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Movies That Will Blow Everyone Away In 2021 And Beyond

Once upon a time, we could count on summer movie season to deliver all the biggest films, but now that "season" seems to be a year-round thing — except in 2020, when it pretty much didn't happen at all. It's never too early to start getting prepared for the growing pile of blockbusters on the horizon, even the ones that are still a year away.

Yes, 2021 is filling up with must-see releases ranging from continuations of beloved franchises to intriguing reboots and years-in-the-making dream projects that are bound for box office glory. There was plenty to look forward to even before so many of 2020's most high-profile releases got pushed into the future, making us all the more eager for the eventual return to theaters. With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the biggest films arriving in 2021 — and beyond.

Updated on October 15, 2021: Whether you're going to the theater or streaming from home, there's no shortage of awesome movies on the way. And as a result, we've updated this list to keep you current on all the comedies, action flicks, and horror films in the works. From release dates to cast and crew info, here's the latest on all the movies that will blow you away in the coming years.

Dune

Frank Herbert's "Dune," one of the most acclaimed and influential sci-fi novels of all time, has already been adapted to the screen twice, once for the big screen by David Lynch and once for the small in a Syfy miniseries. Both versions have their fans, but 2020 was supposed to bring a Dune adaptation like no other: a big-budget, ultra-ambitious epic helmed by genre luminary Denis Villeneuve ("Blade Runner 2049") and featuring a packed cast led by Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, and more. 

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic means we'll have to a wait a little longer to see what this version of "Dune" brings, but that doesn't diminish our excitement. The first trailer for Villeneuve's vision of "Dune" packed plenty of astonishing visuals into a very short clip, setting the stage for the story of a doomed family arriving on a hostile planet, and the prophecy that will change their lives and the galaxy around them forever. "Dune" was originally set to be released during the 2020 holiday season, but ongoing pandemic concerns meant that the release date shifted, and it's now arriving in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22, 2021. 

Army of Thieves

Zack Snyder's zombie heist film "Army of the Dead" arrived in the spring of 2021 with the promise of not just more wild undead action but also the arrival of a shared universe of stories starring its various characters. And it turns out we won't have to wait long to see the fruits of that ambition because the first spinoff is arriving just in time for Halloween.

Directed by and starring Matthias Schweighöfer and co-written and produced by Snyder himself, "Army of Thieves" will follow Ludwig Dieter, the nervous safecracker from "Army of the Dead," in a prequel adventure set years before the events of the original film. With a supporting cast that includes Nathalie Emmanuel, Guz Khan, and Ruby O. Fee, "Army of Thieves" moves the action to Europe, where Ludwig is working as a bank teller when an enterprising young thief (Emmanuel) plucks him out of obscurity. It seems the recent zombie outbreak in America has turned quite a few heads, so much so that they might be able to pull off the biggest heist Europe's seen in years, provided Ludwig can overcome his nerves and become the master thief he was born to be.

The first teaser trailer for the film — emphasizing its romantic, adventure-packed action — arrived in July 2021, and the film itself isn't far behind. "Army of Thieves" arrives on Netflix October 29, 2021.

Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright turned the zombie genre on its head with "Shaun of the Dead," and all these years later, the writer/director is returning to horror ... but this time, there won't be any laughs. Wright announced his new project, "Last Night in Soho," in 2019, and while we still know very little about it, we do know it's a psychological horror film in the vein of classics like "Don't Look Now," and that it'll follow a young woman who travels in time to the 1960s to meet one of her idols. Everything else is still a mystery.

This is Edgar Wright we're talking about, though, so "Last Night in Soho" has of course assembled a fabulous cast including Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp, and the legendary Diana Rigg in her final film role. Wright shot most of the film in 2019, though he returned for some additional photography in 2020. "Last Night in Soho" was originally set to be released in September 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced delays to April 2021, then to its current and hopefully final release date of October 29, 2021.

Antlers

"Antlers" was one of the most anticipated new horror films in recent years, even before a pandemic made the wait to see it even longer. When the film was pushed more than a year beyond its original release date, though, the anticipation skyrocketed, making it one of the must-see scary movies of 2021.

Based on a Nick Antosca short story, produced by Guillermo del Toro, and directed by Scott Cooper ("Out of the Furnace"), "Antlers" tells the story of a small-town school teacher (Keri Russell) who becomes concerned about a withdrawn, eccentric boy in her class (Jeremy T. Thomas). At the same time, her brother, the local sheriff (Jesse Plemons), is examining a brutal recent murder in the area. As the film's trailer reveals, the boy was keeping something locked in his house, something straight out of indigenous legend. And it's escaped...

Apart from the star power attached both in front of and behind the camera, the film's visuals and creepy atmosphere make it look like it could be one of the next great horror masterpieces. "Antlers" was originally set for release in April 2020, before the pandemic pushed it to its current, very appropriate release date of October 29, 2021. Mark your Halloween weekend calendars accordingly.

Eternals

In the wake of the massive Infinity Saga and its conclusion in "Avengers: Endgame," the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it is about to undergo some major changes. Yes, familiar characters will remain, but they won't be alone for long. New heroes are on the horizon, including the first all-new superhero team in the MCU since the Guardians of the Galaxy debuted in 2014. Get ready for the Eternals.

Based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name created by the great Jack Kirby, "Eternals" will follow a near-immortal race of beings who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years. Following some kind of "unexpected tragedy" in the wake of "Endgame," they will be forced out of hiding and back into the ages-long battle against the Ancient Enemy known as the Deviants.

The film boasts a star-packed cast, including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Gemma Chan, and more. Not only are we getting a new team, but we're getting the most diverse cast of superhero characters in the MCU to date, including their first openly gay superhero and first deaf character. Though it was originally scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has shifted Marvel's entire release schedule, and "Eternals" will now land November 5, 2021.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

After the 2016 "Ghostbusters" reboot failed to launch a new film series in its own right, it seemed like the beloved supernatural comedy franchise might never hit the big screen again. That changed in 2019 when director Jason Reitman — son of original "Ghostbusters" director Ivan Reitman — revealed that he'd been quietly working on a new film set within the continuity of the first two movies. "Ghostbusters" co-creator Dan Aykroyd worked on his own version of a third film for years, but with Reitman on board with his own new take, the original series is finally set to continue.

"Ghostbusters: Afterlife" will be set in the present day and follow a family — played by Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, and Mckenna Grace — who move to rural Oklahoma after inheriting some land from the kids' mysterious grandfather, who turns out to be Egon Spengler, one of the original Ghostbusters who has since passed on. In a world where few people remember the original team and their exploits, they're about to find that ghosts are still very much a part of the universe. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" was originally set to hit theaters in the summer of 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the film is now set to arrive November 11, 2021.

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

The original "Resident Evil" film series ran from 2002 to 2016, grossing more than $1 billion along the way and blazing its own path in terms of hit video game adaptations. That series is done, but "Resident Evil" as a media franchise lives on, which means it's time for a new movie that goes back to the beginning.

Based on the first and second video games in the iconic survival horror series, "Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City" will explore the origins of the "Resident Evil" world through the title location, a rundown Midwestern city that was once a boomtown thanks to the Umbrella Corporation. Written and directed by Johannes Roberts ("47 Meters Down") and featuring an impressive cast that includes Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, Hannah John-Kamen, and Tom Hopper, the film hopes to relaunch the movie franchise for a new generation of fans.

Though it was originally set to debut in September 2021, "Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City" was pushed back to later in the fall, and it will now hope to earn some Thanksgiving box office cash with a release date of November 24, 2021.

Encanto

Lin-Manuel Miranda has been part of the Disney family for a while now. He contributed original songs to the animated hit "Moana" (and got an Oscar nomination for his work), he co-starred in the sequel "Mary Poppins Returns," and he's been working on music for an updated version of "The Little Mermaid" for quite some time. Throw in the fact that his Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical "Hamilton" wound up on Disney+, and it's clear that the House of Mouse wants to keep Miranda around.

In December of 2020, we got yet another indication of their longstanding connection when Disney announced that Miranda has provided original songs for "Encanto," the upcoming 60th feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The film, directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, will follow the story of the one non-magical member of a family in Colombia as she tries to navigate life among her magical family members. The film is set to hit theaters November 24, 2021.

Nightmare Alley

After the triumph of "The Shape of Water," Guillermo del Toro could've chosen from any number of projects to direct next. What he ended up selecting, in December 2017, was "Nightmare Alley," a period thriller film adapted from William Lindsay Gresham's novel of the same name. Though it's taken a while to develop, "Nightmare Alley" promises to be another del Toro classic packed with great performances, astonishing visuals, and endless creativity.

As IndieWire explains it, the film will follow an "ambitious young carny" with a gift for manipulating people, who then pairs up with a psychiatrist whose gifts might prove even more dangerous. Bradley Cooper has joined the film in the role of the carny, and Cate Blanchett is on board as the psychiatrist. The rest of the ensemble cast includes Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, David Strathairn, Jim Beaver, Mary Steenburgen, Tim Blake Nelson, Richard Jenkins, and longtime del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman.

Filming on the project began in January 2020, only to be delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic for several months. "Nightmare Alley" is now on track to be released December 17, 2021.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

In August of 2019, the future of Spider-Man was thrown into serious jeopardy when reports surfaced that Sony Pictures and Disney/Marvel Studios were unable to reach a new agreement concerning their shared rights to the character. Since 2015, Spider-Man has had one foot in Sony's solo films and one foot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to an agreement that allowed the studios to share the character. When attempts to renegotiate that agreement fell apart, Spidey's MCU future seemed to fall apart with them. We knew that we'd get more Spider-Man movies, but we didn't know exactly where or how. 

In late September of 2019, though, the dispute between the studios was finally settled after a tense few weeks for fans. Sony and Disney agreed to a renewed partnership with Spider-Man that will take the character through at least one more solo film and one more appearance in an unnamed future MCU film, setting the stage for the next phase of the character's Marvel adventures. 

Big casting news began to drop in late 2020, with the intriguing revelations that Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor StrangeJamie Foxx's Electro (from Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"), and Alfred Molina's Doc Ock (from Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 2") would all be on board, suggesting some major multiverse-hopping weirdness. After a few delays, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" will swing into theaters on December 17, 2021.

The King's Man

There have been two films in the "Kingsman" series so far, and they've both focused on the same characters. Both "Kingsman: The Secret Service" and "Kingsman: The Golden Circle" feature the young buck Eggsy (Taron Egerton) and the experienced gentleman Harry (Colin Firth) fighting supervillains and saving the world from all manner of technological murderous mayhem using a combination of cool contemporary gadgets and classic menswear. That'll change in 2021, when the franchise takes us back to where it all began. 

"The King's Man," a prequel film once again helmed by original Kingsman director Matthew Vaughn, will transport us to the early 20th century to follow a different set of Kingsman agents as they try to stop a gathering of "tyrants and criminal masterminds" (so, once again, supervillains) from wiping out millions with a massive engineered war. Since we're going decades into the past, Eggsy and Harry won't be around, but the film will still sport a dazzling ensemble cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Bruhl, Charles Dance, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Djimon Hounsou, Stanley Tucci, and more.

The film was originally set to arrive in November 2019, but after multiple changes to its release date, the film is now set to hit theaters on December 22, 2021.

The Matrix Resurrections

It's been over 20 years since "The Matrix" changed cinema forever with its blockbuster combination of gravity-defying action and sci-fi storytelling. The film went on to spawn two sequels, but after "The Matrix Revolutions," it seemed like the big-screen journey was at an end.

That changed in the summer of 2019, when Variety reported that "Matrix" co-creator Lana Wachowski was returning to write and direct a fourth installment in the beloved franchise, and would be joined by returning stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss along with new cast members like Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick Harris, Priyanka Chopra, and more.

In the summer of 2021, we finally learned that the new film is titled "The Matrix Resurrections," and in September, the first trailer arrived to blow up the internet with stunning visuals and more than a few teases of what's to come. We still don't know much about the next "Matrix" movie, but we do know it'll involve an older version of Neo who's having dreams about his life before — dreams tied to Trinity, even though the two of them don't seem to remember each other on the surface. That all changes when a group of revolutionaries, including a somehow younger version of Morpheus (Abdul-Mateen), arrives to open Neo's eyes once again.

"The Matrix Resurrections" will hit theaters and HBO Max on December 22, 2021.

Scream

A good slasher franchise never really dies, and in 2022, the "Scream" series will prove it with the much-anticipated fifth film — the first in more than a decade. It's the beginning of a new era for the franchise because the movie will mark the first big-screen "Scream" installment made without director Wes Craven, who passed away in 2015. But that doesn't mean the film will be without familiar faces. Original "Scream" stars Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette have all signed on to reprise their characters, marking a major reunion for the characters who've managed to survive ever since the first film debuted in 1996 and changed the horror game forever. 

So, what will the next film be about? We have no idea, but don't expect a full-on reboot here. Yes, directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (the minds behind the horror-comedy hit "Ready or Not") are relaunching the "Scream" film series after the franchise took a brief detour into television in 2015. But as the presence of the original cast suggests, this is going to be more of a continuation than an attempt to reinvent the "Scream" wheel. Still, a lot has changed in the horror movie game in the 25 years since the first film, which means there's all manner of new meta-horror fun to be had. 

"Scream" arrives in theaters on January 14, 2022.

The Black Phone

In 2012, director Scott Derrickson and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill released their first collaboration, "Sinister," a film still widely viewed as one of the best original horror stories to emerge in the 2010s. Now, after shifting focus just slightly to work on projects like "Doctor Strange" together, the duo are headed back to their roots with "The Black Phone," another terrifying horror film with a very creepy premise that will reunite them with "Sinister" star Ethan Hawke.

"The Black Phone" is an adaptation of the short story of the same name written by Joe Hill — author of books like "Horns" and co-creator of the hit comic turned streaming series "Locke & Key" — and it tells the story of a teenage boy who's abducted and locked in a basement by a serial killer. Though no one can hear him down in the killer's lair, the boy finds that he can hear something through a seemingly disconnected telephone kept in the room — the voices of the killer's other victims, gone but still somehow speaking through this mysterious black phone. 

Derrickson and Cargill announced their involvement in the project in October 2020, and by the spring of 2021, the film was shooting. And Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures have recently announced that "The Black Phone" will land in theaters February 4, 2022.

Morbius

While Spider-Man has spent the last few years hanging out with the Avengers over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film rights to all of the webslinger's supporting characters remain at Sony Pictures, who've been hard at work on their own shared universe of Spidey-adjacent heroes and villains. After "Venom" became a box office hit in 2018, that effort was stepped up, and in 2022 we'll see the next chapter with "Morbius."

Jared Leto stars as Michael Morbius, the first live-action version of the Living Vampire from the pages of Marvel Comics. As he searches for a cure for a rare blood disease that could kill him, Morbius accidentally alters his own biological makeup and gives himself a kind of vampirism, which also grants him superhuman abilities. The first trailer for the film leaned heavily into the darker aspects of the Morbius story, but also teased that Michael Keaton will make some kind of appearance as Adrian Toomes, his character from "Spider-Man: Homecoming."

Though it was originally scheduled for the summer of 2020, "Morbius" has since been delayed to January 28, 2022.

Moonfall

With films like "Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow," director Roland Emmerich helped define the modern action blockbuster as we know it today. He's a master when it comes to making entertaining films with truly bonkers premises, and in 2022, he'll try to do it again with "Moonfall," a disaster movie with a very apt title.

The film will follow a crew of misfits as they attempt a desperate mission to venture out into space and prevent the moon from ... well ... from falling to Earth. Something has knocked the moon off its axis, it's headed right for the planet, and the only people who believe there's a way to stop it are a handful of astronauts and conspiracy theorists. So, it's a particularly apt Roland Emmerich premise. And the first footage for the film revealed we're getting exactly what it says on the tin — the moon falling and scientists trying to figure out a way to save the Earth.

Joining Emmerich for this wild ride is an all-star cast that includes Halle Berry, John Bradley, Donald Sutherland, Patrick Wilson, Michael Pena, Charlie Plummer, and more. Though it underwent a bit of a wild pre-production ride due to the pandemic, the film is now on track for a release date of February 4, 2022.

Uncharted

It's been a long road for the "Uncharted" movie, and it seems like the road just keeps getting longer. We can trace the start of active development on a film based on the hit game series of the same name back to at least 2010 at this point, and over the course of a decade the project has seen quite a few directors and writers come and go in an effort to really get it right.

In January of 2020, Deadline reported that Sony Pictures had bumped the film from its previous release date of December 18, 2020 to March 5, 2021. There were still more delays in store when industry reshuffling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic saw "Uncharted" pushed to February 11, 2022.

Director Ruben Fleischer ("Venom") is at the helm for "Uncharted," which will star Tom Holland as a younger version of the video game series' hero, explorer Nathan Drake. The film will serve as a look at Drake's early days as a treasure hunter, and will co-star Mark Wahlberg as Drake's partner Victor "Sully" Sullivan. 

The Batman

"The Batman" has had a long road to the big screen already. At one point, the film — the first solo Batman flick since "The Dark Knight Rises" in 2012 — was supposed to be delivered by Ben Affleck, who signed on to play the Caped Crusader for "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" and was going to serve as star, director, and at least co-write. But after "Justice League" was released in 2017, things began to change. First, Affleck seemed to be backing away from work behind the camera, ultimately giving up the directing role to Matt Reeves ("War for the Planet of the Apes"). Then he seemed to be backing away as the star, finally dropping out of the project.

Ever since then, Reeves has been working to refocus the story on a younger version of the character. Now, "The Batman" will be led by none other than Robert Pattinson, with a roster of villains including Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, and Colin Farrell as the Penguin. Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, and Peter Sargaard round out the cast. Though a blockbuster trailer for the film drew buzz at DC FanDome in the summer of 2020, pandemic restrictions meant "The Batman" couldn't make its original 2021 release date. The film is slated to hit theaters on March 4, 2022.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

In the spring of 2022, just over five years after his MCU debut (and having since increased in fan enthusiasm via his frequent guest appearances in everything from "Thor: Ragnarok" to "Avengers: Endgame"), Doctor Strange will finally get his very first sequel. Marvel Studios announced at San Diego Comic Con that director Scott Derrickson and star Benedict Cumberbatch would both return for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," which Derrickson promised would be the first truly scary film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Derrickson vacated the director's chair due to "creative differences" early in 2020, with "Spider-Man" and "Evil Dead" legend Sam Raimi quickly entering talks to replace him.

Strange won't be the only hero in the flick. He'll be joined by Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, who'll be played once again by Elizabeth Olsen. Scarlet Witch's appearance in the film will tie in directly to the events of "WandaVision." They'll also be joined by the returning Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, along with newcomer Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez. "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" hits theaters March 25, 2022.

The Northman

With his directorial debut "The Witch" in 2015, director Robert Eggers established himself as a filmmaker with an extremely detail-oriented, specific point of view. He amplified that feeling in 2019 with "The Lighthouse," an even stranger journey into darkness that cemented the director as one of the most exciting voices in genre cinema right now.

With two films under his belt — both critically acclaimed, both strange trips through the human psyche — Eggers' next project is "The Northman," yet another historical film that will feature an epic scope unlike anything he's directed previously. A story of the legendary Scandinavian Prince Amleth, the film will allow Eggers to exercise his detailed approach to period filmmaking while working with his biggest all-star cast yet.

So, who's set to star? In the title role, Eggers landed the very appropriate Alexander Skarsgard, and "The Northman" will also reunite the filmmaker with his "Witch" star Anya Taylor-Joy. The supporting cast for the film also includes Ethan Hawke, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Bjork, Kate Dickie, and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (best known as the Mountain from "Game of Thrones").

After filming amid pandemic conditions in 2020, "The Northman" is now set for a release on April 8, 2022.

Bullet Train

It's a very good time for high-concept action movies featuring major stars, whether we're talking about the world of "John Wick" or the Bob Odenkirk-starring "Nobody." "Bullet Train," the next film from "John Wick" and "Atomic Blonde" alum David Leitch, is another showcase for that kind of filmmaking, boasting a killer story hook, a stacked cast, and what promises to be some of the best action you'll see on the big screen in the coming years.

Based on the Kotaro Isaka novel, the film will follow a group of assassins who all happen to be taking a trip on the same Japanese bullet train. As the journey goes on, they find that their respective assignments have some unexpected connections, and the resulting clashes will present a great opportunity for some fun, close-quarter fight scenes.

The cast of the film is led by none other than Brad Pitt, who used to employ Leitch as his stunt double back in the "Fight Club" days, but Pitt is far from the only major star involved in the production. "Bullet Train" has a jam-packed cast that also includes Joey King, Sandra Bullock, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Andrew Koji, Michael Shannon, Lady Gaga, Hiroyuki Sanada, and more. The film launched production during the pandemic, wrapped shooting in the spring of 2021, and will arrive on April 8, 2022.

Thor: Love and Thunder

While the events of "Avengers: Endgame" seemed to signal the end of the careers of both Iron Man and Captain America in the MCU, one other franchise from the pre-"Avengers" days still has a few things left to say. Yes, Thor is returning to his solo series once again for a fourth installment, "Thor: Love and Thunder. "

Marvel Studios made the announcement at San Diego Comic Con 2019, having already confirmed that "Thor: Ragnarok" helmer Taika Waititi would be back as both writer and director for the film. Chris Hemsworth will return in the title role alongside Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, who is set to spend the movie searching for her queen. Then there was an even bigger surprise: Natalie Portman, after walking away from the MCU following "Thor: The Dark World," will also be back, reprising her role as Jane Foster. And what's more, Jane will get to pick up Mjolnir this time around, signaling an adaptation of the 2010s comic book saga in which Foster got to become the new Thor. 

They'll all be up against a truly formidable foe in the form of Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher. But at least they'll have some support from the Guardians of the Galaxy, as Star-Lord and his crew are going to show up. You can also expect to see Russell Crowe make an appearance as the Greek god Zeus, and we'll also get cameos from the likes of Matt Damon, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, and Melissa McCarthy. The jam-packed "Thor: Love and Thunder" arrives May 6, 2022.

Top Gun: Maverick

It's been more than 30 years since "Top Gun" roared into theaters, and the film is still considered among the best blockbusters in Tom Cruise's storied filmography. The story of a Navy fighter pilot who just wouldn't quit pushing the envelope, the film remains a classic piece of 1980s action, and an essential for every Cruise fan. Now, after years of teasing from Cruise himself, we're finally getting a sequel.

"Top Gun: Maverick" sees Cruise returning to the title role of aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, now a much older man who's still pushing the envelope as a pilot and refusing promotions that would take him out of the cockpit for good. Though he's happy to continue his old ways, "Maverick" will feature Mitchell staring down two major new developments — a "Top Gun" mission the likes of which human pilots have never seen and the arrival of the son (Miles Teller) of his best friend Goose, who died in the original movie.

The film's trailers promise plenty of real aerial action featuring Cruise himself piloting planes, and the cast also includes returning "Top Gun" star Val Kilmer and franchise newcomers including Jon Hamm, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, and more. "Maverick" was originally supposed to arrive June 26, 2020 before being delayed multiple times. The film is now set to land on May 27, 2022

John Wick: Chapter 4

"John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum" is the most successful entry in the franchise, surpassing the entire box office runs of the two previous installments early in its theatrical run. The "Wick" films still clearly have a lot of juice in them, audiences are still coming back for more, and Keanu Reeves seems committed to continuing his reign of action dominance, so it's no surprise that the third film perfectly sets up a fourth installment. It's also no surprise that it's already been announced. Reeves is back once again as the titular hitman, this time going to war against people he once thought he could trust.

While we're still waiting to see if Ian McShane's Winston returns, it's a safe bet as we know that Lance Reddick will be coming back as the Continental's concierge. As for newcomers, the movie boasts some pretty impressive names. Expect to see Bill Skarsgard ("It"), Donnie Yen ("Ip Man"), Hiroyuki Sanada ("Mortal Kombat"), and Clancy Brown ("The Shawshank Redemption"). Plus, they'll be joined by Shamier Anderson of "Stowaway," martial arts actor Scott Adkins, and singer Rina Sawayama, and the whole thing will be overseen by returning director Chad Stahelski.

Though the movie was initially set for a 2021 release, Stahelski explained that a combination of movie industry shutdowns and Reeves' commitment to "The Matrix 4" had put the production in something of a temporary limbo. But in May of 2020, Lionsgate announced that we can expect Wick to be back on May 27, 2022.

Jurassic World: Dominion

The "Jurassic Park" franchise returned to blockbuster status in a big way in 2015 with "Jurassic World," and producer Steven Spielberg wasn't about to let it stop there. Colin Trevorrow, who directed and co-wrote the first installment, always had the shape of a trilogy in his mind, and that mission continued with J.A. Bayona's "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" in 2018. The third film in the trilogy, titled "Jurassic World: Dominion," was originally set to arrive three years later in the summer of 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed production a bit. Now, we can expect the franchise to come stomping back into theaters on June 10, 2022.

Trevorrow will return to the director's chair for the third installment, and will co-write the film with Emily Carmichael ("Pacific Rim: Uprising"). In addition to a reunion of classic "Jurassic Park" favorites Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, "World" stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are also returning for the film, which will feature dinosaurs roaming free on the mainland United States, making it a truly Jurassic World. Beyond that, we don't yet know anything about the plot.

Lightyear

There was a time not too long ago when it seemed a little unthinkable that we'd get any major new "Toy Story" installments beyond the third feature film. Then "Toy Story 4" came along, and once again it seemed strange to imagine the franchise moving beyond that outside of the occasional short film or perhaps another holiday special. Now we know that "Toy Story" is indeed moving on, in a way that no one could have predicted.

Disney announced in December 2020 that Pixar Animation Studios has been hard at work on a film called "Lightyear," a new animated adventure starring Chris Evans as the voice of the title character, presenting a kind of origin story for everyone's favorite Space Ranger. But as Evans later clarified via Twitter, this isn't the story of the toy. This is the story of the "real" Buzz Lightyear who inspired the toy. That's an intriguing idea, and we'll see how it plays out when "Lightyear" hits theaters June 17, 2022.

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

In 2018, the billion-dollar "Transformers" movie franchise got a shake-up with "Bumblebee," a spinoff-prequel hybrid that moved the action to the 1980s and generated new energy in a franchise that's been running since 2007. In 2022, the franchise will seek to replicate that success with "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts."

Like "Bumblebee," "Rise of the Beasts" will be a period piece, set in 1990s Brooklyn and introducing several new breeds of alien robot to the film series. This time around, human characters played by leads Anthony Ramos ("In the Heights") and Dominique Fishback ("Judas and the Black Messiah") will encounter "Beast Wars" characters like the Maximals and the Predacons, as an ancient conflict comes to Earth in the form of the villainous "Terrorcons." So far we know very little about the voice cast, but Peter Cullen is expected to return as the iconic Optimus Prime, and the legendary Ron Perlman will join the franchise as Optimus Primal, leader of the Maximals.

"Transformers: Rise of the Beasts" roars into theaters June 24, 2022.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

A sequel to "Black Panther" has been something Marvel Studios has been eager about ever since the first film rocketed to massive commercial and critical success in 2018. We've known pretty much ever since the original film's opening weekend that a follow-up film was coming, but in 2020, everything surrounding that particular sequel changed when its star, Chadwick Boseman, died at the age of just 43. That left a lot of lingering questions, and in December of 2020 Marvel Studios finally started to answer some of them.

During a Disney Investor Day presentation, Marvel Studios Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige announced that "Black Panther 2" would indeed still be moving forward under the leadership of director Ryan Coogler, but we shouldn't expect another actor to embody King T'Challa of Wakanda. Instead, we should prepare for a film that, according to Feige, will honor Boseman's memory while also "continue to explore the world of Wakanda." That's especially true now that we know the sequel will be titled "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

However it takes shape, "Wakanda Forever" is now set to hit theaters July 8, 2022.

Fantastic Beasts 3

By the time the third film in the "Fantastic Beasts" series hits theaters, four years will have gone by since the second installment, "The Crimes of Grindelwald," and a lot of things will be different. Within the story, Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and friends will still be dealing with the rising threat of Grindelwald, the looming danger of World War II, and of course that shocking twists at the end of the second film. Even outside of the actual story, though, there have been a few developments.

Redmayne is still expected to return for the third film, as are director David Yates and screenwriters J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, but things will look a little different on the villain front. After a court case concerning abuse allegations leveled by ex-wife Amber Heard, former Grindelwald Johnny Depp was ousted from the project. He will be replaced, to the delight of many fans, by "Hannibal" and "Doctor Strange" star Mads Mikkelsen.

Then there's the issue of the release date. As filming on the project resumed in 2020, the studio was still aiming for a November 12, 2021 release date, but continued COVID-19 pandemic woes and the need to recast Grindelwald shifted that schedule. The film is now expected to land July 15, 2022.

Indiana Jones 5

For a long time, the idea that we would only ever have three Indiana Jones films seemed both comfortable and obvious. Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford spent a good chunk of the 1980s crafting their trilogy, and then it seemed to be put to bed. In 2008, after years of whispers, that all changed with the arrival of the divisive "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," and in an age when franchises and nostalgia are often king at the box office, it was only a matter of time before a fifth film materialized.

"Indiana Jones 5" was at one point going to arrive in 2019. Then that release date was pushed to 2020, and then the Walt Disney Company announced that the film would again be delayed, this time to a hopefully final release date of July 29, 2022. Harrison Ford will return to reprise the title role, with "Logan" director James Mangold set to take over the director's chair from Steven Spielberg, who will remain onboard as a producer. As for the additional cast, we know that Antonio Banderas, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Boyd Holbrook of "Logan," and Shaunette Renée Wilson of "The Resident" will all be showing up, but we don't yet know if they'll be friends or foes to Dr. Jones. However, we do know that legendary composer John Williams will return to score Indy's newest adventure.

Nope

Jordan Peele exploded onto the genre filmmaking scene in 2017 with his directorial debut "Get Out," winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and becoming a powerful new voice in horror in the process. And he basically hasn't slowed down since. In addition to producing and guiding projects like "Lovecraft Country" at HBO and Nia DaCosta's upcoming "Candyman" sequel, Peele's also been at work on new films of his own, beginning with "Us" in 2019 and continuing with a project that's still very, very mysterious even as its planned release date gets closer. 

Though Peele has used past interviews to talk about the other "social thriller" movie concepts he's got planned, we still don't actually know if his new film — titled "Nope" — will be one of those pre-existing ideas or something entirely new. Right now, this is a film we're excited about purely because of the talent involved. Peele himself is, of course, at the head of this project, but he's also beginning to add to a cast that gets more impressive all the time. In February 2021, Keke Palmer joined the project, and Peele's "Get Out" collaborator and Oscar-winning actor Daniel Kaluuya followed. Then, in April 2021, Oscar nominee Steven Yeun, fresh off the success of "Minari," was also added to the impressive cast (which also includes Barbie Ferreira, Brandon Perea and Michael Wincott). Who will these stars be playing, and what will they be doing? We have no idea, but we'll be in theaters when Peele's new film arrives on July 22, 2022

Black Adam

For more than a decade now, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been circling a superhero movie while he's moved through blockbuster after blockbuster, cementing his place as one of the biggest action stars of his generation. Soon, he'll finally make his big-screen super-debut after years of development and teasing.

Johnson will play Black Adam, a character first introduced as a villain for Captain Marvel, aka Shazam. Adam is a previous incarnation of the hero known as Shazam who was corrupted and became a villain, only to later be retconned into a kind of principled antihero when it was revealed that the corruption was not his fault. The character was at one point set to be a potential villain for the first "Shazam!," but Johnson's commitment to the role and his view of Adam as a heroic, misunderstood figure won out, and the character will now arrive in his very own movie. 

Plus, Johnson announced in the summer of 2020 that Adam will be joined in his solo film by members of the Justice Society of America, and casting has since revealed that the film will feature Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, and the great Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate. According to Deadline, Uli Latukefu of "Young Rock" fame will be showing up, and young actor Bodhi Sabongui has also been cast in a "secret" but "key role," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra ("Jungle Cruise"), "Black Adam" will swoop into theaters on July 29, 2022.

Mission: Impossible 7 and 8

When "Mission: Impossible III" arrived with the lowest box office numbers of the series in 2006, it seemed possible that the action franchise was fading. Never count Tom Cruise out, though. The "M:I" films found their footing again with "Ghost Protocol" in 2011, and they've been building steam ever since, with 2018's "Fallout" ranking as the most financially successful and critically acclaimed installment yet. It made sense to continue the series, and writer/director Christopher McQuarrie seemed like the man to do it after the success of "Fallout."

At first, McQuarrie was reluctant to try and top his last installment, but he eventually agreed to do not one, but two films in the series, shot back-to-back. The first of these, "Mission: Impossible 7," will arrive September 30, 2022, with the eighth film in the franchise landing on July 7, 2023. Tom Cruise will return as Ethan Hunt, and Rebecca Ferguson is also expected to be back as Ilsa Faust. Other than that, we don't yet know what thrills Cruise and McQuarrie have in store, but we can expect them to be spectacular.

Into the Spider-Verse 2

There have been a lot of "Spider-Man" movies in the 21st century so far, but none of them ever approached the particular kind of magic that is "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." The film marked the first time Spidey hit the big screen as the star of an animated film, and the creative team took full advantage of that through a distinctive visual style. Plus, while all the other Spider-films star Peter Parker, "Spider-Verse" opted for a more diverse approach by making Ultimate Spider-Man Miles Morales the lead character, and surrounding him with alternate universe Spider-heroes of all kinds.

The result was an almost universally beloved instant classic, a film that took home box office gold and then began filling up a trophy case with awards, including the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Sony Pictures was so high on the "Spider-Verse" concept that a sequel was in the works even before the film hit theaters, and it turned out that excitement was justified. Now, it's just a question of waiting. The "Into the Spider-Verse" sequel will chronicle the further adventures of Miles Morales, and it's being directed by an incredible trio of filmmakers. We've got Joaquim Dos Santos ("Avatar: The Last Airbender"), Kemp Powers (the Oscar-nominated writer of "One Night in Miami"), and Justin K. Thompson (the production designer of the first "Spider-Verse" film). Plus, the script will be coming from Phil Lord, Chris Miller, and David Callaham — the scribe behind "Wonder Woman 1984" and "Shang-Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings."

In regards to the cast, we know Shameik Moore will return as Miles Morales, and Hailee Steinfeld will once again play Spider-Gwen. But what about new members of the Spider-Family? Well, Issa Rae of HBO's "Insecure" is swinging into the action as the voice of Jessica Drew — better known as Spider-Woman. As for when we'll see Miles' new adventure, the film is set to hit theaters October 7, 2022.

The Flash

Though he may be the fastest of DC's onscreen superheroes, the Flash has been taking his time in getting to the big screen in his own solo movie. Development on a film starring the Scarlet Speedster in the DC Extended Universe extends back nearly a decade, with various writers and directors lining up for the project only to eventually depart. Ezra Miller made debuted as Barry Allen, aka the Flash, with a brief cameo in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" before going on to star in "Justice League" in 2017.

Since then, numerous changes have forced Miller's "Flash" solo film to keep hopping around the calendar. Now, it seems it may have finally found its spot. With "IT" director Andy Muschietti and "Birds of Prey" writer Christina Hodson taking the reins of the project behind the camera, "The Flash" is now expected to arrive November 4, 2022. And we finally got some concrete details in 2020, when it was revealed that Ben Affleck would be reprising his role as Batman. Plus, Michael Keaton will also appear as his 1989 version of the Caped Crusader, opening up the DC Multiverse.

On top of that, Sasha Calle of "The Young and the Restless" will be making her debut as Supergirl alongside Barry Allen. And in March 2021, it was announced that Ron Livingston will replace Billy Crudup in the role of the Scarlet Speedster's father, Henry.

The Marvels

"Captain Marvel" was a game-changer for the MCU when it debuted in 2019, the first female-led Marvel Studios superhero film which also managed to introduce a key alien race (the Skrulls) to the universe while expanding another (the Kree) and setting the stage for more future superheroines along the way. "Captain Marvel 2" was always going to be a big film, and now we're starting to get a sense of just how big.

Nia DaCosta ("Candyman") is set to direct the adventure for Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), but Captain Marvel won't be fighting alone. She'll be joined by Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, an adult version of the child of Carol's best friend, Maria, from the first film, who made her debut in "WandaVision" in 2020 and gained some surprising superpowers of her own along the way. Joining the two of them will be Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, a Captain Marvel superfan-turned-superhero who's about to debut in her own original series on Disney+. And with these three together, it's no wonder that the film has been renamed "The Marvels," and it's set to hit theaters November 11, 2022.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Like the Flash, Jason Momoa's Aquaman first appeared in a brief cameo in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" before going on to become one of the biggest scene stealers in "Justice League." For his first solo film, director James Wan and Momoa delivered a massive undersea epic that combined superhero adventure with epic fantasy storytelling and a brighter, more comedic outlook than previous DCEU films. The result was a box office megahit that grossed more than $1 billion after its release during the 2018 holiday season. With that in mind, a sequel was inevitable.

In February of 2019, Warner Bros. announced that "Aquaman 2" was indeed moving forward, and the film — now titled "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" — will be released on December 16, 2022. Momoa is set to reprise his role as the titular superhero, and we'll also get to the see the return of actors like Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, and Amber Heard. And "Aquaman" director James Wan has signed on to produce and direct. Plus, expect to see names such as Randall Park, Vincent Regan, Jani Zhao, and Indya Moore (as a telepathic shark!).

We don't yet know what the conflict will be, but there's a good chance Yahya Adbul-Mateen II's Black Manta will have something to do with it. And we also know that Pilou Asbaek of "Game of Thrones," the actor who played pirate Euron Greyjoy, will be showing up (per Deadline), although we don't know if he'll be helping Aquaman or fighting against him.

Avatar 2

Nearly a decade ago, James Cameron released "Avatar," a dazzling sci-fi spectacle that captivated audiences around the world and ultimately became the highest-grossing film of all time. Even while promoting "Avatar," Cameron was already talking about his plans for sequels, and what was at the time a vision for a trilogy of films set on the planet Pandora. Way back then, "Avatar 2" and "Avatar 3" were supposed to arrive in 2014 and 2015, but that didn't happen. Then three sequels were happening instead of two, with "Avatar 2" arriving in 2016. Then 2018. Then 2020.

With the purchase of Fox (which was supposed to distribute "Avatar 2") by the Walt Disney Company, the release date was moved once again to December 17, 2021, with the following three sequels expected to arrive in 2023, 2025, and 2027. Of course, it was one of the many projects in production to get pushed back yet again in 2020, this time to December 16, 2022. Hopefully Cameron and company can eventually get us all back to Pandora.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Though it initially emerged as an action-comedy entry that felt relatively minor (in terms of continuity impact) compared to other major MCU series, the "Ant-Man" films have since become a kind of cornerstone for the future of the MCU thanks to Scott Lang's major role in "Avengers: Endgame." Now, the third adventure for the whole "Ant-Man" crew is on the horizon, and it's set to be a big one.

Marvel announced in December 2020 that the third feature in the series will be titled "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," and it's set to introduce one of the biggest villains the Marvel Universe, the time-hopping Kang the Conqueror, to the MCU. "Lovecraft Country" star Jonathan Majors is set to portray Kang, making him one of two major MCU newcomers in the film so far, the other being "Freaky" star Kathryn Newton as Scott Lang's grown-up daughter Cassie. "Ant-Man and the Wasp" stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer are all set to return for the film, as is director Peyton Reed. Get ready for Scott Lang's ant-sized adventures on February 17, 2023.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

A third "Guardians of the Galaxy" film felt like a foregone conclusion even before "Vol. 2" hit theaters in the spring of 2017, but to say the road to get there has been complicated might be something of an understatement. The film was originally on track to start production in 2018, but that changed when writer/director James Gunn was fired by Disney over controversial tweets from years prior. Gunn was ultimately reinstated, but not before he'd already landed a prime gig at Warner Bros. writing and directing "The Suicide Squad." Still, Marvel Studios agreed to hold onto the project until Gunn was ready.

So, Gunn went off to make "The Suicide Squad," which then also led to the HBO Max spinoff series "Peacemaker," which further delayed work on the adventures of the Guardians. Finally, in the spring of 2021, Marvel announced that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" will arrive in theaters May 5, 2023, six years to the day after "Vol. 2" landed. It might feel like a long wait, but there will be something in between. In December 2020, Disney announced that Gunn and the original Guardians cast will also produce the "Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special," set before the third film, which will hit Disney+ in December 2022.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

In late 2018 and early 2019, Warner Bros. did a lot of work to inject some fun into its DC Comics Extended Universe. That effort began with "Aquaman," which was a massive box office hit over the 2018 holiday season, and then continued with "Shazam!," which arrived in early 2019 and attained acclaim in its own right. It never rose to the box office heights of "Aquaman," but the film's $364 million worldwide box office haul was solid for a film of its size. It was also apparently enough to greenlight a sequel.

Warner Bros. announced in late 2019 that a "Shazam!" sequel was on the way. Zachary Levi is set to return to the title role in the film, with writer Henry Gayden and director David F. Sandberg also set to return behind the camera. In 2020, the title was revealed to be "Shazam! Fury of the Gods." There's no word yet on exactly what the plot will be, but the original film set up plenty of opportunities for new foes, including the potential inclusion of Black Adam after his own film drops. But whether or not he appears, we know that Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu will be showing up as villains, playing sisters named Hespera and Kalypso. They're daughters of the god Atlas, which sets the stage for a colossal confrontation. Plus, Rachel Zegler of the upcoming "West Side Story" will also play one of Atlas' daughters, although we're not sure if she's going to be Shazam's ally or enemy. 

"Fury of the Gods" is currently expected to arrive on June 2, 2023.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

Ask any group of longtime "Star Wars" fans what kinds of movies they'd like to see outside the main saga, and at least a handful of them will tell you they want a "Rogue Squadron" movie. The legendary band of starfighter pilots that included heroes Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles was a major part of the old "Star Wars" Expanded Universe, and now it seems set to be part of the new one.

Disney announced in December 2020 that "Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins will helm a "Rogue Squadron" feature film for Lucasfilm, and that it will be the next theatrical release in the "Star Wars" universe. In a video introducing the project, Jenkins described the movie as the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to make an amazing fighter pilot movie in honor of her father, a fighter pilot himself. Plot details are scarce, but we know the film will focus on "a new generation" of pilots in a "future era" of the "Star Wars" galaxy. We also know it will be written by Matthew Robinson, who penned "The Invention of Lying" and co-wrote "Love and Monsters" and "Edge of Tomorrow." We'll find out more as we get closer to the release of "Rogue Squadron," which has been slated for December 22, 2023.

Tomb Raider 2

In 2018, MGM decided it was time to bring the beloved video game franchise "Tomb Raider" back to the big screen with a new take that hewed closer to the more recent installments of the game series. Starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, the film dove into Croft's first treasure hunt as she followed in the footsteps of her father. The film grossed $275 million worldwide, enough to set development of a sequel in motion.

In the fall of 2019 we thought we'd found out when we'd see that sequel. The studio set it for a March 19, 2021 release date, almost three years to the day after the first film, with Vikander set to return to her starring role as Lara Croft, and director Ben Wheatley attached to helm. But after some reshuffling that briefly saw the project removed from the calendar completely, it was announced in January of 2021 that "Lovecraft Country" showrunner Misha Green is now onboard as writer-director, though the film's development delays mean that it still doesn't have a firm release date.

Untitled Taika Waititi Star Wars project

Acclaimed writer/director Taika Waititi already has something of a history with "Star Wars." After success at Marvel Studios (another company under the Disney umbrella) with "Thor: Ragnarok," Waititi joined the group of directors recruited by Jon Favreau to helm the first season of the "Star Wars" live-action series "The Mandalorian," in which he also voiced the bounty hunter turned nanny droid IG-11.

Waititi must have made an impression on the Lucasfilm crew, because in May of 2020 the official "Star Wars" website announced that the director has signed on to make a new "Star Wars" movie for the company, which Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy reaffirmed during a Disney Investor Day event in December of 2020. Details on the project are still extremely scarce. We have no idea of the title, or the era, or which characters we might see, or even a potential release date. All we really know is that one of the most inventive genre directors working right now is making a "Star Wars" film, and that's good enough for now.

Fantastic Four

The earliest rumblings about Disney's purchase of Fox immediately sent waves of anticipation through Marvel fandom. By the time the deal was done, nerds everywhere were champing at the bit for any news about the future of the two major Marvel properties that could finally be folded into the MCU: the X-Men and the Fantastic Four. Apart from a few mentions, though, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige kept largely quiet about the future of the characters for some time.

Then came Disney's Investor Day presentation in December of 2020, when Feige announced that a "Fantastic Four" movie is on the horizon. Sadly, we still know very little about what this film — which will mark the first MCU appearance of the title team — will hold by the time we finally see it, but we do know that it has a director. Jon Watts, who's had hits for Marvel with "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Spider-Man: Far From Home," is set to take on the FF's first Marvel Studios adventure for a still-undisclosed future release date.

Captain America 4

With the arrival of its streaming series on Disney+, Marvel Studios entered an intriguing transitional period in which new stories are set to emerge on the big screen after first taking root on the small screen. "WandaVision," for example, is set to continue its tale in some form via Wanda Maximoff's appearance in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," and while we didn't know going in what "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" might do to the picture, we now have a much better idea: It's giving us a new Captain America movie

In April 2021, hours after the finale of "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" arrived on Disney+, it was reported that the show's head writer, Malcolm Spellman, is developing a fourth "Captain America" film for Marvel Studios, which will presumably center around Sam Wilson as the newly installed version of the Sentinel of Liberty. We still know very little about what Spellman's film will cover, including exactly who will appear in it, but his work on the Disney+ series left us plenty of clues. We've got a new Captain America, a vengeful old Captain America in John Walker, a weapons dealer installed in the U.S. espionage community, the Winter Soldier still in the picture, and much, much more. It's not clear yet when this film will hit theaters, but it's a key piece of the Marvel puzzle worth keeping an eye on as we head into the next phase of the MCU. 

Children of Blood and Bone

In early 2019, it was reported that the Walt Disney Company had optioned Tomi Adeyemi's bestselling fantasy novel "Children of Blood and Bone" to adapt into a potential feature film. Other development news later surfaced, but beyond some rumblings behind the scenes it wasn't really clear exactly where the property might end up.

We got a better idea of that in December 2020 during a Disney Investor Day presentation, when Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has announced that her studio is making "Children of Blood and Bone" into a feature film.

Adeyemi's novel tells the story of Zélie Adebola, who teams up with a rogue princess to fight a tyrannical monarchy and restore magic to the land where she lives. The novel is ripe for an epic fantasy film adaptation, and now we know that Lucasfilm is committed to doing just that. What we don't know yet is who will write and direct the film, or when it will be released. Hopefully we'll see more news on that front soon.

Borderlands

For more than a decade, "Borderlands" has stood as one of the most addictive sci-fi shooters in the gaming world, combining crazy action with wild sci-fi designs and unpredictable storytelling. Now, at last, that universe is making the leap to the big screen courtesy of "Cabin Fever" and "The Green Inferno" director Eli Roth. The project was first announced in February 2020 as a loose adaptation of the games, with "Chernobyl" screenwriter Craig Mazin on board to draft the script. Having Roth, who has an eye for brutal genre storytelling, on board as director was exciting enough for some fans, but then he spent the better part of the next year filling out the cast, and things have just gotten more exciting from there. 

So, who's set to star in "Borderlands?" In May 2020, Cate Blanchett signed on to play the film's lead, Lilith, and as 2021 began, the production also revealed that comedian Kevin Hart was on board as Roland. Other stars soon followed, including Jamie Lee Curtis as Dr. Tannis and Jack Black as the robot icon Claptrap. "Borderlands" doesn't yet have an official release date, but the film finally kicked off production in April 2021, so hopefully that changes very soon. 

Knives Out 2

Almost immediately after "Knives Out" rose to become a major mystery hit over the 2019 holiday season, writer/director Rian Johnson began talking about potential plans for a sequel. Those plans took very solid — and very ambitious — shape in the spring of 2021, when Netflix signed on to a deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars that would set Johnson and company up for two "Knives Out" sequel films at the streaming giant. With the backing of Netflix and a lot of goodwill built up from the first film, Johnson set to work and began building a predictably stacked cast.

While the first "Knives Out" film boasted an impressive roster of talent that included Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Ana de Armas, and others, only Daniel Craig is expected to return from the first film, reprising his role as private detective Benoit Blanc to take on yet another mystery. The nature of that mystery remains unclear, although we know at least some of the film has been shot in Greece. Plus, the ensemble Johnson's building to populate the new story is arguably more impressive than the one from the first film. In the first half of 2021, the production added some major stars, including Dave Bautista, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, Jessica Henwick, and Madelyn Cline to its cast, ahead of a production start later in the year.

The "Knives Out" sequel doesn't have a firm release date yet, but when it finally hits Netflix, it might just be the all-star mystery to end all other all-star mysteries.

Stay Frosty

Sometimes movies can get you excited based on a single star and a one-paragraph plot description alone. That's the case with "Stay Frosty," a film that didn't hit our radar until May 2021 but has already landed on our must-see list, with very good reason.

Deadline reported on May 7, 2021 that Warner Bros. Pictures had just won a high-profile bidding war for the film's script, one from up-and-coming writer Tyler Marceca, and that the project had already landed "Extraction" director Sam Hargrave to helm it and the great Idris Elba to star. So, what's the project that attracted this much attention this quickly got to offer in the story department?

Elba will star as a man who survives a gunshot to the head, then wakes up with two major concerns in his life. The first, obviously, is that someone wants to kill him, but he's not sure who or why. The second is that it's the holiday season, and he needs to get home to see his son for Christmas. What follows is a kind of '80s action throwback piece that balances a hunt for an assassin with a home-for-the-holidays journey. It sounds like fun even without Elba in the lead, but with his star power attached, it could be the kind of thing that launches a franchise.

"Stay Frosty" doesn't yet have a release date, but hopefully by 2022, we'll know more about when we can expect it.

Blade

In the summer of 2019, Marvel Studios surprised fans everywhere during their Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con with the reveal that two-time Academy Award-winner Mahershala Ali had joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Blade. Ali will be the second actor, after Wesley Snipes, to portray the iconic "Daywalker" vampire hunter in live-action, and while it took two years to really get moving, the project is finally starting to take shape.

Deadline reported in July 2021 that director Bassam Tariq, best known for the film "Mogul Mowgli," has signed on to helm the upcoming new incarnation of "Blade." Though the studio was reportedly originally looking for a writer/director to lead the film, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige eventually decided to separate those duties. Stacy Osei-Kuffour, best known for her work on acclaimed TV series like "Hunters" and "Watchmen," is set to write the script for the film.

Sadly, there's not much in the way of plot information about the film just yet nor do we have a firm release date reveal from Marvel. That said, the studio has two talented up-and-comers working behind the scenes and an Oscar-winning icon set to play a vampire hunter, so no matter when it comes out, we're stoked for this one.

Black Canary

When "Birds of Prey" arrived in the winter of 2020, it seemed to provide a couple of key ingredients for the future of the DCEU. The first, and most obvious, was a continued stepping stone for Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn to grow and prosper in the universe, and the second was a whole new range of supporting characters who could steal scenes and presumably be spun off into their own films should the interest be there. Well, it took a little while, but the first of those potential spinoffs is finally on the way.

In August 2021, Collider reported that HBO Max is developing a "Black Canary" film starring Jurnee Smollett in the title role, returning as Dinah Lance after she originated the character's big-screen version in "Birds of Prey." Joining her on the project is Misha Green, who developed the acclaimed HBO series "Lovecraft Country," in which Smollett also starred.

As of this writing, there are no plot details available, so we don't yet know what the "Black Canary" movie will deal with or where in the DCEU timeline it'll pick up with the character, but the project joins an ever-growing list of HBO Max projects designed to tie into Warner Bros. theatrical releases for DC Comics characters. Among the other announced projects, we've got a Gotham City police drama tied to "The Batman," a "Peacemaker" series tied to "The Suicide Squad," and a "Batgirl" film that will reportedly feature the return of J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Jim Gordon.

The Old Guard 2

In the summer of 2020, Netflix released "The Old Guard," a fantasy-action film based on the comic of the same name by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez. The film promptly became one of the biggest hits the platform has ever seen. In a pandemic-stricken world where people couldn't safely visit movie theaters, the film — starring Charlize Theron as the leader of a band of immortal warriors — delivered the blockbuster-style action that audiences were craving at the time, and its success paved the way for a sequel.

After months of teasing throughout 2021, Netflix finally confirmed in August that a sequel to the film was indeed on the way, with a new director at the helm. Deadline reported that Victoria Mahoney, who's directed episodes of series like "Lovecraft Country" and "Power" and helmed the second unit for "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," has signed on to direct "The Old Guard 2." "The Old Guard" director Gina Prince-Bythewood announced at the same time that she elected to step aside from the sequel to focus on other projects, but she personally endorsed Mahoney's hire.

Theron and "The Old Guard" co-star Kiki Layne are both set to return for the sequel, which will be written by Rucka and co-writer David Ellison. It does not yet have a firm release date.

Rebel Moon

After years of working at Warner Bros. Pictures, where he helped build a universe centered on DC Comics heroes that culminated in his own epic cut of "Justice League" in 2021, Zack Snyder has moved on to Netflix, where he's found a new degree of creative freedom and ambition. The streaming giant launched its first Snyder project, the zombie heist film "Army of the Dead," in 2021, and now Snyder's hard at work on his next Netflix original, which will take him into space.

In August 2021, Snyder revealed that his next film as a director will be "Rebel Moon," a project that originated as a "Star Wars" pitch years ago that he's since developed into a standalone sci-fi adventure. Inspired by "Star Wars" and his lifelong love of the films of Akira Kurosawa, "Rebel Moon" will follow the members of a peaceful space colony as they gather warriors to help them fight a tyrannical empire. So, it sounds a bit like "Seven Samurai" in space, which feels fun.

"Rebel Moon" doesn't yet have a release date, but Snyder hopes to begin production sometime in 2022.

The Return of the Rocketeer

Three decades ago, long before the superhero movie boom that's produced whole universes of heroes on the big screen, Disney delivered "The Rocketeer," a period adventure film about a young, high-flying adventurer battling Nazis with a jetpack he got by way of Howard Hughes. The film didn't get a massive reception when it was released in 1991, but time has been very kind to it, and "The Rocketeer" is now remembered as a classic of its era — one that's long overdue for a sequel.

In August 2021, Disney revealed that sequel might finally be on the way with "The Return of the Rocketeer," a Disney+ original film that's set to put the spotlight on a new version of the iconic hero. The new film, which doesn't yet have a firm release date, will be written by "Now You See Me" screenwriter Ed Ricourt, and it will follow a Tuskegee airman who becomes the new Rocketeer. Oscar nominee David Oyelowo ("Selma") is set to produce the film and may also end up starring. At this point, we have no idea how long it will take for "The Return of the Rocketeer" to show up on our screens, but it can't happen soon enough.