<em>Game of Thrones</em>' final season isn't the only early


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Yes, it really is almost time for BBQ at SXSW again.

CES has passed and SXSW is already on the horizon, but as the tech press list of annual events grows and takes up more space on the Ars editorial calendar, it's increasingly easy to overlook all the cool, one-off initiatives arriving in the near future. Yes, we all know the final season of Game of Thrones is coming just like winter, but we swear the first quarter (or so) of 2019 has more to offer.

For instance, iconic first-person shooter Doom is turning 25 and somehow getting 18 new John Romero-created levels in February. The first season of Starz' American Gods was so good we devoted the most recent season of our TV podcast to it, and despite all the behind the scenes changes we'll be tuning in for its S2 debut in March. And more traditional tech releases of note like AMD's Radeon VII or Western Digital's WD Black SN750 will be sprinkled throughout the spring, too.

So for this week's edition of the Orbital Transmission, we're updating our Google/Outlook/et al calendars with a few notable dates and timeframes to look out for in the first months of 2019. After all, the site's birthday has already come and gone—we need a few more items to look forward to on the calendar until we get around to planning those summer vacations.

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Orbital Transmission 1.23.20182019
Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is 2019's first must-see film

Black Panther is up for Best Picture and the latest Avengers dominated the 2018 box office, but the most exciting thing coming from Marvel as of late just might be arriving in March 2019. Trailers thus far for the Brie Larsen-led addition to the superhero cannon have been pulse-quickening. And when you add the facts that its Marvel's first modern female-led superhero film and she may or may not be lining up for a future Avengers appearance, the result is 2019's first truly can't miss film.

SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft

NASA will (hopefully) send humans back to space on US rockets in 2019

There's a lot to look forward to on the spaceflight-front in 2019. Small sat launchers like Firefly Aerospace are lining up their first 🚀s for the fall, and Virgin Galactic seems on track to take customers to "space" towards the latter half of the year. But up first is NASA's continued crusade to get the commercial crew program off the ground. For roughly eight years, NASA has relied on Russia and its Soyuz spacecraft to get humans into space—but SpaceX and Boeing are each primed to potentially change the status quo in the next 12 months. One of the earliest indicators will be the success or failure of some test flights—uncrewed ones no earlier than February and crewed ones no earlier than June.

Bioware's Anthem

A sci-fi third-person shooter MMO from Bioware? Yes, pls.

If nearly 400 hours of Mass Effect isn't proof enough, we're big fans of Bioware's video game work around Ars. And in late February this year, we're finally getting the studio's hyped-since-2017 entry into the burgeoning third-person shooter MMO world: Anthem. As we learned at E3 and a Microsoft press conference in years past, this sci-fi game features "exo-suit combat, a lush open world, and four-player co-op. Also, jetpacks." (So... the film Prospect but in video game form?)  That, combined with the developer pedigree, is certainly enough to have us antsy to go hands-on in the next month or so.

Amazon's DeepRacer

The coolest toy (and AI application) of 2019 races to completion

Sadly, this tech toy wasn't ready for Christmas last year. Amazon's DeepRacer is an autonomous 1/18th scale race car that was unveiled at Amazon re:Invent in November. But it won't be available until March 2019 at the soonest, so all you can do now is pre-order it on Amazon. DeepRacer is really a full-blown Linux computer with wheels, running on an Intel Atom processor with 4GB of RAM. A closer look at its guts reveals that the car is essentially a modification of DeepLens, the video camera and computer combination also released at re:Invent last year. Perhaps best of all, competition is already in place: the AWS DeepRacer League, will culminate with a championship each year at re:Invent.

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