The slate of movies for 2021 is enormous. Considering there were only two high profile releases in 2020: Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984, this should not be surprising. As our schedules are full which of the thirty major releases is worth checking out? Below is a list of my top ten ‘Most Anticipated Movies of 2021’. I tried to keep it to Science Fiction as much as possible, but I have snuck in a few superhero movies as well.
The Matrix 4 (Dec 22nd 2021)
If there is one movie I am marking with an X for 2021 it is The Matrix 4. This is a sequel to the brilliant The Matrix from 1999 starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. That was followed by the not so brilliant The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions which put a quick end to the hype surrounding the franchise. But The Matrix lives on. The idea that the Wachowski’s could produce a new movie that captures the feel of the original has sustained fans. I must say, the announcement that a fourth movie was being produced with much the same cast did surprise me. Whether or not this movie will see a release in 2021 after it was brought forward is another question. Finally, there is the matter as to what The Matrix 4 will be about. The first three movies ended the story irrevocably.
Dune (Oct 1st 2021)
Dune remains at the top of my Most Anticipated Movies of 2021. Originally set for December 2020 we can now be glad it was delayed. Otherwise, it would have failed at the box office. That would have jeopardized the sequel covering the second half of the novel written by Frank Herbert. Dune is directed by Denis Villeneuve and stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides and Rebecca Ferguson as the Lady Jessica. Beyond that it has an extended ensemble cast. Dune is set to be a faithful adaptation of the novel that will hopefully remove the bad taste left by the 1984 David Lynch version. If you are not certain what Dune is or if you would like it then I propose you check out my dedicated Dune pages. You may find it is less Sci-Fi than most people think. There is also a dedicated preview for the 2021 Dune movie.
Black Widow (May 7th 2021)
With Avengers: Endgame the Marvel Cinematic Universe is over. Officially Disney will continue the franchise with sequels, new IP such as Eternals and a slew of series (WandaVision). But I stopped caring. For me Endgame was a fantastic conclusion and now it is time to say goodbye. Yet, we will get Black Widow next year starring Scarlett Johansson as assassin Natasha Romanoff. For fans this is bittersweet after they have hammered for a MCU movie starring a female lead. There were always reasons for not doing it and they were proven to be nonsense with the release of Wonder Woman in 2017. Black Widow is bittersweet since the character died in Endgame, something that was in itself controversial. Now Black Widow is getting the origin story she should have had before Iron Man 2 and with it join the list of spy movies such as Red Sparrow and Atomic Blonde.
Spider-Man 3 (Dec 17th 2021)
I have been a big fan of the first two Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland. His acting and his chemistry with costars such as Zendaya and Laura Harrier were amazing. Neither movie takes itself too seriously and they were fun additions to the MCU. It is hard to see were a third movie could go wrong. Although considering previous Spidey outings that may be jinxing it. The so far untitled Spider-Man 3 movie will also star Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange and Alfred Molina as Otto Octavius. And yes, he played the same role in Spider-Man 2 from 2004 starring Tobey Maguire. Zendaya will return as Peter’s girlfriend MJ as well as Jacob Batalon as Ned and Marisa Tomei as May Parker. Filming was done in both New York and Atlanta is set to continue into the first months of 2021 for an eventual fall 2021 release.
No Time To Die (Apr 2nd 2021)
When No Time To Die starring Daniel Craig is released on April 2nd 2021 6 years will have passed since Spectre. Such a gap between Bond movies usually happens when actors are switched. A full year of that gap is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am starting to become skeptical if an April release is feasible. That said I am dying to see No Time To Die. Ever since the teaser trailers has it become clear this could be a spectacular outing. Rami Malek plays the villain Safin, Christoph Waltz returns as Ernst Blofeld. It is just too much. No Time To Die also promises to take the franchise into a new direction. Supposedly, from the trailer we are meant to believe Madeleine Swann’s (Lea Seydoux) secrets will drive the plot. On top of that we will get our first female 00 agent Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch.
Uncharted (Jul 16th 2021)
Tom Holland will have a big year in 2021. Besides Spider-Man 3 he will also star in the first Uncharted movie as explorer Nathan Drake. The movie is based on the popular adventure games series by Naughty Dogs available for PlayStation. When the movie releases a long-held dream by fans will come true. I am surprised it didn’t happen sooner. The Uncharted franchise is basically Indiana Jones on steroids and already has a cinematic quality. The production of the movie was plagued with delays when a number of directors departed. When Ruben Fleischer (Venom) took up the role it became clear the ambitious schedule could not be maintained and the release of Uncharted was delayed to July 2021. Uncharted also stars Mark Wahlberg as Sully. In the game series he plays a father figure to Nathan. Uncharted will probably be an origin story of the character.
The Asset (Apr 23rd 2021)
The odd one out on this list is The Asset. It is on this list for two reasons. First The Asset is directed by Martin Campbell who directed both Goldeneye and Casino Royale. Second, the movie is about hacking. I have a soft spot for franchises such as Wargames, Hackers and Mr. Robot. The Asset stars Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Patrick and Maggie Q. An interesting cast which makes me believe this will be a serious action movie. I hope inspiration will be drawn from Mr. Robot and depict any hacking and tech in at least a plausible way. The screenplay is based on one by Richard Wenk (The Equalizer and Jack Reacher), so probably not. Considering little has been announced about The Asset as well as the bloated schedule for next year this project is not without serious risk.
Mission Impossible 7 (Nov 19th 2021)
Mission Impossible – Fallout from 2018 was a surprise hit. After both Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation is became clear the Mission Impossible franchise starring Tom Cruise had plenty of staying power. But that Fallout would be as good as it was surprised everybody. It had humor, it had gadgets but it was surprisingly dark. It focused on story threads left open by Rogue Nation when the villain Solomon Lane (Sean Harris) was re-introduced. With Mission Impossible 7 director Christopher McQuarrie shooting this film back-to-back with Mission Impossible 8. MI-7 will also star Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg. Supposedly Sean Harris might also return but one person who does is Vanessa Kirby as the arms-dealer Alanna Mitsopolis. Actor Esai Morales will play the villain. Lorne Balfe will return as composer, considering the brilliant soundtrack for Mission Impossible – Fallout that is fantastic.
Eternals (Nov 21st 2021)
The final movie on this list is also the one I know the least about. Eternals is set to become the 26th movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will focus on a new collection of godlike beings who live on Earth. Consider them to be the replacements of the Asgardians. Eternals will star an ensemble cats including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek and Kit Harrington. Yes, Madden + Harrington will be a reunion since the very beginning of Game of Thrones. The composer will be Ramin Djawadi, another GoT alumni. Whether Eternals will connect with audiences remains to be seen. It is without a doubt a high-value production but I think MCU fatigue is an actual thing. Eternals is directed by Chloe Zhao whom I do not know but she does have experience with a number of drama movies. Maybe that indicates a new direction for the MCU.
The staggering list of ‘Most Anticipated Movies of 2021’
Of this list of ‘Most Anticipated Movies of 2021’ half are set for release during the fall holiday season. The movies set for the summer are distinctly less known. While I tried to keep this list ‘Most Anticipated Movies of 2021’ to Sci-Fi there weren’t enough. There are a number of low-budget sci-fi movies I might want to try: A Quiet Place 2, BIOS, Reminiscence and Infinite. Of those Reminiscence is interesting as it is the directorial debut of Lisa Joy who of course co-created Westworld. But not enough is known about Reminiscence or any of the others to consider them to be tentpole productions. If you want you can replace The Asset with any of them. There is more of course, later in the summer of 2021 there The Tomorrow War, but at best that will be successful B-movie.
I hope you enjoyed reading this list. Right now it looks as though 2021 will be absolutely packed. Though I expect some movies scheduled for the first 4 or 5 months of 2021 to be bumped. Streaming services not withstanding, if cinema’s are closed then there is no point in releasing movies. If you want to you can subscribe to more posts of this blog on the right. This was it for my Most Anticipated Movies of 2021.