Especially in tumultuous times, people love the comfort of familiar stories, faces and places. Episodic storytelling remains hugely popular, whether those stories are told in the pages of a book, on television, or in theater. Streaming has made franchises easier to access than ever before, so audiences who missed a first movie or season can pick things up at their convenience. This is useful, especially when some of the originals were created before certain fans were born.
From high society Downton Abbey at Jurassic World’s dinosaurs to The Lord of the RingsMiddle-earth 2022 will see the continuation of more than its fair share of famous franchises. And now is the perfect time to catch up on the books, movies, and shows that came before it. However, this list does not include any CC, Marvel Studios or star wars Properties. As these franchises are perpetually releasing new content, fans can rest assured that many projects are set to release in 2022, some earlier than expected.
Watch Downton Abbey before Downton Abbey: A New Era
For more than a decade, the inhabitants of Downton Abbey, above the stairs and below, captured the hearts of audiences first on Britain’s ITV and then on PBS. This nerd but extremely binge-able period soap opera ran for six seasons and chronicled the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 through World War I and into the Roaring Twenties. Along the way, there have been more scandals, marriage proposals, births, deaths and moments of near ruin than can be counted, which is what makes Downtown so engaging, even for those who don’t usually have a taste for historical dramas. A 2019 feature saw the Royals visit was a bigger hit than expected, leading to the 2022 sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Downton Abbey: A New Era hits theaters on March 18.
Watch Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts Before Dumbledore’s Secrets
The seven books that make up the Harry Potter are among the most beloved and successful pieces of modern culture. The series of eight films they inspired vary in quality, but more or less do the novels justice. And came fantastic beasts, a prequel franchise based on a Hogwarts textbook that is set to span five films. The first payment, fantastic beasts and where to find them, debuted to lackluster reviews, but audiences and critics were largely disappointed with the second, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The prequels have been plagued with bad luck and controversy, but with Jude Law as a young Professor Dumbledore and the story just beginning to take off, there’s hope the third try will be the charm. .
Muggles should start with the books and then skim through the previous ten movies for the best experience. Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets hits theaters on April 15.
Watch the Jurassic Park series ahead of Jurassic World: Dominion
jurassic park started life as a Michael Crichton novel in 1990, but quickly adapted into a now-classic blockbuster movie, directed by Steven Spielberg. The original is as flawless as it is timeless. Suites ? Let’s just say it’s easier to replicate dinosaur DNA than Hollywood magic. Spielberg returned to the helm The lost World, and the trilogy is completed by the notoriously campy (but fun nonetheless) Jurassic Park 3. Colin Trevorrow brought the franchise back to life in 2015 with jurassic world. The fifth entry, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, brought genetically modified beasts to the continent and taken some of the wildest turns to date. Although the series has evolved (not always for the better), the upcoming sixth film Jurassic World: Dominion is sure to remain as popular as the T-Rex.
Jurassic World: Dominion hits theaters on June 10.
Watch the Mission: Impossible series before Mission: Impossible 7
The American version of James Bond is Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise. The wryly smiling star became best known for the Impossible mission the films, which began in 1996 and, like the star, are still going strong. The action franchise sees Cruise pull off some truly deadly stunts as a fearless spy leading the IMF team. Inspired by a 1960s TV series of the same name, the movies are as entertaining as you’d expect and, unlike many series, they get better as they go.
Mission: Impossible 7 hits theaters September 30.
Watch Game of Thrones before House of the Dragon
Perhaps no franchise has had its ups and downs quite like the one started (but not yet finished) by author George RR Martin. His A song of ice and fire the books create a story-adjacent fantasy world to rival Tolkien’s Middle-earth, but are considerably more provocative. They spawned a TV series, game of thrones, which for at least five or six seasons was the best thing television had to offer. Then, show creators David Benioff and DB Weiss ran out of pages to adapt, and the much-theorized and long-awaited conclusion was one of the most derided finales of all time.
Meanwhile, Martin was busy writing a story of the Targaryen family called Fire & Blood. It was picked up by HBO and made into the next prequel series, Dragon House. Although Season 8 left a bad taste in the mouths of fans, the vast majority of game of thrones is still excellent and worth watching. Miguel Sapochnik, who led some thrones‘ most beloved episodes, runs the show now, so there’s reason to believe the franchise will skyrocket even further.
Dragon House is set to premiere in 2022 on HBO Max.
Watch The Lord of the Rings before the Rings of Power
that of Peter Jackson The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on Tolkien’s genre-defining work, is considered by many to be the greatest film trilogy to date. The three movies — The Fellowship of the Ring, The two towers and The king’s return – were simultaneously made in New Zealand, allowing Jackson to keep the tone and production value consistent. A less revered but still enjoyable Hobbit the trilogy came later.
For those looking for a meticulously portrayed fantasy to escape to, it doesn’t get any better than Tolkien’s books or Jackson’s movies. Amazon hopes Middle-earth will translate to the small screen too, with a $250 million TV series set in the Second Age (thousands of years earlier) and filmed in the same now-iconic location of New Zealand.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is set to begin streaming on Prime Video in September 2022.
Watch Rocky & Creed before Creed III
by Sylvester Stallone Rocky topped its weight in 1976, becoming the highest-grossing film that year and earning ten Oscar nominations. The boxing drama was followed by five more sequels each focused on Rocky Balboa. Then, in 2016, Ryan Coogler reinvigorated the franchise by changing the protagonist to Adonis Creed, the son of standout character Apollo Creed, played by Michael B. Jordan. This film was almost as well received as the original, earning critical acclaim, award nominations, and huge box office receipts. Jordan is returning to direct and star in the third installment, which is currently in production.
Creed III is set to arrive in theaters on November 23.
Watch Avatar before Avatar 2
by James Cameron Avatar always fight with Avengers: Endgame for the all-time box office champion… which is kind of funny. The latter was the culmination of over 20 films, while the former was the first in a franchise that technically still hasn’t become one. Avatar has all the markers of invaluable IP: a bioluminescent world that captivated audiences, cool creature designs, a flexible premise, and even its own theme park. But it took over a decade for Cameron to return to Pandora. Fortunately, production on Avatar 2 and 3 (which were also filmed simultaneously in New Zealand) is now complete. The sequels add Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Vin Diesel, Jemaine Clement, and Michelle Yeoh to the cast list.
Avatar 2 The premiere is scheduled to hit theaters on December 16.
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