It's safe to say that 2018 is shaping up to be a very good year for superhero fans. After years of build-up, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe will come together in Avengers: Infinity War, where over two dozen heroes will try to keep Thanos from the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet. With highly-anticipated releases like Black Panther, Aquaman and Deadpool 2, even more fan-favorite characters and fresh faces will be making their big screen debuts. Outside of theaters, upcoming shows like Titans and Black Lightning will shine lights into new corners of your favorite comic book universes.
Now, CBR is taking a look at some of the new superheroes who will be hitting your screens in 2018. In this list, we'll be taking a look at the characters, duos and teams who will be taking on their first starring or major roles in the superhero movies and TV shows that will define 2018. We'll also be looking at some of the surprising heroes who are set to make their live-action debuts in 2018 too. Since we could barely fit all of these superheroes on one list, we won't be including Thanos or any other villains who are set to terrorize our heroes in 2018.
25 BLACK PANTHER
After dazzling audiences in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther is set to leap into his solo debut, Black Panther, in February 2018. Directed by Ryan Coogler, the film will follow T'Challa as he takes on his role as the new king of Wakanda and faces off against foes like Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger.
As the first African superhero in mainstream comics, the Black Panther has played an important symbolic role in the Marvel Universe and the real world. Since he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966's Fantastic Four #52, T'Challa has been an Avenger, one of Marvel's smartest heroes, an influential world leader and the ultimate protector of his hi-tech homeland. Boseman's Panther will appear again a few months later alongside the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, which is set for release in May 2018.
Even though understanding his full backstory requires a Ph.D in X-Men, Cable is still one of Marvel's most popular mutants. After being born to Jean Grey's clone Madelyne Pryor and Cyclops in the present, Nathan Summers grew up in a war-torn future where he honed his powerful telekinetic abilities against his nemesis Apocalypse. Created by Rob Liefeld and Louise Simonson in 1990's New Mutants #87, the time-traveling cybernetic soldier formed the militaristic X-Force and became one of the X-Men's philosophical leaders.
In David Leitch's Deadpool 2, Cable is set to join his longtime partner/rival, Deadpool, on screen in June 2018. Cable will be portrayed by Josh Brolin, who's also playing Thanos in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. While the details of his role are still under wraps, Brolin's four-picture deal could make Cable a major player in the X-Men's ever-changing cinematic future.
After the first few X-Men teams grew up, a new generation of teen mutants came together to form the New Mutants, After debuting in 1982's Marvel Graphic Novel #4, by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, the New Mutants went on to star in their own long-running series and became fixtures in the X-Men's universe. Using her werewolf-like abilities, Rahne Sinclair served as one of that team's signature members, Wolfsbane. After the New Mutant evolved into X-Force, Wolfsbane hopped between X-teams like X-Factor, Excalibur and a later incarnation of X-Force.
The New Mutants' adventures could get surprisingly dark, and director Josh Boone's The New Mutants will bring that mentality to theaters in April 2018. In the superhero horror film, Wolfsbane will be brought to life by Game of Thrones star Masie Williams. Like her comic book counterpart, Rahne will struggle to reconcile her strict religious upbringing with her monstrous powers.
While Zack Snyder's Justice League didn't get the warmest reception in the last months of 2017, Jason Momoa performance as Aquaman was fairly well-received. After Aquaman was created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris in 1941's More Fun Comics #73, the King of Atlantis helped form the Justice League and became one of DC's most important heroes. Despite that, the character has often reduced to a pop culture punchline outside of the comic-reading community.
By emphasizing his role as an undersea barbarian, Momoa's Aquaman is nothing to laugh at in the DC Extended Universe. In December 2018, James Wan's Aquaman is set to give the marine hero his solo cinematic debut. In the film, Aquaman will reportedly struggle to accept his role within Atlantis and battle with Patrick Wilson's Ocean Master and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II's Black Manta.
21 SPIDER-MAN (MILES MORALES)
While Tom Holland's Peter Parker will swing again in Avengers: Infinity War in May 2018, another Spider-Man, Miles Morales, will star in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In the animated feature, Shameik Moore will take on the role of Morales, who was created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli in 2011's Ultimate Fallout #4.
In comics, Morales originally lived in the Ultimate Universe, an alternate reality. After that world's Parker died, Morales was inspired to become a new Spider-Man and had a similar set of spider-powers. After the 2015 crossover Secret Wars, Miles moved over to the main Marvel Universe. Since details about the film's plot are still scarce, it's still unclear how much of this multiverse-spanning origin will be adapted in Morales' cinematic debut. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, the film is due out in December 2018.
20 BLACK LIGHTNING
While the CW Network already airs four live-action shows based on DC Comics characters, it will add a fifth in January 2018 with Black Lightning. In the series, Cress Williams' middle-aged hero Black Lightning will be forced to come out of retirement to battle the 100, a violent local gang. While there are reportedly no plans for the series to connect to the CW's "Arrowverse" shows, the series will feature several other DC characters from Black Lightning's comic book history.
Black Lightning was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden in 1977's Black Lightning #1, and was the first African-American hero to headline his own DC series. Although that title didn't last for long, Jefferson Pierce and his electric powers found a home with Batman's team, the Outsiders, and later on the Justice League of America.
19 CLOAK AND DAGGER
While Cloak and Dagger have never been Marvel's most popular characters, the two young heroes have had a respectable career since their 1982 debut. Created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #64, the two teen runaways got superpowers after the mafia tested experimental drugs on them. Tyrone Johnson received darkness-based teleportation abilities, and Tandy Bowen developed the ability to make daggers out of pure light. Over the course of their short-lived solo series and numerous guest appearances, Cloak and Dagger used abilities to fight street-level crime.
Although a firm premiere date hasn't been announced, Cloak and Dagger is set to bring those teen heroes to the Freeform channel in 2018. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe series, Aubrey Joseph's Cloak and Olivia Holt's Dagger will try to learn how to use their powers while navigating their budding romance.
18 MIRAGE/DANI MOONSTAR
Whether she's called Psyche, Mirage or simply Moonstar, Danielle Moonstar is one of the New Mutants' most important members. Like most of her teammates, Moonstar was created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod in 1982's Marvel Graphic Novel #4. The Cheyenne mutant originally had the ability to create illusions based on the fears and desires of those around her. After rescuing a winged-horse in Asgard, Moonstar also became a Valkyrie who had the ability to sense oncoming death.
While Moonstar's Asgardian adventures probably won't play a role in Josh Boone's The New Mutants, Blu Hunt's Moonstar is primed to have a major role in the film. Boone has stated that one of the movie's primary inspirations will be "The Demon Bear Saga." In that classic Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz story, the New Mutants battled the demonic animal spirit, which had been haunting Moonstar's dreams.
Thanks to shows like Teen Titans Go!, the Teen Titans have been an animated fixture for multiple generations. In 2018, the young DC team will make their live-action debut on Titans, an upcoming series on DC Entertainment's unnamed streaming service. While details about the show are still scarce, the show's core Titans will largely be the same as the team on modern Teen Titans cartoons.
Although Cyborg is busy as a Justice League member in the DC Extended Universe, Titans will focus on Robin, Starfire, Raven and Beast Boy. Anna Diop will star as Starfire, a warrior alien who can shoot energy blasts and is seeking asylum on Earth. Teagan Croft will be Raven, the empathic daughter of the demon Trigon. Ryan Potter will portray Beast Boy, a young hero with green skin and shapeshifting abilities.
After decades of movies and cartoons have cast Robin as Batman's sidekick, Brenton Thwaites' Dick Grayson will finally step out on his own on Titans. After he was created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in 1940's Detective Comics #38, Grayson was famously portrayed on film by Burt Ward and Chris O'Donnell. In comics, Grayson dropped his Robin identity and took on his long-lasting codename Nightwing during his lengthy tenure with the Titans.
While Thwaites' Grayson will still wear his Robin uniform in Titans, he's set to take on his traditional role as the team's leader in the live-action streaming series. Instead of Batman, this Grayson will be partnered up with Lindsey Gort's Detective Amy Rohrbach. In comics, Rohrbach was one of the officers Grayson worked alongside when he was a member of the Bludhaven Police Department in the early 2000s.
Along with Deadpool, Domino seemingly made her debut in 1991's New Mutants #98, by Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza. When that character was revealed to be a shapeshifting imposter, the real Domino debuted in 1992's X-Force #8, by Liefeld, Nicieza and Mike Mignola. With her mutant luck manipulation powers, Domino has been a mercenary, one of X-Force's main leaders and an occasional member of X-Men.
In June 2018, Zazie Beetz will bring Domino to life in Deadpool 2. Although the plot details of the film are still under wraps, director David Leitch has confirmed that she'll have her luck-manipulating powers on screen and that she'll be trading verbal barbs with Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool. Ironically, Donald Glover, Beetz's Atlanta co-star, and Stephen Glover are set to write and produce a mature audiences' Deadpool cartoon, which will reportedly debut on FXX in 2018.
Even by the X-Men's tragedy-filled standards, Magik has had a remarkably tough life. In Len Wein and Dave Cockrum's Giant-Size X-Men #1, Illyana Rasputin debuted in 1975 as a secondary character, Colossus' little sister. After a few years in the background, Illyana was transported to Limbo dimension, where she grew up, became a sorceress and manifested teleportation powers. Upon her return, Magik joined the New Mutants, died and came back to life to become a full member of the X-Men.
In Josh Boone's The New Mutants, Anya Taylor-Joy will be bringing Magik to life in live-action for the first time. Reportedly, the film will include Magik's sorcery and teleportation powers. While her connection to Limbo could play a natural role in the horror-centric film or a sequel, Magik's relationship with Colossus, who's set to reappear in Deadpool 2, could bridge the New Mutants to Fox's other X-Men movies.
While she's not the most famous name on this list, Shuri starred in her own Marvel Comics series during her brief stint as the Black Panther. Created by Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr. in 2005's Black Panther #2, Shuri is T'Challa's little sister and the Princess of Wakanda. After he was left comatose, Shuri stepped up to fill his roles as the Black Panther and Wakanda's ruler. As ruler, she declared war on Atlantis in response for Namor's attack son Wakanda during the 2012 crossover "Avengers vs. X-Men."
In Ryan Coogler's Black Panther, Letitia Wright will be bringing Shuri to the big screen. Like her comic book counterpart, Wright's Shuri will be T'Challa's sister and Wakanda royalty. She'll also reportedly be one of the country's chief technological innovators. After her cinematic debut in Febuary, Shuri will hit theaters again in Joe and Anthony Russo's Avengers: Infinity War in May.
12 THE WASP
After staying on the sidelines in Peyton Reed's Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly's Hope van Dyne will be taking to the skies as the Wasp next summer in Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp. The original Wasp, Janet van Dyne, was created by Stan Lee, Ernest Hart and Jack Kirby in 1963's Tales to Astonish #44. After co-founding the Avengers, Janet had a distinguished career as one of the team's leaders and core members. In one alternate reality, she and Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, had a daughter named Hope, who was created by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in 1999's A-Next #7.
While that Hope became a villain the comics, Lilly's heroic Hope will be joined on screen by Michelle Pfeiffer's Janet van Dyne, her long-lost mother. Both shrinking heroes will appear alongside Paul Rudd's Ant-Man in the light-hearted sequel, which is due out in July 2018.
11 ADAM STRANGE
Starting in March 2018, Krypton will chronicle the adventures of Superman's ancestors on his home planet for Syfy. While the star of the show will be Cameron Cuffe's Seg-El, Superman's grandfather, it will also feature another famous DC cosmic hero, Adam Strange. Created by Julius Schwartz and Murphy Anderson in 1958's Showcase #17, Strange was an archeologist who was teleported to the planet Rann after he was hit by a Zeta-Beam. Using the technology of his adopted alien home, Strange became the planet's defender and one of DC's most prominent cosmic heroes.
In Krypton, a group of present-day villains will reportedly travel through time and space to try to prevent Superman's creation. Along with his fellow Justice Leaguer, Hawkwoman, Cuffe's Adam Strange will travel back in time to stop them before they erase Superman's legacy. The show will also feature famous Superman villains like Doomsday and Blake Ritson's Brainiac.
Like most of the other New Mutants, Cannonball was created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod in 1982's Marvel Graphic Novel #4. After getting trapped in a Kentucky coal mine, Sam Guthrie used his ability to blast through the air at high speed to free himself. During his time with the New Mutants, Guthrie led the team and its successor, X-Force. After a stint with the X-Men, Cannonball joined the Avengers in the early 2010s, where he bounced around various squads.,
In Josh Boone's The New Mutants, Cannonball will be portrayed by Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton. As the film's trailer seems to indicate, his coal mine-based origin will likely be touched upon to one degree or another. Like his cinematic teammates, Heaton's Guthrie will find themselves in a secret lab that Boone has compared to a "haunted house."
In Zack Snyder's Justice League, Amber Heard's Mera left a good impression as she valiantly tried to protect Atlantis from Steppenwolf and his overwhelming forces. Since she was created by Jack Miller and Nick Cardy in 1983's Aquaman #11, the Queen of Atlantis has fought alongside her husband Aquaman off-and-on for decades. Since the 2009 crossover Blackest Night, Mera has come into more of her own as a hero and she recently took Aquaman's traditional place in the Justice League.
In the DC Extended Universe, Heard's Mera has already proven herself to be a formidable warrior with her water-manipulating powers. In James Wan's Aquaman, Mera is set to wield her usual political power as the Queen of Atlantis. Reportedly, this will put her at the heart of a story that revolves around several factions vying for control of underwater kingdoms.
Although Sunspot debuted along with most of the other New Mutants in Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod's Marvel Graphic Novel #4, the solar-powered mutant won't be making his cinematic debut The New Mutants. In 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, Adan Canto's Sunspot was a member of a future team of X-Men that was brutally slaughtered by a group of Sentinels. Despite that dubious cinematic introduction, the Brazilian mutant has served on X-Force and the Avengers and reshaped the evil organization A.I.M. into the New Avengers.
While those impressive accomplishments probably won't be in Josh Boone's The New Mutants, Henry Zaga will bring Bobby da Costa in a less doomed role. If this film garners a sequel, Boone has already teased that Sunspot's father, Emmanuel da Costa, could have a role in the franchise. However, with Disney's proposed acquisition of Fox, the future of Fox's X-Men movies remains ever-changing.
7 THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
Black Lightning will obviously be the star of Black Lightning, but Jefferson Pierce's daughters will have major roles on the CW show too. His older daughter, Anissa was created by Judd Winick and Tom Raney in 2003's Outsiders #1. As Thunder, she used her density manipulating powers to take her father's place in a new incarnation of that team. On TV, Nafessa Williams will portray Thunder, who's tempted to fight crime despite her father's wishes.
Even though Jennifer Pierce, Lightning, is younger than her sister, she technically debuted first. In 1995, Mark Waid and Alex Ross created Lightning in the dark future of the classic Kingdom Come. Geoff Johns, Ross and Dale Eaglesham brought Lightning into the main DC Universe in 2008's Justice Society of America #12, where she joined that storied superhero team. In Black Lightning, China Anne McClain will play the young character who's just discovering her powers.
6 UMBRELLA ACADEMY
Before Gerard Way launched the Young Animal imprint for DC Comics, his first major comics work was The Umbrella Academy. Illustrated by Gabriel Bá, the offbeat Dark Horse Comics series earned critical acclaim in 2007 and won the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2008. Over two volumes, the series chronicled the Umbrella Academy, a group of super-powered children who grew up and reconnected as vastly different adults.
After a lengthy development period, The Umbrella Academy is set to hit Netflix sometime in 2018. The live-action superhero series will feature a cast that includes Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Emmy Raver-Lampman, David Castañeda, Robert Sheehan and Aidan Gallagher as the adult versions of the Umbrella Academy. In the show, the team will reassemble to investigate the death of the man who raised them.
5 HAWK AND DOVE
Although Titans will focus on the team's more famous members, the DC Entertainment streaming show will also feature some lesser known Titans like Hawk and Dove. While there have been numerous incarnations of the duo, the original Hawk and Dove were create by Steve Ditko and Steve Skeates in 1968's Showcase #75. The duo originally consisted of two brothers, the aggressive Hank Hall and the pacifistic Don Hall. After Don's death, Dawn Granger took over his light-bearing role as Dove while Hank continued on as the super-strong Hawk.
In Titans, Alan Ritchson's Hawk and Minka Kelly's Dove will be a vigilante couple who fight crime together. In step with their comic book counterparts, Hawk will be an aggressive fighter, while Dove's tactics will be based on defensive strategies. Although they're only set to be recurring characters in Titans, the pair could reportedly could spin-off into their own series later.
4 CECILIA REYES
Doctor Cecilia Reyes was so reluctant to join the X-Men that she never even bothered with a superhero codename. Created by Scott Lobdell and Carlos Pacheco in 1997's X-Men #65, Reyes was attacked by Sentinels in her hospital during the 1997 crossover "Operation: Zero Tolerance." Using her force field-generating mutant powers, she tagged along with the X-Men on a few missions before fading into the background for several years. In her infrequent appearances, she's rejoined the X-Men as one of their only members with an actual medical degree.
In Josh Boone's The New Mutants, Doctor Reyes will play a different role. Although Rosario Dawson was originally cast as the doctor, Alice Braga will portray a version of the character who serves as a mentor and caretaker for the young mutants. Despite her history, the film's ominous trailer strongly suggests that Doctor Reyes could be an antagonist in the film.
3 GRACE CHOI
While a decent number of Black Lightning's super-powered characters will be directly related to the show's title character, another DC hero, Grace, will also have a role in the show. Grace Choi was created by Judd Winick and Tom Raney in 2003's Outsiders #1. While the source of her super-strength, regenerative powers and agility was a mystery for a while, she was eventually revealed to be at least half-Amazon. During her time with the Outsiders, Grace even teamed up with Wonder Woman, who thought of her as a "cousin."
As of now, it's unclear how much of that superheroic history will make it into Black Lightning. Chantal Thuy will bring Grace to life as a recurring character on the CW show. In comics, Grace and Thunder were teammates and partners. In the show, Grace will reportedly be a comics-reading bartender who helps Anissa Pierce cope with her abilities.
2 NEW WARRIORS
Although it doesn't have a home yet, New Warriors is still set to debut in 2018. As Marvel's first half-hour live-action comedy, the show's set to follow a group of young heroes as they navigate the lighter side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Allegedly, the show's original network, Freeform, had difficulty scheduling the series, and Marvel is shopping the show around other to outlets.
While the original New Warriors were created as a serious team by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz in 1989's Mighty Thor #411, this show will feature a more eclectic mix of characters. Milana Vayntrub's Squirrel Girl will lead the team alongside her squirrel Tippy-Toe. She'll be joined by Derek Theler's Mister Immortal and Kate Comer's Debril, an original telekinetic character. The show's team will also include veteran comic book New Warriors like Jeremy Tardy's vigilante Night Thrasher, Matthew Moy's germ-manipulating Microbe and Calum Worthy's energetic Speedball.
Over a decade after Topher Grace's Venom earned tepid reviews in Spider-Man 3, Tom Hardy's symbiotic antihero will swing into Venom in October 2018. While the alien symbiote and its most famous host, Eddie Brock, were introduced separately, they became Venom in David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane's Amazing Spider-Man #299. Over the past 30 years, Venom established himself as one of Marvel's most popular antiheroes.
Although Spider-Man plays a formative role in Venom's comic book history, the web-slinger will be absent from director Ruben Fleischer's Venom. While details are still scarce, Hardy's Eddie Brock is set to be joined by Jenny Slate, Riz Ahmed and Michelle Williams' Ann Weying, a lawyer who becomes She-Venom in comics. According to Fleischer, the film will be based on Venom: Lethal Protector and "Planet of the Symbiotes," two 1990s stories that pit Venom against other violent symbiotes in some of his earliest heroic tales.