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If there is one lesson that the past decade has taught us about the state of cinema, it is that superhero movies are, in many ways, the dominant film-going attraction. The high anticipation for upcoming Marvel movies has not subsided with every delayed release date and upcoming DC movies are just as exciting when released exclusively on streaming services. There are plenty of comic book movies like these to look forward to in 2021 and beyond.
The Suicide Squad (August 6, 2021)
Fitting how Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was chosen to take over the DCEU’s own ragtag team of ne'er-do-wells. More of a standalone film than a sequel or reboot of its 2016 predecessor, The Suicide Squad (coming both to theaters and HBO Max) stars returning players, like Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, as well as new additions, such as Idris Elba as Bloodsport and not Deadshot as some assumed.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (September 3, 2021)
Destin Daniel Cretton directed some comic book movie actors in Short Term 12 and Just Mercy before he was chosen to helm the first film with a predominantly Asian cast in the MCU, which will also be available to rent with Disney+ Premier Access. The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings cast includes Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, and Simu Liu as the titular kung-fu master.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (September 24, 2021)
Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock will meet his worst nightmare in Woody Harrelson’s own symbiotic alter ego in this sequel. Fellow comic book movie actor Andy Serkis stepped in to direct Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which went into post-production in Summer 2020 with potential for reshoots.
Eternals (November 5, 2021)
There will also be a new superhero team joining the MCU when Marvel's Eternals (rom Oscar-winning Nomadland director Chloé Zhao) hits theaters in late 2021. Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Bryan Tyree Henry and others make up the cast of ageless beings responsible for shaping and protecting Earth’s greatest civilizations.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (December 17, 2021)
There is only so much that we know so far about Spider-Man: No Way Home, but rumors have long suggested Tom Holland is collaborating with heroes of similar abilities - former Peter Parker actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield - in his third installment as the webslinger. Plus, Jamie Foxx could reprise Electro along with Alfred Molina returning to play Doctor Octopus in what is looking to be the most ambitious live-action Spidey movie yet.
Morbius (January 21, 2022)
After reprising Joker in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Jared Leto will become a Marvel character in 2022. The Oscar winner plays the title role of Sony's Morbius, whose attempt to cure his rare disease turns him into a living vampire instead.
The Batman (March 4, 2022)
There will be more than one Batman to look forward to than Robert Pattinson on the big screen. Yet, as far as we know, Matt Reeves’ The Batman - a new take on the Dark Knight’s early years also starring Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman and Colin Farrell as pre-Penguin Oswald Copplebot - exists outside of the DCEU.
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (March 25, 2022)
Benedict Cumberbatch will engage in much interdimensional mingling in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness when he returns as the MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme. Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez (Young Avengers’ Miss America), and others are also slated to appear in director Sam Raimi’s exciting return to the comic book genre.
Thor: Love And Thunder (May 6, 2022)
Returning to direct Thor: Love and Thunder is co-writer and star Taika Waititi along with Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, who will take over the role of the MCU’s God of Thunder from Chris Hemsworth. If that is not engaging enough for you, Star-Lord actor Chris Pratt was confirmed as part of the cast along with Christian Bale as Gorr, the God Butcher.
DC League Of Super-Pets (May 20, 2022)
This family film is the second by the animators behind Scoob! from 2020. In DC League Super-Pets, animals related to famous superheroes (such as Superman’s dog, Krypto, and Batman’s hound, Ace) team-up to bring criminals to furry justice.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (July 8, 2022)
Tragedy has surrounded Ryan Coogler’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning MCU debut following the death of star Chadwick Boseman in 2020. One silver lining is the potential for Letitia Wright’s Shuri to inherit the title moniker (per the comics’ continuity) in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which began shooting in June 2021.
Black Adam (July 29, 2022)
We can easily count on things to get dark in Dwayne Johnson's Shazam! spin-off, Black Adam, in which members of the Justice Society of America will make their DCEU debut, reportedly. The anti-hero solo film is still in pre-production.
Secret Headquarters (August 12, 2022)
Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman, the directing duo behind the hit documentary Catfish, dove into the superhero genre with Netflix’s Project Power in 2020. They will return to it in 2022 with Secret Headquarters, the story of a boy who suspects his father has a secret double life, starring Loki’s Owen Wilson and fellow MCU actor Michael Peña.
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 2 (October 7, 2022)
While Black Panther did not take home the Best Picture Oscar in 2019, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did win Best Animated Feature that year. Now, Shameik Moore is set to voice young webslinger Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 2, another interdimensional adventure for 2022.
The Flash (November 4, 2022)
It director Andy Muschietti’s upcoming DCEU film, headlined by Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, is said to be inspired by DC Comics’ “Flashpoint” storyline. In fact, The Flash is taking advantage of the famous arc’s time-altering concepts to bring both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck back to the role of Batman.
The Marvels (November 11, 2022)
Another horror filmmaker turning her sights to comic book flicks is Candyman director Nia DaCosta, who will helm The Marvels - the sequel to the Brie Larson-led Captain Marvel from 2019.. Teyonah Parris will also appear in her WandaVision role, Monica Rambeau, along with Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan after she debuts on Disney+’s upcoming Ms. Marvel series.
Aquaman And The Lost Kingdom (December 16, 2022)
Fellow horror director James Wan is returning to the director’s chair for an announced sequel to his worldwide, $1 billion DCEU hit Aquaman. Now, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is easily the most anticipated upcoming film starring Jason Momoa, who will reprise the titular role of the Atlantean Justice League member along with Patrick Wilson, Tamuera Morrison, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Kraven The Hunter (January 23, 2023)
J.C. Chandor, director of Netflix’s Triple Frontier, will helm an origin story about Kraven the Hunter. MCU alum and Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson will play the Russian-born predator, who is famous for going after the biggest game imaginable (namely Spider-Man), and is also the brother of the Chameleon, believe it or not.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania (February 17, 2023)
Destined to be everyone's favorite superhero movie title ever is Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which continues the romantic adventures of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly). Along with Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer reprising their roles, Lovecraft Country’s Jonathan Majors joins the cast as Kang the Conqueror and Kathryn Newton replaces Emma Fuhrmann as Scott’s daughter, Cassie.
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 23, 2023)
Everyone from your favorite crew of cosmic heroes is returning for writer and director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - the series’ third and, supposedly, final installment. Even Zoe Saldana is billed to return as Gamora, which begs the question of how her fate from Avengers: Infinity War will be reversed.
Shazam! Fury Of The Gods (June 2, 2023)
Lights Out director David F. Sandberg tried his hand at lighthearted comic book flicks with Shazam! in 2019. He will return for the more earnest-sounding sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods, along with Zachary Levi as Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) titular, grown-up alter ego, along with Adam Brody as the same for Jack Dylan Grazer’s Freddy Freeman.
MCU vet Sylvester Stallone (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, specifically) plays a veteran hero brought out of hiding by a young boy (Javon “Wanna” Walton) in Samaritan. The original superhero flick was described as Unbreakable meets Finding Forrester when first announced in 2016.
The Fantastic Four (TBA)
A question fans have also been begging to have answered is how and when Marvel's first superhero family will finally be inducted into the MCU. Well, quite frankly, we do not know the answer to that, either, but we do know that Marvel’s Fantastic Four reboot is on the way and will be helmed by Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts.
Taking over a role originated onscreen by Wesley Snipes is two-time Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali in Blade. Bringing back the vampire hunter could mark a turning point in the MCU getting a little darker.
Captain America 4 (TBA)
Those who have felt in the dark since Steve Rogers gave up his shield shall not fear for there is a new Cap in town. Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson took up the mantle in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier series finale and it looks like Captain America 4 will see him finally bear the stars and stripes on the big screen.
Green Lantern Corps (TBA)
The DCEU debut of Green Lantern (not counting that Justice League flashback) has been in development for a while. Instead of a story built primarily around one hero, both Hal Jordan and John Stewart will be the central protagonists of Green Lantern Corps… whenever it comes out, that is.
A DCEU solo flick centered on Barbara Gordon’s vigilante origins was originally announced in early 2017 when Joss Whedon was assigned at the helm. Since his exit, Bad Boys For Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have been tapped to helm the HBO Max exclusive Batgirl starring In the Heights star Leslie Grace in the title role.
Wonder Woman 3 (TBA)
We should still optimistically anticipate Wonder Woman 3, even if Patty Jenkins claims the modern-day threequel might take a while. Besides, a franchise this popular is bound to eventually become a trilogy - or quadrilogy, technically, if you count the proposed spin-off.
Amazons Spin-Off (TBA)
Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns reportedly pitched an idea for a film that focuses primarily on the Amazons of Themyscira. It would take place after Gal Gadot’s Diana left the island with Steve Trevor in the first film and set up Wonder Woman 3, but no further developments have materialized yet.
Deadpool 3 (TBA)
Plans for an X-Force spin-off movie were once announced by Ryan Reynolds, but, since the Disney/Fox merger, the Merc with a Mouth will apparently make his MCU debut with a direct third installment. Reynolds is working on a script for Deadpool 3, which promises to be R-rated, with Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Loeglin.
As for what is going on with Sony’s mouthful of a Spider-Man universe, fellow arachnoid superhero Spider-Woman will soon be getting her own movie. Olivia Wilde has been in talks to direct the project, but with no word on which specific iteration of the character (Jessica Drew? Gwen Stacy?) it will focus on at the moment.
Madame Web (TBA)
Another "spider woman" who has already had a film of her own in the works for a while is Madame Web. Despite suffering from blindness and paralysis, this supernatural, clairvoyant being has been known to be a very helpful guide to Spider-Man whenever he has been in need.
Bloodshot 2 (TBA)
In 2020, right about the time movie theaters started becoming a rarity, Bloodshot became the first movie based on a Valiant comic. In November, a direct follow-up with Vin Diesel reprising the title role was announced, giving hope to a new shared universe inspired by the lesser-known publisher.
Another Valiant movie adaptation reportedly in the works is Harbinger, based on an “X-Men-esque” property about psionic superhumans, from director Justin Tipping. The film first went into development under Sony (which made Bloodshot) before switching to Paramount in 2019, putting the future of this proposed shared universe into question.
Another movie based on the Valiant comic called Shadowman was greenlit back in 2017 with House Party director Reginald Hudlin and writers J. Michael Straczynski and Adam Simon attached. Not many further developments have been made since regarding this movie about a New Orleans man given dark, supernatural abilities.
Green Hornet And Kato (TBA)
Hollywood first adapted The Green Hornet, originally a radio play, for the big screen as a Seth Rogen-led comedy in 2011. Universal Pictures and Amasia Entertainment have reportedly teamed-up for a David Koepp-penned reboot called Green Hornet and Kato (his highly skilled chauffeur and sidekick), which may give it a chance to be a little more earnest.
One-Punch Man (TBA)
The only way to make One-Punch Man into a feature-length film is to make it a comedy and, hopefully, that is the intention of the screenwriting duo behind Venom, who have been tapped by Sony to adapt it. The popular manga-turned-anime itself is a satire on superhero culture as seen through the eyes of a young man bored by his ability to defeat any enemy in one strike.
My Hero Academia (TBA)
Another popular manga that also inspired a popular anime is My Hero Academia, which follows a power-less boy who enrolls in a special school in hopes of learning how to be a superhero. In 2018, Legendary Entertainment purchased the rights to develop a live-action adaptation and no other information regarding the project has come out since.
Mega Man (TBA)
One of Japan’s most popular and longest-running video game franchises is Mega Man, whose titular hero is a robot who fights other mechanical enemies created by a mad scientist. The Batman co-writer Matt Tomlinson is working on a live action adaptation for Netflix with Project Power and Secret Headquarters directors Ariel Shulman and Henry Joost.
Astro Boy (TBA)
Another popular robotic hero originating from Japan is Astro Boy, who was previously adapted for American audiences into a 2009 animated film. A live-action movie featuring the manga hero was greenlit by New Line Cinema in 2017.
The Toxic Avenger (TBA)
One of the most iconic (and quite nasty) superhero comedies, The Toxic Avenger, has a reboot planned. The original creators of the 1984 Troma release, Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, will produce the update, starring Peter Dinklage and Elijah Wood with Green Room and Blue Ruin star Macon Blair writing and directing.