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To summer and beyond! 22 films Roeper can’t wait to see in 2022

The year brings a new Batman, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Black Panther’ sequels and the story behind Buzz Lightyear.

“Lightyear,” opening June 17, imagines the figure from “Toy Story” was based on a real human.
PIXAR

We have multiple flags on the play.

False start, “Top Gun Maverick,” two-year penalty, third down.

Holding on “Mission: Impossible 7” and “Death on the Nile,” repeat first down.

The “Top Gun” sequel originally was scheduled for a July 2019 release but has been delayed multiple times, first in order to work out some production kinks and then due to the pandemic. Another Tom Cruise juggernaut, “Mission: Impossible 7,” has been pushed back twice, while “Death on the Nile” has been put on hold on multiple occasions due to COVID and an ugly controversy involving star Armie Hammer.

All three movies are now scheduled for a 2022 release, as are the following titles — 22 films I’m keenly anticipating this year.

“Scream” (Jan. 14): Some 26 years after the original delivered fantastic meta-thrills, cast members Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette return in a sequel that takes place a quarter-century later. It’s always a tricky thing when a franchise is rebooted after so many years (as evidenced by “Matrix: Resurrections”) but here’s hoping Ghostface and the gang still have some life — and gruesome death — left.

“Kimi” (Feb. 10): You might not think you want to see another pandemic-set thriller and I’d be inclined to agree — unless the director is the prolific Steven Soderbergh and the writer-producer is David Koepp (“Jurassic Park,” “Mission: Impossible”) and the premise has Zoe Kravitz playing an agoraphobic tech worker who uncovers evidence of a violent crime and has to venture into the outside world. Sounds like a feature-length episode of a modern-day “Twilight Zone.”

“Uncharted” (Feb. 18): Tom Holland, fresh off that Spidey movie, stars as the Indiana Jones-like treasure hunter Nathan Drake in this adaptation of the hugely popular video game.

Robert Pattinson puts on the cowl for “The Batman,” opening March 4.
Warner Bros.

“The Batman” (March 4): By now we’ve come to accept there will always be another Spider-Man, another Superman, another Batman — and this time around, the greatly talented Robert Pattinson follows in the footsteps of Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, et al., in what appears to be a gritty, grounded and dark telling of the Batman tale in his early years.

A girl finds she has turned into a giant panda in ‘Turning Red,” out March 11.
PIXAR

“Turning Red” (March 11): I love the premise of this Pixar film: A 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl transforms into a giant red panda whenever she gets stressed out. We’ve all been there!

It’s a jungle out there for Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in “The Lost City,” opening March 25.
Paramount Pictures

“The Lost City” (March 25): This looks like a 1980s-era adventure film on the order of “Romancing the Stone,” as Sandra Bullock plays a romance novelist and Channing Tatum is the cover model for her latest book — and they get swept up in a jungle-based adventure. Expect lots of quipping in this movie. I’m sure there will be quipping. And banter as well.

“Morbius” (April 1): FINALLY, an opportunity for Jared Leto to undergo a drastic physical transformation to the point where he could be unrecognizable! This MCU film stars Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius, who undergoes the obligatory experimental process (When does that ever work in the movies??) and winds up afflicted with a kind of super-vampirism that gives him the usual vampire strengths but none of those old-movie vulnerabilities.

Well, THAT sounds like trouble.

Nicolas Cage (right) meets a superfan (Pedro Pascal) in “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent.”
Lionsgate

“The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” (April 22): Speaking of high concept madness: Nicolas Cage plays Nicolas Cage, who is feeling restless and facing financial problems and accepts a $1 million offer to attend the birthday party of a superfan. Then things get REALLY weird, as Cage has to channel some of his best-known characters while on a super-secret mission.

Hey. I’d much rather see this than another “Ghost Rider” movie.

“Lightyear” (June 17): Did you know the Buzz Lightyear toy was based on a “real” character? “Lightyear” tells the origin story of the human character Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Chris Evans), a talented young test pilot, before he went to Infinity and Beyond.

“Elvis” (June 24): From Kurt Russell to Michael Shannon to Harvey Keitel to Val Kilmer to Jonathan Rhys Meyers, there have been nearly as many Elvis Presleys as Batmen on TV and in the movies — and this time around, Austin Butler (who deserved Oscar consideration for his supporting turn as Tex Watson in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) plays Elvis in this musical from Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”). With Tom Hanks as Col. Tom Parker.

“Bullet Train” (July 15): Action pro David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde,” “Deadpool 2”) directs a fantastic cast including Brad Pitt, Joey King, Andrew Koji, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Michael Shannon, Bad Bunny and Sandra Bullock in one of those ultra-high-concept deals, i.e., five assassins find themselves on a Japanese bullet train at the same time. That sound you just heard was Quentin Tarantino exclaiming, “Why didn’t I think of that!”

“Nope” (July 22): We know very little about this horror film from the brilliant Jordan Peele (“Get Out,” “Us”), other than it stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun — and wouldn’t it be great if we continued to know very little until the film hit theaters, so we can experience the thrills and twists without massive spoilers on the Internet?

Dwayne Johnson works on the “Black Adam” movie, expected July 29.
Warner Bros.

“Black Adam” (July 29): I guess Dwayne Johnson was tired of starring in small-budget indie type films, so he’s looking to break into the blockbuster business as Teth-Adam/Black Adam, a DC Comics anti-hero. Good luck, big fella!

“Ticket to Paradise” (Oct. 21): Who’s up for an old-fashioned, multi-generation rom-com reuniting “Oceans” couple George Clooney and Julia Roberts? Kaitlyn Dever plays their daughter, who impulsively decides to get married in Bali. Not if divorced mom and dad have anything to say about it! Don’t make the same mistake they made 25 years ago!

Hijinks, go ahead and ensue.

Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia (pictured in “Black Panther” in 2018) will be out front in the sequel, due Nov. 11.
Marvel Studios

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Nov. 11): Rather than recast the role of T’Challa/Black Panther after the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, director/co-writer Ryan Coogler and the Marvel team are choosing to focus on supporting players from the Wakanda universe, including Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia, Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Angela Bassett’s Ramonda, among others. Controversy has swirled over Letitia Wright’s refusal to get vaccinated, but Wright is still onboard to play Shuri.

“She Said” (Nov. 18): Talk about a fast turnaround: In 2019, New York Times reporters Jodie Kantor and Megan Twohey wrote “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement,” which detailed their investigations into criminal sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein and others, and less than three years later there’s a prestige adaptation, with Zoe Kazan as Kantor and Carey Mulligan as Twohey.

The characters voiced by Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana (pictured in 2009’s “Avatar”) will return for a sequel Dec. 16.
20th Century Fox

“Avatar 2” (Dec. 16): It’s a weird thing with James Cameron’s groundbreaking “Avatar” from 2009. Feels like everybody saw it, but hardly anybody ever talks about it or wants to re-watch it. (Maybe it’s just me.) In any case, we’re finally getting the second chapter in Cameron’s massively ambitious franchise, with Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana (among others) returning, and it’s highly likely Cameron will deliver something visually stunning and quite possibly like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody” (Dec. 23): Seems like only yesterday when Whitney Houston was starring in “The Bodyguard,” but somehow that was in 1992 and they’re planning a reboot of that movie, and it’s been nine years since Whitney died. (Man. Time.) The greatly talented Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou,” “Harriet”) will direct British Naomi Ackie as Whitney in this musical biopic, with Ashton Sanders as Bobby Brown and Stanley Tucci as Clive Davis.

“Babylon” (Dec. 25): Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie traveled parallel storylines in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” but they’ll share plenty of screen time in another period-piece Tinseltown drama (this one set in the 1920s, during the early years of the Golden Age) combining real-life Hollywood figures with a fictional story. Damien Chazelle (“Whiplash,” “La La Land”) directs, and it’ll be an upset if “Babylon” doesn’t snare multiple Oscar nominations.

“Killers of the Flower Moon,” with Lily Gladstone and Leonardo DiCaprio, is expected sometime in 2022.
Apple TV+

Also on my list are three films with release dates yet to be solidified:

• “The Pale Blue Eye” — Director Scott Cooper reteams with his “Out of the Furnace” and “Hostiles” star Christian Bale in this early 19th century horror film.

• “The Killers of the Flower Moon” — The legendary Martin Scorsese directs and produces this adaptation of the 2017 non-fiction book about the murders of members of the Osage tribe in the 1920s. Scorsese reunites with arguably his two favorite great actors: Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.

• “The Adam Project” — Ryan Reynolds is Adam, who travels back in time to help a younger version of himself, and come on Adam, when has that ever worked out smoothly in the movies? Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana, Mark Ruffalo and Catherine Keener co-star.