On 3 May, Marvel Studios posted a video entitled “Marvel Studios Celebrates The Movies”, a compilation of poignant moments and unforeseen announcements about the past and future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The MCU stands as a complex and ambitious interweaving of 23 movies and, most recently, two TV shows, telling the story of Stan Lee’s comic book creations on the big screen. The movies have traversed genres and target audiences, building an incredible amount of hype, none more so than this year.
After the climactic Avengers: Endgame shattered box office records, the studio only managed to release one more movie (Spider-Man: Far From Home) before the global pandemic put a pause on all their upcoming releases, including the long-awaited Black Widow, for over a year. In 2021, however, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to return with a huge comeback, already having dominated public conversation with the flagship Marvel Cinematic Universe-based television shows, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. These will soon be followed by three new films in this year alone. Before we even get a chance to see these films released, fans will be treated to a third live-action Disney Plus series in the form of Loki – starring the fan favourite anti-hero played by Tom Hiddleston.
In 2021 the Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to return with a huge comeback
Firstly, we shall finally be getting a chance to watch Black Widow. Scarlett Johansson’s iconic and much-loved character will at last be starring in her own movie, which shall be released in cinemas and through Disney Plus (for an extra charge) simultaneously in July. This film remains a question mark in Marvel lore as it would seem to be set pre-Infinity War and will, hopefully, give us answers to the many questions fans have been asking through the years on the eponymous heroine’s backstory. The film will also introduce Florence Pugh into the MCU in a seemingly important role, as she is already rumoured to be featured in upcoming Marvel projects. This project has been expected by fans since the first Avengers movie, and has been delayed due to the pandemic for what seems like an age, so this movie is incredibly hotly anticipated.
The next film to be released will introduce a new hero to the MCU in the form of Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released on 3 September 2021 and will be making strides towards a more diverse Marvel by featuring its first Asian superhero. This will then be followed in only a month by another comic adaptation that has not previously hit our screens. Eternals will tell the story of a group of immortal alien beings living on earth as directed by Oscar winner Chloé Zhao. The film has a stellar cast, including (but not limited to) Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden and Kit Harrington.
Come December we will be treated to yet another Marvel film, the first sequel of the year: Spiderman: No Way Home. The film will be Tom Holland’s third solo outing as the webslinger and will likely deal with the repercussions of the cliffhanger post-credits scene of Spiderman: Far From Home, in which Peter Parker’s true identity is revealed to the world. The film is set to star villains from the previous Spiderman franchises, although whether they shall be continuing these characters’ previous storylines or reinventing the villains remains to be seen.
How will Marvel Studios address Black Panther in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing?
While in 2021 we will be introduced to many new characters, in 2022 we should be seeing the returns of many old favourites including Doctor Strange, Thor and Black Panther. These releases will be hotly anticipated due to the amount of questions the audience want answering; how will Marvel explore the multiverse? What can we expect of a female Thor? And how will Marvel Studios address Black Panther in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing?
This is only the beginning of Marvel Studios’ plans for the near future. With four new TV shows premiering throughout the rest of this year and iconic comic book characters such as the Fantastic Four coming to our screens at some point soon, Marvel really is a force to be reckoned with.