The Art Of Sci-Fi & Fantasy Films

Back to Art Screenwriting and Filmmaking

In Sci-Fi the story is set in hypothetical futures that are typically technological imaginary worlds of tyranny and chaos: Blade Runner, Minority Report. The Science Fiction film is to society what the horror film is to the person – a tale of catastrophe, a story of our worst nightmares.The Protagonist is an innocent bystander who is victimised by a technological accident or an unnatural phenomenon or another world.The Antagonist may be a scientist or the product of science or nature – the scale of the antagonist is so great (giants ants as an example) that the central character is reminded not only of mortality, but also of humanity. The outcome is often more hopeful. The story line if often plot intensive and presents a specific threat to the natural order – the plot outlines the central character’s response to the threat.

In Fantasy the writer plays with time, space, and the physical, bending and mixing the laws of nature and the supernatural. Imaginary worlds and scenarios are constructed – often with the aid of special effects – to enable the improbable to become possible.Themes within these films include alien life forms, space and time travel, and futuristic technology.The extra realities of Fantasy attract the Action genres but also welcome others such as:The Love Story (Somewhere in Time), Political Drama/ Allegory (Animal Farm), Social Drama (IF…), The Maturation Plot (Alice in Wonderland)

Films Listed Alphabetically

ALIEN COVENANT With this, the sixth installment in the blockbuster series  (screenplay is by John Logan and Dante Harper, from a story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green) , visionary director Ridley Scott edges ever closer toward revealing the mysterious origins of the mother of all aliens, the lethal Xenomorph from the original film.

ARRIVAL When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team are brought together to investigate in Arrival, a provocative science fiction thriller from acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Prisoners).“I had no time to write a screenplay,” says Villeneuve, “and, to be honest, I didn’t know how to crack that short story because it’s very intellectual, in a strong and beautiful way, but from a dramatic point of view it’s a bit difficult to articulate because it’s about process.” Villeneuve left it with the producers, including executive producer and screenwriter Eric Heisserer, who had already been working on an adaptation of the short story from early on in the production process. The screenplay is based upon Ted Chiang’s ‘Story of Your Life.’

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR From Marvel Studios comes the highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War, the third film in the Captain America franchise and the first film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Based on the beloved Marvel comic book series, first published in 1941, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War is directed by Emmy Award-winning directors Anthony and Joe Russo from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.

DOCTOR STRANGE The film is directed by Scott Derrickson, known for “Sinister” and “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” among others. He brings his eye for the supernatural and paranormal to immerse audiences in the worlds of magic and alternate dimensions that define the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest Super Hero. Derrickson co-wrote the screenplay with Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour, Prometheus) and Robert Cargill (Sinister, Sinister 2).

EQUALS  began its journey to the screen with a question that Drake Doremus posed to producer, Michael Pruss: “What will love look like in the future… do you think we could potentially evolve away from the thing that makes us most human?”While Pruss admitted to not knowing what the future held, he told Doremus he “knew a man who has lived in the future.” That man was Nathan Parker, who wrote the critically acclaimed film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones in 2009.

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, whose seven beloved Harry Potter books were adapted into the top-grossing film franchise of all time.  Her script was inspired by the Hogwarts textbook Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, written by her character Newt Scamander.

THE 5TH WAVE Four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated.  Directed by J Blakeson, with a screenplay by Susannah Grant and Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner, the film is based on the novel by Rick Yancey.

FLATLINERS The original Flatliners hit the big screen in 1990.  An extremely stylized and unsettling film, it immediately struck a nerve with audiences.  Now, more than 25 years later, Flatliners returns to the screen in a contemporary reimagining from a screenplay by Ben Ripley and a story by Peter Filardi, and directed by Niels Arden Oplev

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2. Writer-director James Gunn continues the action-packed, irreverent, epic space adventures of Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and his gang of eccentric characters as they patrol and protect the universe, doing mercenary work in the wake of the popularity and fame they garnered from saving Xandar.

THE HUNGER GAMES The blockbuster Hunger Games franchise has taken audiences by storm around the world, grossing more than $2.2 billion at the global box office.

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR The script, by Evan Spiliotopoulos and Craig Mazin, based upon Evan Daugherty’s characters, does just that, telling of Eric’s doomed first—and only—true love, how they were brought together and how they were torn apart.  Nested in this universe, it also serves as an origin story for the Huntsman, who arrived in the first adventure not as a mystery, but fully formed.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE For director Roland Emmerich, Independence Day: Resurgence marks a return to the universe he and co-writer and producer Dean Devlin created two decades ago.  They captured cinematic lightning in a bottle—electrifying audiences around the around the world with drama, action, fun, unforgettable characters, and a presidential speech that’s still quoted today.Screenwriter Nicolas Wright notes that he and writing partner James A. Woods wanted to capture the first film’s “innocent and honest humor and tone as much as possible,” noting that since ID4’s release, many other big studio franchises “have jumped on that kind of humor.  They have a great rhythm—intense action punctuated with humor and then underlined with emotion.”

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER A gorgeously rendered, explosively physical and thoroughly original fantasy adventure, The Last Witch Hunter propels audiences into a complex mythological universe packed with shocking violence, unthinkable treachery and unforgettable characters. Set in a world never before seen by on screen, the story spans over 800 years of one man’s quest to keep at bay an army of vicious supernatural creatures determined to wipe out humanity. Diesel’s favorite character to play in the game was Melkor, a dark elf and witch hunter that was not part of the original game. “I found it in a third-party book called Acheron,” he explains.“The idea of doing an action-fantasy film was always appealing to me. I met with screenwriter Cory Goodman (Priest)  five years ago and we geeked out about Dungeons & Dragons and next thing you know I get this amazing script about a witch hunter.” Goodman –  who co-wrote the screenplay with Matt Sazama & Burk Sharpless –  brought the project to Summit Entertainment and producers Mark Canton and Bernie Goldmann, who recognized its potential as a spectacular action franchise and a vehicle for Diesel.

LIFE Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick (Written by) have been partners since 2001. They came up with an idea for a completely original alien creature in Life,  a terrifying sci-fi thriller about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form that could have caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.

MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE Published in October 2009, James Dashner’s novel The Maze Runner was the first in the best-selling post-apocalyptic YA book series, and became a New York Times Best Seller that captured the imaginations of readers around the world, who described it as a combination of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and the legendary television series Lost, and broke box-office records when it exploded on the big screen. The books’ legions of fans embraced The Maze Runner, which grossed more than $340 million worldwide. Reflecting on the story’s appeal, Dashner notes that much of it stems from the “constant state of not being able to predict what’s going to happen next.  I wanted my readers, and now the moviegoing audience, to feel like Thomas when they enter the Glade.”

MAX STEEL is the highly anticipated live action origin story of Max Steel, based on the popular Mattel franchise property of the same name, was written by Marvel vet Christopher L. Yost (Thor: the Dark World, Thor 3) and was directed by award-winning director Stewart Hendler (Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, H+).This live action feature-length origin story combines identifiable characters, familiar terrestrial settings and innovative use of technology to create a realistic re-interpretation of the traditional superhero film.

PAN With author J.M. Barrie’s classic tale as the primary inspiration behind the story, director Joe Wright says he embraced the author’s “sense of strangeness. It’s a very odd book. It doesn’t underestimate children’s intelligence; there are no ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies,’ everyone is flawed, even Peter. I loved the duplicity of all the characters.”

PASSENGERS  This exciting action-thriller about two strangers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early was a story that has attracted Hollywood for many years; writer Jon Spaihts’ script has landed on the “Black List” of the industry’s best unproduced screenplays.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters), the story is by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, and the screenplay is by Chris Weitz (About A Boy, The Golden Compass) and Tony Gilroy  (The Bourne series and Michael Clayton).

STAR TREK BEYOND , the highly anticipated next installment in the globally popular Star Trek franchise, created by Gene Roddenberry and reintroduced by J.J. Abrams in 2009, returns with director Justin Lin (“The Fast and the Furious” franchise) at the helm of this epic voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise and her intrepid crew, from screenplay by newcomer Doug Jung (Dark Blue, Banshee) and returning cast member turned co-writer, Simon Pegg.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Lucasfilm and visionary director J.J. Abrams join forces to take you back again to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns to the big screen with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers.

THE SUICIDE SQUAD “The Suicide Squad is essentially a team—though a wholly reluctant one—of DC’s Super-Villains,” explains writer/director David Ayer.  “Because who better to defeat one Super-Villain than another or, in this case, a whole gang of Super-Villains?  It was pretty exciting for me because it let me explore a different version of the superhero movie; they’re the absolute flipside of heroes.”

THOR RAGNAROK In 1962, the now-legendary duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced “The Mighty Thor” to readers of Marvel Comics, unleashing a new era of action-adventure with their conception of the hammer-wielding Norse god, who debuted in the sci-fi anthology “Journey Into Mystery,” #83 in August of that year.Despite the Nordic-sounding names, the story was rooted in familiar, universal conflicts that have driven human drama since the beginning of time. To this day, 55 years later, Marvel Comics continues publishing new adventures depicting the God of Thunder, the most recent being 2016’s “The Unworthy Thor” from writer Jason Aaron and artist Olivier Coipel. The newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Thor” franchise, Thor Ragnarok, continues the lineage of epic adventures chronicled in the franchise’s two prior big screen successes: 2011’s “Thor” and 2013’s “Thor: The Dark World,” which, collectively, earned over $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office.

TOMORROWLAND Tomorrowland was created by Walt Disney as a section of Disneyland in 1955. It was a time when Americans imagined an optimistic future. Over the years since, the public’s view of the future grew dark. Comments the film’s director, Brad Bird, “Any time that there is an empty canvas, there are two ways to look at it; one is emptiness and the other one is wide open to possibility. And that’s how I like to look at the future—wide open to possibility.  It is a view that has fallen out of favor in terms of looking at the future.” This shift in thinking also intrigued writer/producer Damon Lindelof, so when he began to synthesize the story for “Tomorrowland, A World Beyond,” he looked for what Tomorrowland meant and how it could be represented in a storyline. “I really wanted to recapture that earlier optimism,” comments Lindelof.

UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS The fifth installment in the hugely successful series, Underworld: Blood Wars celebrates a return to the brooding aesthetic introduced in the original 2002 hit Underworld, directed by Anna Foerster (Outlander, Criminal Minds) from a screenplay by Cory Goodman (The Last Witch Hunter, Priest), story by Kyle Ward and Goodman, based on characters created by Kevin Grevioux and Len Wiseman & Danny McBride.

VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS Based on the groundbreaking comic book series that inspired a generation of artists, writers and filmmakers comes the visually spectacular new adventure film from Luc Besson, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a vision a lifetime in the making.

WARCRAFT Since its inception, more than 100 million players have experienced the dazzling and compelling mythology that is the global phenomenon known as World of Warcraft. Now, Warcraft, an epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based on Blizzard Entertainment’s global phenomenon hits the big screen under direction of Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and written by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond) and Jones.