Marvel Studios 2021 Slate Means Marvel's Biggest Year Yet

After the delay of Black Widow made 2020 the first year without a Marvel Studios movie since 2009, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is slating its biggest year yet. On Thursday, Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige announced a deluge of new projects during Disney Investor Day 2020 and updated the first batch of cinematic-quality television shows rolling out on Disney+ throughout 2021, including the Phase Four-launching WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Both release ahead of the twice-delayed Black Widow, the first feature film out of Phase Four that ends a drought of MCU content when it opens in theaters on May 7, 2021.

Feige and Disney CEO Bob Chapek remain committed to a theatrical-only release for Black Widow, a standalone story about Scarlett Johansson's super-spy Avenger, despite calls to send the film to Disney+. If it holds onto its May 7 date, it opens 675 days after Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man: Far From Home swung into theaters last July.

That's the lengthiest wait for a Marvel Studios film since Iron Man 2 ended a 693-day drought in 2010, releasing nearly two years after The Incredible Hulk smashed its way into theaters as the second MCU film after Iron Man.

More than a decade later, the now Disney-owned Marvel Studios is gearing up to release an unprecedented ten projects throughout 2021. Not only will Marvel open four films in a year for the first time, upping its three-a-year model in place since 2017, but the studio also debuts its first crop of television series starting with WandaVision in January.

Marvel Studios 2021 slate
(Photo: Marvel Studios / ComicBook.com)

Taking place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, which crowned Marvel the box office king when it became the highest-grossing film of all time in 2019, WandaVision is the first-ever Marvel Studios series. When WandaVision starts streaming on January 15, it follows "unusual couple" Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) into their picture-perfect suburban life where everything is not as it seems.

Also spinning out of Endgame is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, again teaming frenemies Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in a world without Captain America (Chris Evans). The globe-trotting spy-thriller releases on March 19, just weeks before the May 7 opening of Black Widow.

Streaming that same month is Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston in a reprisal of Thor's (Chris Hemsworth) adopted brother and the Asgardian God of Mischief, as the third Marvel Studios series to connect to the feature film side of the MCU. Summer 2021 sees the release of What If...?, the first animated series from Marvel Studios, which features a roster of MCU stars as it remixes key characters and moments from the ever-expanding universe.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings punches its way into theaters in July with Simu Liu in the titular role. It's followed by the arrival of another MCU newcomer, Iman Vellani's Kamala Khan, in the Ms. Marvel series scheduled for late 2021 on Disney+.

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Even more never-before-seen superheroes enter the MCU with the Chloé Zhao-directed Eternals, featuring a star-studded ensemble cast that includes Kit Harington and Angelina Jolie. That film, scheduled for release in theaters on November 5, opens around the time retired Avenger Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) returns to mentor young archer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in the Hawkeye series set for fall 2021.

Ending Marvel's 2021 is the so-far untitled Spider-Man 3, the first of the Marvel and Sony collaborations to be co-financed by Disney to the tune of 25%. It's believed the Far From Home sequel swings back into the Marvel multiverse with the rumored additions of Spider-Men played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, who would join Spidey star Tom Holland in the MCU for the first time. The Sony-distributed Spider-Man 3 opens on December 17, 2021.