The Marvel Cinematic Universe will break new ground in 2021. For the first time ever, we will be getting four different big screen MCU entries that year, with the recent confirmation that Sony and Marvel have come to terms on a new deal for Spider-Man 3. 2021 will also see the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder.
For quite some time, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had been sticking to two movies a year. It wasn't until 2017 that we had our first year with three releases, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok. Much of that had to do with the initial deal with Sony, which forced the need to make room for Tom Holland's first solo adventure. Similarly, with Sony and Marvel, to the delight of fans, coming back together for Spider-Man 3, room needed to be cleared on the calendar for Holland's next solo outing. Now, 2021 is a crowded year for the MCU.
First up will be Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021. This project was announced over the summer at San Diego Comic-Con, along with the rest of the Phase 4 slate. Simu Liu is set to star as the titular martial arts master, and the movie will bring the real version of the Mandarin into the fold. Destin Daniel Cretton is set to direct. Then we've got Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will finally give Benedict Cumberbatch a solo movie sequel as the Sorcerer Supreme. Director Scott Derrickson is returning and, this time around, Scarlet Witch is coming along for the ride, with Nightmare as the main villain. The sequel arrives on May 7, 2021.
Then comes Spider-Man 3 on July 16, 2021. Little is known, in terms of specifics, but Far From Home director Jon Watts is in talks to return and Tom Holland will be back as Peter Parker. This movie will have to resolve the cliffhanger from the end of Far From Home, which is no small task. Holland is also set to appear in another currently unknown MCU movie, so this should set the stage for his return to the larger fold alongside his fellow heroes in some way or another.
Lastly, we have Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021. Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is coming back, as is Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. Only this time, she's set to become the Mighty Thor, which has made this a much-discussed project. Aside from the movies, Marvel also has several Disney+ shows set for 2021, such as WandaVision, Loki and Hawkeye. Needless to say, this will truly test the waters to see if Marvel can possibly oversaturate the market, as few brands are strong enough to justify that much content in a single year. This news was previously noted by Discussing Film.