because the movie sees J.J. Abrams return to the director’s chair after helming the more widely acclaimed The Force Awakens.

It’s difficult to work out where Abrams will go with this one because a lot of the bigger story elements he was working on – arch villain Snoke and Rey’s parentage – were snubbed out by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

But that blank slate arguably makes it more exciting, especially with the rulebook for previous Star Wars films pretty much thrown out of the window at this point.

Two directors with very different visions have both helmed this trilogy for better or worse and things can be learnt from that.

Hopefully Episode IX will surprise fans or at the very least offer some kind of conclusion to Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren’s stories.

THE IRISHMAN

Provisional release date: Unknown

Martin Scorsese fans are in for an absolute treat as The Irishman will see the celebrated filmmaker bring together Robert De Niro and Al Pacino and also reunite with some of the key collaborators of his earlier films including Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel.

With this stellar cast, Scorsese will also be working to his strengths with a crime film based on a real Mafia crime family.

De Niro will play Frank Sheeran, the labour union official who allegedly killed labour union leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).

It is a true story as portrayed in Charles Brandt’s I Heard You Paint Houses with both men thought to have connections with the Bufalino crime family.

Scorsese describes it as a passion project he has wanted to commit to the screens for many years and if we have another Goodfellas or Casino on our hands fans are going to be very happy.

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