Ten characters to watch in 2013

Green Arrow and Superman

If there is a constant as we look ahead to movie franchises and other entertainment properties in 2013, it is the sequel, spin-off, and remake.  We’re sure someone will provide new content and stories for us for movies and TV from entirely new characters and worlds in 2013, but just take a look at the 24 biggest genre movies coming out next year and it is obvious that Hollywood is following the “tried and true” model of investing in current properties rather than investing money in “the new”.

So with that in mind, what are the big characters to watch out for next year–the characters we already know that seem like they can only get bigger?

Chris Pine as Jack Ryan

10.  Jack Ryan.  Back in the 1980s and 1990s it seemed like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan was everywhere, first with Alec Baldwin taking on the role in The Hunt for Red October, then mega-star Harrison Ford in two sequels, followed by a big break and then Ben Affleck in the prequel Sum of All Fears.  With Star Trek star Chris Pine bringing us yet another prequel effort next December, we think a wide audience will come back again to see what this CIA agent has been up to.

Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine

9.  Wolverine.  I’ve always thought Wolverine should be Marvel Comics’ key property.  Spider-man always relied on Peter Parker (well, until recently) who seemed pretty planted in the psyche of the past.  The Avengers seemed too cartoony with characters with too little in common to really be a huge property (happily I was wrong!).  But Wolverine has a certain modern grittiness that readers, especially young readers, would seem to really attach to.  Audiences seem to like Hugh Jackman’s take on the character and his incredible fifth outing as Logan/Wolverine in July, titled The Wolverine should tell us if this will be the end of a big-screen Wolverine for a while or whether he will only get bigger.

Jim Lee Superman

8.  Superman.  With the mega-budget The Man of Steel coming to theaters next June, the movie will no doubt be accompanied by a big push from DC Comics in its publishing and toy divisions.  Whether or not the movie is successful, as with Superman Returns, we are likely to see yet another renewed interest in Superman across the globe.

Esad Ribic Thor commission

7.  Thor.  Marvel Comics is only in its first issues of a great new Thor comic book series, but with next November’s release of the second standalone Thor movie, Thor–The Dark World, the character will have to prove it has what it takes to continue as a major headliner on the big screen.  We’re hoping for less theatrics in the new film and more of the fantasy that has made fans come back for more over the years with Thor in comic book form.

Bruce Willis Die Hard Year One Howard Chaykin

6.   John McClane.  At some point Bruce Willis is just going to run out of steam.  Yet we saw Clint Eastwood continue what seemed like forever with Dirty Harry sequels, so why not more Die Hard movies?  The fifth entry in the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, is coming to theaters on Valentine’s Day.  Hopefully Willis will deliver a performance worthy of this popular tough cop.

Star Trek animated bridge crew

5.  The crew of the starship Enterprise.  JJ Abrams has certainly recharged audiences’ desire to come back yet again to the Star Trek pantheon of classic characters with 2009’s Star Trek.  Abrams carefully concocted marketing release timing and box of secrets as to story and even villains further only adds to the intrigue.  In May, with Star Trek Into Darkness we’ll either see yet again why this franchise continues to be so successful, or we’ll get the return of the “every other film” success (or lack thereof) so many franchises seem to go through.

G.I. Joe classic action figure

4.   G.I. Joe.  Hasbro’s classic action figure property seems like it will always provide new toys for kids now and tomorrow.  But has it really had the energy the franchise had back with the 1980s animated series and mini-action figures?  We think adding Bruce Willis as Joe Colton to the big budget movie sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation coming in March might be just enough to re-ignite interest in this popular, classic soldier.

Downey as Iron Man

3.  Iron Man.  Who knew Iron Man would be the most successful character in the Marvel Comics toybox?  Apparently Robert Downey, Jr., whose Tony Stark now is THE Iron Man thanks to the first movie with Iron Man as solo lead back in 2008.  Although the second standalone Iron Man film was pretty lackluster, Downey’s performance and his character in this year’s mega-hit The Avengers is sure to bring audiences to the theater for Iron Man 3 next May.

ESB Falcon crew

2.  The original Star Wars crew.  In a few days we at borg.com will be previewing a new comic book series from Dark Horse Comics, who currently has the comic book rights to Star Wars, and who has consistently given Star Wars fans what they want when it comes to stories of the Old Republic and beyond.  But what Dark Horse has in store for us in 2013 hasn’t been seen since its brilliant Dark Empire series that premiered more than 20 years ago.  And even though you might think Disney will take its time with its first new Star Wars project, we wouldn’t be surprised if we see some other Star Wars projects released from Disney by end of 2013.

Green Arrow Michael Golden

1.  Green Arrow.  Green Arrow as the #1 character to watch in 2013?  Three reasons to stay involved with the world of Oliver Queen:  (1) The CW Network TV series Arrow is finally the first comic book-based series to combine both superhero action and drama that will appeal to all audiences.  With two dozen additional DC Comics characters going in and out of the story line you’ll be missing out if you don’t watch this series.  (2)  DC Comics’ New 52 oddly omitted Oliver Queen from the Justice League.  In 2013 a new Justice League–The Justice League of America–will include Green Arrow in his rightful place.  (3)  The ongoing comic book series Green Arrow has had trouble finding its footing over the past 15 months.  The decision to put fan favorite writer for Animal Man, Jeff Lemire, on the Green Arrow title shows DC Comics’ editors know Green Arrow is poised to break out in 2013.  If Lemire hits the right marks he could bring Green Arrow to the forefront of the DC Universe.

Agree?  Disagree?  What characters do you think will be big in 2013?

C.J. Bunce

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