One of the many victims of the coronavirus pandemic was the entertainment industry as lockdowns and travel restrictions across the world triggered a cascade of cancelled production and delayed release dates while cinemas remained shut for most of 2020.
Although some production houses resorted to releasing their titles on streaming platforms, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar, the magic of big-ticket releases and the fanfare around them went amiss. It has been that kind of year after all.
But with the world seemingly close to a vaccine, as a number of candidates have returned promising results from trail phases recently, we might just return to the usual visits to the cinemas with popcorn and soda in 2021 and once again, be mesmerised by the sprawling big screen.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest Hollywood releases lined up for 2021.
1. No Time To Die (April 2, 2021)
Daniel Craig will return as the iconic British spy James Bond for the fifth and the last time in 'No Time To Die'. The 25th installment in the Bond franchise is also slated to feature Lashana Lynch as the first-ever female 007. With Oscar-winning actor Rami Malek as the lead antagonist, along with Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Ana de Armas, Lea Seydoux and other stars, this one promises to be a memorable end to Craig's spectacular 007 era.
2. Black Widow (May 7, 2021)
Scarlett Johansson will reprise her role as the SHIELD spy Natasha Romanoff in this film, which takes off from after the events of 'Captain America: Civil War'. Her death in 'Avengers: Endgame' means she will no longer feature in movies beyond that timeline, but we will get to see her explore her ex-KGB roots and her family history in this movie, with Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz cast as her sister and mother respectively.
3. Fast & Furious 9 (May 28, 2021)
The ninth entry in the Fast saga has some huge new developments as it was revealed in the trailer that Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto has had a brother all along, Jakob, played by John Cena (you just couldn't see him). But the bigger reveal was the return of the fan-favourite character of Han, who seemingly died in the events of 'Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift'.
4. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (June 4, 2021)
Patick Wilson and Vera Farmiga will return as the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren in the third installment in this horror franchise. It is based on a real incident of a murder suspect claiming demonic possession as a defence to his crimes.
5. Top Gun: Maverick (July 2, 2021)
Tom Cruise returns as the ace fighter pilot Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell in this sequel to the classic 1986 movie 'Top Gun'. This film will also see the return of Maverick's deceased best friend, Goose's son.
6. The Suicide Squad (August 6, 2021)
After a failed attempt in 2016, DC has handed over the responsibility to 'Guardians of the Galaxy' director James Gunn to make a success of this group of antiheroes and their acts of redemption in this sequel-reboot hybrid. Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn, one of the few positives from the first film, and Idris Elba and John Cena have been cast as Bloodsport and Peacemaker respectively.
7. Dune (October 1, 2021)
One of the most anticipated movies of 2021, 'Dune' is based on the well-known 1965 sci-fi novel by the same name. Directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Issac, Jason Momoa and a plethora of other stars, this movie will follow the story of the ruling family of the planet Arrakis, which produces 'spice', a substance integral to space travel.
8. Mission: Impossible 7 (November 19, 2021)
The second Tom Cruise blockbuster of 2021, the seventh installment in this spy franchise will see Ethan Hunt perform insane stunts, this time to best the antagonist played by Hayley Atwell. There is also an eight movie lined up for 2022.
9. Untitled MCU Spider-Man sequel (December 17, 2021)
After a cliffhanger ending to 'Spiderman: Far From Home', fans were left wondering if their beloved web-slinging hero will even appear for another MCU movie as Marvel and Sony disputed over revenue-sharing. But after terms were agreed, it was confirmed Tom Holland's Peter Parker will appear in two more Spider-Man films. While a title and plot details are yet to be confirmed, there are rumours of this movie opening the door to MCU's multiverse with Doctor Strange slated to appear.
10. The Matrix 4 (December 22, 2021)
The fourth movie in the ground-breaking Matrix trilogy was announced last year with Lana Wachowski helming the project. Both Keanu Reeves and Carrie Ann Moss will return to reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity, both of who died at the end of 'The Matrix Revolutions'. Although the plot details have not been revealed yet, it will be interesting to see a new take on the concept of the dystopian, machine-ruled world nearly two decades later.