Several movie franchises are coming to an end (sorta) in 2019. Nothing ever really ends in Hollywood, of course, and studios have become increasingly reliant on reboots of established IPs and brands in recent years especially. Nevertheless, 2019 is shaping up to be a big year for hit properties either calling it a day for real (again, sans a reboot down the line) or reaching an important turning point that commemorates the end of an era... and a fresh start for the franchise at large.
It's worth noting, however, that our rundown doesn't include conclusions to two-part adaptations (see IT: Chapter Two) or what may or may not be the last movie sequels in a franchise (Zombieland 2, Frozen 2, and so on). That also goes for releases like M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, which the filmmaker has indicated could be the final installment in his Unbreakable/Split universe... but could also end up being the start of something even bigger, depending on how things play out. With that in mind, let's dive into all the big-name franchise that are "ending" next year.
- This Page: Dragons, Avengers & John Wick
- Page 2: X-Men, Toy Story & Star Wars
How to Train Your Dragon
The first How to Train Your Dragon movie came out in 2010 and has since spawned a movie sequel, a TV series (DreamWorks Dragons), and next year's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. However, lest anyone think there could be additional spinoffs and/or sequels down the line, series director Dean DeBlois has confirmed that won't be the case. Back in September, the filmmaker told EW The Hidden World will wrap up both the How to Train Your Dragon movie franchise and TV series; as he explained, "You will understand why Hiccup says, as you heard in the trailer, ‘There were dragons when I was a boy.’ And by the end of this film, you’ll have answered the question [of] what could have happened to them.”
The Hidden World trailer footage has confirmed as much and even features an older (and bearded) Hiccup from one of the film's flash-forwards. It only makes sense for DeBlois to call it a day now, too. Hiccup's coming of age journey was always going to be a story with a clear ending and continuing the movies past this point would only risk undergoing the emotional impact of Hiccup bidding farewell to Toothless in The Hidden World (however their parting of ways plays out). That's not to say DreamWorks Animation won't try and revisit the brand down the line (they're already rebooting Shrek, after all), but as far as DeBlois is concerned, this really is the end of the line.
Yes, Marvel Studios is kinda lying about Avengers: Endgame being the, well, end for Earth's Mightiest Heroes - but at the same time, they're not. The film is not only a conclusion to Avenger: Infinity War's dismal cliffhanger ending, but also the original Avengers' stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the MCU's third phase in general. Life in the MCU will certainly be different after Endgame and, as far as we know, actors like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth will permanently step away from the franchise after this movie. At the very least, a new generation of MCU actors will be leading the charge in Phase 4.
Question is 1) What will happen to the original Avengers in Endgame and 2) Who will lead Earth's Mightiest Heroes next? Fans have plenty of theories about the former question, with death or retirement from the superhero game being the obvious answers. As for the latter query: Phase 3 MCU additions Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) are all expected to become Avengers in Phase 4, and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) may yet join them, by the sound of it. Either way, the Avengers will look pretty different when they assemble again post-Endgame.
The John Wick franchise kicked off in 2014 and has quickly become the gold standard for American action filmmaking since then. There are also plans in motion for a TV spinoff called The Continental, which Starz green-lit at the start of the year. However, as far as the movies go, John Wick 3: Parabellum aims to bring Mr. Wick's (very) bloody and violent odyssey on the big screen to an end. Series director Chad Stahelski confirmed as much all the way back in June 2017, when he said the third film will explore John's backstory and reveal "where he wants to go... it will be a nice completion to Mr. Wick's journey".
Much like the Avengers in Endgame, there's no guarantee John will make it out of Parabellum alive. John Wick: Chapter Two ended with John being excommunicated from The Continental and on the run with every professional killer in New York on his tail - which is to say, the odds aren't exactly stacked in his favor, when it comes to him surviving the third and final movie. Still, based on what Stahelski said, the final John Wick film will be about much more than just John (and his puppy) trying to make it out of NY alive. It's an interesting question, really: after everything he's lost, what does John want now, if not a premature death?
Next Page: X-Men, Toy Story, and Star Wars
Things are about to change in a big way for Fox's X-Men movies. One Disney finalizes its purchase of Fox, Marvel Studios will be able to incorporate the mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in whatever way theye deem fit. However, before that happens, next year's X-Men: Dark Phoenix will continue the story from the X-Men prequel trilogy (First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse) and, presumably, bring things to a satisfying conclusion. That's the general expectation since, in all likelihood, Marvel Studios plans to reboot the X-Men franchise once it has the film rights back.
It's been theorized for months now that Dark Phoenix's reshoots last summer even made it a proper conclusion to Fox's X-Men movies, as opposed to another fresh start for the franchise as (seemingly) originally intended. Fox still has The New Mutants spinoff slated to arrive in 2019 and has yet to officially give up on the indefinitely-delayed Channing Tatum Gambit movie, but - as far as anyone can tell - the studio's current crop of X-Men actors are set to finish their run with Dark Phoenix. Heck, the movie's trailer even includes a cover of The Doors' song "The End", in case anyone still believes Dark Phoenix isn't going to be... well, the end (of an era).
Toy Story 3 was supposed to be the end of the Toy Story movies back in 2010 - and yet, less than a decade later, here we are, waiting for Toy Story 4 to hit theaters. However, it's worth pointing out that Toy Story 4 isn't being presented as a new beginning for the franchise. Rather, longtime Toy Story voice actors Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have both described their experience working on the film as being very emotional, especially when it comes to the last few scenes in the movie. That is to say: it certainly doesn't sound like the fourth Toy Story adventure is meant to kick-off a whole new series of films (or leave the door wide open for sequels).
Still, Pixar fans have been here before, so you're forgiven if you're wary of treating Toy Story 4 as "the end" of the Toy Story franchise. The brand has technically come back to life once already; namely, via the direct-to-TV Toy Story specials that've released since Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang bid farewell to their original owner Andy in Toy Story 3. Toy Story 4 is nevertheless shaping up to be another emotional reunion with/goodbye to the beloved Toy Story characters, so here's hoping it packs anywhere near as strong an emotional punch as Toy Story 3 before it.
Star Wars has been around for more than forty years and, in that time, it's never really gone away. Case in point: there are already multiple live-action Star Wars TV series being developed to continue the saga onward after Star Wars: Episode 9 comes out next year. All the same, Lucasfilm has confirmed that Episode 9 is "the final installment of the Skywalker saga" and will bring the stories of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Ben "Kylo Ren" Skywalker to a fitting conclusion. It will also be the final movie to feature Carrie Fisher as Leia, following her passing in late 2016.
Point being, Episode 9 is the end of the story that George Lucas began when he introduced audiences to a galaxy far, far away, all the way back in 1977. It's also the finale to the trilogy that Episode 9 writer/director J.J. Abrams started with The Force Awakens back in 2015. The film should be a pretty emotional affair for fans, all things considered, but will (hopefully) provide them with a sense of closure in the process. As for the larger Star Wars brand: Lucasfilm hasn't announced their future plans just yet, but things are clearly going to be different in the franchise moving forward.
How to Train Your Dragon 3Release Date:2019-02-22
The Avengers 4Release Date:2019-04-26
John Wick: Chapter 3 - ParabellumRelease Date:2019-05-17
X-Men: Dark PhoenixRelease Date:2019-06-07
Toy Story 4Release Date:2019-06-21
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of SkywalkerRelease Date:2019-12-20