Hollywood loves them some superheroes. As 2018 draws to a close, movie-going audiences will have been treated to a whopping nine superhero movies over the last 12 months. Right now, we have the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), DC Universe (DCU), an X-Men Universe that will soon be rebooted into the MCU and an avalanche of additional standalone capes-and-cowls content. The genre accounts for seven of the top-10 highest-grossing films of the year so far and 2019 boasts a particularly star-studded comic book roster.
Long story short: superhero fatigue does not exist; not as long as the genre continues to pump our crowd-pleasing and money-making efforts with such frequency. So to keep the ever-growing and sprawling web of blockbuster superhero films in check, here are all of the movies scheduled to arrive in this lane through 2021 (sadly, none of them are a Superman movie).
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (December 14)
This animated Spidey adventure follows fan-favorite Miles Morales and will serve as a launching pad for a new Spider-Man franchise that stands apart from the Tom Holland-MCU continuity. Not only will Into the Spider-Verse introduce the half-black, half-Latino Morales, but the film also features an abundance of talent. Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it stars Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Liev Schreiber and Hailee Steinfeld. We’ve seen it and it’s easily one of the best films of the year. It even solves the problem of reboot fatigue.
Aquaman (December 21)
Given the uneven footing of WB’s DC Universe, it’s fair if you’re on the fence here. But director James Wan (Furious 7, The Conjuring) has proven to be a fun filmmaker with a knack for world building, and Aquaman boasts an enticing hook as an underwater mashup of Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Early reactions were mostly positive and the film looks to take a shark-sized bite out of the box office.
Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019)
The MCU’s first female-led superhero blockbuster will see Oscar-winner Brie Larson take on the role of Carol Danvers, a fighter pilot who is imbued with special powers from an alien force. What makes Captain Marvel particularly interesting is that it takes place in the 1990s, making it a prequel of sorts to the current iteration of the MCU. We did a deep dive on all the hints, clues and theories that accompanied the most recent trailer.
Shazam! (April 5, 2019)
The DCU could either plug its leaks or continue to sink over the next 12 months. If Aquaman and Shazam! arrive as general crowd-pleasers, than the brand will have rebounded from the disastrous Justice League. If one or both disappoints, than WB may need to rethink its shared universe entirely. Fortunately, it looks like Shazam! will be an absolute blast. We’re here for Zachary Levi’s breakout.
Hellboy (April 12, 2019)
We spoke to star David Harbour about his Hellboy reboot in which he discussed his love of superheroes and how this feature will go a bit deeper than some other superhero titles. We’re of the opinion that darker material (The Dark Knight trilogy, Logan) can often become the best of the genre when executed properly. Unfortunately, Hellboy‘s release date has already been delayed once and we’ve yet to see a trailer. Those aren’t exactly encouraging signs.
Avengers: Endgame (April 26, 2019)
Following Avengers: Endgame, the contracts for mainstay Avengers such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and others will expire. While everyone is free to negotiate new deals, the prevailing sense is that the MCU will bid adieu to several familiar faces. But until then, we still have a million questions and theories regarding the definitive conclusion of Endgame. Bring it on, Thanos.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5, 2019)
What, you thought just because he got dusted in the Snapture that he wouldn’t be back? Please.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix (June 7, 2019)
X-Men: Apocalypse squandered the source material’s best villain, and Dark Phoenix will be the second time the X-franchise tackles Jean Grey’s iconic comics storyline. That doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence and neither does the film’s production delays or the directorial debut of writer/producer Simon Kinberg. Hopefully, Dark Phoenix can end the series on a positive note before MCU reboots the X-franchise completely.
The New Mutants (August 2, 2019)
Take that trailer with a grain of salt as The New Mutants was delayed from its original April 2018 release date in order to undergo significant re-shoots. Normally, that wouldn’t be a cause for concern; every single major blockbuster has built-in schedule time for re-shoots. But rarely are release dates pushed back more than a year for any good reasons. There’s also been talk that New Mutants could forgo a theatrical release completely with Disney’s acquisition of Fox looming. We’ll see.
Joker (October 4, 2019)
We’re real high on Joker; we think it could be a potential game-changer for DC Films. Is that confidence a bit premature given we haven’t even seen an official teaser? Absolutely. Do we care? Absolutely not.
Untitled Fox/Marvel Film (November 22, 2019)
20th Century Fox has secured real estate on the release schedule for unknown Marvel films in the near future. Our best guess is that this date is reserved for X-Force, which will reunite Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, Josh Brolin’s Cable and Zazie Beetz’s Domino in a new team-up movie following May’s Deadpool 2. However, Fox’s future schedule is clouded by Disney’s pending acquisition. Don’t etch any of the studio’s Marvel movie release dates in stone just yet.
Birds of Prey (February 7, 2020)
Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn will lead DC’s female team-up movie Birds of Prey. We spoke with co-star Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who will be taking on the role of Huntress, right after she was cast. Shooting for an R-rating, this one could be a huge hit.
Untitled DC Film (February 14, 2020)
DC Films has a number of projects up in the air at the moment, including a solo Flash vehicle, Batgirl, Suicide Squad 2, Green Lantern Corps, Nightwing, Justice League Dark, several Joker and Harley Quinn spinoffs and more. Right now, no one is quite sure what’s going on at Warner Bros. following another hierarchical shakeup earlier this year and the AT&T merger. Here’s to hoping we get something cool.
Untitled Fox/Marvel Film (March 13, 2020)
What is the appropriate amount of time the studios need to wait out of respect for Hugh Jackman and the audience before reintroducing the character of Wolverine? Asking for a friend…
Cyborg (April 3, 2020)
Technically, Ray Fisher’s solo Cyborg movie is still on DC’s release schedule. But, at this point, it is highly unlikely this film gets made. Sorry, folks.
Untitled Marvel Movie (May 1, 2020)
We don’t know what is happening with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after Marvel fired James Gunn. We do know, however, that the studio officially tapped Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson for a sequel earlier this week. We also know there will be a Black Panther 2 and very likely third films for Spider-Man and Ant-Man.
Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5, 2020)
Wonder Woman is the DCU’s biggest overall success, so quite a lot is riding on Patty Jenkins’ sequel. The follow-up will jump from World War I to 1984, with Kristen Wiig taking on the villainous role of Cheetah after Emma Stone reportedly passed. Somehow, Chris Pine will also return following his character’s death at the end of the original. No word yet on just how exactly that works, but we’re interested to find out.
Untitled DC Film (June 5, 2020)
Again, we have no idea what this movie will be or even if it will stay on the schedule. But Suicide Squad 2, which DC recently hired James Gunn to write and direct, is slated for a 2020 release. It’s possible that the “fresh take” he’s cooking up will arrive sometime around this slot.
Untitled Fox/Marvel Film (June 26, 2020)
A summer release date is a juicy spot on the calendar, but it’s unclear if it will come to fruition with all of the corporate uncertainty. There had previously been talk of a Kitty Pryde X-Men spinoff starring Ellen Page and a James Franco-led Multiple Man adaptation, but the status of both projects remains doubtful. For now, it’s best to assume these Fox/Marvel dates are fluid given Disney’s pending takeover.
Green Lantern Corps (July 24, 2020)
Green Lantern Corps was first announced way back in 2014 and longtime comics writer and script doctor/producer Geoff Johns is penning the screenplay. However, it is highly unlikely that the film meets this release date as casting and pre-production has yet to begin (Trevante Rhodes or Sterling K. Brown for John Stewart, please). We don’t even know if Green Lantern Corps still remains a priority under new DC Films leadership. Here’s the synopsis, per IMDb, just in case the film eventually gets going:
The story centers on the Green Lanterns of Earth — Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner — and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps as they fight an interstellar war against the Sinestro Corps, an army led by the former Green lantern Sinestro who are armed with yellow power rings and seek a universe ruled through fear.
Untitled Fox/Marvel Film (October 2, 2020)
We can safely assume Disney will want to continue making blockbuster superhero films out of Fox’s properties, and Disney CEO Bob Iger has already promised that the Deadpool franchise will remain R-Rated. But that doesn’t mean the Mouse House will maintain Fox’s current development plan and you can likely expect the X-Men to be recast.
Untitled Marvel Movie (November 6, 2020)
Sooner or later, Marvel is going to have to start developing new franchises for the future. We can safely assume that Spider-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange will compose the main Avengers roster moving forward. But will Bucky take up the mantle of Captain America? Will Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man be recast? Will never-before-seen heroes be introduced? We assume so.
Untitled Marvel Movie (February 12, 2021)
Sadly, the all-female Marvel movie that Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Thompson teased doesn’t sound as if it’s going to become a reality. But if it did, it would be the perfect time for Marvel to reveal Valkyrie as a member of the LGBTQ community, as Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said the MCU will see at least two characters that fall under this category in the near future.
Untitled Marvel Movie (May 7, 2021)
We know we’re getting a Black Widow solo movie starring Scarlett Johansson, we just don’t yet know exactly when…
Untitled Marvel Movie (November 5, 2021)
We know that Marvel has tapped director Chloe Zhao and writers Matthew K. Firpo and Ryan Firpo to develop a movie based on The Eternals, a race of near-immortal beings genetically engineered by the Celestials. The MCU is expected to lean more heavily into its cosmic side after Avengers: Endgame, so perhaps this is it.
Undated Flash Solo Movie (2021)
The Flash has been stuck in developmental purgatory for years, cycling through a handful of writers and directors as it languishes somewhere in between completely dead and just getting started. Whether or not we ultimately get a Flash film may depend on how well Aquaman and Shazam! are received.
Undated The Batman (2021)
Director Matt Reeves is set to submit the next draft of The Batman‘s script to Warner Bros. by the end of this year. Ben Affleck is expected to be re-cast in the role for a younger Dark Knight still in the early years of his crime fighting career. If Warner Bros. hustles, it can still push this film out in 2020. But given the winding production path The Batman has taken to this point, we’re not optimistic.