Prince Harry, Meghan Markle And a Royal Wedding
Few global events capture the imagination (or draw huge audiences) quite like a British royal wedding. And the wedding of Prince Harry and American TV actress Meghan Markle scheduled for May 19th is shaping up to be one of the key pop-culture events of 2018. FYI: May 19th is a Saturday, so you might as well mark your calendar now. The wedding will be one of the most widely watched events of the year. But wait, there’s more: Another royal baby is due in April – the third child of Prince William and wife Kate Middleton.
Donald Trump 2.0
Year Two of the tumultuous Donald Trump administration begins officially on January 20th. And unlike 2017, the coming year is a crucial midterm election year that could reshape the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans in the House, Senate and state governorships. In many ways, the elections in November will represent a referendum on Trump, who is sure to be featured front and center in many of the most crucial campaigns – particularly among many Democrats who can be expected to make Trump a central issue. No shrinking violet himself, Trump can be expected to position himself center stage in a number of campaigns in support of Republican candidates – much as he did in late 2017 when he supported controversial Alabama Republican Roy Moore in his campaign for the U.S. Senate, which Moore wound up losing. As in 2016 and 2017, Trump will be the most talked-about political figure in the U.S. in 2018.
The Story of Jay Z
Jay Z has long been perched near or at the top of the pop-music pyramid, and as 2017 came to a close, he seemed poised to stay there in 2018. When the 2018 Grammy Award nominations were announced in late November 2017, Jay Z led the field with eight nominations. The nominations were centered on his 2017 album titled 4:44, a nominee for Album of the Year. The album was reportedly named for the time when he awoke one day in the wee hours of the morning and wrote the song that would become the album’s title track. That song was nominated for Song of the Year, while another song – a pointed rap about race relations in America titled The Story of O.J. – was nominated for Record of the Year. It just so happened that in 2017, about six weeks after Jay Z’s album was released, the Nevada parole board granted parole to O.J. Simpson, making Jay Z’s record even more timely than he had perhaps planned. The 2018 Grammys take place on January 28th. Look for Jay Z to emerge as a big winner.
Roseanne Barr: The Domestic Goddess Returns
It’s been 20 years since we last had a Roseanne sitcom, and nearly 30 years since the comedian and self-proclaimed Domestic Goddess burst onto the pop-culture scene in 1988. But here she comes again with a brand-new Roseanne show set to premiere March 27th on her old network, ABC. Production on the initial season’s nine episodes wrapped in December featuring a completely reunited Conner family from the old show, including husband Dan (John Goodman), sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), daughters Becky and Darlene (Lecy Goranson and Sara Gilbert) and son D.J. (Michael Fishman). In the 20 years since the original Roseanne went off the air, Roseanne Barr had a short-lived afternoon talk show and at least one reality series, Roseanne’s Nuts, about her new life living on a macadamia farm in Hawaii. Now she’s ready for prime-time once again in a sitcom that has been the most widely anticipated new series of the 2017-18 TV season ever since it was announced in spring 2017.
Fly Me to the Moon: Elon Musk
Could 2018 be the year that ordinary (but wealthy) people get to fly to the moon, thanks to private enterprise? It could be, if Elon Musk, the Tesla electric car mogul, can make good on his plan to make it happen by the fourth quarter of the year. Musk’s space-travel company, SpaceX, made the announcement in February 2017. SpaceX “has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the Moon [in 2018]. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a Moon mission,” the company said. The two “space tourists” have not been identified and the amount they paid has yet been disclosed. But if this space-tourism mission comes to fruition in 2018, as SpaceX hopes, then the two stand to become internationally famous, and Musk’s reputation as a tech visionary will be burnished even further.
Flying Solo: Alden Ehrenreich
A relatively unknown young actor, California-born Alden Ehrenreich, is due to become a lot better known in 2018 when he’s seen in the high-profile role of Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard. Scheduled to be released May 25th to kick off the summer movie season, the movie is about the early years of Han Solo – the swashbuckling intergalactic warrior played in the original Star Wars movies by Harrison Ford. For his part, Ehrenreich – born November 22, 1989 – has already worked in a handful of high-profile movies, including Blue Jasmine starring Cate Blanchett and directed by Woody Allen, and Hail, Caesar! directed by Ethan and Joel Coen and starring George Clooney. And yet, there is nothing quite like starring in a Star Wars movie to raise a young actor’s profile to A-list status.
U.S. Olympic Snowboarders: Kelly Clark, Jamie Anderson, Chloe Kim
Whether it’s the summer or winter Olympics, the U.S. athletes are so prepared that predicting who will stand out during the competition is no easy task. Such is the case for the 2018 Winter Olympics, scheduled for February 9-25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea – although the U.S. women snowboarders are not a bad place to start. They run the gamut from a veteran – Kelly Clark, 34 – to a rookie (Chloe Kim, 17) and one who falls somewhere in between, Jamie Anderson, 27. Clark will be competing in her fifth Olympics, Anderson in her second and Kim in her first. Some are saying Kim will draw the most attention of the three. Not only were her parents born in Korea, but Kim herself is something of a snowboarding prodigy: She is so skilled that she reportedly qualified for the U.S. team in 2014, but at age 13, she was too young to join the team.