If you’re not into American sports, you probably woke up confused this morning as trending hashtags on social media were all about some impressive bird. But no, nobody was talking about a “superb owl” but rather the NFL Super Bowl, which concluded in the early hours of this morning. And as is tradition for the massively broadcasted sporting extravaganza, Hollywood film studios showed off their wares during the prime TV time.
Except, it was just a few representing.
With COVID-19 meaning that nobody knows for sure when their movies are coming out, many studios decided to not spend the prime advertising costs for films that could be delayed by years. So instead of the flood of TV spots of other years, we got just five, split between Universal Pictures and Disney.
Let’s start with Universal and its crown jewel as we got a new 45-second teaser for F9: The Fast Saga, or as less ridiculous people will probably call it, Fast 9. There’s nothing less ridiculous about this sorta-penultimate entry (the final tenth chapter is being split into two parts) in the Fast & Furious franchise though. Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto once again growls about family – represented this time by the sudden appearance of his surly brother Jacob, played by John Cena – as things explode around him. Also, somehow Sung Kang’s Han is back from the dead and did they just suck a car sideways through two buildings?! This one is very light on exposition and heavy on the action which is probably just the way you want it.
Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena).F9 sees the return of Justin Lin as director, who helmed the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters of the series when it transformed into a global blockbuster. The action hurtles around the globe—from London to Tokyo, from Central America to Edinburgh, and from a secret bunker in Azerbaijan to the teeming streets of Tbilisi. Along the way, old friends will be resurrected, old foes will return, history will be rewritten, and the true meaning of family will be tested like never before.
F9: The Fast Saga also stars Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Helen Mirren, and Charlize Theron. Longtime franchise helmer Justin Lin returns to direct. The film is currently scheduled for release on 8 May 2021.
Universal’s second-biggest reveal was the debut teaser trailer for M. Night Shyamalan’s Old. Since his incredible arrival on the scene with the likes of The Sixth Sense and Signs, the writer/director’s films have been all over the quality spectrum, so who knows if this will be another twisty classic or just fodder for internet memes. For what it’s worth, Old is loosely adapted from a graphic novel, Sandcastle, written by Pierre Oscar Levy and illustrated by Frederik Peeters, and tells of a young family having a perfect beach day only to find themselves inexplicably ageing. Got to say, the teaser trailer is rather chilling.
This summer, visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan unveils a chilling, mysterious new thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day.
Old stars Vicky Krieps, Gael García Bernal, Eliza Scanlen, Thomasin McKenzie, Aaron Pierre, Alex Wolff, Abbey Lee, Embeth Davidtz, and Rufus Sewell. It is scheduled for release on 23 July 2021.
The final offering from Universal was a new teaser trailer for Nobody, which is basically “How about we make John Wick, but with Bob Odenkirk from Better Call Saul?”. And you know what? I’m down with that. Especially since he apparently also makes a mean lasagna.
Bob Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, an underestimated and overlooked dad and husband, taking life’s indignities on the chin and never pushing back. A nobody. When two thieves break into his suburban home one night, Hutch declines to defend himself or his family, hoping to prevent serious violence. His teenage son, Blake (Gage Munroe), is disappointed in him and his wife, Becca (Connie Nielsen), seems to pull only further away.The aftermath of the incident strikes a match to Hutch’s long-simmering rage, triggering dormant instincts and propelling him on a brutal path that will surface dark secrets and lethal skills. In a barrage of fists, gunfire, and squealing tires, Hutch must save his family from a dangerous adversary (Alexey Serebryakov)—and ensure that he will never be underestimated as a nobody again.
Nobody is directed by Ilya Naishuller (best known for Hardcore Henry) with John Wick co-creator Derek Kolstad actually scripting. The film also stars Connie Nielsen and Christopher Lloyd, and is scheduled for release on 2 April 2021.
Changing gears, we get to Disney. Or rather specifically, Marvel Studios, which once upon a time would have had The Falcon and The Winter Soldier as it’s big TV series debut on Disney+. Instead, COVID-19 through all release schedules into disarray and WandaVision became Marvel’s Disney+ debut instead. Without a doubt, WandaVision has proven itself to be Marvel’s most unique production ever, but its quirky and trippy stylings have turned off some fans who long for the action-y, quippy Marvel formula. Ironically, the same formula those same fans frequently accused Marvel of sticking to too much.
Well, either way, they’re getting their wish with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which sees everybody’s favourite odd couple superhero buddies played by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stand annoying each other as they save the world from Daniel Bruhl’s returning Baron Zemo (now wearing the classic purple mask!). The show’s throughline will be dealing with Falcon coming to terms with being offered Captain America’s shield, and how some – specifically Wyatt Russell’s John Walker aka U.S. Agent – feel they deserve the title more.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier also sees the return of Emily Camp as Sharon Carter, and it was just confirmed last week that Don Cheadle will also be putting in an appearance as James “Rhodey” Rhodes aka War Machine. Two intriguing newcomers though are Erin Kellyman as a masked member of an anarchist anti-patriotism group known as the Flag-Smashers, and Carl Lumbly MAYBE playing Isaiah Bradley, an African American man who was the unknown “original” Captain America who was experimented on with the same serum that was used on Steve Rogers.
Acclaimed TV director Kari Skogland is helming all six episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is is scheduled to premiere on Disney+ on 19 March 2021.
The only other Disney representation during Super Bowl was a brand new TV spot for upcoming animated fantasy adventure Raya and the Last Dragon. With a full trailer and press- day put out just a few weeks ago, there isn’t that much new here that is worth mentioning. Well, except for reiterating that the film still looks gorgeous and boasts some great martial arts action choreography. Oh and the fact that while Raya and the Last Dragon will be hitting cinemas, it will also be pulling a Mulan and be available on the same day on Disney+ Premier Access for the additional fee of $34.99.
Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.
Raya and the Last Dragon has a stacked voice cast including Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang, Thalia Tran, Alan Tudyk, Lucille Soong, Patti Harison, and Ross Butler. Raya and the Last Dragon is co-directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting) and is scheduled for release on 5 March 2021.
Last Updated: February 8, 2021