The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people across the globe, and the film industry is no exception. Dozens of movies that were set to be released in 2020 ended up being pushed into 2021.
Additionally, many movies that were on schedule to be released this year are are still slated for release, making the blockbuster movie line up long and impressive. Here are my most anticipated films scheduled for release in 2021.
- “Black Widow“
Scarlett Johansson has portrayed Natasha Romanoff — aka Black Widow — in multiple movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but this eponymous film will be her first as the lead. Black Widow was one of the original six Avengers, however, most of the details of her past prior to joining the group remains a mystery. In her long overdue solo film set in the months following “Captain America: Civil War,” the movie will find Romanoff confronting the darkest parts of her past. Fans will finally get a glimpse into Natasha’s life before she became Black Widow, and how those events shaped her.
Scheduled release date: May 7
- “In the Heights“
A story that began as a Tony-Winning musical shifts to the big screen to share its hopeful tale of hard work, community and the courage it takes to follow one’s dream. Anthony Ramos stars as Usnavi, the owner of a corner store in New York City. Told from Usnavi’s perspective, the story follows his journey as an immigrant, as well as other dreamers’ journeys, on their course to achieve their goals in America. But what happens to the block when someone tries to get rid of the dreamers? Will they be able to band together and save their neighborhood? Or will they be sent away? Only time and the music throughout the story will tell.
Scheduled release date: June 18
For years, stories of a man with a hook for a hand that appeared only when his name was spoken five times into a mirror have haunted the housing projects of the Cabrini Green Area, Chicago. As a direct sequel to “Candyman” (1992), the upcoming American slasher depicts the story of visual artist Anthony (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and his girlfriend Brianna (Teyonah Paris) as they move into their new home in the Cabrini Green area a decade after the last Cabrini tower was torn down. As his painting career is coming to a standstill, Anthony runs into an older resident of the Cabrini Green Area and learns of the horrific truth behind the story of the Candyman. Anthony decides to use this as inspiration for his work, leading him to stumble upon a complex past that unravels his own psyche and unleashes a new wave of violence.
Scheduled release date: August 27
- Untitled “Spider-Man: Far From Home” Sequel
Little has been confirmed about what happens in the next Spider-Man movie starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker. Production and filming had to be paused due to the pandemic, but has since resumed. All parties involved have been tight lipped about the future of Parker, leaving many fans to believe that his fate is heavily intertwined with other installments in the MCU that are set to air earlier in the year (such as “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Magic” and “Wandavision”). Rumor has it that the currently untitled movie will bring back Spider-Men from previous films, such as Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s versions of the beloved hero. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait until the end of the year to get the answers they are looking for. Read more fan theories here
Scheduled release date: December 17
- “Raya and the Last Dragon“
A long time ago in the world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived in harmony; This all changed when the Druun (bad guys) attacked, causing dragons to sacrifice themselves for the sake of humanity. 500 years later, the Druun are back and are once again a threat to the humans of Kumandra. Heroine Raya must travel to find the last dragon in order to get the dragon magic required to save the land and her people. This movie has been both praised and criticized for its casting; It consists of a core cast of people of East Asian descent and Asian-Americans. However, most of the movie is set in Southeast Asia, prompting critics to argue that there should have been more people of Southeast Asian descent cast. Nonetheless, this is a highly anticipated story that sends a message of strength and courage to a young audience.
Scheduled release date: March 5
- “Space Jam: A New Legacy“
Lebron James plays himself in the upcoming sequel to “Space Jam” (1996), starring Michael Jordan. “Space Jam: A New Legacy” follows James as he teams up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes “tune squad” against an evil A.I. bot playing them in a basketball game. No official trailer has been released, but it is safe to assume the film will follow in the footsteps of the original.
Scheduled release date: July 16
In the distant future of humanity, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) accepts stewardship on a dangerous desert planet known as Arrakis, also known as Dune, in search of the most valuable substance in the universe: the spice. A drug that can extend the human life, the spice provides superhuman levels of thought and makes it possible to travel faster than light. Taking his Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and young son and heir to the throne Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), as well as trusted advisors to Arrakis. Walking into what they know is a trap, these characters face challenge after challenge whether it be sand-worms, sandstorms or betrayal.
Scheduled release date: October 1
- “A Quiet Place Part II“
The sequel to “A Quiet Place” (2018), Emily Blunt reprises her role as Evelyn Abbott, a widowed mother of three, on the run from creatures that attack upon hearing a single sound. Following the deadly events at their home in the first movie, the family is once again tasked with navigating through a post-apocalyptic world in complete silence. This time, however, the trailer promises that there is more than just monsters to fear.
Scheduled release date: September 17
- “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”
In yet another addition to the MCU, “Legend of the Ten Rings” will follow Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his indoctrination into the ten rings organization. This is the first film in the MCU containing an Asian actor as the lead role. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is one of the first handful of movies that are part of “phase four” of the MCU. This action-packed film will feature plenty of martial arts and promises plot twists to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
Current release date: July 9
- “Malcolm & Marie“
The only film on this list to already be released to audiences, “Malcolm & Marie” has washed over social media with equal amounts of glowing and lackluster reviews. A film writer who has recently had success, Malcolm (John David Washington) is in a relationship with Marie (Zendaya). “Malcolm & Marie” was shot in black and white, with only those two actors in the entire movie. The story depicts their love, or rather, the flaws in their relationship, as they return home from a movie premiere where Malcolm has won an award for a film inspired by Marie’s life. An argument breaks out, and one leads into another; soon, everything seems to be a problem. As the trailer says: “This is not a love story. This is the story of love.”
Malcolm & Marie is available to stream now on Netflix.