There are quite a few superhero movies releasing in 2021, which means it's going to be a big year for Marvel and DC. By 2021, MCU's Phase 4 will be two years into its extensive five-year plan while the DCEU will have Wonder Woman 1984 and Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) under its belt.
Marvel Studios hasn't confirmed the precise release dates for their upcoming MCU movies, but we know that the following 2021 dates have been reserved by the studio for three films: February 12, 2021; May 7, 2021, and November 5, 2021. Warner Bros. has nailed down specific release dates for many of its movies as well, through 2021, and we know that two of the films currently on the slate, The Batman and The Suicide Squad, will be coming out in June and August 2021, respectively.
As we look ahead to the future of the MCU and DCEU, here's everything we know about the superhero films that are expected to hit theaters in 2021.
Marvel Movie #1 (Likely Black Panther 2) - February 12
As far as MCU Phase 4 movies go, the most information is known about Black Panther 2. Yes, a specific release date is still unconfirmed, but it's likely the Black Panther sequel will be released sometime in 2021. It was confirmed in October 2018 that Ryan Coogler will return to write and direct the sequel. Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman will return and it's expected that a majority of the supporting cast with return as well, including Letitia Wright (Shuri), Lupita Nyong'o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Daniel Kaluuya (W'Kabi), and Winston Duke (M'Baku). A villain character has yet to be confirmed but there is a chance Michael B. Jordan could return as Killmonger - but that's mostly just a theory right now. Production has yet to begin on Black Panther 2, but considering how successful the first movie was in February, a February release date for the sequel seems likely.
Marvel Movie #2 (Likely Shang-Chi) - May 7
Marvel Studios will deliver another landmark film in the MCU with Shang-Chi, which is expected to arrive sometime in 2021 although a specific release date is still unconfirmed. Short Term 12 director Destin Daniel Cretton has signed on to direct while Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984, Zombieland: Double Tap) will write the script. Filming will likely take place in Australia although no confirmation has been made despite evidence indicating it to be so.
No actors have been cast in any of the roles yet. Grey's Anatomy actor Alex Landi, Power Rangers actor Ludi Lin, and Inhumans actor Mike Moh have expressed interest in playing the titular role of Shang-Chi, but it's unclear if they're serious candidates. The villain is also unknown nor do we know who will play the villain. A specific plot hasn't been confirmed yet. Considering the existence of Shang-Chi has yet to be acknowledged in the MCU, this solo film could function as an origin story. And given what we do know so far, a May 2021 release date seems perfect for it.
The Batman - June 25
Cloverfield and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves will be bringing his take on the Batman comics to theaters with The Batman on June 25, 2021. Among the hottest news surrounding this project is the fact that Robert Pattinson has officially signed on to play Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman. This move on Pattinson's part means that he is moving back into the bigger blockbuster territory and away from independent films, a conscientious choice he made in his career since the Twilight films wrapped in 2012.
Reeves' The Batman will reportedly not be an origin story (thank goodness because this is one origin story fans don't need to be repeated for the umpteenth time) and instead will show Batman in the early years of his double life as a vigilante and wealthy businessman. While a majority of the past Batman films have shown a version of Bruce Wayne who is seasoned and in his late 30s to early 50s, Pattinson's Batman will be in his early 30s. Outside of these details, much of the casting and plot details are unknown - although we're hoping recent reports come true and Robin shows up. Filming on The Batman has yet to begin, but is expected to commence by the end of the year.
The Suicide Squad - August 6
Director James Gunn will be doing double duty in the coming years as he directs Guardians of the Galaxy 3 for the MCU and The Suicide Squad for the DCEU. It's believed that The Suicide Squad will not be a sequel to 2016's Suicide Squad but will instead act as a soft reboot to rehabilitate the Suicide Squad property after the first installment was critically panned (though it was still an enormous financial success). There is no confirmed plot nor has filming begun.
Suicide Squad cast members Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, and Jai Courtney will reprise their roles in Gunn's film. Of course, The Suicide Squad includes new cast members as well, such as Idris Elba and John Cena, whose roles are still unknown; Ant-Man's David Dastmalchian as Batman nemesis Polka-Dot Man, and model Daniela Melchior as Ratcher, a role that will be gender-flipped just for this film; Benicio del Toro is also reportedly joining and could play the film's villain. Furthermore, rumored additions to the cast include Dave Bautista and frequent Gunn collaborator Michael Rosenbaum. The Suicide Squad is scheduled to hit theaters on August 6, 2021.
Marvel Movie #3 (Likely Doctor Strange 2) - November 5
As is the case with most MCU Phase 4 movies at the moment, the exact release date of Doctor Strange 2 is unknown. With that in mind, we're able to make the educated guess that it will, at the very least, come out in 2021. The 2021 release date may have been confirmed by a hint given by Doctor Strange star Benedict Wong, who commented at Denver Comic-Con that filming may begin in 2020. Additionally, Scott Derrickson will be back on deck to direct and we're keeping our fingers crossed Marvel Studios brings back screenwriter C. Robert Cargill to pen the sequel script.
Aside from Wong and star Benedict Cumberbatch, it's unknown who will return for Doctor Strange 2. At a minimum, Chiwetel Ejiofor is likeliest to return as Mordo, so that he may complete his villainous turn that was first teased in Doctor Strange's post-credits scene. Other characters like the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) could return since Doctor Strange left things open-ended for their characters (especially the Ancient One, who was seen briefly in Avengers: Endgame). The plot of Doctor Strange 2 is also unknown. The one plot-specific thing we do know is that Endgame confirmed that Doctor Strange will no longer have possession of the Time Stone. This could throw a wrench in Strange's defensive abilities against whichever villain he will battle in the film. And since the first Doctor Strange movie released in November, why wouldn't the sequel do the same?
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021